Friday, November 10, 2006

Horses, Camels and Other Animals – Chuck Hio


Mention Crazy Horse and the younger generation will think of the topless cabaret show at Clarke Quay. But mention Crazy Horse to the 'laodies' (‘lao’ as in 老, meaning Old, a term coined by Chun See’s naughty daughter) like Adrian, Chun See, Peter or Chun Chew, and immediately they think of the Malaysia Cup soccer matches at the National Stadium in the 1970's.

Yes, those days were the prime of Singapore’s soccer craze and every match had the stadium filled to capacity. The most well-treasured match was the one between Singapore and Penang in 1977 which attracted a capacity crowd of 70,000, and which we won by the score line of 3-2 in extra time.

During that time, tickets were sold on match day and I went with my brother and another friend. We paid for tickets at the entrance. But it was really shocking to see so many people all pushing one another to get in. In the end, we entered the stadium without paying as it was complete mayhem. I will always remember the sight of the pile of slippers, sandals and shoes near the entrance. Many supporters actually took off their footwear and climbed into the stadium via the pillars!!! After that incident, the stadium authorities put up barbed wires around those pillars.

Anyway, I do not intend to try and describe the experience of watching one of these games live. But I just want to share with you some of the famous and funny names of those days; Let's see now ... there was;

  1. Nasir Jalil better known as The Crazy Horse, or Siow Bay in Hokkien; and also known as the Super Sub. He was famous for running about for nothing but scored a crucial goal in a final.
  2. Rajagopal, our defender who was famous for his banana (corner) kicks and galloped confidently down the flanks. He was known as The Camel.
  3. Dollah Kassim was known as the Gelek King because of his feints with which he was able to shake of his defenders before scoring.

  4. Quah Kim Song was known for his bursts of speed.

  5. Mohd Nor was the handsome one and known for his style and grace. He married the gorgeous singer Rahimah Rahim.

  6. Seak Poh Leong, the captain was notorious at penalty kicks; some called him “Sack” Poh Leong.

  7. Leong Kok Fann, another speedster, was effective coming in at half time.

  8. Goal keepers: Lee Bee Seng had good anticipation & catching shots at high crosses. Edmund Wee was short but good at saving penalties, especially grounders.

  9. And many other well-loved names like Robert Sim (The Tank), Hasli Ibrahim (hard tackler), Samad Alapichay (uncompromising) chest-out, and Malek Awab, short midfielder, speedy, good turning, a team player.

  10. Dollah Kassim

On the Malaysian side (These guys seemed to perform extra well whenever they do battle with Singapore.), we had:

  1. Arumugam, The Spider, the goalie of Selangor – he had the reputation of having arms that reached below his knees; all eight of them.

  2. Soh Chin Aun the captain of Malacca was known as The Towkay.

The most memorable goal was Ashad Khamis’ 35 meter goal that caught the goal keeper sleeping. Can't remember which match.

But the man we loved most in any match was the referee. The poor guy got booed every time he made a decision against Singapore and everyone loved to chant Referee Kayu, Referee Kayu (for foreign readers .. kayu is Malay for wood). The other guy we loved to hate was the linesman - Linesman Bodoh, Linesman Bodoh (Bodoh is stupid in Malay) was our favourite chant.

But any trip down the Malaysia Cup memory lane is incomplete without mentioning our most beloved commentator, Brian Richmond. His collection of unique and colourful expressions include:

  • “It was raining cats and dogs”.

  • “The defence was in sixes and sevens”,

  • “He put his big boot to the ball”, and my all-time favourite,

  • “He plucked the ball out of the air like a bunch of ripe rambutans”.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the misleading title of this article. The owner Chun See responsible for that one.


Victor said...

I do not have much recollection of Malaysia Cup matches played in the National Stadium in the 1970s because I am not a soccer fan. But although I did not watch the games, I have heard of the big names like Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim, Nasir Jalil, Mohd Noor and Seak Poh Leong.

You (especially Chun See) may not believe this but even the Crazy Horse topless show fails to interest me - I have not seen it so far. Maybe it is not exciting enough for this hardened sex fan (no pun intended). :p

However, I remember I was assigned by my school as a ball-picker in a few of the 1970s SEAP soccer games played in the Jalan Besar Stadium which was located next to my school (Victoria Sec Sch). I think I was paid an allowance of about $5 - $10 per game as a ball-picker. Got free game to watch some more.

Chris Sim said...

I'm no football fan but I remember some of the well-known names like Quah Kim Song who made news not too long ago for drunk driving? I remembered watching the matches between Singapore and Malaysia with my family. Then one day, it was announced that there would be no more Malaysian cup (?) between Singapore and Malaysia. I dunno what happened. Due to our "stormy" relation with Malaysia, perhaps? Can anyone shed some light?

