Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mad or Bad?

I'm not a psychologist nor a sociologist. I could barely count as it is. But mental illness have always been something I take an interest in. So much so I've been doing some pro-bono work for autistic and down syndrome kids in recent years. But enough about me.

Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz. Love him or hate him, you can't deny he's a football genius. The passion, the skill, the talent: tinged with the occasional bouts of madness. Occasional, fortunately, but mega, unfortunately.

I'm not here to defend him, or to excuse his behaviour. I'm trying to understand the inner turmoil of a flawed genius.

His father deserted the family when he was 7 (or was it 12?) years old. From my observation, most kids from a broken home are damaged in some way. Facing perceived rejection from a parent at an early age is bound to affect you in some way.

Now combine this with acute poverty. The literal hunger, so to speak.

There was a lady in my kampung whose husband deserted her and their 8 kids. She went around with a bowl, asking for beras to feed her kids. Beras! Not dishes. This is real poverty. Not having enough money for food, let alone football boots.

Kau apa tahu? Spender pun mak belikan sampai umur 25 tahun. Entah ke mak basuhkan sekali.

Suarez went through a childhood of  not knowing where his next meal is coming from. It wasn't until he met Sofia, whose parents fed him, that he started to eat regularly.

When Suarez first moved to Montevideo from Salto, people laughed at his kampung accent. That's probably the least of it. And with that teeth, his childhood couldn't have been pretty. Pun intended. 

Lesser people from the same background would probably crumble and join the drug cartel. But this is Suarez. He's not another ordinary kid.

He managed to find love. And what a great love story it is. A love story that catapulted the boy who played ball with no shoes to a world class player who is equally revered and hated.

Kau apa tahu? Jaafar Onn tak follow twt_cinta pun pernah ada awek dan buat anak.


Luisito is only 27. Those fatherless, poverty ridden years are not that long ago.

He could probably still taste the desperation, the literal hunger.

Perhaps deep down he fears having to go back to that kind of poverty. Maybe that is the demon that haunts him when the red mist attacks, spurring him to bite.

Perhaps a part of him feels guilty for doing so well. Perhaps a part of him still sees himself as that poor, jeered kid. Maybe that's why he sabotaged himself.

Or perhaps, as the case is with a lot of  geniuses, he suffers from mild autism, like Asperger. Perhaps that explains why he did what he did without provocation. He was the last of the family to move to Montevideo because he doesn't like change. That's another symptom. A lot of people with such condition go through life undetected, only perceived as 'awkward/difficult' by those around them.

The only flaw with the last theory is, surely by now Zhaf Iqbal and Co would have found out.   

Perhaps it's a combination of all three. The poverty-ridden years, his father's desertion and definitely some form of mental illness issue.

 Like I said earlier, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a star, I don't even have my own car.

I don't have the answers, nor the solutions.

What he did was wrong. But that doesn't discount what a great addition to Liverpool he was.

We could have won the league if he wasn't banned from Ivanovich case. But we also wouldn't have finished No 2 without him in the team.

His teammates like him. He is devoted to his family. In Uruguay, he is Robbie Fowler.

He is not a bad person.

He didn't go around raping your daughter, setting fire to your family home or robbing the post office.

Have some perspective. Have some compassion.

As the great Kenny Dalglish - the most compassionate person in football said: "Some people have injuries we can't see."  

Luka di hati siapa yang tahu?

Whether Suarez stays or not, he will always have a special place in my heart. He will always have my respect as one of the greatest strikers to grace Anfield. He made football fun again. The football world would be a greyer place without Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz on any pitch.

I for one, will always root for him, wherever he plays. And I hope he will be able to put the demon that plagues him away.

Lastly, kan dah cakap, lain kali jangan gigit orang. Panggil c*nt takpe. 

Macai Suarez

*This is a personal view and not representative of anyone else in this blog.