Other conversations were with parents who again talked about the expense of playing for the Country as well as a conversation with an organiser who was exploring if I was willing to consider sponsoring some of his plans to develop chess.
As in all things in life, we need the essentials to get things going. Something like its no use building a car and then leaving out the spark plugs. So what do we have and what do we need?
We just saw selection criteria and the influx of strong players back into the system. We have good tournaments and the sponsors for them.
Lets go back again to see what FGM tried to do. DKLS asked for a 5 year plan with milestones for access to a RM2 million dollar sponsorship fund. Why is a 5 year plan important? To me this means that we have a long term plan. We have thought through what it takes to develop strong players and the fund is meant to fill in the gaps for what we dont have. It also means that our analysis has to be sound and not the type that writes to defend an arbitrary conclusion without any basis. It requires intellectual integrity. That is what the milestones are meant to accomplish. For the milestones will demand accountability.
In my mind it also means that there is the possibility of funding players that cannot afford the expense of International tournaments to play for Malaysia.
What else did FGM try to do? We brought in a training program for our players before going overseas for competition at a subsidised rate enabled by our sponsors. Was it perfect? Maybe not but it was a start just like selection is a start.
Are these two things not the missing gap in our programs? After selection, there can be access to funding and training?
And yet these 2 initiatives were met with attacks and sabotage. So what I told the parents and the organiser is this. I have brought the solutions. It is available to move us forward if we can now lobby MCF to investigate why the sacking happened and who are the people who attacked anonymously from the blogs.
Selection is good. It is necessary but insufficient. So you are now selected. What is the next step?
A parent told me that I am bullet proof. No I am not. It was painful for me to watch my son attacked, my partners, supporters and my sponsors attacked but I stuck it out because the issue was important.
You may also notice that there is little proper acknowledgement of the role of parents, bloggers, players and MCF for bringing in selection and opening the floodgates. A few people who were against selection is now attempting to head the celebration and trying to take credit for the work that we did.
Why do you think that is? I think its because they saw what our combined voices can do. If they acknowledge your work it may mean that you can do it again. And this time a new MCF is responsive to urgings from the ground; is responsive to us finding new solutions.
So I urge you, dont stop here. Complete the work. The new selected players will be just as stranded as the players from the past. We need a good plan, good training and new sponsors to enable that.
So we now need MCF to investigate the arbitrary sacking and the anonymous bloggers who slander. I was an official in an association under the MCF umbrella. It is MCF's duty to investigate how an official can be sacked unconstitutionally and without charges.
If this can be done, I believe we can sustain the gains we have made. The people who did the work need to be acknowledged, the people who helped build chess need to be defended by MCF.