There you go ago Victor... this time, linking Sex with Football. At your age, I'm sure you'll need more than Topless to keep you h... I mean excited. You are incorrigible. (shaking my hard in disbelief).


Anonymous said...

The kallang roar was a by-product of soccer rivalry especially between the Singapore team and Selangor, or Penang or Malacca sides, fought in pitch of the National Stadium. What about games played at the Jln Besar Stadium ? Whenever a great goal was scored in this old stadium, we thought there was a minor earthquake, why ? because thousand of feet would be stamping on its wooden floor !

Anonymous said...

Why was striker Dollah Kassim called the Gelek King ? It was a natural physical attribute. He liked to wriggle (his bottom) especially when approahing the penalty box. During the Singapore-Penang epic match, when the home side down with a goal, Dollah gelek like a belly-dancer, into the box, with the defence, especially the goalie rooted to the ground. In a fast moment slotted a grounder into the corner of the net, with the goalie grasping air. His goal helped Singapore to edge the Penang side 3-2.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Chuck, I remember ALL those players, including the Malaysian ones. I was in love with Mohd Noh!! (Don't worry, I'm female)

Some other recollections:
1. Eric Paine, the goalie
2. Fong Hoe Beng, the other commentator
3. Another of Brian Richmond's beauties: 'the teams are now even stevens'.

Lam Chun See said...

About that classic match with Penang; Although I have not yet lost my tree-climbing skill in 1977, nevertheless, I didn't dare to attempt the National Stadium pillars and had to make do with watching it live on TV. Man! What a match.

As for the list of names; I seem to recall a Brian Rozario or something similar.

And Chuck is right, Msia Cup memories is incomplete without the incomparable Brian Richmond, who incidentally is still spinning his yarns on Gold 90 FM. I love his jokes.

Lam Chun See said...

I just recalled another name; Santokh Singh. From Selangor? Defender?

Anonymous said...

Santokh Singh was a pillar of strength for the Selangor side. His tackling, as a defender,was quite telling using rough-house tactic, effectively intimidating our players. His wrestler body size and a fierce mustachio face were put into good use when confronting our strikers in particular. Surprisingly he was quite fast on the turn, but any Singapore player evaded him had to content with the Spiderman (Arumugum the goalie).

Anonymous said...

Thanks household name for another of Brian colourful comments. Yes, Fong Hoe Beng is another commentator. Ialso remember Mr. Fong more for his swimming commnetary.
The later stage of the Malaysia Cup turned out other players like Fandi Ahmad, Malek Awab, David Lim being the more well known ones. Also in the news are Micheal Vana, Sandro Radun and Abbas Saad for kelong reasons. My interest of the Malaysia Cup vanished when foreign imports are introduced.

Anonymous said...

When football politics set in, states FAs arguing over gate-collections, match-fixings due to betting, the golden goose in the form of Malaysia Cup, was slaughtered mercilessly and never to return. The ultimate form of soccer entertainment for the fans was sacrified under the name of greed.

Anonymous said...

Household name - I believe Mohd Noh is also know as the Alan Clarke of Singapore. Alan Clarke is a well know English International at that time. It is said that Mohd Noh grandmother is Japanese. It could be the reason for his fair skin and handsome looks.
I remembered V Khanisen. He was made to run 20 laps everytime when he reported for training under Uncle Choo. However he turned out to be a good and hard working mid fielder.

Unknown said...

Nice post Chun See. We should yesterday it too.

BTW, it would be great if Chuck, Peter and Wee Kiat could attend the blogging workshop Ivan and you are conducting. They have so many gems that are just bursting to come out in blogs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck,
Yup, I know Mohd Noh's grandmother was Japanese :-)

I just remembered another player - M. Kumar or was it S. Kumar. Not a very big-sized player. Think he was a midfielder.

Ya, Mr Lam, when I listen to Brian Richmond on Gold 90, it sometimes feels like we have gone back in time!

Anonymous said...

Hi Household name,
I believe it is M. Kumar and he is a mid fielder. Syed Mutalip (hope got his name spelt correctly), Lim Teng Sai, Lim Tang Boon, Zainal Abidin, Rahmat Mawar are some more names I remembered.
In those days, getting tickets for Singapore home game after the Penang match was not easy. We have to queue overnight at various stadium for it. We were only allowed to buy 4 tickets per person. You can see long lines at Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Jurong Stadium. The tickets were all sold out within hours.. all 55,000 of them. That what makes the Malaysia Cup special in my heart.

