ACT 1, SCENE 2
The feelings of the committee at that time, including the new committee members, were we should bury the hatchet and start working together. I had a sinking feeling about this decision. I felt a postmortem of past failings is an important part of the process to find the way forward. The reason is this: Every chess player knows that an impartial postmortem is very important. To learn from the past so that the same mistakes are not repeated. Furthermore, the training of a chess player encompasses impulse control, the accurate evaluation of the facts before him, reliance on his judgement and to execute those decisions with courage.
And if the chess Association is entrusted to impart those skills, don't you think it might be an idea to practice it in the committee? To be sure, a postmortem is a difficult subject to tackle - but tackle it I felt we must IF we were to move forward. For surely after spending so much time on a lofty mission statement: "Bringing Perak back to National Level" what follows should have been, where are we now vis-a-vis the other States, what resources do we have and what other resources would we need to achieve that mission. What were we doing right, if any, and what were we doing wrong? etc. etc. But no postmortem was allowed.
This was a mistake that was going to plague and infect every decision from that time onwards, as we shall see later in the series.
So were there hidden motives? Or was that decision just made out of sheer ignorance? Or is it just the Malaysian way? (Please see mysterious event #1 for your first clue; Hmmmm, maybe I'll make it a contest)
The net conclusion of this decision was everyone was "right". If everyone was right, what took place at the AGM? Were there no grounds for dissatisfaction? In that one decision, everything that was achieved was lost. For now we don't know which direction we should go. And the new committee members that were elected to represent change did not support change.
So being in the minority, I abided by the majority decision. As a result the selection committee now comprised the President, Zaki Mahmud and me.
MYSTERIOUS EVENT #1 (a clue to the reasons behind "no postmortem"?)....
By the time we had settled the members of the selection committee, the National Close was around the corner. Prior to that, I had just completed the arbiters training. So we had no time for a selection tournament. It was agreed by the selection committee that we will instead come up with a list of names for the free slots for State players given by MCF. So Zaki and I went through the list of strong active players (since we know the players) and shortlisted it. And the President was kept apprised.
But during the National Close, where I acted as the team manager, I got a call from Sumant's dad. Apparently, an official from MCF had informed him that I had omitted Sumant's name. From his angry tone, I can only assume that the information he received implicated me in some way. Also, Sumant's dad had met with some PICA officials earlier and the fingers somehow got pointed in my direction. The mystery is how did this MCF official get to know about the inner workings of the Perak's selection committee and rather quickly I may add? Why did this official take such a personal interest in Perak's affairs to the extent of informing Sumant's dad? Why did the PICA officials he met not inform him that it was a selection committee's decision? After all, if they wanted to be in it, why suddenly say they don't know anything about it? Did they want the post but not the responsibilty?
Even more interestingly mysterious still, this item subsequently appeared in PICA's agenda as a parent's complaint against me, even though my main input was to include Zaki Yeop's name (for which I was questioned). The reason I gave for my recommendation was that he had flown the Perak flag in FIDE tournaments for many years (long before Mark and Fadzil joined the fray) and I felt that it was fair to recognise his contribution. All other names were approved without contention by the committee. So, Subra my friend, this is the explanation I was not able to give you when I was in the committee. It was a "collective" decision.
But it gets even more interesting - so do wait for my next posting.