SEA Games problems prove Filipinos still need a lot of work building an ethic of excellence

Did we really expect a seamless, swimmingly-hosted Southeast Asian Games (SEAG)? This is, after all, the Philippines where nothing works. Filipinos cannot organise their way out of a paper bag and this is reflected in just about every failed system and ways of working borrowed from former colonial masters and sloppily-applied to their setting. It has long been evident that excellence is not a strong aspect of Filipino tradition and this fact had been in plain sight everyday for decades since “independence” was granted in 1946.

Indeed, the way the Philippines prepared for the SEAG is an utter disgrace. But the Philippines overall, for that matter, has long been a disgrace to begin with. Considering that these games are set to be one of the biggest and most participated in history, it is quite astounding that the Philippine Government put its hand up to host it in the first place!

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Various “reports” and factoids on things going wrong are now flying about. Delays getting delegates settled, inadequate accommodation, unfinished venues, and, of course, the paralysing traffic that is allowing Manila to live up to its Gates-of-Hell image are now talks of the town. True to form, all these came to light over the broader public chatter at the eleventh hour. True to form because, in the tradition of Filipino thinking chops, foresight is not a pillar of Filipino thinking and problems most normal people will have foreseen a long time ago often become recognised as such only when they had reached FUBAR proportions such as in the case of today’s SEAG preparations.

That said, most of what we are hearing is “bad news” and it does not help that Opposition “thought leaders” are behind much of the maligning of the event. A self-proclaimed “expert” on the SEAG is even now running a series of tweets branded Usapang SEA Games. Others are “trending” hashtags like #SEAGamesFail. Amidst all this, there seems to be no particular mainstream media outlet delivering reliable facts on what really is going on. The entire system, as usual, is failing Filipinos — because Filipinos consistently fail to build systems that work.

There is nothing enough money and effort can fix, however, so, indeed, there is hope. Hope in what, exactly? Well, Filipinos need to first recognise that this SNAFU has nothing to do with sitting governments and how well or how badly one or the other “committee” is performing. Effort and money need to be channelled towards the right things — not into politicians’ pockets, not into developing concepts alien to the Filipino mind, and certainly not into partisan politics or media initiatives that distract from important things.

In short, while one may take heroic efforts to remain optimistic that things will be fine, hope lies over the long term as usual — a future where lessons learned from mistakes today are applied.

Take stock of the on-going chatter surrounding this latest circus and one will find one standout omission — solutions. The national discourse may be an exciting dynamic landscape but it ultimately fails because obvious solutions are not focused upon when they matter. Like the proverbial frog slowly being boiled alive, we as a people can’t seem to step back and view situations with clear eyes and open minds. The hope then is that this latest outrage will go down in history as yet another lesson. Whether or not Filipinos learn from it, as always, remains to be seen.

12 Replies to “SEA Games problems prove Filipinos still need a lot of work building an ethic of excellence”

  1. Filipinos do not have any good team work to attain a goal, like making the SEA Games a success…
    They work against each other; trying to prove, that one is better than the other…

    This is always the case; and it is evident in the slow progress of our country. Crab mentality will always be on our conscious and subconscious minds .

    We can never learn our lessons; because we refuse to learn from them, to better ourselves…”Pwede na Yan” is the mantra…Next time, we do not let politicians to handle projects like these projects…our politicians are too corrupt and too incompetent !

    1. Then let the Filipinos be a Filipinos if they’re so proud of their cultures, beliefs, traditions & their attitudes if they don’t want to change themselves. Just remember on what General Luna said to our Katipuneros at the height of Fil-Am War in 1899 that the main enemy of the Filipinos are not the Americans (or any foreign Invaders out there or even Martians) but the Filipino themselves. No wonder we couldn’t develop on our own in spite of having 2 greatest presidents namely Marcos & Duterte having difficulties in dealing with the dysfunctional Filipinos. That’s a sad reality in the Philippines.

    2. Why generalize? Are you a Filipino? If so, then do something to improve yourself or give an alternative solution, not a mother fucker strutting the mistakes of others.

      Look at yourself in the mirror and apply make up if need be.

  2. Not to defend but simply being impartial.

    I stumbled upon some posts claiming that the Thai Football team supposedly arrived a day earlier than scheduled? And with regards to their issue with their hotel, check in is 2pm but they were already at the hotel around 830am and it was fully booked so they couldn’t be checked in immediately.