Lam Chun See said...

And then there is Moktar Dohari (of Selangor?). Very deadly. Every time he gets the ball near the Spore goal, we dread the worst. I believed he died not long ago from a muscle disease.

But I can't seem to recall any names from Penang side.

Anonymous said...

One of my most memorable match was not in National Stadium but at the old Jln Besar Stadium. A keenly fought match between Singapore & Selangor took place sometime in the early sixties. A thunderbolt struck. A much feared Selangor striker named Abdul Rahman was moving rapidly towards goal, the Singapore defence was in sixes & sevens (in Brian Richmond favourite words), 2 panicky Singapore defenders and the goalie rushed towards him near the byline. Rahman was tackled furiously- fell, and just managed to lift the ball gently passed the 3 defenders. To the horrors of the local partisan crowd, the falling ball rolled slowly but surely into the corner of the net, stunning the crowd. Then Kim Swee, Kim Song's elder brother came to the rescure, by heading in a flying header which his younger brother would admire. Again this goal caused an earthquake-like tremour on the wooden stadium floor. All the Quah brothers had similar style of play. If I am not wrong, Singapore won the match 3-2

Anonymous said...

Chun See, the few names I remembered from Penang includes Ali and Isa Bakar, Nahmat Abdullah (Defender and Captain) and Shaharuddin (The Shah) Abdullah. The Shah scored a very beautiful goal with his acrobatic sissor kick against Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Talking about Moktar, this guy was another speed demon, speeding down the flank was his specialty. I saw very few matches of him, only one memorable Malaysia Cup match. After only about 10 mins. of play, the Selangor side caught our defenders napping, and in a lightning moment, his team-mate lopped a high ball across the Singaporean goal mouth. The goalie was in position, anxiously antipating Moktar to strike, and demon did strike, how ? He just headed the ball downwards unexpectedly, though not forcefully, the poor goalie was caught flat-footed, and the ball bounced into the net. This fear-some striker again drew blood. In later year Moktar played for Malaysia against Arsenal in a friendly. The famed British Club had a thrashing, though not so friendly, suffered a 2-0 defeat. Who scored both the goals ? again Moktar. No wonder the Singapore players feared him so much, that all the Malaysia Cup finals, played in KL, ended up as fiascos for the Lions, with Moktar doing the hammering.

Anonymous said...

The great thunderbolt from Arshad Khamis was in the game against Perak at the Nat Std. in 1975 when they wallop them 6-0. I think Arshad Khamis scored a hattrick. The team was then coached by Trevor Hartley. I watched it live on TV as it was telecast live by RTS when all the tickets were sold often at the last minute on the day of the match that they will announce if a live telecast is in the card. It is a pity that Arshad Khamis was not selected by Uncle Choo in 1977 when we recaptured the Malaysian Cup.

As for Brian Richmond my fav. one must be "And the ball misses its destination by inches". What a bombastic word - destination.

Unk Dicko said...

Great to see all the comments here.
Bring loads of nostalgia for old timers like us!
I have been following soccer since the Malaya Cup days. Jalan Besar stadium was often the venue when S'pore hosted the state teams from malaya. Almost all games were held on Saturdays in the evening.
Victoria School was just next to the stadium separated by a small, narrow canal. As scouts,we often climbed the trees along the fence overlooking the pitch to watch FOC of course! Sometimes, we put up a simple platform or two by using our pioneering skills...esp for those crucial, crunch matches.
All this was during the 60's.
I will blog about one particular incident which turned into a near fatal accident after soccer-mad outsiders "invaded our pioneering signalling tower" and it came crashing down with all on board, during a soccer match day.
BTW, love all the recalls about Brian Richmond whom I featured in my Blog today. I have more interesting things to relate.

Wise Owl

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just know that in the past soccer is very popular and the stadium condition is like that. Actually that kind of condition where people buy the ticket in the match day, trying not to pay the ticket, etc is still happen in my hometown in Indonesia until right now whenever there is soccer match. Actually in the past Singapore is not so different with Indonesia. But Singapore has changed a lot, not like my hometown.

Crow said...

i heard Edmund wee had a short spell with Hong Kong`s famed South China this true?? and Mat Noh type of playing skill is often compared to Leeds united Alan Clarke

Ko Po Hui said...

Hi Mr Lam,

I chanced upon your blog while googled for Mr Dollah Kassim's picture and would like to seek your kind understanding to allow me to use the picture of the "Gelek King" as depicted here.

It's meant for a entry of my blog,, for a write-up of the upcoming Sultan of Selangor Cup to be held early Oct.

Thank you.

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