Lessons learnt from North Korea's world cup defeat against Brazil

Posted: June 16, 2010 by fievel in Labels: , ,

Being a Piscean, I'm given the legitimacy to be branded as one of the more idealistic and dreamy individuals around. Today I was watching the David vs Goliath world cup match of North Korea vs Brazil in a very Singaporean setting - a typical kopitiam with plenty of local lads all wound up with their world cup bets (passion for the sport/nationality can be best found in a more up-market locale such as an Irish pub or beer tavern in Orchard).

While I was just a bystander this world cup (I've sworn off my gambling luck a long time ago), I found it extremely interesting to observe both the match and the tense-yet-happy-go-lucky faces of my fellow night owls at the kopitiam, and feel like I've walked away with a few epiphanies. If you, the random visitor of my blog, are interested, my thoughts were as follows;

The North Koreans must have trained on Mt Everest or somewhere else of equal altitude for the World Cup for they ran as if they each had three lungs. However, they still lost in the end, albeit by a single goal margin. What lessons did I glean from the match?

1) Hard work.
I felt that the match was truly defining of real life, where we all hold jobs of equal responsibility, but each 'kind' with a drastically different set of odds, with the Asian almost seemingly doomed to have to work MUCH harder for the same buck. It's like that AngMoh boss or colleague that you have in your Singapore office. Does he/she do a lot less than you and yet lead a much more comfy life than you? Do you often bitch between your own local-kinds that they simply get away with it easy 'cos they are not Asian? Well, that's exactly how it's like on the world soccer pitch. But hey, as with the economic arena, the Asians are working harder and smarter and are starting to get a fair bit more results. Japan won Cameroon. South Korea beat Greece. Even the North Koreans had a real good fight against mighty Brazil! The world's imbalance is getting less skewed as the Asians start to work harder and harder.

2) Brazil still won in the end.
Some self help books preach this - "do your best and you have won". What a load of crap. Say, if one day you end up in dire straits in Singapore, would you smile to the heavens and say, "I did my best and that's good enough", and then roll over and die? I, the Author Almighty, feels very strongly (at least at this moment in time), that we have to ponder upon why the Brazilians still won in the end. I think the take-away here is that despite the super-human efforts in every tackle, every sprinted off-the-ball run, every shot-like passes, the North Koreans were approaching the game the wrong way. They were too mechanical. They forgot that the beautiful game, much like life, is more of an art, than a science. Flair, talent, the need to enjoy the game, told in the end. Everyone is capable of working hard, every single Brazilian player had to work harder than hard to even get into their national team in the first place. Singaporeans, much like the communist North Koreans, are under the impression that life is meant to be slogged away at in order for us to deserve anything good. That's why we are all so ever-willing to squeeze into that sardine carriage that we call public transport everyday, frowning yet accepting, and continue on the finite passage way of life. I feel it is difficult to say why it's wrong, but just like the match of Brazil vs North Korea, we all know it is much better to be playing it like the South Americans.

3) Gambling
Gambling is plain wrong. I saw a whole bunch of Singaporeans worried of Brazil not finishing at least 2 goals better than North Korea. Nobody at the kopitiam was supporting North Korea for the fact that they are an Asian team. Nobody was marveling at their superbly well-coordinated (albeit mechanic) teamwork. Nobody was happy basically. To describe their collective emotion aura, they were anxious when Brazil simply could not unlock North Korea's defense, they were on the edge when Brazil scored their first goal late in the game as they continued to pray for a second goal, they were relieved when Brazil took a 2-0 lead, but quickly got banished back to their usual cursing-swearing-disbelieving mode once North Korea clawed back a goal, and finally they looked tired and 'sian' and went home after the match ended 2-1, which probably meant most of them lost their bets on Brazil. Passion for the sport does not live in the kopitiam-dweller-Singaporean it seems.

I have a lot of ideas how all the above relates to some of my life goals and decisions, but I shall keep that to myself and let you the random visitor to my blog ponder upon yours.