Journey to the 2014 World Cup

Four years ago, I didn’t have a favourite team to support. But by the end of that journey, I had fallen in love with how a few teams played – 2 of them were Germany and Netherlands. Especially Germany. Did you remember how they did in South Africa? AWESOME! And they got third place.

So understandably, I came into this year’s Cup consciously supporting Germany.

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And they sure didn’t dissapoint did they?! :D

They are now in the brink of winning the Cup in a few hours! Against Argentina.

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Regardless what happens in the Finals, they’re pretty much guaranteed my support for the next four years and beyond. :) #GoGermany #worldcup2014

But before that, let’s recap this amazingly-unpredictable journey this year!

It began on 13 June (exactly a month ago)…32 nations…

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GROUP STAGES

And the very first match was Brazil (host) vs Croatia.

The host won…

13-1

But penalties and an own goal…I wasn’t convinced.

13-2

And the first shocker this World Cup:

Spain (the champion 4 years ago in South Africa) lost. BADLY. 5-1!

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14-2.1A

I expected a tight match between defending-title holders and a strong team like Netherlands but that was not the case.

 

14-2

 

And then it was England & Italy’s turn…

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15-1

And Japan to play first representing Asia!

15-2A

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And then Argentina & Bosnia-Herzegovina

 

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And then the match I was looking forward to – Germany’s first group match.

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Easy win againt Portugal (who supposedly had the world’s best player???) who were having an off-day.

Next Asian rep, Korea!

18-1

18-2

 

Korea vs Russia…and Brazil still not convincing against Belgium. Hhmm…

Then came the next group match for Netherlands.

19-1

Again, an impressive game by Oranje…and again, a shocking performance by Spain.

 

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Also an “ugly” sight in football – headbutting – especially against your own teammate. WTH?

But there were already pretty interesting things noted from the matches thus far:

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And a famous doppelganger!

Haaaaaave you met Ted?

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How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Mosby has a doppelganger – and his name is Mexico’s goalkeeper Ochoa!

And he’s an excellent goalkeeper too!

19-4

Japan tied with Greece in their next group match…

20-1

 

And Costa Rica makes it into the Knockout Stages! Against Italy.

21-1

The Swiss vs France match was inspiring…

 

 

21-2

And apart from doppelgangers, there were half-brothers too!

21-3

Iran was impressive…

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Iran’s goalkeeper Amir Begovic

22-1

But Argentina moves on to the Knockout Stages.

22-2A

Ghana was impressive too against Germany but of course, Germany won.

And Portugal…again, disappointing.

23-1

 

And then, when you thought headbutts were ugly, there came a man named Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

 

25-1 26-1

Yup. He totally clouded the achievement of Uruguay going into the Knockout Stages.

And whilst Germany & USA book their spot in the Knockout Stages, Portugal (obviously) & Ghana was heading home…

27-1

 

And then there were 16…

 

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KNOCKOUT STAGES

It’s 1 chance or go home now and 16 remaining nations fought for their spot in the Semi-finals.

The host Brazil was the first in after beating Chile in a penalty shoot-out, joined by Colombia with Uruguay leaving to join their teammate Luis Suarez back home.

29-1

I just really don’t like penalty shoot-outs!

And the Argentina vs Switzerland match was meme-convenient hehe:

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30-1

 

Mexico & Ochoa had to leave…after a last minute goal by Oranje.

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1-1A

And Germany make it through against Algeria – albeit it took longer than expected.

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And then, there were 8…

THE LAST 8

 

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Germany again made it through against France. Woohoo!

 

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And something funny during that match too…

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(Find out later that somehow Mueller is related to Malaysia. I have no comment.)

Next, Brazil books the Semi against Germany…but without 2 important people:

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Neymar & Silva would not be playing…to catastrophic results against Germany! (But I’m getting slighted ahead of myself)

And Netherlands vs Costa Rica wasn’t as straight forward as most (including me) thought!

6-1

But a Krul-fate befell the Costa Ricans and Netherlands live to fight another day!

And then, there were 4…

THE LAST 4

 

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When Netherlands defeated Spain 5-1 was shocking. Who ever thought there was a match that would be even more shocking?! And at a Semi-Final at that!

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Germany went on to defeat Brazil (host) 7-1!!!

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And Klose broke the world record too:

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Yup

9-2

Germany impresses on and off the field.

And while the first semi-final was over by 20+mins…the second one between Netherlands and Argentina went completely the other extreme – to a penalty shoot-out!

Again, I JUST DON’T LIKE PENALTY SHOOT-OUTS!!!

And this time, Luck ran out for the Dutch… :(

10-1

 

oranje

So yup, it would be a Germany vs Argentina Final!!!

I had hoped it would be Germany vs Netherlands cos they’re my 2 favourite teams but I guess at least now I don’t have the dilemma of which team to support.

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Or do I???

10-2

Say what now? LOL!

But actually no, there was never a doubt of which team I supported. Even if they had played against Netherlands, Germany is still #1 for me. :D

Finals happening in a few hours!!! *excited*

Meanwhile earlier this morning…

12-1

 

Netherlands secures 3rd place defeating Brazil…this time with Silva.

