One of the region’s most well-known individuals, Fandi Ahmad has had a marvellous career as a Singaporean and international professional player and now football coach for teams in Indonesia and Singapore. However his amazing skills on the field are not the only reason why Fandi is so beloved, he has always been known for his humility, warmth and personal honour.
Honour figures centrally in Fandi’s biography launching on May 29, 2022; in fact the title makes its importance obvious. Entitled Fandi: Honour and Sacrifice, this name was chosen because Fandi believes that “no honour can be achieved without sacrifices”.
Author of the biography, Durga Poonambalam from Writehaus Asia, was inspired to pitch the idea of the book for two reasons. Firstly she admits it was his impact as a successful Singaporean footballer: “He made us feel like we belong to something bigger than what we are — the Singapore spirit deeply entrenched in local football at that time.”
“Secondly, I felt that it is important to recognise and honour the people who have created that sense of belonging — being uniquely Singaporean,” explains Durga. “We all read the biographies of the Steve Jobs and Obamas of the world, why shouldn’t we learn from our own? That is what inspired this project.”
“When you see Fandi, you think of Singapore and he makes us feel truly at home, kind of like returning to Changi airport after a trip – that sense of nostalgia and pride. It is an honour and privilege for me to be able to write for someone who made us feel like that – uniquely Singaporean.”
For Fandi, agreeing to do the biography was not just to have a record of his successful career, but to also give back to those who have supported him over the years.
“I have had many wonderful and interesting experiences throughout my life and career and I want to share that with everyone who has supported me,” says Fandi when asked why he decided to release his biography.
“I also want to inspire and motivate the future generation, to share with them that with determination, discipline, dedication and sacrifice you can achieve your goals.”
Fandi’s fame as a footballer has already been acknowledged via a variety of media outlets; this biography, however, focuses on Fandi’s entire life: “This biography talks about the life I have created through football and my motivations behind important moments in my life and career.”
“I have grown over the years, and I have many roles: I am a father, husband, son, brother, coach and more. [In the biography] I talk about how these relationships influence my life and about my life philosophy.”
One of the things Fandi enjoyed most about writing his biography was being able to take time to reminisce: “I liked talking about my childhood. It took me back to a time where I was carefree and played football as a boy. Those were wonderful times.”
“I felt both happy and a little sad. Happy because I got to remember and meet old friends again through the book. A little sad because I realised time has passed,” says Fandi. “As I shared my experience, I learned more about myself also. I reflected on my life and career decisions. I also feel grateful thinking about how far I have come.”
While Fandi was a little surprised that it took so long to write the biography – it took three years overall – his family was excited and very supportive about the book. “They are happy that I can share my story with others,” says Fandi.
One of the reasons that Fandi agreed to the biography was his hope to be able to inspire future generations, and to share his mantra of the ‘3Ds’ – determination, dedication and discipline.
“Everybody goes through challenges in life and I hope to inspire the next generation to dream big and go after their ambitions by sharing my 3DS with them. Nothing should stop our ambitions as long as we are willing to work hard for them,” Fandi explains.
The decision to release the biography this year, during his 60th birthday, is another perfect example of Fandi’s generosity and warmth.
“I wanted to share this moment with everyone who has supported me through the years and I felt a good way to do it is on my 60th. It was also a way to remember all that I have and be grateful for it.”
FANDI: Honour & Sacrifice, An authorised biography by Durga Poonambalam, will be available in leading bookstores and online from 29 May 2022. For more information and to pre-order, go to www.fandibook.com.
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