Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Case of National Pride

I have caught the Olympic mania that is gripping the 2012 host nation! 

This means that every oh-so-hour I’m checking the medals table and reading the sports commentaries while trying to do some work at the same time. The person next to me is even watching Live feeds on the BBC website and millions of people are glued in their television sets every night to catch a glimpse of defining moments in human history. National pride does that to you.   

Sure, it won’t be until a few months from now that I become officially ‘British' but I have already contributed to the cost of the gold medal haul (22 today). According to BBC, I have paid 80p (that's less than Php 65) per year to see the country in third place on the medal ranking, its most successful Olympics results since 1908. 

Of course there's more to that. Analysis have shown that a British medal over the last four Olympics (the same period where Philippines failed to bring home anything) cost just over £4million each. Most of the funding, of course, came from the National Lottery (60%) so it's hardly a burden to the taxpayers. 

But I'm sure that the British public would agree with me that the £264million invested on the country's athletes and infrastructure was worth the surge of hope and inspiration it has brought the nation who had only a year ago saw some of its major cities lit up in flames amidst the riots and looting that shocked the whole country. 

In his article 'From Broken Britain to Team GB', BBC's Mark Easton was right when he said:
"Sometimes countries, like people, need a bit of therapy to boost their self-esteem. This Olympics is acting like a motivational trainer, urging us to believe in ourselves."
The  Brits are not normally patriotic. They don't have a constitution or a national anthem. They love being the underdogs. They expect to be disappointed - by their football team, by the weather and by anything in fact. But seeing the way their athletes have delivered in this Olympics, in their own home turf, has created a new sense of national pride. 

My countrymen, on the other hand, have a very strong sense of Filipino pride. Not a single day would pass where you wouldn't see a "Proud to be Pinoy" posted in Facebook. Remind me, why are we proud of being Filipinos?

Well sure, we don't have £264million to invest in sports but why can't the country invest in the sports events that its people are good at? Look at Jamaica again and Kenya and other smaller countries that have smaller economies than ours, they can produce Olympic gold medalists.  Even war torn Afghanistan can produce a double bronze medalist in Taek-won-do. 

But perhaps our thirst for national pride is already quenched by 'Filipino blood' joining in the American Idol or The Ellen De Generes Show. Our country is already represented not by the athlete's talent matched with commitment and hard work but by 'easy fame' and light entertainment. If that is enough to have Filipino pride, then I rest my case.  

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