Not as shocking…but I do pity Brazil as host.

But yes, it all comes down to the Finals tonight/early tomorrow morning!!! #GoGermany

And signing off…This is me the whole month:

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But TOTALLY worth it. ;)

MH370: We won’t give up…

April is upon us and the fate of the missing MH370 flight is still unknown.

In 5 days, it will be exactly a month since the Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200 dissapeared off the radar and lost contact with Air Traffic Control, with its last known position being over the South China Sea, between the Malaysian peninsular and Vietnam.

Since my previous post of the confirmed air turn-back, the Northern corridor had been concretely ruled out after the Investigation team concluded that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”, and was duly announced by Malaysian Prime Minister more than a week ago…

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Since then, the search has focused completely on the southern Indian Ocean and despite the fact that hundreds of “potential debris” had been spotted there by various satellites of various countries, yet only a few had successfully been physically retrieved by search vessels as of now, but none were related to the missing flight.

Where is MH370?
Why did it divert from its original path to Beijing?
How did it end up in the Indian Ocean?
No debris had been found – is it really in the Indian Ocean?
What happened?

Questions with no answers.

Speculations and “conspiracy theories” arise, a menu of -

“It was hijacked…”
“It was stolen…”
“…by terrorists…”
“…by (insert suspect(s))..”
“…for its precious cargo/something(s)/someone(s) onboard…”
“…for (insert reason(s))…”
“…and landed somewhere and hidden…”
“…and landed somewhere, refuelled and flown again to be ditched in the Indian Ocean…”
“It was shot down…”

- offered by various people online to explain the who/what/where/why/when regarding the missing flight. But with no conclusive evidence swaying any which way, they are but speculations, feeding off the imaginations and the fears of the entire world.

Will we ever truly find out what happened on that flight?
And what of the passengers and crew?

The search continues and the Malaysian authorities have promised they won’t stop searching, even after the black box batteries expire in 5 days and thus stops transmitting its location. Australia, leading the search in the Indian Ocean, too have said they wouldn’t give up. And so has China, who had the most nationals onboard that flight.

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Let us continue to pray that the plane will be found; that the people onboard be safe; that there be a positive end to the heart-wrenching ordeal for their families and loved ones and the whole world; that all the questions will have their answers.

Let us pray for God’s best for MH370.

MH370: Where are you?

MH370.

A flight number that has been on the lips, in the minds, hearts and prayers of indeed the entire world since it went missing.

The Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight, a Boeing 777, departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in the early hours of Saturday, March 8, on it’s route to Beijing, with 239 people onboard, passengers and crew alike. Around 1.30am, it went missing as it left Malaysian airspace and approached Vietnam.

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No radio contact. No radar signal. Vanished.

A massive worldwide search for the plane had been undertaken since, involving some 14 counties (to date) & a hundred assets (both on water and in the air).

I’ve been following the updates since Day 1 and have refrained from posting about it or making any comments but today, a week later, MH370 is still missing.

Within the past week, several speculations and leads had been investigated (including that it had crashed somewhere in the South China Sea or that it made a turnback westwards and flew past the Malaysian peninsular) which led to the search for it being undertaken in both the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca, and up into the Adaman Seas as well as the Indian Ocean…

Personally, I only look to the official press conference for confirmed and verified trustworthy information and in the past hour, we received breaking news.

The Malaysian Prime Minister confirmed that the MH370 DID INDEED turnback to the west and satellites last detected the plane at 8.11am in either two corridors ie. North corridor (Thailand – Kazakstan/Turmenistan) and South Corridor (Indonesia-Indian Ocean). The search will need to be refocused, assets reassigned and the search in the South China Sea will now end.

MH370 is still missing. Nobody knows yet why it turned back or what really happened or the fate on the 239 onboard.

I am a Malaysian.
I have travelled on MAS flights before from/to KLIA.
I know people who have families/friends onboard that missing flight!
This is personal.
And that is why I am writing this post.

With this breaking confirmation of the turnback, I implore you to please continue to pray for the best outcome for MH370 and all onboard.

Release The Feast – a poem by Propaganda

I came to know of a poem last week.

You can watch and listen to it here:

Or, you may read it.

The poem had a powerful message for me, so I took the liberty of transcribing it (Accuracy is 90-99% guaranteed) so even if you can’t watch the poem on video, you may still benefit from the message. The transcript can be found here on my other blog.

Enjoy!

The Planet EUPE Music Fest

What does one of Asia’s most recognised and popular artistes Mandopop star Wang Lee Hom, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, popular South Korean K-Pop boy band U-KISS, Taiwanese electro-pop sensation Jeannie Hsieh and other Malaysian artistes, Orange Tan, Najwa Latif, Da.Mon.Ster, Kah Jun and Mint G have in common?

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They are all waiting to see YOU at The Planet EUPE Music Fest on March 1!

