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What about the Olympics?

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

I guess “sports” has a different meaning nowadays. Before, people, even those from different  countries, it was all in the spirit of sportsmanship and fairplay, Times have certainly changed, and I got this idea when I heard the report that North Korea has declared that it is not joining the coming Olympics, the sports event that the entire world patronizes and watches, and where athletes from all corners of this earth aspire to compete. Well, the COVID is the most convenient excuse, but one cannot help imputing some political reasons behind it.

***

The Olympic Games will probably go on, COVID or no COVID. But for sure, all participating sportsmen, as well as officials, will be strictly tested first to ensure that all who join, whether as officials or players, are “safe”. It’s a pity, though, if the reasons why North Korea has backed out is not just the pandemic. Could it be political? If it is, then the word “sports” can have no connection to it. And the games have been set for July 20 to August 8, which is barely four months away!

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If the Olympic games do not take place because of trepidations from participating countries over the COVID, then the world will miss what is probably the greatest and most popular event sportswise. In the meantime, who would want to be in the place of Tokyo? All those preparations, both for the sites and the games and for the housing of athletes who will be representing their respective countries’ best? The Philippines has reason to sigh in relief, because we already had our turn in sponsoring it.

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But if the reason for postponing or outrightly  cancelling them is the COVID pandemic who can blame the organizers? Up to this moment, which is already more than a year since it first appeared, this scourge has not yet been fully conquered, and has not spared people, young or old alike. In Davao, a six-day old baby was reported to have died from it. Where and how could it have contracted it? No mention was made about whether any member of the family, especially the mother, was a victim!

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But I cannot stop worrying about reports on what was termed an “Anti-Asian” attitude that has been noted in the United States lately, I think Asians comprise the biggest number of migrants, and I am not referring to Filipinos only. Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Thais – all of those are Asians, too, and what has triggered this animosity towards them recently? Personally, I am worried and my prayers now are all for the safety of my cousins, nieces, and other relatives there.

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Could it be jealousy, my Number One suspect? One of my cousins was immediately hired as manager of a first class hotel as soon as he got there and has moved to several others of the same or higher ranking ones that had offered better conditions and compensation. A niece is now a manager of a bank, and some of my former classmates were also holding lucrative jobs until they retired, with ample retirement benefits, of course. That is why my first suspicion regarding this so-called Anti-Asian atmosphere is that Asians are suspected of depriving the natives of well-paying positions.

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But I know that our Pinoys are no pushovers, and will brook no attempts to put them down or deprive them of what they deserve. What I fear, though, is that this “Anti-Asian” trend may worsen, but we are not the only Asians there – those Indonesians, Chinese, Malaysians, Japanese, etc, are Asians, too, and could be victimized as well. Let us pray for them, because the United States is not at all the land of milk and honey that immigrants used to believe. The natives even attack each other for no reason and risk imprisonment, like Derek Chauvin, who choked George Floyd with his knee and will surely suffer for it in prison, even if he happens to be a policeman!

***

But how did you, my dear readers, feel during the holy week that just passed? It surely was not one like any other we had gone through in our lives, was it? But let’s still give thanks that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had remembered us in his prayers, especially because we marked last month the 500th year since Christianity was brought to our country. Thanks to Ferdinand Magellan, who lost his way while trying to circumnavigate the world, the gift of Christianity was introduced to us and has influenced our lives ever since.*

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