Monday, May 17, 2010

When A Soccer Team Dropped For Lunch

The much-awaited Fifa World Cup will soon descend upon us once again, for one whole month from June 11.

This time around, I am no longer in the loop as I once was, which is just as well, considering my penchant for cheering 11 sweaty men chasing after one ball has diminished over time.

Things may seem to have changed but on the contrary, not quite, for I have been sufficiently trained to ensure a continuous flow of steaming nescafe tarik, chilled cordial, packets of peanuts, crisps, cookies, pastries and the odd kuih while the men in my life strive to bring the roof down with every goal.

And if the games are played between midnight and dawn, rest assured I won't be losing out on my sleep. Pak Abu and company can wake the dead with their cheering for whatever it is worth; I, for one, shall slumber on.

It's this approaching bola season that propels my thoughts down memory lane to that unforgettable, hard-to-live-down day in 1978 (or was it 1979, I can't quite recall exactly).

On that day in question, the entire Kedah state soccer team descended upon my humble abode in Kuantan for lunch, providing one of the most nerve-wrecking moments in my life.

There I was, a young wife of 24 with two toddlers age three and one, with neither maid nor helper, whose expertise in the kitchen then had not extended beyond recipes copied from my grandmother's recipe book.

To receive a phone call giving me a three-hour lead time before 15 hungry men turned up at my doorsteps for food was nothing short of frightening.

I still shudder each time I think about that eventful day; that it had to happen to me, a kitchen klutz if ever there was one, someone who disliked cooking so much that she would rather feed on buttered bread for all her meals.

That day started well enough; I woke up in tandem with the kids and attended to their needs whilst their father prepared for office, after which I got started with housework. Halfway through, the phone rang.

It was the other half, telling me that the Kedah soccer team was in town for a match and that his uncle, Pak Su Othman, an official with the team, had asked whether he could drop by for lunch. [Pak Su Seman has since passed away].

I liked diminutive Pak Su; he was a gregarious man who never failed to bring laughter whenever he was around. Pak Su was married to Chu Khatijah, the only sibling of my late father-in-law, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim.

Since the family lived in Alor Star, we saw them only a couple of times in a year, thus I was only too glad to have Pak Su over.

And I knew Pak Su well enough not to worry about what to feed him. Like many regular kampung folks, he wasn't fussy and was easy to get along with. I knew there were foodstuff in the fridge that I could put together in a jiffy for him.

Just as I was getting comfortable with my thought, the ex added, ever so smoothly: "Oh, by the way, I have also extended the lunch invitation to the rest of the team."

That truly caught me off-guard. Flabbergasted, all I could muster was a shocked "Haaaaaa....???"

The idea of cooking for 15 football players and officials single-handedly within three hours was too much to comprehend that I did the only thing I could think of; I sat down on the sofa and bawled my eyes out.

Had it happened today, it wouldn't have been so unnerving. One could immediately make a beeline for a nearby restaurant and buy takeaway lauks. Just cook rice and all's done.

Or if there's enough fresh food in the fridge, just reach out for all those Brahim or Adabi ready-to-cook packets and no one would be any wiser.

But this was Kuantan in the late 1970s; Brahim's scope had not gone beyond producing army rations whilst Adabi was still a college, not a food manufacturer.

To be fair, the ex left his office in double-quick time to shop for additional grocery, and brought home enough fresh produce for me to get started.

On my part, the tears hardly dried when I turned the pages of my recipe book, looking for whatever that I could offer to the team without embarrassing the family.

I remember making fish curry, fried chicken, mixed vegetables, sambal belacan and ulam. And so they came, all 15 of them, cleaned my cooking good, made the appropriate appreciative noises, and went. They looked happy enough.

I thanked God that everything went well. The Good Lord, in His ultimate wisdom, knew the insufferable pain I was and how much I had bitched about not liking to cook. So He sent a football team for me to feed.

A real padan muka moment that was. Such divine retribution...!

16 comments:

Ĺaptop™ said...

Try this soccer mathematics.
Why is a soccer game normally played 45 minutes in each halves?
Get the correct answer and you're on your way to South Africa ;-)

ninotaziz said...

Dear Kak Kama,

I, for one, can't wait for the World Cup season. The post game commentaries on the way to work with hubby, at the office, at night, on the net, blogging - it's just a great time for all around camaraderie.

It also brings late-father to mind, oh, he loved football and used to take me to Stadium Darul Makmur when I was a little girl!

