“Kirstie Kenney, the US Ambassador to the Philippines, awarded the medals for the top three finishers of the men’s basketball tournament”
Manila Times, October 3, 2006
One thing that caught my attention at last Monday’s basketball finals between Ateneo and UST was the presence of US ambassador Kristie Kenney in the stands. (The image of Pope John Paul II in the gallery caught my attention too, but that’s another story.)It was actually the second time I saw her at the UAAP finals. When asked which team she was rooting for, Kenny gave a safe answer and held up both blue and yellow balloons.
I learned from a news report (and I’m not sure how it happened) that Kenney awarded the championship medals to the top three finishers of the UAAP basketball division.
Now there’s something you don’t see everyday from US officials here in the Philippines. Ever since she got here, Kenney has been on a charm offensive, trying to soften the image of the number one imperialist-terrorist power in the world. Her appearance in the UAAP Finals was a media coup. (We don’t just fight terrorists! We love sports too!). Cameras would occasionally pan in the direction of Kenny during the game, earning her an interview with a courtside reporter.
What was going on in the minds of the UAAP organizers when they got Kenney to do the awarding of the championship medals? Did Kenney’s “finals appearance” enhance the value of the award? (She’s not exactly Nelson Mandela, you know.). Does her participation make the event any more meaningful?
Are the organizers unaware of how isolated the US is in the global community after it single-handedly waged the so-called “war on terror” whose basis is now being questioned even by the American public?
Or are the UAAP organizers just victims of that not-so-new problem of colonial thinking that they believe anything handed out by a foreigner, including a basketball championship trophy, is worth more than what it already is? Why the US ambassador? Why not some other dude from a Third World country?
The thought of the US ambassador handing out the medals was just darn sickening. Makes you wonder if the geniuses behind that stunt have any remaining sense of history left. Such a shame.
Kenney can go to any basketball game she wants, but I don’t think people should go the extra mile just to give her a platform to promote something that she’s not while concealing the true interests she represents.
Congrats though to the UST Growling Tigers for doing a hell of a job in wrapping up Game 3. Their trophy was made meaningful by their own hard work. ‘Nuff said.