A Singapore Sporting Legend Humiliated…

Honestly I would have preferred to have a headline that states “Au Revoir Stade De National” rather than the one above. Or “A Mesmerising Diva” in honour of Christina Aguilera‘s spell-binding performance at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Saturday night. But somehow, something nasty, something atrocious and unbecoming happened at the National Stadium in full view of hundreds of spectators at the Grandstand area just before the LionsAussie match was about to commence. It involved the man, the living legend who had scored THE GOAL at the National Stadium more than 3 decades ago, my uncle, the legendary great Dollah Kassim.

I had actually wanted to watch that last game at the National Stadium but was more enticed to watch Christina Aguilera since it’s not often we get to watch a renowned international act perform on our shores. Since we were afraid of a traffic jam like the ASEAN Cup last January, and the thought of not being able to get good parking lots, we went to the Kallang area early and reached there at about 5:30pm. Since there was an ex-internationals game between Singapore and Malaysia as a prelude to the big match, I thought it was a good way to at least soak in the atmosphere one more time for memories’ sake before the stadium is torn down. So we went to watch the game and sat with my aunt, cousins Ezaad, Jid & Julie and little Eshaan at the Grandstand area to cheer my uncle on, who was on the pitch wearing his previous number 10 jersey. We as a family were clad in blue jersey with the words “DKK” in front symbolising “Dollah Kassim’s Klan“. Sounds cheesy, but we’re proud of it. Kinda sounded like Razak Baginda‘s family huh??? If you dunno who or what I’m talking about, shame on you for not knowing things going on around you…

National Stadium Grandstand 

The match itself was a so-so affair with old foes preferring to take it easy on one another. The match ended 1-1 but because there was a presentation of mementos afterwards, Singapore won the coin toss and emerged the “winner” of the match. I dunno if they really meant it or it was “fixed” since we’re the home side and because it was the last match at the stadium. But nobody made a fuss about it so we left it as that. We were then cajoled by the hosts into doing the Kallang Wave. I told my cousins and said it was low tide (the stadium was not full), so it was not feasible to do it but we still did and I felt a lump in my throat and the hair on my back standing when I did them. Not long after that, the Australian and Singapore players came out to do their warm-ups. It’s always nice to see some of the English / European league stars who play for the Aussies in the flesh. Their sizes are so big and bulky. When Jean Danker, the host of the evening along with Daniel Ong, announced their names, I cheered and clapped but booed at one particular name – Harry Kewell. I don’t have to say why I booed him. Let’s just say, I don’t fancy players who play for Liverpool. I cheered the loudest for Lucas Neill who turned down moving to Liverpool in January this year. Anyway Mr. Kewell made some comments about my Manchester United being in decline when he joined them a few years ago. A team in decline would not have just won the Premiership title eh, Harry??? Pffffttt…!!!

Aida and I thought of watching at least the first half of the LionsAussie match before we move on to the Indoor Stadium to watch Christina Aguilera‘s concert. So we took our leave to perform Maghrib at the Jamiyah Mosque nearby and left my bag under the care of the rest. When we left the Grandstand area, we were issued a pass so as to allow us back in later on. We made our way out via the North entrance (the Grandstand area being the West side for those who haven’t been to the stadium). At the mosque just after I’ve said my prayers, Ezaad called to say they were going home, much to my surprise. He said something happened but declined to elaborate till we meet again. So he drove over to the mosque to send my bag and the whole family told us what happened. To hear it from the horse’s mouth, I quote you now what exactly transpired at the stadium, courtesy of Julie‘s blog:

“… the drama started right after the game… before i continue… people who know my father-in-law.. they will say that he is the most patient and cool man on earth and seldom get upset over things and one who forgives and forget…so right after the game… he came over to our seats… and met a few of his fans around the area… anyway, we got seats at the grandstand area… so while talking to us about the match that he played earlier… two ladies came over to us… one wearing an usher red jacket and the other a normal office jacket and has a tag which says ‘STAFF’… the ‘STAFF’ came over to my father-in-law and started talking to him..

