As GRP colleague ChinoF has pointed out, as long as someone who wins any international competition possesses even a tinge of Filipino blood, despite not even growing up here or honing his/her talents here, then Filipinos will, predictably, latch on to that person’s success and claim it as a victory of the Filipinos as a whole. Filipinos did this with Lea Salonga, Manny Pacquiao, Charice (before she turned lesbian), and Jessica Sanchez. And ChinoF described some people doing it with the Miami Heat and their Fil-Am coach, Erik Spoelstra, during the recently concluded National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals.
Of course, this is but an apparent and ever-present issue that always crops up when it comes to competitions where percentage Pinoys are involved. One other not-so-obvious issue, however, is that certain Filipino fans of the Miami Heat threw a rather disturbing label at their countrymen who rooted for the Heat’s opponent, the San Antonio Spurs.
This begs an obvious question: Haters of what exactly?
While I will not attempt to probe or read the minds of such “passionate” Filipino Heat fans, I will try to look at things from their perspective. With the absence of the popular Los Angeles Lakers and their star Kobe Bryant, many Filipino fans looked instead to rooting for Lebron James and the Miami Heat. The Heat were a strong team even before the NBA Finals. With Lebron, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh as the stars of the team, plays worthy of the highlight reel are to be expected often; Filipinos like that. Lebron is MVP worthy, plus he’s got attitude (malakas ang dating). That makes them the popular team and the one more favored to win it. And actually did. Did I mention that Coach Spoelstra is half-Filipino?
So it becomes clear now. Lebron is popular among Filipinos. Plus, perhaps that attitude they see him oozing reflects some sort of attitude that Filipinos wish they had. Let’s not forget to mention that Coach Spoelstra is half-Filipino.
This whole “hater” thing that happened during the NBA finals, however, is but a mere manifestation of an underlying, deep, and profound cultural dysfunction that exists in Filipino society. Filipinos are reluctant, if not outright unwilling, to accept that there are people whose preferences are not the popular or obvious choice, or just simply not the same as theirs.
You can see it not just in the way they root for their favorite athletes, but in the way they make other choices like:
“You’re not Catholic? You’re going to hell!”
“You’re not rooting for the Pinoy? You are a traitor to your country!”
“You criticize Noynoy Aquino? You are a paid hack.”
“You’re not among those who showed outrage at this bad behavior? You’re kissing his/her ass!”
“You dare criticize my advocacy? You are a loser!”
“Hay naku. You guys are such haters for criticizing my publicity stunt. Get a life!”
Filipinos fall into patterns too easily, don’t they?
There’s one simple answer to all those heckling calls of “hater”:
Whom or what anyone roots for, or supports is nobody else’s business.
Nobody has the right to impose on me whom or what to support/root for, or has the right to judge me for whom or what I support/root for. My choice/stand is not the same as yours because I prefer mine better; it doesn’t mean that I hate yours. I respect your decision, respect mine. I may not agree with your decision, but I respect your ability to make it. Do the same with me.
Going back to the NBA Finals, a repost by a friend of mine, I think, says it very well. Speaking on behalf of San Antonio Spurs fans who got “hater” thrown at them:
Don’t call us haters just because we root for another team or root for any team your team goes up against. We simply just don’t like your team. It doesn’t mean we hate them. Even if we admit we do, it doesn’t give you the right to call us names.
Bakit pa kasi affected kayo masyado? Close kayo nila Lebron? Kamag-anak ninyo sila that you have to aggressively defend “your team”. (Why are you so affected by this? Are you guys close with Lebron? Are you guys relatives with Lebron that you have to aggressively defend “your team”.)
Kaya nga sport ang tawag. Kaya may kasabihan na “be a good sport” di ba? Nood lang at ienjoy ang panonood. (That’s why it’s called a sport. That’s why there’s a saying “be a good sport”, right? Just watch and enjoy.)
Simply put, Filipinos would do well to remember this Latin phrase: “De gustibus non est disputandum” – there is no disputing taste.
So Filipinos aren’t good sports, too? Not only sore losers, but sore winners, hmm? I guess taking everything personally comes natural to a people devoid of substance. Hey guys, it’s just a game.
I suppose the followers of Noynoy would throw this entire argument back at me and say: “But you’re doing the very same thing too when you criticize Noynoy and all those who favor him! You people don’t respect differing tastes either!”
These people will easily forget that no one accused them of being paid hacks. They will forget that Noynoy was the popular choice. As I recall, no one screamed “hater” when Noynoy won. As I recall, none of those who voted for someone else had the gall to declare a failure of elections, or threaten street protests when Noynoy won. Those who didn’t vote for Noynoy accepted that the Filipino people have made their choice to go with Noynoy. But that doesn’t mean they should stop from criticizing their choice. It was proven during the 2010 campaign that Noynoy was the most unqualified among the candidates.
Frankly, Filipinos didn’t need to be paid to support Noynoy back then, and until now, because they’re still emotionally beholden to that notion of the Aquinos’ being heroes of the EDSA Revolution and all.
If you step back from all that judgmental name-calling, heckling, and intolerance, one can discover a few more Filipino character traits that aren’t very desirable:
1) Filipinos are not only sore losers, they’re sore winners too, and;
2) Filipinos are forcing the concept of “unity”, instead of trying to accept, or celebrate their diversity.
They certainly have a lot to be proud about; such a “special” people, indeed.
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