“The truth always hurts.”
The late Eddy Choong’s words during the National Development Badminton Seminar held on July 9-10, 1996 at Genting Highlands will always hold true.
Earlier this week, I went through Choong’s speech which was basically about leadership in the national badminton scene, resources, research and development, and the lack of passion among those running the sport.
This is stuff we often hear from former athletes and administrators – how things were done then and how things are wrong now.
We’ve heard it repeatedly and these things remain the same. Most parts of Choong’s 24-year-old speech is somewhat still relevant today.
What caught my eye was his take about the truth always hurts, as stated in the first paragraph of this article.
Here’s what led Choong to say that:
“Many years ago, I used to be able to contribute to the BA of Malaysia (BAM) in the National Council as when my president was unable to attend the meetings but after a while this was not allowed.
“The only one reason given officially for this decision was that the BA wants to encourage all the presidents of the state to attend. Question – what really have I done but to speak up on the issue which I am an expert in and to give free and sincere advice so that the rest of the National Council members can make their decision with better understanding of the problem.
“I have taken no extra seat, I have paid for my own expenses and I know what I am talking about with my past experiences and track record, I have no authority to make the final decision but contribute sincerely for BAM.
“Maybe this fear of hearing an alternate reason is too much for some people to take. The truth always hurts.”
Choong should be credited for his passion and enthusiasm. That’s the truth.
He was right to say that people fear listening to differing views. That is the absolute truth – whether in sports or politics or even in your daily conversations with family and friends.
But those who are quick to agree with Choong must also realise that sports has evolved in so many ways and cannot be compared to what it was decades ago – that is the truth.
The truth will also reveal that the standards of play and administration in sports worldwide have elevated to new heights. The truth is we have not been quick to adapt to this evolution and prefer to harp on past glories.
The other truth is that – just like politics – the current set of sports leaders are the same faces who seem to enjoy support despite the lack of achievements.
The truth is many national records remain unbroken, the talent pool remains shallow and the infighting is a constant fixture.
The solution is for athletes to go fully professional and not be beholden by the system that is pulling them back.
This will ensure only the hungriest and strongest will survive and thrive. This will also see officials playing a role they have been ignoring for the longest time ever – developing their respective sports.
We need to set goals and work our way to achieving them.
Sadly, the goalposts are often shifted when a new person comes into power and the struggle to score any goals will continue for decades.
This is the truth. And the truth always hurts.