[a shortened, exact conversation between them.. i was seated right in front of them so i could hear the conversation]

Staff : Sir, can i have ur ticket? father-in-law [FIL]: huh.. i don’t have one…Staff: can i have ur ticket?FIL : i don’t need one…

Staff: But sir, if you want to sit here.. you would need a ticket… how can you enter without a ticket?

FIL : I played on the field… so i cannot sit here?

Staff: u need a ticket.. u cannot enter without a ticket..

FIL : Everybody let’s go…

[so we packed up and left]

before anybody thinks that my FIL is a pain… let me inform u on the logic about it….what the staff wanted wont come to any sense…

1. since he was a player, he had a different entrance from us… after the game, he had to get out from entrance A and go to entrance B to get to us… if he needed a ticket… why didn’t the staff from Entrance B stop him…

2. the other players who had played with him also didn’t have tickets… why didn’t she stop them?

3. she was very rude!

4. if she had brains…[which she didn’t].. she could get my FIL to go with her and verify his name for the seat….

she embarrassed my FIL by questioning him about his eligibility there in front of the fans… my FIL who had created history for Singapore Football… my FIL who people respected and brought home the Malaysia Cup for Singapore!

i could see that my FIL was really sad and disappointed about the whole incident.. he was pretty quiet throughout the journey home…

being me.. me and my Mother-in-law created quite a scene at the entrance of which my FIL was allowed in earlier… the people there were very shocked at the whole situation… some of which wanted to give my FIL a ticket to enter and forget the whole incident… it was not about the ticket… it was more about my FIL’s embarrassment and how the ‘STAFF’ talked to him…

and so we left.

some family and friends noticed that my FIL was not around for the ‘Down the Memory Lane’ segment… they called and msg us to ask if he was ok… we are very grateful to all family and friends who showered concern and care to my FIL… we told them about the situation and they were very upset about it also…

so much for the being the field of dreams…. more like the field of disappointment…”

Ex-Internationals Mementos Presentation

When I heard everything, I was terribly upset and wished I had been there to create a scene, knowing what an acid tongue I have and my ability to turn into a bitch / bastard when the need arises. As there was still enough time to watch the first half, I decided to return to the Grandstand area to look for those ushers and give them a piece of my mind. Along the way to the stadium, there were two ladies in front of me who were quite surprised as to why there were cheers coming from the stadium and wondered what’s going on. In my already pissed-off state, I had half the mind to throw my shoes at their heads for being so ignorant. Really, I hate ignorant people who dunno things that go on around them. That’s why when such a scenario happens on radio, more often than not, yours truly would come out with an indignant and lambasting comment.

When I reached the Grandstand entrance, there were only about 5 minutes left to halftime. So I told Aida to wait outside while I go in for awhile. I was pissed off even further when I was refused entry since I had exited from the side barrier and the pass had a different colour to the one I was about to enter. I was appalled. What’s the difference??? I told them, why not I enter from there and pass the exit pass to the other side where I exited earlier, but they said it was not possible. How anal can they get??? I STILL WAS GONNA ENTER THE GRANDSTAND NO MATTER WHERE I EXITED!!! What a dumb system, practised and executed by dumber ushers. One usher who sported a skinhead even had the cheek to sneer and raised his voice slightly in a sarcastic tone telling me to enter where I left. I had half the mind to tell him off, that his rudeness was deplorable and a disgrace, moreso since he was a Malay like me. But I knew I had more class than him, so I just shook my head, glared at him and left for the Indoor Stadium. No point walking back to the North Entrance and going in as it was just a waste of time. I think it was a blessing in disguise for those two ushers I had wanted to confront in that I did not get the opportunity to do so.

Aussie Fans


Back to my uncle… As a Singapore sporting legend, from what I observed from tagging along with him to watch matches at the National Stadium in the past, he did not need a special pass or ticket to show to anyone to move around the arena. In fact, if anyone of the stadium’s staff were to see him from a distance, they would immediately beckon him over and usher him in. From what I understand from Ezaad and Julie‘s accounts, the two ushers were young upstarts, who probably don’t know anything about Singapore‘s sporting history and were there just to make a quick buck out of watching people go in and out of the stadium. Yes it’s true, a majority of our younger generation are ignorant people who care less about their heritage, history and tradition. And all these lead them to become disrespectful people who dunno how to appreciate what people before them have done to contribute to the country’s success.