Showcasing some of the biggest and best music acts from around Asia as well as Malaysia, the event is set to take place at Eupe’s Carnivall Water Park, located within the Cinta Sayang Resort in Sungai Petani, Kedah in Malaysia from 6pm onwards, putting Kedah on the map from a major event perspective!

The Planet EUPE Music Fest will also feature the final to choose Malaysia’s entrant for the 2014 Hip Hop International Dance Championship which will be held in Las Vegas, USA.

The music fest organizer, Eupe Corporation Berhad’s Managing Director, Dato’ Beh Huck Lee, said the event was a major effort by the company to kick-start recognition of Kedah as a venue for world-class entertainment and cultural acts. Dato’ Beh said the main objective of the concert was to say thank you to the people of Kedah for their support of the company – one of the largest township developers in northern Malaysia – for the past 27 years. “In the process we want people everywhere to know that one of the country’s fastest-growing areas is capable of attracting and hosting world-class talent,” Dato’ Beh said. “Kedah has been traditionally bypassed by international acts and events. We want to help change that.”

There are four ticket categories – RM90 (free standing), RM190 (free standing), RM290 (numbered seat) and RM390 (numbered seat). Tickets can be purchased in person at the Cinta Sayang Resort and are also available via TicketCharge and its authorized outlets.

To-and-fro free shuttle bus service will be provided from several stops in Penang to the fest venue, Cinta Sayang Resort, Sungai Petani, Kedah. More information on free shuttle bus service will be announced on its Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/PlanetEUPE

For more information about the Planet EUPE Music Fest, log on to www.ticketcharge.com.my or contact TicketCharge at +603-9222 8811 or +604-645 9811 or visit www.PlanetEUPE.com and www.facebook.com/PlanetEUPE. The WonderLand+ is the event management for the Planet EUPE Music Fest.

Death

Death has a way of putting the world in perspective and it doesn’t matter if it was “expected” or came as a “shock”.

The news of the death made me realise how foolish I am to think that I have any control of my life. This is an illusion that the world tells us – that the world wants us to believe.

That in turn, makes me realise that all my fears of the unknown (ie. the future) is pointless. Because the future has not happened yet…and from now (this very moment) till then (future) a LOT of things are not mine to control. But is that a bad thing?

This is where Faith comes in.

“Look at the birds…why are you worried?” (Matthew 6:26-34)

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Faith means to place the scary unknown into His hands. Faith means to Trust in His plans for me.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. – Woody Allen”

Yes of course to some extend I do plan my future but ultimately whatever happens is beyond my control, beyond my imagination. This, of course, freaks me out, but not being in control does NOT mean the future is going to be bad…in fact, it could be beyond my wildest dreams! The key is to have Faith…to Trust…

Not easy. Definitely not easy! This is where prayer helps. A lot!

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

Petitions are not the only part of prayer of course, but it IS an important part of it. This is where we surrender all our future plans in His hands. We plan…but He determines. He and He alone.

Pray and do so incessantly.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

And with that realisation comes Peace.

Don’t worry about the Past for it has gone, nor the Future for it has yet to come. Instead focus on the Now because it is a gift…that is why it is called Present.

By all means, make plans and decisions today based on how you think it will help your future – BUT do NOT live in the future NOW and jeopardise your Present based on how you think the Future will be because without the Present, there won’t be a Future.

Only God knows the future…and only He ever will.

Have Faith. Trust in God. PRAY. Live in the Present.

P.S. Guess what? God conquered Death too!

It’s a Wonderful Life

 

The title to a 1946 Christmas drama film and the title to each of our own lives – though we always always forget this.

Why?

High cost of living, 40hours(or more)-work weeks, Imperfect relationships, failing health etc etc etc all make us forget what a wonderful life we do have.

Why is it wonderful?

For starters, you are still alive aren’t you? – inspite of the high costs of living – so in a way, this is an achievement! Celebrate!

So…we all have stressful days at work, but hey – at least you have a job! If you’ve had a bad day, remember those people who are unemployed. Remember, as little as you earn (if so is the case), you still have food to eat, clothes on your back and a place to go home to. Celebrate!

We have our hearts broken – many times by many people (and sometimes so badly by a select few) – and it doesn’t matter how it happened, but why is always the same reason – Love. If you don’t want to get hurt, the only was is too have a heart of stone, one that shuts everyone and everything out. But with that comes a cost – a very lonely life. As the famous saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” (I add “be loved” in there too). Celebrate!

No one likes to be sick…but as age catches up with us, as much as we don’t want it to happen, our health will deteriorate. The only difference is how significant it is when it does – which depends on how we treat ourselves getting there. Morbid as this sounds, we all “go” sooner or later (preferably later of course…and knowing there is a definitive place you’re “going” to helps!) but while we are still “is”, Celebrate!

This is a reminder (to myself as well) so no matter how hard life can get, always always remember It’s a Wonderful Life.

How do we remember that?

By CELEBRATING everything good that happens in life, by focusing on the positive things instead of the negative (“Every cloud has a silver lining”) and by recognizing EVERY little blessings in life and being thankful for these.

And today, I am thankful for all the blessings life has given me and I am Celebrating!