Articles, Opinions & Views: Running towards a better life - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Running towards a better life - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 04, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Kami akan berbincang mengenai apa yang terbaik demi masa depan dan kariernya. Buat masa ini, saya minta dia fokus untuk menduduki Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) terlebih dahulu.” - Nurul Hudah Jamil, coach of para sprinter S Thavanesvaran
COMMENT | ‘House of the rising son: Thavanesvaran's home run’ is a wonderfully titled piece about how para sprinter S Thavanesvaran intends to leverage his success in sports to improve his life. It is also one of the feel-good stories of the year. A story that illustrates (although probably not intentionally) how Malaysians live, work and play together beyond the highly partisan politics that dominate the news cycles.
Anyone who reads my pieces knows that I am not prone to sentimentality. The story of Thavanesvaran who emerged as the best athlete in the recently concluded Asean Para Games - winning three gold and one silver - however, reminded me of a few axioms that I thought I would share departing from my usual forays into the swamp of Malaysian politics. In no particular order, here are five takeaways that I think important.
1. Bad luck means you strive harder
"I was unlucky, as when I was born, the Dr pulled my left leg too hard and this damaged nerves below my calf. I could not walk or run until I was in Standard One," said Thavanesvaran. The story could have ended there. Instead, it becomes a story where luck is irrelevant. What is important is the will to succeed. The drive that comes with adversity. If this sounds like a cliche, fair enough, but we are really talking about good old-fashioned gumption.
2. Winning means doing better
In every interview this young man has given, he does not dwell on his victories but chooses instead to talk about how he wants to improve on his time and performance. He is candid about his losses and his desire to qualify for events that he knows will take him to the next level. He is not content to coast on his current victories but sees them as an opportunity to push himself further.
3. Run for something
“My parents are rubber tappers,” he told reporters. “I hope my success in the APG (Asean Para Games) will be the beginning of better days to come for me and my family.” This young man is running for something.
In his case, hopefully it is towards a better life for his family and him. His running has a purpose beyond personal glory and achievement. He plans to use the money he gets for winning to purchase a home for his family, something most of us take for granted. His parents have worked hard all their lives but they are running against a system that handicaps them in a different way.
Politicians who run for office could learn something from this. Running for something is best when it is in the service of something greater than mere ambition or personal glory. Running in the service of others. (I know, that is a cheap shot but I could not resist. You have to admit that this is a perfect example to illustrate how running for something goes beyond merely churning out easy political bromides. Running for something could literally save Malaysia and that is a win that could really help people like Thavanesvaran)
4. It takes a village
We often times forget that the business of living is a cooperative endeavour. We rarely succeed alone. This young man’s success, in his own words, was dependent on his parents, his brother and most importantly his “Cikgu Huda” who believed in him. "He dedicated his success at the Para KL2017 to his coach, without whom he said it would not have been possible. “‘I really have to thank my Cikgu Huda. She took me under her wing and helped develop my skills. She even let me stay with her family. What she ate, I ate... she shared everything with me and I did my best to follow her instructions.’”
We often read of teachers who abuse their positions. Who resort to casual racism and bigotry and crush the spirits of young people. Who make them believe that they have no place in this country, that they are unwanted. This is not the case here.
If you go online and see the reaction of Nurul Hudah Jamil when Thavanesvaran won his race, how she embraced him and was genuinely joyful at his win, you would be witness to one of those moments in this country where race and religion do not mean a damn thing.

Those moments are rare and remind us of the possibility that things could be better if we work hard for it.
5. Studies are important
In nearly every interview I have read about Nurul Hudah, not only does she celebrate Thavanesvaran’s victories but she also constantly reminds him that the most important thing up next for him is his SPM examinations. It is as if she knows that sports are a means but it’s only for a while, and that his academic success will ensure that he truly escapes from poverty.
This is an important point. Most young people whom I talk to from disenfranchised backgrounds either tell me that education was their way out of poverty or they wish they had been encouraged to pay more attention to their studies.
For the moment, this young man can use sports to build a home. However, to build a life he needs to pay attention to his academic achievements and put in the same efforts as he does with sports.
Well, that is it. Have a great weekend Malaysia, wherever you are.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 4:35 PM  
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