Simply Unbelievable

I was listening to the radio on the way back from bringing Marielle to work when I heard that a Thai official has accused the Philippines of cheating at the South East Asian Games. Jaruk Areerajakaran, the secretary general of Thailand’s Olympic Committee, said, “It is hard to win at the Games because the hosts are cheating.” Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s Prime Minister, made a statement that “the organizer aims only to favor their own athletes.”

How in the world can the Philippines, the organizer of the 23rd SEA Games, be cheating? For game-fixing to work in the massive undertaking that are the Games, there has to be a huge conspiracy with palm-greasing and pocket-lining all around (and we all know the Philippines can’t afford that, right?). The Philippine SEA Games organizing committee released a statement that says officiating is conducted not by the organizers themselves, but by the SEA Games Federation’s pool of international referees and judges.

My interest in this was so piqued that I wasn’t satisfied with local news reporting on it. I did a Google search for international news about it. The Bangkok Post reports that a few days before the official start to the Games, a Vietnamese official had told reporters in Hanoi that the Philippines had already fixed the games to win the overall crown. Nguyen Van Minh declared that the Philippines would do this by using judges from the Southeast Asian region. All I have to say about that is “Hello? It’s the South East Asian Games.” If there’s any bias to be had from using judges and referees from Southeast Asia, it might be that they’ll decide in favor of their own country. That’s why if the Philippines is playing, no Filipino judge or referee will be officiating.

The Philippines leads the medal standings (gold and overall) with five days left in these Games; Vietnam and Thailand are in second and third place, respectively. I won’t say this is for certain, but considering the source of the accusations I wonder if it’s just the sour grapes talking.

No offense meant to the citizens of Thailand and Vietnam. But their officials’ accusations are simply unbelievable.

UPDATE: Thai sports officials apologize for “inappropriate, baseless” report; Thai embassy says Thaksin’s remarks taken out of context.

Bugging

If anyone can tell me why I’m the first person in a room to be bitten by mosquitoes, I’d be happier. Well, not really happier because I’d still be bitten, but at least I’d know why it happens.

Is it because I release more carbon dioxide than the next person? Is it my slightly warmer body temperature (only applicable when I have my period)? Do I have some sort of insects appeal?

I think I might have to start wearing insect repellent round the clock. If only it didn’t smell so nasty and lotion-y, though…

I Am Supergirl

Many, many years ago, my parents took me to see Supergirl: the Movie. I don’t really remember seeing its first run, but I do remember (and have a picture of) being dressed up in a Supergirl costume.

Later on, my parents bought me a Supergirl Which-Way Book, akin to the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books. I enjoyed the book immensely even as I started getting confused with all the Golden Age/Silver Age/whatever that DC Comics had perpertrated in its universe, and Supergirl was changed from being Superman’s cousin to being Matrix, a completely different alien creature.

Today my dad called me and asked me if I wanted the Supergirl DVD. When he came home with it, to my joy it was the Director’s Cut which features scenes that were cut from the final version shown in movie theaters and on cable television. Ü I never realized how much I love this old movie until I found it in my hands. It’s playing on my laptop as I type this, and I love it as much now for its fantasy storyline as well as its campy graphics and effects. If you’re interested (like I am), you can read more about Supergirl: The Movie.

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For those people who got to this site looking for more information on tennis at the SEA Games, I’m writing about that on Game, Ms. Noelle, my pro tennis journal. Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino helped seal the gold medal for the Philippines in the team tennis competition. They are both entered in the singles and doubles event that started today at 10am.

Market

My dad and I made the requisite appearance at Lung Center’s food market this Sunday morning. Normally it’s my mom, my sister, and I who go there to buy fresh produce such as eggs, vegetables, fruit, and the odd loaf of Uncle George’s sugar-free high-fiber bread.

Today we just bought the bread, some taho, longganisa, and grilled catfish. My dad likes going to the wet part of the market where they have fresh cuts of meat and live fish. His favorite part are the field frogs still jumping in a large mesh bag, waiting for the exotic food connoisseur to come along and… I don’t even want to think about that. My dad took me past that mesh bag two times! The frogs jumped, I jumped, the frogs jumped, I jumped.

We bought the grilled catfish last. As we were paying for it, I noticed a tub of live catfish at my feet. One of the fish was discreetly trying to make its escape and wriggled up and out of the tub. It landed splat on the outdoor cement floor of the market. I let out a little “Oh!” but the fish vendor didn’t notice.

The catfish wriggled onwards. Bystanders started murmuring. “Uy! Namamasyal! (It’s taking a stroll!)” said one of them. The fish had gotten three or four feet away before the vendor caught it and sent it back to the tub along with the other catfish.

It’s probably now waiting for some food connoisseur to come along and… Ü

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By the way, check out my Photo Log sometime, would you? I just updated it with some pics from a party I attended last month.

Pat Morita died last week of natural causes. Mr. Miyagi, we shall miss you. Wax on, wax off in peace. (Link via Brownpau.)

SEA Games? Here? Really?

Five weeks ago, I had no idea that the South East Asian Games were taking place right here in the Philippines. In fact, it took a Singaporean friend’s excitement over the SEA Games to make me aware of it.

On Sunday, November 27, the SEA Games will officially commence. For the past four weeks I’ve seen banners and billboards from Globe Telecom celebrating its status as official telecom partner of the SEA Games. this whole week at UP Diliman the Pre-SEA Games Conference on Sports Science was held at the Film Center and Bahay ng Alumni. This morning as I walked through Holiday Inn Galleria’s lobby to take the elevator down to my car (I’d come from Gold’s Gym Galleria), I saw that the hotel was an official partner hotel for the SEA Games as well: part of the delegation from Singapore was checking in at the front desk. I think they were the badminton team, since there were several Yonex badminton racquet bags lying on a table near them.

Still, I don’t feel much fanfare about these Games. The Malaysian Star reports that you wouldn’t even know the biggest sporting event in the region was going to kick off here in Manila.

From the Malaysian Star:
The planes into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are packed with incoming athletes and officials. But step out of the airport, and it’s just another day in the town.

There are hardly any banners to herald the 23rd SEA Games, which begin in two days. There is no excitement and even the mascot, the eagle, is nowhere in sight.

At the airport, though, singing girls and bands welcome the Games “families” and Immigration and Customs clearance is a breeze while policemen and security personnel greet visitors with big smiles.

The Malaysian Star also reports that the Malaysian athletes are being crammed into small hotel rooms (three athletes to a 10-foot by 10-foot room) even though the Olympic Council of Malaysia is paying for the accommodations.

While I’m honored that the Philippines is hosting the Games, I’m embarrassed that they come at this time of political turmoil and financial belt-tightening. That the SEA Games are being used as a diplomatic tool (akin to India and Pakistan’s “cricket diplomacy”) isn’t much of a morale-booster, either.

To know more about the Philippine involvement with the SEA Games, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has a good write-up on it. The article doesn’t have what I really want to know, though, and that is: where are they going to hold the Games’s tennis tournament? Ü

UPDATE: a fellow tennis-obsessed friend of mine found two articles (Manila Standard and Inquirer) on Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino representing the Philippines at the SEA Games tennis tournament in Rizal Memorial Stadium (where else?). The two Fil-Ams play on the ATP Tour and represented the US up until this year.