Harvest them medals!

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Monday, December 30, 2013

I KNOW. I shouldn't laugh, but did you see that compilation of CCTV's traffic accidents put together by Davao's Public Safety and Security Command Center? GMA aired some clips on the local news - here's a multicab clanging into, of all things, a police patrol wagon. Here's a tricycle mowing down a pedestrian on an otherwise empty crossing. Here's a - is it a plane? A bird? Neither - it's a flying motorcyclist!

I rolled about the sofa in stitches, a one-man football crowd - OH! Bullseye! WHOA! That had to hurt! OH! Take that! If there are no bootleg copies of the S&S Command Center's DVD on sale on San Pedro at this very moment I want to know why.

'Philippines suffers worst-ever finish in Southeast Asian Games.'

That caught my attention, expecting news of a whitewash, and so I read on only to find that the Philippine's 'worst ever' haul of medals was 29 gold, 34 silver, 37 bronze and that, apparently, medals are no longer won but 'harvested'.

True. According to Charley Holganza's Athlete's Foot column the Philippine's 'harvest' of near 30 gold medals was 'measley'. I.e., sport is not about the taking part anymore; not about the honor of representing your country; not about the satisfaction of excelling in your particular field but rather we finish at the top end of the medal table. The Philippines, in seventh place overall, won a total of 100 medals which make you wonder how many were on offer in the first place. Medals by the builders skip-full? And then, inevitably, you wonder at the value of medals dished out by the bucket.

Charly Holganza ponders on whether it might be better if the Philippines concentrate on 'medal rich' sports. He writes there's gold in athletics, water sports and the 'combat disciplines', most of which I'd never heard of and I imagine the average Joe doesn't give a fig about but hey, it's about winning medals, not the sport.

Quantity rather than quality. This dumbing down of values seems to be a national trend at the moment. Have you noticed, for example, how many awards, plaques and trophies are handed out every week, many to folks for just doing their job. Yes, Juan dela Cruz turned up for work seven days in a row - let's give him a commendation. The other day it was reported that a couple of senators - the highest political office in the land - have nothing better to do that file a resolution honoring Bea Rose Santiago who had given 'thousands of Filipinos reason to smile'.

Bea Rose Santiago? Exactly. She won a beauty pageant. And senators file resolutions. I could go out on the street this minute and ask the first dozen passers-by if they've heard of Bea and guarantee none will have a clue let alone have 'reason to smile'.

Lastly, just to prove it isn't only us provincial newspapers afflicted with the occasional gremlin, here's a gem from a national broadsheet commenting on the cleanup of a recent oil spill - 'Test results show the reduction of toxicity levels to zero parts per million (ppm) which is lower that the tolerable level of 0.5 ppm'.


Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 31, 2013.


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