"For now we should allow our people to savor the moment, and not engage in brickbats and throwing all kinds of snide remarks."
After staging what most observers, local and foreign, now admit as one of the most spectacular opening ceremonies of any sporting and, yes, cultural event in recent memory, the Philippines has moved on to snatch medals on the second day of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). This should still the waters, as it were, and allow our athletes and their fellows from the 11 member (Timor Leste is the 11th) nation grouping to concentrate on their events and proceed to promote excellence and camaraderie in this biennial regional fest.
While commendable, this medal haul which the organizers expect to be well over a hundred by the time the games end on Dec. 11, will probably only energize, if we can call it such, the critics to make their harangues even louder and, yes, sillier. Like that out-of-left field swing at the contractor of the athletes village in Clark, the Malaysian company MTD Berhad, which some critics claim put one over the Philippines allegedly via an "elaborate, sleight-of-hand" funding scheme which may cost the treasury billions of pesos.
But that is another story. Suffice it to say that for now we should allow our people to savor the moment, and not engage in brickbats and throwing all kinds of snide remarks.
Like that opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena. For a while there, the critics chirped about its being held indoors and not at the open air New Clark City Sports Complex complete with the lighted 'kaldero."
Well, they got their comeuppance. It was a rousing, much applauded affair. While we note that the Emmy Award winning events coordinator, Five Currents Consortium, made sure that the detailed engineering and digitalized works were in sync, loads of credit should go to the performers who did their level best to show our artistic and cultural assets, so to speak, (take the much applauded Singkil royal wedding ceremony for example) as well as the directing and content providers (Floy Quintos, Ramon Obusan Dancers, Lani Misalucha, Apl de Ap and the entire ensemble). Of course, the audience participation. including President Duterte's swaying and hand movement, made the evening truly memorable. But the critics could not hold their punches that they even went to the extent of contriving a 'mess-of-sorts" misusing Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's comment about the iconic "Manila" Hotdog song. Talaga naman.
Anyway, let's leave them to their bitterest best and cheer our athletes on. Imagine, just on the second day we have collected seventy one (71) medals—38 golds, 20 silvers and 15 bronzes—a lot more than our haul in the 2017 SEAG in Malaysia. And we are just in the second day of the event. Vietnam, which came in second, has 51 medals (15 golds to our 38); Malaysia which is in third had 19 medals (10 golds) and Indonesia and Thailand with six (6) golds each. This puts us squarely in the running for the most bemedaled contingent in the 30th SEAG—a feat which, even if the critics do not care to acknowledge, only reinforces the view that despite all our limitations we have been able to put together a contingent we can all be proud of.
So, let the critics go on with their snide remarks and chirping. But for the vast majority of all of us, let us continue praying and cheering our athletes. Hoping not only for the best but, equally important, that the games proceed smoothly with as little wrinkles as can be. Go, go Philippines.