Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Lost World

I remember a whole without TV, without the Internet, without cellphones. Was it a better world then?

I read a lot as a child because my parents had a lot of books and encouraged me to read; my neighbours read; my friends in school read. To me reading was like breathing, eating and sleeping--it was something natural, something that everyone did.

It was only when I entered the university that I realized how wrong I was.

As a child, I was also fanatical about football. I used to wake up early in the morning, before the sun rose, to play football with my friends. I even recorded the team list and details about all the goals scored in every match we played in a dog-eared exercise book, which I still keep.

I played barefoot for many years before I saved enough money to buy myself a pair of second-hand Puma boots. I remember paying 25 bucks for it, and I still keep that pair of boots back home.

I used to take penalties for my team, because I was good at it. I had a very accurate shot. I spent many hours practicing how to place the ball just inside the goalpost. Most of the time I aim to hit the inside of the upright--if you hit it at that very sweet spot, not even the best goalkeeper in the world could save it. I knew the basics of soccer better than many of my friends because I had learned them properly--from books.

Yes, it was a world without the Internet, without cellphones, without satellite TV. But I had friends who read and friends who shared my passion for soccer--Malays, Chinese and Indian friends. It was heaven to me.

It's a different world now. I spend my days and nights staring at a computer screen. I attend meetings. I listen to podcasts while I'm driving. And I watch EPL matches beamed live to my living room.

I have more books than I could ever read in my lifetime. Why did I buy so many books? Why do I have to suffer the pain and joy of watching Liverpool play every weekend?

I know now: It is to recapture that world which I had lost.

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