More than just a passion, writing about football is something of duty to blogger Ko Po Hui, who hopes to help people learn more about the local football scene.
“I’m just playing my part by sharing my thoughts, articles, and pictures, to make people aware that there is more (to football) than just (Cristiano) Ronaldo or (Lionel) Messi – that we do have people like Faris Ramli, Noh Alam Shah, Fandi Ahmad, and all the (other local) players who are being overlooked because of the obsession over foreign football,” said the 42-year-old.
As far as he could recall, Ko has always been hooked on the thrill and action of football games. A long-time supporter of local football, he was an active participant on online forums, where he discussed various football issues. When a technical glitch on his usual forum disrupted his only method of reaching out to Singapore’s football community, he created a website to continue expressing his thoughts in 1996.
Eventually, Ko revamped the website and established his current blog, BoLASEPaKO.com. The unusual name of his blog is derived from the Malay name for football, “bola sepak”.
“It [running BoLASEPaKO.com] is something I do to get away from my work, something to de-stress from my day job, and something I like to do (very much). I enjoy every part of being a football blogger,” he shared.
Despite having to juggle erratic hours with his day job, Ko still makes an effort to set aside time to blog and spread awareness about his favourite sport. He has gradually shifted the editorial direction of his blog from generic match reporting to commentaries over the years in order to ensure he could continue producing content of good quality.
Po Hui runs local football blog BoLaSEpaKO.com. Photo: SportSG
“Everytime I go back after a game, I work on my stories and sort out my pictures till 1am in the morning. Then, I have to wake up at 6am (for work),” Ko stated.
He continued: “In recent years, due to my day job commitments, I saw a need to shift my (editorial) direction. It’s quite important to balance my job and blogging.
The key thing is to (ensure I would) not be burned out by my involvement in football.”
While the commitment to blogging about the local football scene takes up a significant amount of Ko’s time, he has been rewarded for his efforts in more ways than one.
Getting to rub shoulders with some legendary Lions players was just one example in the plethora of unique experiences he has since garnered.
“I watched Fandi Ahmad during my boyhood days and now, he’s suddenly in front of me. It’s an amazing feeling when you see someone you idolise standing right next to you,” he said, sharing his most memorable experience so far.
“Through my blogging about the local football scene, I’ve gotten to know quite a lot of things – like how the media works and how the players train. It’s basically whatever is behind-the-scenes that is not made known to the public,” Ko pointed out.
Getting to rub shoulders with some legendary footballers through his work has been one of the major highlights for Po Hui. Photo: SportSG
Fan support for local football has been widely discussed in recent years, and while Ko agreed that Singapore supporters have not been as passionate of late, he would continue to pull his weight to promote local teams in hopes of restoring the sport back to its glory days.
He admitted that it would take time and effort for the local football scene to regain its footing in the hearts of fans, but he believed in the importance of the cause.
“We just need to have a common goal – to make Singapore football great again. It all boils down to attitude.
Be bold, be innovative, and have the courage to change,” he said.
Ko concluded: “Football is like a unifying force – it bonds people of all races, (and gets them to) come together at the stadium to cheer Singapore on.”
Gather for the inaugural Singapore Football Week, happening from 22nd to 29th July this year, to bring back the love for local football! For more details, visit this link.