Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fair Play: SEA Games is all about the sea games?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Dec. 12 issue)

I FIRST got interested in sports because of the Southeast Asian Games and a peculiar question. It was 1991, and I was a 12-year-old who was starting to read the papers for the first time. It was also the year the country hosted the SEA Games and my first question was, why are there events like track and field or basketball in SEA Games?

I thought, then, that the SEA Games were games played at sea, not a gathering of the best teams from Southeast Asia.

It may be funny but similar questions are being asked now, not of basketball or non-sea events, but of non-SEA events.

Chinlone, tarung derajat, vovinam and kempo. These events are in the 2013 SEA Games, while Olympic events like volleyball, gymnastics and tennis are not.

Why? Because as host Myanmar can do anything they like and it seems the rest of Southeast Asia can do nothing, or have been told to do nothing.

It would be like making shatong, sungka or Chinese garter a medal event the next time we host the SEA Games and if the idea seems farcical to you, it’s because it really is farcical.

We shouldn’t be competing in the SEA Games and lend credence to the fraud and one of the first statements that came from the Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia was one that I would have been willing to support.

“The Philippines will boycott the SEA Games.”

But that was the only time he said it and instead they shifted their stance, sending a lean and mean delegation of sure medalists.

We should have boycotted the SEA Games.

It’s a waste of money.

Why are we in Myanmar again?

I got a curious inside info on why the word boycott was never heard again from the mouths of our government officials.

Uncle Sam.

“Ever wondered why the PSC never mentioned of boycotting the SEA Games again?” a source told me over a few cold ones weeks ago.

It seems after the PSC chairman issued that statement, he got a call from the Palace and got rebuked for daring to mention a boycott of the Myanmar Games.

Myanmar needs the SEA Games, and Uncle Sam is supporting Myanmar and even hosted Myanmar president Then Sein at the Oval Office last summer.

The US needs lots of allies in the region, because one country has been flexing its muscles.

So, we are in the SEA Games because of the games played at one particular sea.

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