Saturday, February 04, 2006

I have long since given up (*)

This long forgotten memory popped up while walking home from the train station. It is quite possible that the AWB Iraq can of worms prompted it.

This is slightly complicated to explain but I will try my best.

I was 15 years old when I played in a team table tennis tournament (teams of 4-5 players). The day before the finals, 2 players from a team in the playoff for 1st and 2nd joined my team for lunch. There was a conversation thread which I could not follow clearly. What had transpired was that these 2 players were quite unhappy with their team patron and were willing to lose their matches on purpose in order to spite him (more so his possibly boastful wife).
They were willing to lose their games but not the prize money they would have gotten had they won. They wanted one of our guys to approach the other team.
So it was arranged that they would lose but still get the money. Note that financially, they gained (nor lost) nothing.

What is troubling is that I didnt say anything when I finally understood what was happening. I would like to think that I thought it was wrong but I really dont remember whether there was any outrage on my part then. However, I do remember thinking it wasnt fair to the other 2 unknowing players (one was to become the Mens State champion the year after).
The realisation of how much one would need to hate/dislike their sponsor/patron to have wanted to do this only came later in life. It was a black day for the sport and for me. It still bothers me to this day, 20ish years later, that I remained silent.
What is also troubling is that these guys, some in their late 20s, early 30s would expose a 15 y.o. to such a situation.

I dont remember where my team finished. Lower than 4th I think.

Postscript :
I can only imagine the embarassment of the people who were directly involved when all this was found out a few months later. The tournament was not held the following year. One of the guys is now a locksmith after dropping out of a police cadetship.

Sorry to bore you guys, but this is for my kid, when she is older and finds out, at the lawyers reading of my will that I've spent her inheritance and all I leave her is the URL and password to my blog. Go here instead for superb and entertaining food reviews. BTW, I dont remember ever telling anybody this story. Not even my parents.

(*) but I still think of you often.

Next scheduled blog : 18th Feb 2006.


ChickyBabe said...

It's not always easy to know what to do in these situations, Chai. Don't be too hard on yourself, you were only 15 and they were grown men.

And you've got your blog listed in your will? Kewl!!!

Husky Nutmeg said...

CB speaks the truth. Don't beat yourself up. Many adults don't yet have the skills and resources to deal with these kinds of situations.

Andrew Fuller has a very good article about the adolescent mind (

BTW - money comes and goes. The gift of history is priceless.

Chai said...

Thanks girls. This incident is not something than consumes me. Far, far from it. It was just one of those life moments where it didnt turn out in a way I would have been proud to tell my kid about.
And thanks for the cool article, HN.

Rachy said...

It really is hard to know what to do in such situations, people say they want to know the truth but whistleblowers are still berated in Australia.

I nearly bought shares in AWB a few years ago, my stockbroker asked me if I had any moral issues with selling wheat to Iraq and I said no but I got the creeps and decided against it. Now when I think back to the time that he took he must have known.

Funny photo also, it made me laugh out loud!

Rachy said...

the tone that he took, not time

Chai said...

I think what was confusing was that they gained nothing and actually lost something ie. that they werent champions.
From memory, the reason the thing got out was that one of them couldnt handle the fact that people thought he lost to a lesser player on skill. So he kept telling people he lost on purpose.

Jay said...

It's funny the old memories that just occur to you sometimes...where the heck did this one come from?

Chai said...

jay, what's with the new B&W pic? Stop living in the past, man... Anyway, what do u mean where did this come from? It's just one of those little events in my life which will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. I think I'll start doing this sort of thing from now on. Beats making up stories :-) Coming up, how I was interrogated (obliquely) by a priest, to find out if anything happened between his daughter and I. It was like a chess game.

Husky Nutmeg said...

You'll have to write about that one now ;0)

I was thinking of setting up something like that to save my kids sifting through three thousand notebooks. Memories do go even though you might think at the time that you won't forget the moment.

'tears in the rain' - awwww

sublime-ation said...

Imagine your kids t shirt 'My dad died and all he left me was this stupid blog'.

But at least he/she could have 2 t shirts saying this, cause you've got 2 blogs now, so he/she wouldn't stink or anything.

And one could have all our names listed on the back, like a VCE Class of 2006.

Chai said...

hn : we'll see. It's not that good a story. I guess one had to be there.

subl : Not a bad T idea. I have a daughter. I call her Mons.

BEVIS said...

I know you've already seen it and complained (the nerve!), but I'm leaving this comment on everyone else's blog that I tagged, so I'd better leave one for you as well or I'm sure there'll be further complaints!

I'm working from home today so the Internet connection is a lot slower and I'm still working my way around telling people they've been tagged. So here goes:

I've tagged you. However, feel free to disregard it if memes are not your thing. Cheers.

*runs away*

sublime-ation said...

That's so cool, you can call your second child Tuesday, or Tues for short.

sublime-ation said...

And then, when you get to the third kid, you can call yourself Gomez.

Steph said...

Subby, that's the funniest comment ever! And chai, i like how you tell us when your next schedulled posting is. Very proffesional and considerate of you ;)

Chai said...

Thanks Bev *throws shoe after running frog*

Thanks subl, very (half) witty.

Thanks steph. *reaches for remaining shoe*

sublime-ation said...

Half Witty?
At least Steph liked it.

Husky Nutmeg said...

*reaches for remaining shoe*

Yeah right, Imelda.

Chai said...

Sorry subl, didnt mean imply that you were a half wit... It was witty... but u already knew that... right? Cheer up *make funny face* Boogooloo, boogooloo.

hn : *reaches for ... discovers no shoes left*

Susanne said...

I agree with what chickybabe said.

Chai said...

Thanks suss... It's no biggie. I was just putting memory down in words. Dont know why I chose this one.