I remembered walking in the MMA Sarawak Branch office as a new committee member earlier this year and I saw a very nice silver plate momento with the wordings:
"Thank you for hosting us, Sarawak MMA
- From; Sabah MMA 2010"
That was the start of the effort to get this meaningful event resurrected after 3 years of absence. The two MMA Branches in East Malaysia have this tradition of hosting one another for an annual sports meet to foster better ties between the members.
We immediately contacted our counterparts in Sabah and to our surprise, they were also planning to resurrect this tradition! I must thank Dr Vasanthi, the SCHOMOS Sabah Chairperson for incredible enthusiasm to get this event going. Also, gratitude to the MMA HQ who has been superbly supportive of this cause, and agreed to approve our request for partial sponsorship of the logistic expenses to go there.
The date 15 September 2013 was chosen, and a group of 26 of us in Sarawak were all geared up to challenge our Sabah counterparts in Tennis, Futsal and Badminton. The contingent members were a good mix of young doctors - mainly medical officers and house officers and a bunch of senior doctors. We managed to get some training sessions organised, in spite of the busy and differences in working schedule.
Unexpectedly just a week before the event, we were informed by the Director's office that the Malaysia Day 2013 National Level celebration would be taking place in Kuching on the same weekend! This is a major setback, as the directors' office rightfully freeze most of our players' leaves. But we understand that duty is our priority and those of us who are in the medical escort and emergency team for the celebration have to forgo this trip. As all of them has already purchased the flights and accommodations, and this turn of the event is a duty call, we decided to keep to our promise to reimburse them the amount that were due to offset their lost.
Our contingent number then shrunk to 13 and we have no choice but to recycle our players to play more than their preferred sports to challange the Sabah MMA members. On 14th of September, there were 13 Sarawak MMA doctors who flew over to Kota Kinabalu, carrying racquets and futsal boots as hand luggages.Upon landing and after checked in to our budget service apartment, we head straight to the famous delicious seafood of KK. I must say KK is the place to go for value for money seafood!
The next morning, all 13 of us concluded that either Sabah MMA is a fantastic host and there is actually "Udang di Sebalik Batu". We were all so well fed for Breakfast before the Badminton and Tennis Games and followed by another huge Lunch before the Futsal game. Predictably, we lost most of the matches. (The excuse given by our players were the feedings were too good and therefore we cant play anymore! - LOL)
The closing ceremony was done in a seafood restaurant and I had my biggest dinner in months there, and I think as one of our futsal player commented, are we here for Sports tournament or food trip? Indeed, a good mix of both I must say.
I humbly find that the networking and sharing of our working stories between the two sides of doctors were very stimulating and heartening. We had a good amount of exchanges of ideas and experiences. There is indeed so many similarities between the doctors serving the two states.
In every edition of Sabah Sarawak Games according the the records, the victory has always go to the host Branch. The overwhelming home advantages was difficult to be offset. But we are looking forward, to get back the Challenge Trophy, next year, in Kuching. See you next year Sabah MMA~!! Thank you!