Monday, June 04, 2007

For Loga, and for days that have now long gone

Loganathan Arumugam or better known as Loga of the Alleycats passed away at 10.50am this morning at the Mount Miriam Hospital in Penang. He was 54.

Loga (3rd from Right) and the Alleycats will always remain a memory of how cool we once were

I will always identify Loga and the Alleycats in general with their afros (even though only Loga and his brother David had them) and evergreen Malay tunes, which at the time I first heard it as a child really told me that we live in a country truly blind of colour, creed and religion.

The Alleycats, together with P Ramlee, cartoonist Lat, Tan Sri Khir Johari and Sudirman were of a small number of personalities who truly personified the muhibbah spirit we espoused as children, upheld at teenagers, questioned in our 20s and now view with askance and cynicism in our 30s (I imagine a few 30-somethings are reading this).

You know another group that did it for me? The Selangor football squad of the 80’s, with legends of the game like Mokhtar Dahari, Santokh Singh, the immortal “Spiderman” A Arumugam, and group, and other Malaysian greats like Soh Chin Aun and Ghani Minhat – all of whom I was fortunate enough to see in action during the old (pre Semi-Pro rubbish) days and in a number of Merdeka Tournament games my father and uncles used to take me to.

SuperMokh brought the 'fear factor' and a sense that something could happen onto the field

I was a big fan, and I am proud of a childhood and teenage years where I scoured the back pages of the newspaper for the latest news and results on local football (with as much enthusiasm as I do these days with the EPL), and have vivid memories of painting my face red and yellow, trudging along with the many other Selangor fans from Rex theatre to Stadium Merdeka for home games.

Those were days when we really believed we were great on the football field, which we were by virtue of grinding out hard-fought results against South Korea, Japan, and other Asian nations who, sad to say, have far, far eclipsed us in the arena of international football.

'Spiderman' Arumugam gave the centrebacks Santokh and Soh Chin Aun confidence to foray upfield

Those were the days when I truly believed we were a great nation, growing up as I did to influences such as these. I wonder who and where our children these days turn to for inspiration, and what defines their generation. Mawi? Siti? Academy Fantasia? RM6 billion allegedly high-performance sports training academies in London? I’m not weeping for Malaysia yet, but with a list like this, it won’t be long I guess.

For now, strains of Alleycats’ hit Andainya Aku Pergi Dulu Sebelum Mu ring chillingly true these days for Malaysia, as much as it does for the late Loga.

Our condolences to his family, his brother David and the rest of the Alleycats. Rest in peace Loga, and trima kaseyyy for all the memories.