End of a manic month

Phewwww! It's finally over. No more bleary eyes, no more coffee breath and no more creative excuses for being late for work.  

The FIFA World Cup 2006 ended at approximately 5.30am this morning and with it, one month of football overdose. 

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the traffic in the Klang Valley has been unusually quiet since the World Cup started? Driving to work has been a breeze in the mornings. My theory is that more people are going in late to work after the “live” matches finish at around 5am.  

That's not to say that there's no traffic. Try getting into Desa Sri Hartamas on a match day. It is absolute chaos after 9pm, with all entrances and exits jam-packed with cars. Don't even think about getting a parking spot. 

Scenes like this were repeated in many pubsaround the Klang Valley almost nightlyduring the World Cup.

The reason for the nightly jam is obvious; those of us who don't watch the games at home, head on down to Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, Hartamas, Bangsar and assorted mamak stalls. The result, other than the traffic jams in these areas, are that F&B operators with big screen TVs and Astro, have made a killing. 

Spare a thought though for the restaurants that have suffered as a result of the World Cup. A survey by a Chinese daily last week found that restaurants recorded a 30% drop in revenue because less people ate out during the World Cup. The daily also noted that less people had their breakfasts at the local kopitiam.  

On a positive note, my colleague, who has to rely on public transportation, has been over the moon the last one month. “It used to be tough getting a taxi at night, but since the World Cup started, a lot of cab drivers do not get customers after 9pm. Most of their customers stay at home to catch the matches,'' she said. 

The World Cup has also brought together people who otherwise would not care to watch a football match. The man-on-the-street has a common subject to talk about now, and this in turn created the instant pundit phenomena. Every man and his dog had an opinion about Wayne Rooney's sending off. 

Funnily enough, most of the real “experts” - those people who earned a living over the last month on TV and radio boring us to death with their analysis - got it wrong.  

Those who predicted a Brazil v Germany final are eating humble pie now, while the housewives who from the start thought that the Italian players were good looking, got it right in the end. 

As for me, football-withdrawal syndrome is already kicking in. I can't wait for the start of the new English Premier League season next month, and more football! 

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