On August 17, 2017, news broke out that the Philippines will be hosting the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. It has been two years — two years since the news erupted; two years since the news brought excitement and delight to the Filipinos; and two years to prepare for the most awaited intercounty sports event in the Southeast Asian region.
People got so excited, the social media realm was flooded with their thoughts and creative spirit. People got so excited that they showcased their talents and made various designs of how the 30th SEA Games logo should look like.
However, as the months pass by, the excitement dwindled and delight was replaced with disappointment after numerous reports revealed how the entire event was planned; and as there are only a few days left before the opening of the 30th SEA Games, the narratives manifested itself to be a series of unwarranted events.
Earlier this November, participating athletes arrived in the Philippines to prepare for the prestigious sporting event. However, instead of a grand and warm welcome, they were greeted with a printed-out signage simply saying “Welcome SEA Games Athletes” — this is probably where the series started.
The poorly planned and poorly executed signage received negative feedback from the Filipinos, themselves, saying how ironic it was to be dubbed as one of the most hospitable countries in the world but cannot even provide for better banners and signages for the visitors.
People were, again, enraged and ended up mocking the situation, crafting better designs and stating that the committee could have done better.
Moreover, there have also been leaks stating that some of the materials needed were not yet ready, and the volunteers were not well taken care of.
Another part of the series that caused shame and triggered anger was leaks of poorly accommodated and poorly treated athletes. These photos went viral after showing athletes, both foreign and local, sleeping on hotel floors and makeshift beds in the most unconventional places due to an alleged problem with the booking of rooms.
There have also been reports stating that food rations were not enough for the athletes. Some reports even documented that the food being served to these individuals are “repetitive.” There have also been leaks stating that the athletes have very limited supply of drinking water. Some say that each athlete are given two bottled waters, while some say that each hotel room, despite having four to five occupants, are given two bottles of water to share.
Another recent report documented that these athletes’ breakfast that morning had been rice, kikiam, and eggs despite having games, events, and training later that day.
Apart from the socializing and networking aspect, the event is ultimately all about sports. These are what everyone is anticipating to watch. These are what makes it exciting and prestigious. However, with only a few days left until the opening, there have been issues with the venues; thus, resulting to the cancellation of a few games.
Despite starting the renovation months before the opening ceremony of the 30th SEA Games,, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex is not yet ready for use, posing a threat to the event.
Moreover, games such as skate sports are reported to have been canceled due to the lack of probable venue and accommodations for the athletes.
The ultimate question to ask amidst everything is this: what do we make of these mishaps?
The inability to properly plan and execute an event as big as this would reflect negatively on the country’s national government and those people in power. Moreover, these would also reflect on the Filipino people as it paints the image of a nation that is untrustworthy and unreliable; thus, these mishaps could potentially lead to the weakening and breaking of ties and bonds with other countries, bringing the country in a bad light.