My uncle, Dollah Kassim, is forever synonymous to Singapore football. His mesmerising footwork, dazzling wizardry and outrageous dribblings have brought many thousands watching at the stadium on their feet when he homed in on goal. Which was why they were looking out for him during the “Down Memory Lane” segment so they could honour the man who had scored THE GOAL of the National Stadium back in 1975 against Pahang, when he made the opposing keeper and defenders looked like idiots with his flamboyancy. To have that kind of disrespectful treatment by the ushers, was not only a slap to the face but a kick in the butt as if to say, “Your time is over, now move along!!!” While I’m sad, angry and share my uncle’s disappointment, I was happy he did not pull his weight around and played his reputation card, preferring instead to just leave gracefully, even if his honour had been tarnished in front of hundreds of spectators who watched the episode unfold before them. For those who dunno him, he doesn’t use his reputation to get by in life. Which is why he is so humble and kind and all of us, the cousins, love him ever so dearly. I’m just so sad his farewell to his former playground was tainted by this atrocious incident.

Aussies Warm Up 

I was surprised none of the CISCO officers on duty noticed the furore or anyone else did not come forward to save my uncle from his embarrassment nor give a ticking off to the young punks who were sorry excuses for ushers. They really need to learn a lot about public relations and customer service skills, not to mention reading up on history so as not to humiliate other people who have done a lot for the country when these numbskulls were still in diapers or their fathers’ sperm cells. Can you imagine them doing this to one of our Members of Parliament who would have preferred not to sit at the Executive area and instead wanting to blend in with the people??? They could have at least exercised some common sense and checked around with the relevant people first before jumping into conclusions. Honestly this episode could have been avoided if some common sense had prevailed. Coupled with my own experience at the gates, I can only come to one conclusion and I apologise if I were to sound vulgar but the National Stadium ushers are absolutely “F***ED UP!!! with no common sense and basic courtesy!!! Service with a smile??? Yah right… My ass!!! No wonder the Government came up with that customer service scheme (GEMS: Go-The-Extra-Mile-for-Service) some time ago cos we seem to have a lot of class-less, rude and undignified people working in this industry…

Author: Pujangga Malam™

Well-known on RIA 89.7FM as a controversial and sensational critic able to invoke thought-provoking and sometimes, fiery responses from fellow listeners. Have since evolved into a distinguished blogger of reputable claim with takes on the Malay entertainment industry and football-related matters. Brutally honest and believes in only reporting the truth as I see, hear or experience it. Self-styled critic who does not mince his words and is definitely a non-conformist.

3 thoughts on “A Singapore Sporting Legend Humiliated…”

  1. I only found out about the Dollah Kassim debacle yesterday afternoon and believe you me, I was mad as hell!

    DK is a hero to every local footy fan above the ages of 35…everyone knows and recognizes him. In fact, I used to idolize the man who wore the famous sky blue 10 and afro! When I bumped into Dollah sometime last year during one of the games in the National Stadium, I made sure to tell him that he was my idol when I was growing up.

    Those 2 female ushers are probably ignorent and “trying to do their job”. Well, if they’re ushers for a footy game, their job is to know and appreciate the game and be less of a stick-in-the-mud. I was there for the game but did not notice anything amiss . I was probably sitting too far away to notice. If I had seen it, I’d kicked up a bloody fuss with those 2 ushers and tell them they were probably in their diapers when DK was carrying their nation on his back in the 70s, so sit back, shut up and let the legend enjoy his moment in the sun!

  2. sungguh memalukan. saya yg baca pun naik meyirap darah.
    well, i dont know ur uncle that well but at least those two hamba Allah shouldnt be so rude. nampak sah orang singapore ni kurang customer service. =( buat malu jek!

    oh ya btw, i enjoyed reading ur blog here. even ur previous entries. =)

    salam perkenalan =)

  3. Hi. I read about your uncle, dollah kassim’s, terrible experience at the national stadium a couple of weeks back. Im a student reporter with Ngee Ann Poly and iwould like to do a story on the incident for a paper that will NOT be published to the public. Is it okayy if you can contact me at my email so we can discuss the incident? Thanks =)


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