Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friendly Event With The Ministry of Youth & Sports

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Rasa Malaysia, a warm and cosy Malaysian restaurant in the luxurious shopping district of Ginza.

That was what Google Translate told me when I keyed in the phrase "Majlis Ramah Mesra".

More than a fortnight ago, a delegate from the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) led by its minister, Dato' Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek made a four-day working visit to Japan. On the second night of the visit, the minister hosted a dinner for the Malaysian students in Tokyo at Rasa Malaysia restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. The dinner was also joined by the delegation from KBS, the representatives from the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo, reporters and media.

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A welcome-message pasted on the entrance of the restaurant.

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Preparations were all done, ready for a great dinner.

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Part of the students who attended the dinner, posing while waiting for the arrival of the minister.

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Here is the minister, chatting with us while we enjoyed authentic Malaysian dishes such as satay and pasembor.

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The table adjacent to the main table.

As we continued our casual talk with Dato' Sri, we received a surprise when the son of the owner of Rasa Malaysia restaurant walked into the restaurant. To those who have not read about this lad, take note of this name - Tam Sheang Tsung. This wonderkid has been making major headlines here in Japan ever since he was just thirteen years old. 

Sheang Tsung grew up in Tokyo, where his parents Tam Yun Tong and Ang Hui Chin have been running the Rasa Malaysian Cuisine Restaurant for the past 16 years. He impressed talent scouts when he captained the Narima­sugaoka Primary School team to a silver medal in the West Tokyo Tournament and was then picked to play for Yokohama FC’s Under-15 team in March 2009. In August 2009, he attended an intensive course with the Sao Bernado FC Under-20 team in Brazil.

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Dato' Sri wrote some words of encouragement and gave an autograph on a football as a souvenir gift for Sheang Tsung.

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The minister, posing with the talented kid and his football.

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A group photo with the minister and the young footballer.

Sheang Tsung created history when he became the first Malaysian to be recruited into Japan's J-League when he joined Division 2 side Yokohama FC in 2009. In 2010, he signed with another Division 2 club, Sagan Tosu based in Kyushu, and has made a name for himself as the youngest footballer in Japanese professional league history.

And early this March, he was invited for a three-month training stint with English Championship club, Cardiff City FC, owned by Malaysian business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan. At present, Sheang Tsung is training with the youth team of the J-league Division 2 team FC Mito HollyHock. He currently attends two training sessions everyday at FC Mito, located approximately nine kilometers from his club hostel. The demanding training schedules had prompted him to take up an off-campus course, as he now concentrates on getting himself in the first team.

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Iman Amira, the Malaysian Students' Association in Japan (MSAJ) treasurer was the MC for the evening.

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Awadh Asyraf, the current President of MSAJ (Kanto division) delivers his welcoming speech.

Sheang Tsung unfortunately, had to rushed back to his club hostel in Mito, which is about 120 km from Tokyo, immediately after that brief meeting. However, the dinner continued, starting off with the President of MSAJ of Kanto Division, Awadh Asyraf who welcomed the delegation from KBS. It was followed with a short but pithy speech by the minister.

Among others, he suggested on using sports as a practical tool to unite the Malaysians abroad. Citing the Nottingham Malaysian Games as a good example, he threw a challenge to the students association in Japan, especially MSAJ to organise a one-day sports event where Malaysian students throughout Japan can come and participate, and at the same time mingle and meet up with friends whom they have not seen for long time.

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Here is Dato' Sri Ahmad Shabery, who also urged us to mix with the locals as well, to avoid the old disease of "Kampung Malaysia".

One thing I like about the idea he mentioned was this event shall be organised by the students, for the students. It should be held as simple as possible, cost-effective and no special arrangements is required even though VIPs are scheduled to attend the event. Dato' Sri himself attended the silver jubilee of the Nottingham Malaysian Games in 2009 and as a minister himself, he bought his packet of nasi lemak using his own pocket money.

Taking the games in Nottingham as a guide, the Malaysian students in Indonesia organised Bandung Games 2010 last year, a similar event that acts as the biggest "carnival-like" Malaysian students gathering in Indonesia. For a start, the ministry has endorsed a grant to MSAJ (allow me to save the details on the exact figure here) to kick-start a similar event in Japan beginning next year. It was indeed a very much-welcomed support for MSAJ to organise such an event for the Malaysian students in Japan.

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A group photo with the minister and everyone who joined the dinner.

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The group of reporters and media from Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

One main part of Dato' Sri Ahmad Shabery's working visit to Japan was to watch the Malaysian Under-22 football team play in the 2012 London Olympics Asian Zone final round qualifying tournament against Japan. I was among the students' representatives who accompanied the ministry delegation to watch that match in Kyushu. Details on that event will come in future entries, so stay tuned!

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2 comments:

Cliff CLF said...

親はマレーシア人なのに、息子さんはそっくり日本人!

calvin said...

@ cliff clf:
the boy was born, breed and has been living in japan for all his life. so, not surprising to mistaken him as a japanese (^.^;