I’m writing a novel

First, my weekly update can be found on http://scienceoffootball.com/

I’m writing a novel about a fictional Asian metropolis through short stories about its residents (an Asian Dubliners, if you like), and have decided that the two stories are about football. One is about a top national midfielder on the verge of transferred overseas. Still thinking if he’s going to move to Japan, Australia, or Europe. Most likely to Japan. This fictional country is in SE Asia and is modeled after Singapore and HK, and if the history of Thais in Manchester City is to be heeded, I’m going write a suicide-in-progress for my hero if he’s going to move to Europe. Not nice.

Or is it better to Korea or Australia? Since Japan doesn’t like foreign players who are not Brazilians or Koreans (or Australian in case of Jesus K, and besides that he is a good forward, he was in the squad that trashed Japan back in Germany).

Anyway, the story I’m about to work on is about the supporter of the worst team in the league, a family man who takes his family to an empty stadium just to see his club loses again. Let’s say my country’s league doesn’t have relegation system, just like Australia and Korea (which is a nicer thing to say that ‘just like Singapore and HK’). For European football fans, it’s a no-brainer – “I’ll support my team even when they’re in Serie D”.  Many Englishmen are proud to support the worst clubs so that they can write books about being a part of it, where every draw is precious and every goal is memorable.  I know the feeling, being an Indonesian and how it’s like to support Japan and South Korea in the World Cup.

But for Asian fans, it’s a total waste of time. Perhaps the fun thing about writing on this story is that I can highlight Asian obsession with European leagues (i.e. England, Italy, Spain, and Champions) while shunning local and other Asian clubs (one reason I write about Asian football is because not many Asians do it).

While doing small research, I’ve got a good fish – the blog of Sengkal Punggol supporters, the worst club in S-League.  The problem is like many many other Singapore blogs I’ve read, it’s cynical instead of sarcastic. It’s full of bitterness. Not just because they support the worst club, but maybe because they’re Singaporeans (actually many Indonesian blogs I know are also that bitter. Can’t we Asians be more humorous and clever in laughing at our situations?)

I also looked at blogs related to Japanese and Korean clubs – the problem is many of English language blogs on these clubs  are written by expat (Western) supporters, rather than locals. Wondering if I can get better info tomorrow when I’ve been suitably rested, or if I can learn one thing or two from the European culture (ultras are forbidden  in my country, plus again, people watch EPL instead of local leagues) and trying to transplant the aspects to my world.

And hm, definitely I should write something about a local supporters’ club for a European team and its culture, and also on the arrival of a European team for the summer tour.

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Hey, friendlies!

For World Cup reality check (Spain), self-assurance (England), and testing new coaches (Korea & Australia), there’s international friendlies.

And how it went well for Cho Kwang-Rae.  South Korea defeated Nigeria 2-1 in Suwon. There was half-time farewell ceremony for goalkeeper Lee Won-Jae, the first choice throughout the 2000s.

Australia’s woe, however, still continues.  Slovenia, arguably a fast-growing power in the Balkan challenging Croatia, won 2-0 at home.  Australia were managed by  caretaker manager Han Bergen, and is due to be coach by German Holger Osieck, formerly of Urawa Red Diamonds and led Canada to win the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Thailand prove (well, if friendly proves anything) its supremacy in South East Asia, defeating Singapore 1-0.

Mohammad bin Hammam lets FIFA to begin probe on the allegation that North Korea abused its players and coach after the World Cup. Then, in foolishness that is  expected from confederations’ chiefs, he said that “My eyes and ears found nothing wrong (with North Korea)”. Can you deny his eyes and ears?

FIFA Men’s World Ranking for August 2010 is released. Standard. The top fives are Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Iran, and Bahrain.  Comparing-wise, Australia are above France (nice!), Japan are above Algeria, Korea above Burkina Faso (well,), Iran above South Africa, and Bahrain above Uganda. Women’s Ranking out on Friday. Currently Japan, North Korea, and China are in the top ten.

