Saturday, January 31, 2009

National Ranking

It is now January 2009. This is the Game year where the 3rd Asian Indoor Games will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam sometimes in late October or in November. Come June 2009 the Olympic Council of Malaysia will be making an announcement calling MDSB to named the athletes.

We already had the 1st National ranking in Batu Pahat and this is a joint ranking by MDSB and MPDC. To be absolutely forthright about the whole thing , this National ranking was undertaken absolutely by MPDC. MDSB merely lends its name because they are the license holder for IDSF in Malaysia. None of their regular official attended the ranking except George Tan the MPDC President who also happens to be the MDSB Vice President. I was under the impression that with the start kick of the National ranking it would spurr the MDSB enjine to life for them to take a proactive step to get the ball rolling so to speak.

From the look of things I think MPDC or its members will have to undertake and do another National ranking for MDSB again and really it matters not whether they are asleep or awake, the show must go on. MPDC is really at a disadvantage to prepare for the Games. They are a newly set up body, they do not have much funds to prepare the athletes and the economic down turn that affects all of us globally does not help either. All said and done MPDC will have to rise to the occasion and we would like to make an announcement that the 2nd National Ranking will be held on April 24th 2009. We will announce the venue soon. I dread to think about the preperations for such an important Games.

We are not in the blaming business but I want to assure you that MPDC will salvage whatever there is to salvage. It would appear that perhaps if the athletes may have to pay for their fare to the Games. We in MPDC will try to see if we can get fundings from the various sport bodies.

All said just take note that MPDC will be organising the 2nd National ranking on the 24th of April 2009. Those of you who are relaxing, better get into action.

Friday, January 30, 2009

IDSF Adjudicators

How long does it takes for IDSF accredition to process an application to be an IDSF international adjudicator? Would you believe if I told you that a batch of teachers applied through MDSB in 2006 finally managed to get their reply recently in 2009. A period of 4 wasted years. Now most of you will jump to the conclusion and lay blame on IDSF. Woh! don't draw your pistols yet, allow me to do some explaining.

When I was sports director of MDSB, a group of dance teachers asked me the process of applying to be an IDSF adjudicator. I asked around, basically you need to have the Professional qualifications at Associate levels and you must have attended at least two IDSF Adjudicators' Congresses and have judging experience in local competitions. This was in 2005.

I did extensive announcements of Adjudicators Congresses in Singapore, Macao, Japan and other parts of Asia to enable our teachers to attend the same. In 2006, a group of them applied and the application I was told have to go through the President of MDSB then. Almost all of them submitted their professional qualifications directly to her and after that there was this unsettling silence. I followed up the applications with MDSB but was told that approving adjudicators have to go through a complicated selection process. I was too preoccupied to find out what was the complicating process because I was busy handling the SEA Games and Asian Indoor Games selection for Team Dancesport Malaysia.

Those of you who send me rude mails, because of the inordinate delay in getting a reply, I want you to know that I accept the blame for it was me in my capacity as Sports Director when I invited you to submit your application to be an adjudicator in the first place. I resigned as Sports Director of MDSB in December 2007 and before I tendered my resignation, I did follow up with the then President of MDSB on the status of the applications. I was given to understand by her that something was being done, but nothing came out of it. There were no reply, no acknowledgment and not even a courtesy call from her.

I felt very responsible for the teachers, for after December 2007 I have no locus standaii to follow up on the matter. I resigned not only as Sports Director but as a member too. Sometimes in early 2007 I was invited by George Tan to join MPDC as Sports Director. I want you to know that I did not just join MPDC, I join with several conditions and one of the condition was that the long forgotten application be dealt with by MPDC immediately. George acted swiftly through Shawn Tay the IDSF Presidium member of Asia and those teachers who applied had to resubmit their application forms and all their qualifications. Do not ask me about the original appication, ask MDSB if at all you can get a response.

I did ask about the complexity of vetting the applications. The truth and fact of the matter is, it is not complex at all. For obvious reasons this so call authority to deal with the applications in MDSB are held in the hands of these Little Ayatollahs, I rather call them "Latuk Kung". Aiyaa! the local deities you see where people make offerings of green bananas , pineapples and joss sticks by the road side. Those applicants did not make such offerings that is why their original applications conveniently got lost.

