Hockey used to be one of my favourite beat in the 1980s. Probably it was because of Dato' G. Vijayanathan (picture), the long serving Secretary of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF). His office - Jabatan Pelajaran Wilayah Persekutuan - in Jalan Raja Muda was a common stop for many of us from the media.
He always had some information to give. He was one of the few General Secretaries in Malaysian sports who knew what was newsworthy.
He answers all calls, he entertains everyone who came to his office or wants to meet him at the stalls downstairs.
Viji, as he is known to many, always attended to the needs of the media. I remember an incident during the 1982 Junior World Cup in Kuala Lumpur where a group of people were asking him for some favours but he told them, that he has to look into the needs of the media first, before assisting them.
During one MHF Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Hotel Merlin (now Concorde) in Kuala Lumpur, we saw Viji running out with tears in his eyes. A couple of minutes later, the President Sultan Azlan Shah followed and had a chat with him.
Viji told his boss, he had enough of "them". Them here refers to some people at the meeting who were just finding faults with him, some even were questioning him about "commas and full stops" in his report to the congress.
Viji resigned in 1985, after serving MHF, Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and International Hockey Federation (FIH) for 26 years.
I began to recollect what MHF was like those days after reading about some new problems that seem to have cropped up.
You can read about this problems in Ghandi's blog here.
After reading through the blog and speaking to some friends, I realised that these were not new problem, just old attitudes that were not dealt with in the past. And, this attitudes are manifesting again, to destroy hockey,
The affiliates and officials seem to have carried the old habits with them all these years. The new officials seem to have inherited the old way of thinking, which focusses on the "commas and full stops" and not on hockey.
Everone come for a meeting with a list of "why's" and not "let's do it" attitude. Its always "Why this, why that, why him"....the point actually is "why not me or my friend". This is old story and this old story will destroy MHF if the evil is not dealt with sternly.
I believe MHF and its affiliates should give Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah a free hand in bringing about a much needed change, especially in the mindset of the so called hockey experts.