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Starting on the journey of becoming twenty-something. A psychology student who is interested in photography, design, and advertising. Find pleasure in art, food, music, and good books. I like to play badminton and I support Arsenal Football Club. I wish for a world where everyone is free to love.


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Bucket List Item Fulfilled!

So what happened is that yesterday, i went to watch a badminton tournament live.. for the first time in my life! It was the best decision ever, the most fulfilling experience ever since i come to Singapore for study. Here is my attempt to describe everything, hope i don't leave out anything!

Going to Singapore open is not a decision i made in a short while. As i remember, the tickets are already on sale since march, or even february. So basically i already had a plan to go. But then, school stuff is taking so much time and this singapore open thing just came into my mind when the tournament had started and there were scores updates on my twitter feed (yes i still scroll through my twitter timeline, no i rarely post, mostly only retweets). This happened two days before the semifinal, which i intended to watch.
Then, i started to ask some of my close friends here if they wanted to go. But of course, it was so last minute and these weeks are actually the busiest period of the sem as final exam is approaching. Also, the ticket price was like 40 sgd, an amount that you must be interested enough in badminton to be willing to spend lol. So i was in dilemma, to go or not to go. In addition, my favorite men singles player from china, Chen Long, just lost his match in the afternoon.
But theeennnn... in the evening, my favorite women singles player, Wang Shixian won her quarter final match, which is actually out of my expectation (she has not been playing in her top form lately). So i took that as a sign to go hahahah. Anyway, if i didn't go this time, i would have to wait for another year.
The night before the semifinal, i have decided everything and opened the website to buy the ticket for tomorrow. Alas, my internet banking is blocked (it has been blocked for a long time actually). And it was like 11.30 pm. Fortunately i've got a friend who helped me pay for the ticket first. THANK YOU SO MUCH. And everything is settled :D

April 11, the match for semifinal started at 2 pm. I finished getting ready by like 10.45 and then i went to print the ticket. i was in panic for a while when i found out that the printer in my hall was not working. But then i went to hall 11 printing room and everything's good.
After 1+ hour of interchanging between east west, downtown, and circle mrt line, i finally arrived at Stadium mrt station. The exit was quite confusing and i made my way by following a rather well known badminton photographer who happened to be in the same carriage as me lol.
The singapore indoor stadium is a cool edgy building, and i spent some time outside to take photos. And then i got inside and WOAH that stadium feeling! It was rather cold and not crowded as it was still an hour to the beginning of the first match. Took some photos again.
My seat was at the 27th row, and guess what, there were actually 27 rows in total lol. But it was not a problem at all, as the stadium was not full and we could move around and sit wherever empty. So what i did was move to the front and strategic seats when the players i like are playing. Otherwise, i walked around with the hope of meeting some players.. and that was exactly what happened. Actually, I saw A LOT of them.

The first one is Indonesia's golden boy Taufik Hidayat. At that time, i was just sitting in my 27th row seat watching the first match, cheering for indonesia men doubles pair and chinese women doubles pair. In the middle of the match, a group of people came in out of i don't know where. Speaking bahasa indonesia in a rather big volume, that group quickly caught my (and everyone else's) attention. So turn out they are sort of celebrities, one of them appears on tv regularly but i forgot his name. The others are not as well-known i guess, but still i recognize some. And among them there was Taufik. They actually picked the seats in the column next to mine and filled up the whole row 27. At first i was like, oh well ok that's Taufik and proceed on watching the ongoing match with full concentration. Not long after, the indonesia pair (Hendra/Ahsan) lost the match. That's when the group started to talk about random stuff, some standing and some still sitting. That's also when i decided to go and ask Taufik for picture.

Okay this part is one that i am particularly proud of B) The second match yesterday was Wang Shixian vs Sun Yu. And as i mentioned earlier, shixian is my favorite women single player as of right now. Quickly, i moved to the seat near court 2 where she was playing. She lost the first set. Up to then, i was only watching in silence. Besides, men singles match between hongkong and india was ongoing on court 1, so basically most of the people in stadium were watching that match instead of the china vs china one. In the second set, i just felt like really want to do something to show some support. But i hesitated for quite a period until i thought to myself 'hey whats the problem, your favorite player is playing and this is a badminton semifinal match and no one would care what you did'.. then, i yelled from the (half) top of my lung 'WANG SHIXIAN JIA YOU!'
She definitely noticed it. And since then, a few people from the other section of the stadium also did the same. So once in a while, in the midst of the 'indiaaa indiaaa~' yell, there is a 'wang shixian jia you' :D and she actually won the second set!
The third and final set was a tight one. It's clear that both shixian and sun yu really wanted to win it. So, i continued on giving support and clapped as loud as possible. Quite awkward actually, because only a few people focused on the women singles match. So when a point was gained, only a few noticed, let alone clapped. Finally, shixian lost the match on a very narrow margin (21-19) but what can we say right? At least i am happy that i've done what i want and can.

