I enjoy listening to people as they open up about their lives. Gilbert is a quirky dad who organises social sessions at Victor Badminton Centre. People in the group are mainly Chinese or Malaysian and Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language. I popped by on a Saturday to learn more about the group and about Gilbert.
Tell me a bit about this group? We started here [at Victor Badminton Centre] 2 years ago. Everyone comes from a different job, different background and everyone is fun, enjoying badminton. We don’t discriminate. Badminton is a favourite game in Asian countries and most especially from China, so most people are from China and Malaysia where badminton is a dominant sport.
Where are you from? I’m from Malaysia, Sabah
When did you start playing badminton? 10 years ago, just by joining a social club and start to pick up like that.
How would you describe your playing style? My playing style is very relaxed and enjoy the game, that’s all. It depends on my opponent also, if they’re more attacking then I will be more attacking. If I play with the player who’s lower grade than me, then just having fun with them.
What are your thoughts about rackets? A racket is one of the tools to play badminton, a racket that’s suitable for you is a good sword in your battle.
Have you ever hit someone with a racket? Yes, accidentally hit someone…nothing happened, just a blue-black mark on the shoulder, that’s all.
What are your thoughts about playing mixed doubles with your wife? It would be a disaster because she doesn’t play badminton. Well she’s not that kind of person. She does sport but mostly it’s a walk or jog, that’s all. Sometimes you have to be a bit different.
Have you ever dyed your hair and it didn’t work out? No, cos I only dye it black so…[looks blank]
If you could have an endless supply of food, what would you get? All sorts of seafood [looks blissful]
If you could be any animal, what would you be? A cat – eat and sleep, that’s all!
If you could have one wish granted, what would it be? Improve my badminton skill like Lin Dan. I’d consider him my favourite player, yes.
If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be? Maybe Lee Chong Wei.
What’s your goal for the next two years? Buying a house and move from my small unit. I’m a self-employed cleaner. It’s achievable, yes, hopefully the price drops down.
What life advice would you give your 20-year old self? Man, study hard otherwise you will regret in 50 years.
Is there anything you want to add for those thinking of joining the group? When you join my group, you must come and play badminton. [Looks sternly at me] very often, not once in a blue moon.
Note: The group runs regular Saturday sessions 8-11pm at Victor Badminton Centre in Lidcombe