Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hey, kids, it's Harry Potter And The Cup Of Malaysia!

I just read somewhere last week that The New Paper is the top choice for marketers who want to reach out to those between 13 and 17 years of age.

Which means that most of you reading this weren’t even born when Singapore was last in the Malaysia Cup.

You see, kids, there was a time Singaporeans actually cared about local football and this was largely because of the Malaysia Cup.

There was no S-League back then. We couldn’t even (legally) bet on football back then and still we cared!

You must be wondering why all these old people are so excited over this trophy named after the country that forced Singapore to withdraw from its federation in 1965 and made our prime minister’s father cry.



I used to wonder the same thing. I figured it must be because since Singapore will never get anywhere near the World Cup - hey, the Malaysia Cup is a cup too.

And we can actually win it.

There's a Hokkien saying: No fish, prawn will do.

Sure, after Singapore was forced to withdraw from the the Malaysia Cup (deja vu?) in 1994, we have won the Asean Football Championship - now called the Suzuki Cup - three times since the biennial competition started in 1996.

But it’s not the same.

Maybe it’s because it doesn’t involve beating team after team from the country that forced Singapore to withdraw from its federation in 1965 and made our prime minister’s father cry.

Which is why we don’t really care so much about the Malaysia Cup itself. You think any Singaporean knows or cares who won it the last 17 years? We only care when we’re in it.

Unlike for the World Cup and European Cup, StarHub and SingTel haven’t been fighting over who gets to overcharge fans to watch Malaysia Cup matches on TV.

And now that we’re back in it, should we be expecting overpriced Malaysia Cup TV packages next year?

The question is, will you kids care?

My colleague S Murali, sports editor of The New Paper, has said that it’s our job to make sure you do.

So here are my five suggestions to get more young people like you interested in the Malaysia Cup:

1. Add the words "Harry Potter And" to every match, as in "Harry Potter And Singapore Versus Selangor".

2. Live in-match tweeting by the referee, kayu or otherwise.

3. Every player should have Bieber hair.

4. Singapore should beat team after team from the country that forced Singapore to withdraw from its federation in 1965 and made our prime minister’s father cry - and win the Malaysia Cup.



5. If all else fails, the Singapore Lions can change their name to Manchester United - they can even keep their red jerseys.

With your short teenage attention span, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference anyway.

- Published in The New Paper, 17 July 2011

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