We watched World Cup along with Wimbledon Tennis and Thomas Cup til late night, quizzing each other.

Yes, I love the World Cup season!

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
What if a busload of cats drop by? hehehehe.... purrr...meow!

Kama said...

lap - I know not, lap; why?

ninot - I started my soccer-craziness in earnest when I was living in London. by the end of the 90s, i somwehow began to lose interest..

cat - busload of cats? no sweat., there's plenty of kibbles to go around.. :P

Ĺaptop™ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ĺaptop™ said...

Well soccer started as a game for the guys. (Ladies took it on much later.)
There are 22 guys chasing, cajoling, holding (allowed to the goalkeepers), doing tricks on 1 miserable ball. So, simple mathematics show... you take it from here.
Now both teams want to try attacking from diferent side of the pitch after the breather.
Oh yes, before you ask me, dont count the refree and the linesmen. They are not after the ball.
Pardon me but that is the mathematics of a soccer game.

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Har har har...sorry to intrude but Mr Laptop was actually saying there are 45 "balls" on the field at any one time, not counting linesmen and referee, right? Unless it's girls as will become 1 ball and 44 boobs... ooops...pardon the cat! purrr....meow!

Ĺaptop™ said...

Now now C-I-S.
Don't let your imagination runs wild.
It is only the mathematics that we are interested in.

Oops, sorry but you are a tabby cat. ;-)

NanaDJ said...

Puteri,

The comments are getting blue(?), naughty Cat.
I admire your ability to come up with afull meal for a hungry football team. In your place I would cry too and run to the nearest mamak shop.
Football? Once I was a football fan and footballer's groupie but I switch to Rugby because the rugger players are...more rugged? Anyway I married one of them. Nowadays it is tennis (am Federer's no 1 fan), Golf (still Tiger's fan), rugby and F1. Will follow World Cup though, have subscribed to Beyond because of World Cup - next best thing than going to SA.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hey Puteri, I really dread when WC comes along, that’s when all 15 of us old school buddies from every nook & corner of the World would need to congregate in one place for 4 days 3 night for the semi-finals & finals ‘re-enacting’ the ‘way we were ’ type of foolish boyish behaviour’ activities. And it’s a strictly compulsory, no ifs /no buts excuses since we were all given our ample 1 year notices.

They don’t seem to realise that the minds are willing but the bodies can’t handle it anymore…kakaka but we are assure that there will be doctors & ambulances on hand if there’s any consolation, yay right!

Oh well boys will be boys despite being grumpy old men too…kekeke.

Cheers,
Tommy

P/S – Hmmmm somehow I do actually look forward to it, just to get away from Ah Soh for a few days, well worth it don't u think? :))

Desert Rose said...

Tudiaaa satu batalion sekali depa mai no...mau tak ketaq.

My mom will always tell this one story that once masa depa baru2 kawin , satu batalion rempuh rumah depa , and their glasses were limited to 2-3 set , tu pun yg hadiah kawen punya. My mom dok ketaq lutut di dapoq n my dad kept ordering, 'Yang, bawak mai gelaih lagi , tak cukup" padahalnya they were out of it, nada. My mom kata dia rasa nak keriau dah.. After the guest balik, my dad can selambaly said, 'Abang tau gelaih kita tak dak dah, saja la buat2 mintak" waaaaaa janganlah terjadi pada diriku, lari ikut pintu blakang la jawabnya

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Kama,

All's well that ends well... but the unanswered question here is, did the Kedah team win their match afterwards? Hehehe...

Kama said...

Lap & Cat - Phew! that was a lot of balls hanging around the pitch..LOL

Nana - No wonder la CD is so much into keeping fit; he's an ex rugger player. I used to follow tennis, even attended one Wimbledon final (the late Arthur Ashe in mid '70s) but somewhere along the line my interest dwindled..

Tommy - everyone deserves some time away from his/her spouse.. am sure dear AhSo looks forward to some peace & quiet of her own :-D

DR - lari kot pintu blakang? hahahahaha..!

Oldstock - I wish i remember all those little details.. tapi 'terkejut beruk' punya pasal, i no longer recall ... hehehe

Kitty said...

Dear Kak Puteri

This is my first visit to your blog...and i find it very entertaining! Can't help smiling while reading your posting.

Kama said...

Kitty - finALLY you made it to my little corner in blogsphere. tq for dropping by..

Anonymous said...

A useful guide