As Spain continues to roll out vaccinations for COVID-19, various football clubs have offered their stadiums to local authorities as potential mass vaccination sites. As well-connected venues with lots of space, the stadiums could help the local health services to reach thousands of patients per day.
It was a weekend of great goals and shock results in LaLiga Santander as the 2020/21 title race continues to heat up. At the bottom, the return of a former coach has added extra spice too. There have been so many storylines in the world of Spanish football over the past week… here’s all you need to know.
Levante frustrate the leaders not once… but twice
As a result of a quirk in this season’s fixture list, Levante and Atlético de Madrid met twice in the space of four days this past week. Levante took four points from their double header against the league leaders with a 1-1 home draw on Wednesday and then won 2-0 in the capital on Saturday, with goalkeeper Dani Cárdenas putting in an exceptional performance.
Cádiz take points off Barcelona… again
Just like Levante have earned four points against Atleti this year, newly promoted Cádiz have taken one win and one draw from their two meetings with Barcelona. After beating the Blaugrana at home earlier in the season, they went away to the Camp Nou this weekend and earned a memorable 1-1 draw.
Real Madrid’s backups step up
Real Madrid are currently experiencing an injury crisis, missing key players like Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema. Their backups have upped their game, however, and have led Los Blancos to four consecutive victories, proving that there is more strength in depth at the capital city club than many suspectde. Next up: Atalanta in the Champions League.
Another prize for Casemiro
Casemiro has already an impressive array of trophies in his career, including various individual awards, and this week he added Spanish news agency EFE’s award for the best Ibero-American footballer of 2020. Other Brazilians like Ronaldo Nazário and Roberto Carlos have won the prize in the past and Casemiro said he was proud to follow in their footsteps.
HOPE you are celebrating Chinese New Year with a happy mood. For those who missed the reunion dinner due to the ban on interstate travels and the 10km restriction, there will always be another reunion dinner next year and the next 60 years.
Chinese tradition and culture have existed for a few thousand years and it will survive minor disruptions by viruses and human bugs.
Chinese culture has the funniest greetings. Everyone from young to old wishes everyone ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ which literally means wishing you more wealth. A Happy New Year greeting is not sufficient for a child who finally visits his 80-year-old grandfather after a year of lockdown. The grandfather and his five-year-old granddaughter simultaneously wishes one another Gong Xi Fa Cai as the ang pow crosses hand. No Gong Xi Fa Cai, no ang pow.
When you have 1.45 billion Chinese in China and another 400 million overseas Chinese diaspora wishing one another ‘more wealth’, non-Chinese must think Chinese all over the world only think of being wealthy. Well, you are right.
Wealth have a different meaning for different segments of Chinese society. For the poor, it means improving livelihoods and being financially able to provide education for their children all the way to university. The Chinese people often say that ‘Education is Wealth’ which means that an educated child will amass more wealth in life. More wealth means more success.
For the wealthy Chinese, they only wish for more wealth. The more ang pows they give away, the more wishes of ‘more wealth’ they receive. Which is why the Chinese rich gets richer all the time. The wealthy migrant Chinese, however, do realise that they are not able to take their cash with them when they live in the afterlife. So they become philanthropist, donating to their clans association, helping to build Chinese schools and temples.
The older generation Chinese businessmen were like the Japanese, they looked after their staff for life. My late father worked for Petaling Gardens Bhd (under Ang family then) till past 70 years of age until I asked him to retire. Mr Ang gave him a gratuity payment upon his retirement despite no such retirement plans for staff leaving the company.
Another funny greeting that non-Chinese do not understand is instead of greeting ‘How are you?’ (Ni hao ma) to friends and guest, the older generation, including myself, would ask ‘Ni chi le ma’ as in ‘Have you eaten?’
The main reason for the greeting is to start a conversation but I suspect that in the older generation, food was scarce and it was not unusual for neighbors to share whatever food that was available in their house. As it was impolite and embarrassing for an hungry person to ask, the host will cordially invite you to eat in their house. I find this cultural act of compassion to neighbours and community at large has slowly disappeared among the new generation.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, many Chinese families started sending their children to English type schools. My uneducated mother decided to send me to a missionary school, La Salle PJ, because of the high quality education reputation. She also believed that having an English education will help me find a good job and career, bearing in mind that all the major trading houses were British and Dutch, and English literate graduates were in demand.
She was right.But I am now regretting the decision not to send my children for at least six years of Chinese primary school. The main reason is China has become the biggest consumer market in the world and the lingua franca required is Mandarin. I am lucky that my second daughter in-law is from China. She is proficient in both Mandarin and English, having studied in USA and England. She is now my eyes and ears for everything Mandarin and provides an insight into China culture and norms.
I am now in discussion with my sons and daughter in laws of eventually sending my grandchildren to Chinese primary schools. I am however waiting impatiently and in desperation for the first grandchild to arrive. Sigh. Children don’t listen to their parents like before.
My late brother’s three children attended Chinese schools from Primary One all the way to Form Six (UEC). Their schools fees for attending Hin Hua independent school was RM300 a month which was reduced by half upon application for scholarship.
As the UEC results is not recognised for admission into local universities, his eldest son got a place in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Without my knowledge, my brother asked for an interest free education loan of RM6,000 (max) from Klang Hokkien Association to send his son off to Singapore. Payback was RM500 a month after he started working. Upon his graduation, I immediately paid off the loan in full so that another deserving student have access to an education loan.
Nanyang gave full scholarship to him with the condition that he stayed back in Singapore to work for at least two years. He is now still in Singapore and with a PR status.
In the meantime his two younger siblings failed to achieved the minimum 6A’s out of 9 papers in the UEC exam. So their only choice was to join the local private universities like HELP and Inti. Luckily, they managed to get a PTPTN loan of RM40,000 each to pay for their school fees. As they are now gainfully employed, they have started paying back the loans at RM400 a month over nine years.
For the B40’s, sending their children to even a Chinese independent school is a financial burden, let alone to universities without any scholarship help. My mother had to run a canteen in a construction site to put me through a local university back in 1980. And if I remember correctly, the school fees at Universiti Malaya’s economics faculty was about RM560 per term.
To develop the young generation of tomorrow, a good education from schools is of upmost importance. Chinese parents will choose schools that provide the best education in terms of quality teachers and excellent standards. The poorer families will work harder to provide the best education for their children as best as they can but with the rising cost of education, their struggle is real and sometimes insurmountable. Their children will drop out of school.
As such, there is a real need for the local community associations and the Chinese schools to ensure that no B40 child is left behind and bereft of a quality education due to financial constraints faced by their parents. Yes, there is already financial support for such cases but is it enough? What is needed is to build local community support within and having these support easily accessible.
Consistent with our Chinese culture, parents in distress are normally too embarrassed to ask for help. Association and school staff should adopt a new mindset and new greetings to such parents.
Wo ke yi bang ni ma? Can I help you?