Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Views on the Champ and the Troll

I've been lucky that the late boxing legend, Mohammad Ali died around the same time that Alice Fong, Singapore's most famous online celebrity (the woman who got caught dressing down a deaf mute at a food court - for more on Alice's moment of fame -click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEHV_jQGiqU). Both characters happened to be perfect examples of one of my favourite topics - heart or the lack of it.

Let's start with the late boxing legend. Mohammad Ali was without the "Greatest" boxer to walk the planet. He didn't have the best boxing record (The only heavy weight to ever retire undefeated in Rocky Marciano) nor was he the hardest hitter in the game (Both Mike Tyson and George Foreman come to mind in terms of having raw punching power). He did, however, have plenty of "heart" and this was the very thing that made him transcend the sport. For many of us around the world, boxing was synonymous with Mohammad Ali.

Ali wasn't afraid of challenges. He took on opponents who were bigger and stronger (think of George Foreman) and he was willing to give it his all. His two key fights that we all remember are "The Thrilla in Manila" (Against Joe Louise) and "The Rumble in the Jungle" (against a very young, very fit and very hard hitting George Foreman) because he had opponents who were willing to go the distance with him. In the case of the Thrilla in Manila, we had two men who were giving everything they had. In the Rumble in the Jungle, it was a case of Mohammad Ali taking punishment and pain from a far more powerful hitter and then winning against all odds.

The man had courage and passion and we loved him for it. Despite the odds, he refused to be cowed and for the most part he got away with it. In his final fight against Larry Holmes, it was clear that Ali was outclassed. The body had simply taken too much punishment over the years to carry on. However, Ali refused to go down and take an easy count. His pride and courage remained even when his body was no longer able to carry on. This refusal to give up affected his opponent too. Towards the end, you could see Larry Holmes crying with every punch he threw and he felt no elation in his victory. Somehow, Ali could still win when he wasn't winning.

We, the adoring public loved Ali because he had a heart to stand up and take the punches that life threw at him. He simply wasn't afraid to live.

At the opposite extreme, we have Alice Fong, who flies of the handle over small issues and can't see what the fuss is about.

I don't think she's wrong to be upset over the mistake that was made and in her defense, she would probably have been foul to the coffee shop staff even if he wasn't a deaf mute. Speaking as someone who does wait tables, I accept that service staff do make mistakes and customers have a right to address it.

However, while addressing an issue is acceptable and even commendable, it is unacceptable to fly off and hurl verbal abuse at people, particularly those who happen to be in a vulnerable position.

You find that people who do that, often have self-esteem issues and are secretly terrified of the world, hence in an effort to prove their superiority, end up going over the top with people whom they perceive as being lower than them.

While the actions of Ms. Fong are bad in themselves, what's worse is that she seems unable to see why everyone is getting upset. She's "appologised" but somehow, somewhere in there still needs to try and justify herself and her actions (Oh, the guy wasn't wearing a tag to show that he was deaf - erm are you saying that you wouldn't have gone of on him if you knew he was?). She's even gone as far as to threaten to sue people who write nasty things about her for that incident.

We revile Ms. Alice Fong for the very same reason why we adored Mohammad Ali - she lacks the heart that Mr. Ali had in abundance. While the champ fought and beat people stronger than him, Ms. Fong thinks its OK to fight with people smaller than herself.

Seriously, we need more Mohammad Ali's and less Alice Fongs. How do create a system where those with courage can succeed and those without get pushed into the garbage bags of history?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised that you have thought it fit to compare Alice Fong with the ''Greatest" Ali. You did Ali a huge disservice by comparing him with the disgraceful behaviour of this woman.

But the point of my note here is the virtual complete disinterest of so many people seated around what must have been quite a commotion created by the woman, with the exception of the person who took the video and put in online. From the video, it is apparent that most of the people were blissfully eating away unperturbed and apparently unaware! How is it that hardly or in fact nobody stood up to intervene? It says quite a lot about their apathy and attitude.

Now how do we account for the fact that apparently almost a million people turned up to pay their respect to LKY braving the heat and the rain? Is their empathy reserved for only 'great' people and lesser mortals don't count.