    The bus/transport issue is disappointing and expected outcome with infra not able to keep up and construction still on-going. Still not sure why the events are “spread out” and not all in Clark City where the DMIA is. I still am at a loss as to why that is. Can someone explain it properly?

    If the bulk of the events are in Clark as the new structures are there, then wouldn’t it make sense to just move some players to Manila for the Manila based events then back to Clark, or am I missing something….

    But the worst I can see from a logistical/transportation standpoint is there is a scheduled event in Tagaytay as well? Why?

    1. Do you want to know on why there are so many hurdles, controversies, blunders, etc. within the 30th SEA Games right now? That’s because former Philippine president ABNOY Aquino had allowed to host our country for that annual sporting event way back 4 years ago but there are other 2 countries namely Brunei & Vietnam had backed out to host the 30th SEA Games:

      And of course, he’d also planned to build for the new sports complex in our country in the heart of New Clark City which is located in his home province of Tarlac in the 1st place & President Duterte had to fix these problems when he’d became our country’s president in 2016, a year after ex-president ABNOY accepted to host our country for the 30th SEA Games while PDU30 had also other priorities to do his job for his presidency like the War on Drugs, infrastructure projects on Build, Build Build programs, situation on the Spratlys Islands disputes, terrorism in Marawi City, earthquake in Mindanao, etc., etc.

      So don’t blame President Duterte for the 30th SEA Games, you should also blame to ex-pres ABNOY as well!!! He just doing it for his job to pursue the sporting events while those Liberal Panty aka Yellowtards are criticizing it instead of helping it to fix these problems. Crab mentality, it’s more f-c-u-k in the Philippines (by the way it means, French Connection of UK if you don’t know).

      1. I’m not blaming anyone though. I’m trying to be as impartial as I can be with whatever facts we find or unearth.

        I know it wasn’t under Duterte when we “won” the right to host the games. I don’t think we needed to do such a thing as well as these types of developments tend to be a moneysink for the host country unless it only uses existing infrastructure/improves on them (at least that means there were existing buildings of such already).

        I didn’t immediately jump the gun and simply asking the question as to why… You on the other hand prejudged me asking as to immediately putting it down when it is a way to understand the implementing agency, which is now under Duterte’s admin, course(s) of actions/decisions to make it “happen”.

        That’s not crab mentality, that’s simply logical course of how to rationalize each step taken by the organizing committee.

        Currently, the only things I have on hand in terms of info lead me to believe they are sort of working with what they have (Duterte government). However, that doesn’t absolve Phigsoc (under Cayetano et al) of any blame/fault. I see them as 2 separate entities. Duterte admin can always put them to task for the failings of the organizing committee.

        For now, we are simply having a civil discussion, don’t throw shade when there isn’t any merit yet. I am not.

        I also agree that for now, since we are the host, we trying to make things work and stop finger pointing (for now). After the games, examine the problems and faults. Open the books and plans.

  3. As usual. All you hear is people who are so proud to be pinoy. The question is “about what??”. Look at Olympic medal count. 1 in 20 years. Japan got 40 + in Brazil alone. Pinoys too busy playing genetic victim card and too busy being proud to actually get results. Hence pride in beauty contests and American Idol where the so called “pinoys” have little to do with the country. Beauty pageants where the beauties are not representative of “pinoy” looks , even with the surname.

    1. actually, economic power correlates with athletic performance in the olympics. everyone knows that only racists would bring up genetics here.

  4. Actually, dedicated public servants and patriotic volunteers are hard at work improving each event to be better than the last. we were awarded the fiba world cup even just to stay on sporting events. know it alls and armchair generals need not participate.

  5. If Filipinos keep this up, Murphy’s Law Firm will consider setting up headquarters in the Philippines.

    “Seamless Integration” would be a great concept/term Filipinos could add to their vocabulary.

    That’s on top of getting top-rate management, equipped with the latest mental tools of the trade such as MBO (management by objective), Toyota’s 5S and the 8D method of handling blunders/holding stopgaps.

  6. I have reading about your blogs. Agree with most of them, but (a) we also have our good points, we are warm and often generous (b) what can we actually do aside from griping about our bad points (c) we should also acknowledge good things done by others (e.g., American colonists did a lot of wrongs but also some right things). So it is not enough to criticise, but also then to offer remedies. Otherwise, they only contribute to our increasing insecurities as a people.

  7. How do you build an ethic of excellence in a world where it is assumed that work can only be done only when there’s monetary compensation? It’s a big bang of craziness and you wonder why it isnt working.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.