Some of you reading this who follow me on Twitter or if you’re in my list of contacts in Facebook would have noticed my rants this past Tuesday. In my rants, I voiced out my unhappiness towards an initiation and public announcement on Berita Harian on the days leading up to the recent Kawin-Kawin Makan-Makan exhibition at Singapore Expo Hall 6B, over the past Chinese New Year weekend, that a Dollah Kassim Soccer Academy was to be launched on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 at 6:00pm. Just to give you a sample of how the advertisement looked like in case you might have missed out on it as well, I’ve taken the liberty to scan it for you:
If it wasn’t for the wife’s sharp eye for details, I think my family members and I would not have seen the advertisement ourselves or be made aware of it. So you must be wondering why am I feeling absolutely pissed off about it, rather than feel honoured that my uncle would leave a legacy to remember him by, by having a football academy to his name??? The answer is too elementary and even an idiot could tell us the straight answer.
In anything we do in life, if it involves using someone else’s name, or if we were to borrow something that belongs to him or her, what must we do first and foremost??? I’m sure anyone out there would know that the answer is a no-brainer and that the most basic thing to do is to seek the permission of the person or his next-of-kin. Even in intellectual property rights, due approval is needed before someone can make use of its contents or risked being faced with legal action. If I had not informed my cousins and aunt about it, and I only informed them on Sunday night when I went over to visit Uncle Dollah at his home, they too would not have known about this.
The person who initiated this idea, simply forgot the most basic of rules and that was to seek the permission of Uncle Dollah‘s family to use his name or introduce the idea of having a football academy to his name. We’re not uncivilised and uncultured people. Which was why, to give this person the benefit of doubt, we all waited for him to personally contact Uncle Dollah‘s family up till this past Tuesday itself, but he never called. It was only when my cousin Ezaad was on his way to the Expo, did he receive a call from ex-international Malek Awab, asking him to come down and witness the so-called “launch”.
Look, if you are freaking sincere about doing something noble and a service to Uncle Dollah‘s family as well as the community, why aren’t you brave enough to call my cousin yourself??? Why do you need to have a third party doing the dirty work for you, and that too at the very last minute??? How would anyone of you out there feel if someone uses your father’s name for their own benefits without having the courtesy to inform you of their intentions??? Does it sound genuinely sincere at all that you only contacted my cousin through a third party, that too, when he himself already made the decision to go down and see it for himself??? I am sure that anyone reading this would understand the anger seething within my family’s ranks that someone in his haste to come up with a noble idea, could mess it up big time. But it didn’t end there.
When Ezaad talked to him backstage prior to the so-called “launch”, he was given the idea that it was all a misunderstanding and that no mention of the launch of the football academy was to be made since the family had not sat down to discuss its possibility. What was supposed to happen on stage was to collect funds for Uncle Dollah via auctions made on football stuff donated by Malek Awab himself, as this person was highly inspired by what Perkamus did the previous month at the last Mega Wedding & Lifestyle exhibition. Ezaad also told me that Malek Awab himself had his reservations about this project simply because it is on a voluntary basis and wondered how long it can sustain. And so Ezaad and I waited for the event to unfold. What was promoted to start at 6:00pm, ended up starting at 7:30pm. Typical huh??? *snigger*
You can imagine the shock on our faces when the emcee on stage, Syah Ibrahim, announced that the “launch” of the football academy was on. Malek Awab, this smart aleck of a guy and another person whose identity was lost on me, were invited up on stage to launch the football academy. After the initial introductions were made, Ezaad himself was asked to come on stage to receive a token, which was actually a flimsy piece of paper folded in three and stapled at the sides. What was inside it, I didn’t want to know cos just by the look of it, reflected how much sincerity went into it.
By then I was already fuming mad and had half the mind to go up on stage and say that this launch was a no go. Ezaad himself was initially reluctant to go up on stage as he too was royally pissed, but he had the presence of mind and compassion to not spoil the event. To his credit, he thanked everyone for all their help, donation and prayers towards Uncle Dollah all these while, without mentioning anything about the launch or the football academy. I am extremely proud of my cousin that even in his state of anger and embarrassment, he still kept his cool and dignity. I doubt I could maintain that stance, given my short-tempered nature.
The smart aleck then went on to promote that whoever is interested to participate in the football academy and if they’re 16 years old and below, could come down to Compassvale Primary every Sunday at 8:30am for training. That particular line literally had my blood at its boiling point and I was really bursting at the seams. What happened to the so-called non-mention of the football academy launch made earlier??? And there wasn’t even any auctions made as well.
To rub salt to my family’s wounds, they immediately held interviews backstage with a Channel News Asia staff to announce the launch of the football academy. Thankfully Ezaad was on hand to inform the producer not to release the news as the family had not made a firm decision on this. The way we see it, this smart aleck seems to want to use Uncle Dollah‘s name to attract more aspiring young footballers to train under him, seeing that he already is doing some coaching on the said day and time. For all the names of the ex-internationals mentioned in the advertisement, only Malek Awab turned up to “support” the event, but I believe he too is very much sceptical about it and we do not hold it against him for going through the motions.
My whole family is up in arms over this matter and we all regard this as a very serious and grave issue. Cynics out there would question the fact that we’re being ungrateful to people who have voluntarily come forward to offer their goodwill services to help in Uncle Dollah‘s cause. While we appreciate the kind gesture, we are extremely upset and vexed that Uncle Dollah‘s name is bandied about without getting his immediate family’s approval, nor discussing with them personally of plans to have this academy going. Not only that, they were also not told how the football academy is going to be run, what constitutes its administration, who are the people behind it, who is responsible for its licensing, funding and logistics cos even if it’s done voluntarily, the issue of money is never ever too far away.
It is also not so easy to launch a football academy without first getting its proper accreditation from the Singapore Sports Council, Football Association of Singapore and Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports. I wondered if all these factors had been taken into consideration or not prior to announcing to the whole wide world on the existence of this football academy??? If things were to go wrong, who is supposed to be accountable for the mess, Uncle Dollah or his family members, or the people who volunteered to run it??? Whatever it is, if things were to turn sour, the first thing the public will clamour for blood is Uncle Dollah‘s, simply because his name is used. I’m sure nobody would want to witness the day a legendary national sportsman’s name being dragged down the mud and losing his honour through irresponsible means and characters.
I hope whoever was at Singapore Expo that day when this so-called football academy was launched, would not be taken in easily and that no kids out there would have high hopes of joining it cos it surely is not going to happen and I believe my aunt and cousins are hell-bent and adamant against it. As a family, we did have initial plans to set up a football academy under Uncle Dollah‘s name and these plans were discussed prior to his unfortunate deterioration of health. If this project is ever going to materialise, then the legend himself would have the final say and would be overlooking the proceedings, not any strangers out there, not anyone from the local football fraternity, most definitely not even ex-youth players who claim to be ex-international players.
Initially I did not want to publish this entry, because we were supposed to hold an emergency meeting with this person before this week is out. But he put it off to next week and I cannot have kids or parents who were at the Expo that fateful Tuesday believing that this football academy is genuine and approved by the relevant authorities as well as Uncle Dollah‘s family, and perhaps turning up this Sunday thinking they are really training under the umbrella of Dollah Kassim Soccer Academy. Nobody in our family died and appointed this person our decision maker. Whatever innovative ideas you have, you jolly well get the necessary approval and do your bloody homework. Don’t assume and jump into wild conclusions that what you are doing would be a service. You’re only making things worse for the family!!!
THE WHOLE FAMILY DEMANDS A PUBLIC APOLOGY FOR USING UNCLE DOLLAH’S NAME WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL!!!