IN remembering the heroes of the nation, some will have special state-sanctioned ceremonies and glorious accolades with memorials, while others with equal clout and favour in a different discipline will slip into the dusty darkness of history, if not for the efforts of private individuals.
It took Barcelona-based Reynold Godwin Pereira six years to research and write the book on Choo Seng Quee, the strategist and coach who led the Singapore football team to Malaysia Cup glory, in 1977.
Reynold recalls the good times he had watching the team rally the nation as they achieved glory that has since all but dissipated.
While many members of that generation have since passed, Reynold wanted to preserve some of the history for future generations.
His book, simply titled Uncle Choo, as the coach was affectionately referred to by the players, culls information available in the public domain as well as interviews with many of the remaining few who were involved in that period.
One of the key proponents of the concept of the book is the former star and match winner of that 1977 Singapore team that beat Penang in the Malaysia Cup Final, Quah Kim Song.
He recalls some of Uncle Choo’s techniques, which, on hindsight and the passage of time, have been become clearer in terms of their intent and objectives.
Uncle Choo’s methods may have seemed mysterious at the the time, but they displayed a sense of mental adventurism and sharpness of focus that helped to forge a strong sense of camaraderie within the team while delivering results on the field that helped the nation forget its challenges and differences for a while.
In this video, Kim Song talks about training under Uncle Choo and how the late coach left a huge impression on the footballers under his care.
Uncle Choo is available at bookshops.