Roundup for August 2010 first week

Happy news:

South Korea win the 3rd match playoff for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, defeating Colombia 1-0 through fantastic-sista Ji So-Yun. During the tournament in Germany, the Republic has defeated Switzerland 4-0, Ghana 4-2, and lost to United States 0-1. In the playoff rounds they won over Mexico 3-1 before going down to Germany 1-5 in the Semi.

If there had been an all-star team, 8-goals scoring Ji would have been there to support German bomber Alexandra Popp, who scored ten goals including one in the 2-0 final victory against Nigeria. Add that with Yani Tseng’s perseverance to win the British Open and it was a good weekend for Asian sports.

Bittersweet news:

Sriwijaya FC of Palembang, South Sumatera, win the Indonesian Cup three years in a row, defeating league champions Arema Indonesia (from Malang, East Java) 2-1 in Solo, Central Java. The match was disturbed by the intervention from the Central Java’s police chief who stepped in and asked the referee to be replaced.

The reason was red card for Singaporean Noh Alam Shah (Arema) for kicking his compatriot Precious Emuejeraye (Sriwijaya) on the head. Arema supporters who crowded the stadium began to create trouble and the cop thought that it was the ref’s fault – he should have left Alam Shah alone. He was quoted to say “The FA guys can go home to Jakarta after this match. But the city’s security is up to me,”

In the end, referee Jimmy Napitapulu led the game until the end and both managers think that the chief was an ass (I use Commonwealth English here. Honestly). There was no riot in Solo, only Arema supporters throwing rocks randomly along the tracks on their train ride home.

Depends-how-you-see-it news:

Barcelona will face K-League All Stars on Wednesday’s late night in Seoul (10 pm local time, 1 pm in Barcelona). The iPod of Football will feature Messi, Ibrahimovic, Alex Hleb, and Kader Keita. The Spaniards Xavi and Iniesta are on holiday somewhere else. Facing them are Kim Dong-Jin (Ulsan), Ku Ja-Cheol (Jeju), Eninho (Jeonbuk), and Molina (Seongnam).

Bad news no matter how you see it:

The Sun says that North Korean coach Kim Jong-Hun is expelled from Communist/Workers’/Socialist/Whatever Party and is sentenced to 14 hours-a-day labor work for betraying the trust of Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il Kim Jong-Un. Nobody punished Papa Kim for the idiocy of letting Portugal vs Korea DPR match be broadcasted live on TV. Jong Tae-Se has the good chance, everyday, to slip to the nearest Japanese or South Korean consulate from Bochum.

Footballers in UAE (for examples Lee Ho, David O’Leary, and of course Cannavaro) can kiss their BlackBerry goodbye since the country bans BB for its ‘capability to communicate directly with overseas servers’. There is, however, no such ban on iPhone or Samsung.

Leagues leaders:

Japan – Kashima Antlers defeats Vissel Kobe decisively with a double from midfielder Takuya Nozawa. On Sunday Shimizu slugged it out 6-3 with Shonan Bellmare. Frode Johnsen scored a hattrick for Shimizu, putting him at the third on the top scorers list. Josh Kennedy maintained the lead with a goal in Nagoya 2-0 victory over Yokohama.

Korea – The second semester is getting trickier for Jeju United, as mainland powerhouses FC Seoul and Jeonbuk have overtaken them. Dejan Damjanovic of Seoul hit them with two goals on Saturday and Jeju suffered its second lost for the season. Jeonbuk defeated Busan 2-1 at the cost of red card for Lee Dong-Gook. Top scorer Yoo Byung-Soo (Incheon) got another goal despite his team’s 2-3 loss against Gyeongnam.

China – Shanghai gets closer to table leader Shandong, which were defeated by Hangzhou 1-2. Colombian Dubier Riascos maintains his top scorer lead by hitting all the goals in Shanghai 2-1 win over Changsha.

Singapore – Tampines speeds ahead of Etoile with 2-0 win over the Armed Forces (Alex Duric and Khairul Amri). Now they are nine points apart, but the French will face Woodlands Wellingtons on Wednesday.