Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Paano Naman Kami? (What about us?)

Of all the annoying things in this world, on top of my list is the "paano naman kami" attitude of some people.

Our athletes who brought honor to the country in the last SEA games are now in Hongkong for a three-day R & R - the blowout is courtesy of the First Gentleman and some private donors. The delegation, I read in the papers today, is composed of almost 400 heads, almost half of them sports officials. Why there are that many officials in the delegation is precisely due to a sense of entitlement - paano naman kami? what about us?

The athletes deserve the prize. They worked hard for it, for crying out loud. But naturally, because we are Filipinos, many critics have found something terribly wrong with that. The general drift of the criticism has to do with, of all things, "nationalism." Why go to Hongkong and not Boracay or Baguio or for that matter, Enchanted Kingdom? Why celebrate in Hongkong and not here? I find this kind of nitpicking childish and utterly illogical. First of all, let's call a spade a spade: there is no place in the Philippines that comes close to the kind of thrill and enjoyment one can find in Disneyland. Second, where is it written that nationalism means having fun only in the Philippines? Third, why the heck shouldn't they go where they want to go if someone is giving it as a gift?

I think though that deep down inside, the criticism has to do with this "paano naman kami" attitude. If all of us have to tighten our belts, why shouldn't they do that as well? The obvious answer is: because they deserve it and you do not! Because someone else can afford it, and you can not. So stop whining and work so that you too can go wherever you want to go.

And some people actually had the nerve to make comparisons between the SEA games athletes and those participating in the ongoing para games (athletic competition for physically challenged). I do not have anything against physically challenged people and I am all for the para games. And yes, someone out there should also be generous to them. But to actually put the SEA games athletes to task for going to Disneyland because the same privilege may not be extended to the para games athletes - now, that is cheap and tasteless.

Those who think that the para games athletes deserve exactly what the SEA games athletes are entitled to should lobby hard and work just as hard to get sponsorhips and all that. But quite frankly, I think asking for the same privileges just because of "paano naman kami" just does not fly.

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