Anyway the long and short of the matter is today I felt vindicated. It was a bitter sweet relief that of the eight applicants , 4 of them are admitted as International IDSF adjudicators for Malaysia. They are Sylvia Loo, Yukiko Hori, Ivy Por Boon Lan and John Chong. Yes! it took them 4 years to be an IDSF international adjudicators. Go to the IDSF web site and their names are listed there. There is a lesson to be learnt from this story. Now that MPDC will be handling all future IDSF international adjudicators applications, I want to assure all of you out there, that this should never happen when MPDC takes charge. Do not even think of offering bananas or pineapples to any MPDC committee members to advance your applications, keep it for the "Latuk Kung". MPDC will act without fear or favour and you need not fear MPDC or its policy if you adhere to its rules and regulations. MPDC will process the application based on your merits.

As to the newly minted IDSF international adjudicators, a word of caution and advice. As an adjudicator representing Malaysia, you are expected to discharge a high degree of impartiality, without fear or favour. In the event you think you cannot maintain impartiality for reasons best known to you or your impartiality has been compromised, decline judging the event. As humans we cannot be 100% impartial, but try not to be partial in your judging.

Please take heed that all your makings are kept by IDSF, by that they have a record of your performance. Your trend of markings can be checked by the computer records, you are also fully aware that you can be suspended from judging if you show a poor record trend.

We know of a recent incident in Malaysia where the Organisers of a dance championship approached an adjudicator to mark a particular couple first. The reason apparently, was that this couple is a strong supporter of his event financially. The adjudicator has the sensibility to ignore the call by the organiser and has reported the matter to us. The organiser is not an IDSF member ands the competition is not a sanctioned one as such we have no authority to act. Such people generally are a disgrace to Dancesport, they are an affront to good, fair human behaviour and conduct. They have no dignity whatsoever and they are the cause that will lead Dancesport into disrepute. MPDC have no place for such people.

To MPDC President, George Tan Hiap Seng, I thank you for taking up the matter for the applicants.

The picture I chosed is a sunrise with clouds shielding it. Hopefully with the new regime managing MDSB things will be much better, hopefully the clouds will fade away and we hope to see the full glory of the sun again in the near future.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vienna here we come

In my last blog, I related a story of Ellya Sam Mun Yee the ballerina who ventured into Ballroom Dancing and took part in the Vienna Debutante Ball in October 2008 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. I further mentioned that Ellya and partner were selected as one of the top 5 couples invited to dance at the Vienna Opera Ball in Austria in February 2009.

The couple were pleasantly surprised to received a call from a representative of the Austrian Embassy that they were the best couple of the evening. Their prize for being the best couple, the return air tickets to Vienna fully sponsored by the Austrian Embassy and Qatar Airways.

A reception was held at the Qatar Airways office in Kuala Lumpur where His Excellency, The Ambassador of Austria in Malaysia, Dr. Donatus Kocek (L-4th) presented the Air tickets to the couple. Present were Mr Ravi Goonetilleke (L-3rd) the Area Manager of Qatar Airways (Malaysia) with their staff and Madam Emily Lim , Ellya's mother (L-2nd) witnessing the event.

On the 4th of February 2009, a dinner reception was hosted by H.E The Ambassador at his residence in Kenny Hills. A small speech was made thanking all the sponsors of the Kuala Lumpur Vienna Ball event. The official announcement that Jonathan & Ellya were the best couple for the event was also made at the reception. A familiar face, Mr. C.C. Lai the President of the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association was also present. The other four couples invited to Vienna to dance at the Vienna Grand Opera Ball were also present at the event. According to H.E. the Ambassador there will be 200 couples making the Grand entrance at the Vienna Opera Ball. When you compare to the 50 couples that participated at the KL Convention Centre it can be quite staggering.

To watch the practice session you have to purchase tickets costing Euros 100 approximately RM 466.00, Ellya's mother lamented that even that, all the tickets has been sold out. Do not even think of watching the Ball, the tickets were sold off a year ago and you can only attend by invitation. To be invited you must be a somebody.

Ellya & Jonathan will be leaving on the 12th of February 2009 and will be in Austria for 2 weeks. I have requested Ellya to keep me up dated on their foray in Vienna by email, particularly their experience at the Vienna Grand Opera Ball. Ellya will be keeping a Vienna diary and will cover the practice sessions, the accommodations, the food, the new friends she has met and made and generally her experience at the most prestigious ball in Europe. She promised me that she will be sending pictures too.

Thank you Ellya.

Photograph courtesy of Qatar Airways