I cannot resist the temptation to reproduce this letter below, because, this is exactly how most of my Sabahan friends feel about this much hyped up movie “OLA BOLA”.
I was at the Stadium Merdeka on 6, 1980 when James Wong scored the winning goal against South Korea. With this victory, we qualified for the Moscow Olympics.
I therefore made it a point to go and see the hyped movie Ola Bola, a movie based on the true story of the victorious team and to relive that magical moment when two fellow Sabahans created and scored the winning goal for Malaysia.
I came out of the cinema hall feeling rather despondent. This was a true story that was altered and twisted for reasons best known to Director Chiu Keng Guan and his scriptwriters.
Ever since I was young, it was always drummed into my head that we must render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
So when Chiu Keng Guan decided to credit the winning goal to Khalid Ali in his movie and not to James Wong, that was a total disappointment.
That was a white lie and went against what I was thought to believe about giving credit when it is due.
Chiu has “dismissed complaints about factual inaccuracies by pointing out that the film is just inspired by true events”, what rubbish!
Did I read that correctly? True events? Was it not James Wong that scored the winning goal?
Was the score not 2-1 in favour of Malaysia and not 3-2? If the story line is based on “true events” how could anyone ignore the truth?
To give credit where it is due, the film was well executed. The cinematography was great. The story-line of comradeship and determination was excellent and this is 1Malaysia at its best.
There were Chinese, Indians, Sikh, Malays, West Malaysians and East Malaysians all coming together as one to bring glory to the Nation.
The movie showed us what true grit and determination can achieve.
But to change what was the one magical moment that we are all know belongs to James Wong is totally unacceptable by any standard.
Either the film’s Director deliberately changed the facts upon instruction to fit a political master race agenda in order to enjoy Finas funding or he and his scriptwriter did not do enough research on that game and the history behind it. Why they did that is best left to the imagination.
There is a lot of negative perception about this including if there was a hidden agenda behind changing the actual goal scorer from James to Ali. This is a question best left to Director Chiu and his scriptwriter to answer.
For me personally and the thousands of football fans who were there in Stadium Merdeka you will NEVER, ever convince us that it was not James Wong who scored the winning goal for Malaysia.
You can try taking glory away from James but you will never take away what is etched in my memory – that one magical moment in time when two SABAHANS combined together to produce what was possibly the highest achievement of the Malaysian football team of the 80s.
Thank you Hassan! Thank you James! Shame on you Chiu and Astro!
Note : This letter came out in the Daily Express Sabah