IF TUESDAY’S column had a meme it would be that of a hooman covering their face and it would be in disgust and in shame. But make that human face that of a Filipino immensely embarrassed and apologetic to the delegates of the 11 countries participating in the SEA Games now being held in Luzon.
The SEA Games was conceived “to promote co-operation, understanding and relations among countries in the Southeast Asian region” in 1958 where the members agreed to hold the games biennially. Nineteen years after (1977) and under Marcos’ Martial Law, the Philippines debuted in the SEA Games. My memory of the SEA Games goes far back to Elma Muros when she competed as 14-year-old in the track and field. Google told me that the best finish we had in the SEA Games was in 1983 when the teams amassed enough medals to rank third over-all.
But this year we probably might have earned the worst SEA Games award even before our athletes can compete starting from the botched interpretation architectural design of Manosa, alleged overpriced gear given to the athletes, unfinished venues and the mess-ups in accommodation and welcome of the delegates from other countries. Didn’t the Thai contingent recently complain of not having served enough food? This is the light of the Filipino pride of being the most hospitable. Before the Thai complained, the football team from Cambodia had to sleep on floors because their hotel rooms were not yet ready. The team of Timor-Leste had to wait for almost 3 hours at the airport before they were shuttled to a wrong hotel. Myanmar had to postpone practice because the venue was not ready. Another team had to change into their uniforms inside vehicles because the dug outs and the toilets were not yet available.
But then again, as a host, the Philippines has put up the most expensive kaldero