Background: Datuk Lee Chong Wei, from the state of Perak in Malaysia, has been a professional badminton player for nearly 16 years. He won silver medal in the 2008, 2012, and most recently the 2016 Olympic games. This year's games is his last ever Olympic games, and he is regarded as a national hero, and a source of pride for many Malaysians.

 

O Dato! My Dato! Tonight all of Malaysia stands in admiration to you. You who, through countless gauntlets, through endless trials have brought hope and dreams within an inch of reality. As a kid, we knew your name, those initials etched within our brain: a testament to sport beyond glory or fame.

A fledgling nation in a nest of thorns, though years have passed. It's hard to praise your nation's name when corruption here are still the same. But Dato, faithfully, you played the game. Again, and again.

Silver is a beautiful color. It is the color of never giving up. The color of having given your all to be there. The color of seeing it through to the final game and match. Every last shuttle, every last serve. You were there, and we were there with you.

Everywhere, from the mamak stalls, the cafes, the living rooms of our homes, we are with you. And you were with us, in the early years of our lives, in our conversations, in our hearts and minds. The thought that Malaysia was home to a world champ, a fighter for whom we yelled our throats dry and cried our cheeks damp.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

- O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

Yes, you are our champion. Our captain. Our hero. Every time we heard badminton, we knew our flag would be up there somewhere. Thanks to you they remember us as the nation that came this close, and you've always given us something to boast.

TO DATUK LEE:

A boy who picked up a racquet,
Then became a man,
In black and orange jacket,
Made a brilliant stand.

He put up a fight, tonight,
With flying shuttles left and right,
Against the lightning Cheng Long.

The steady sound of heartbeats in sync,
The eyes and ears of every son and daughter of Malaysia, open,
Rejoicing at each winning mark,
Despair and shouts at every concession.

If Lee Chong Wei had one confession,
He'd flung himself over that great wall,
His life, his body, his profession,
And we shall catch him in his fall.

Thank you, Datuk. For giving it your all.

- TO DATUK LEE , by Tey Xiang Yang

 

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Published by Viktor Tey