After more than a hour of closely watching shixian's match, i felt that i need to wind off. So i just went back to my seat and walked outside the stadium. Then, i went in back and walked around the stadium, taking photos and others. I walked to the other sections as well and that's when i noticed that Zhao Yunlei, a very prominent double player was sitting casually in the spectators' seat. I was really excited as i know that this woman is a good, real good badminton player. Her skill, stamina, focus, and all others are worth of admiration.
But really, i didn't quite understand myself sometimes lol. There is this 'cool' part of me that is able to (without my deliberate intention) tone everything down, react coolly to basically everything in the world. Just my nature, i guess. So what did i do? No, i didn't ask for pic. Instead, i went and sat on the seat (not exactly) in front of her, and then turned around to say 'hi good luck later!'. Seriously man did you think zhao yunlei is your bestie or what. Anyway, at first she couldn't really catch what i said and goes 'huh?', i repeated 'good luck' to which she replied 'xie xie, xie xie'. Yeah she actually said thank you twice and kinda smiled/laughed, which is nice :D
I still sat there for a while and so did zhao yunlei. Then, she went back to the players area which is just 2 meters away from the last row, preparing for her match, supposedly. I saw Fu Haifeng when i looked back at that time. Now, this one is a different story. Fu haifeng has been playing this game for sooo long and he, along with his then partner Cai Yun, was one of my favorite men doubles pair. I really followed them when i was in junior high school, can say that i was a fan. At some point, i even tried to look for his email address to send fan-mail lol. So this time, i decided to just go for the pic, I got up and asked and he agreed. In fact, the one who helped us to take the photo is one of the china badminton coach. One thing that i don't really like is fu haifeng expression though, stern as usual. But still, i got to take photo with him :D
Then, i realized what a strategic place to sit this seat was. Not long after the fu haifeng photo, sun yu (the one who defeated wang shixian previously) came up and sit right behind me. So at that moment, sitting behind me was sun yu and the china coach, the column besides me was filled with other chinese players (whom i didn't approach for photo as well, because they seemed like having a good time and i didn't want to interrupt), and when i looked to the other side i saw a person sitting alone. With short hair, with red and white jacket, busy with her phone. OMG LILIYANA NATSIR TEMAN TEMANNN.
What a situation that was. On one side, i like sun yu quite much, her playing is okay, and she seems to be a nice person. Wang Yihan vs Tai Tzuying match was ongoing and sun yu actually supported her teammate wholeheartedly, saying stuffs like 'yihan jiayou' and 'hao qiu (nice ball)' repeatedly. She was also quite disappointed when yihan finally lost the match in a rubber game. So at that time, i was so conflicted. On one hand, i'd like to take photo with her. But then, i felt kinda guilty because i supported and cheered for wang shixian all along just now. So in the end, i didn't go for it haha, maybe next time.
Oh then there's this Liliyana. For a moment, she was just like 3 meters away from me, with no obstacle between us at all. She's quite cool, and i looked at her and went 'oh damn i said good luck to zhao yunlei just now who is going to play against her, i wronged my own country's player whom i actually like a lot, but then i also like zhao yunlei so what do i do now' so..... i did nothing.
Not long after, liliyana went to the players area, to prepare for the match as well i think. I was like oh okay there goes the opportunity. But then, she actually came out again and this time, i hesitated no more lol. Just went there and asked for a pic (a selfie, to be precise). Yayyyy thanks! :D
Finally, there came a match that i wanted to really closely watch, indonesia vs japan men doubles. When i was walking back to my seat, i came across Tian Qing, who usually paired up with zhao yunlei in women double. Another great player. She was walking around the stadium with a friend so i quickly asked for a photo (selfie again lol). I had underestimated her height haha, all along i thought that she is around my height. Turns out she is at least 5 cm taller than me. And among the players i took photo with, she is in the best mood, all smiles. Maybe because she has lost her match the other day and had no match yesterday, so was just having fun strolling around. Thanks as well!

That's the end of my journey of meeting badminton players haha. But not the end of the day though. The final and most epic match, Zhang Nan/ Zhao Yunlei vs Tontowi Ahmad/ Liliyana Natsir was just starting. I took a nice seat near the court and cheered with full spirit for the indonesia pair. It was a real intense match, too bad our pair was unable to win it. Both indonesian and chinese supporter were real loud, exchanging 'IN-DO-NE-SIA' and 'ZHONG GUO JIA YOU' cheers. What an atmosphere. What a day.

So in the end, I am a really happy girl. The whole experience is beyond fun and i can't wait to come back next year! :D Also, i feel like i've learned a lot about random, and perhaps unrelated stuffs. There is this feeling that i've gained something really important, only i don't know how to put it into words.

Anyway, notice how i never mentioned wang shixian again after her match? Yeah, i don't know where she went after that. There's no sight of her after that match. Probably she's gone to marina bay sands, joining her already lost yesterday boyfriend (yeah chen long is her boyfriend, so the single players that i like are in relationship. just like the old days when i used to like Lin Dan and Xie Xingfang a lot. And i mean A LOT).
But turning back to when the very first match had not even started, i was sitting on my 27th row seat, my original seat. I saw a woman, most definitely a badminton player. She was wearing a blue li-ning jacket paired with blue li-ning long pants, carrying a blue li-ning racket bag, with hair untied. She walked all the way from the first row to the 27th row. Not near my section though, 10 meters away perhaps. And i was unable to recognize who that was. Wang Shixian? Maybe. To make sure, i approached her. When i was already quite near, i noticed that she was on the phone. So i decided to keep a distance. Then after the call ended, she went inside the players' area. And i went back to my seat.
In yesterday match against Sun Yu later on, Wang Shixian showed up with blue li-ning shirt, blue li-ning pants, and carried a blue li-ning bag.

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