Thursday July 15, 2010
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
THE FIFA World Cup 2010 may have ended but soccer fans will continue to re-live some of the exciting moments of non-stop action from South Africa.
Yam Tong Woo, like most football fans I know, found the blowing of the vuvuzelas extremely annoying.
“It was so loud and sounded like the incessant humming of bees. It drowned out the sound of the soccer ball being kicked during the matches,” lamented the 56-year-old former automotive engineer who lives in Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
The sound of each kick was all the more important for Yam to savour the game because he is blind.
Two years ago, when Yam was in Kunming, China, for a job assignment, he developed a fever and suffered diarrhoea due to food poisoning. Within a week, he had completely lost sight in both eyes.
Yam bounced back within a year of his illness to become chairman of a cyber club for the blind at the Malaysian Association of the Blind in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
Yam now helps other blind people to familiarise themselves with the Internet and communication technology.
At the previous World Cup four years ago, Yam “watched” the action in Malaysia whilst his eldest son watched it live in Germany where it was held.
This time round, however, father and son watched it together at their home in Sungai Buloh.
“My boy would commentate each match for me as we watched the games,” said Yam, who is married to Ooi Phak Hong. The couple have three grown children.
“I think my blindness has brought us all closer together,” said Yam.
Chong Tuck Meng, 49, from Bentong, Pahang, also found the World Cup season a welcome diversion.
Paralysed from the neck down due to a motorcycle accident nearly 30 years ago, one of Chong’s daily challenges now is to make sure that he doesn’t develop pressure sores on his buttocks from the prolonged sitting in his wheelchair.
“Thanks to FIFA 2010, I’ve found the perfect excuse to lie in bed (to watch my favourite teams battle it out), which takes the pressure off my back,” he said.
“Soccer has helped the disabled put their worries on hold for a while and enjoy life.”
This, ironically, coming from someone who as a teenager was actually thrilled when he broke his leg during sports so that he could stay home and enjoy the World Cup.
For Chong and Yam, who were both rooting for a victory for the Netherlands, take heart, guys. With football, there will always be another day!