Games, Children and Politics

"I was cheated!"

This is often heard from losing candidates of a Philippine election. Seldom we hear candidates that concedes to the winning party. They say politics here is a dirty game, whether local or national elections. Well, it is still a game - meaning, someone is bound to win while the others lose.

I wonder if these traditional politicians ever played games when they were kids? I'm not gonna talk about X box, PSPs, Wiis and other computer games anymore.
I'm talking about the usual and traditional Filipino games that were so popular during our or their time.

These games promote sportsmanship. Acceptance, agreement and adherence to the rules and regulations set between children. There is no necessity for arbiters as each player watches and polices one another. Everybody obeys in order to continue playing. Some games are competitive in nature such as sipa, a game Filipinos played even before Spanish time. Current version is Sepak Takraw which is similar playing beach volleyball but uses feet or chest instead of arms. Other games such as Piko and Tirahang Tsinelas are also competitive, similar to a race. In these games, a team will definitely win while the other loses. As a child, there maybe few arguments here and there but we were able to iron things out. The result and fun is what matters. A team accepts defeat... What about our politicians?

In some games, a person has to be tagged "it" commonly known as 'taya". This is easily resolved by beating each other by jack n poy or 'rock, paper, scissor". Now, in the pregame of determining who is 'it' already promotes sportsmanship. As the "it", you have to bow in luksong-baka, look for hiding players in taguan-pung, run after other players in habulan or guard the can in tumbang- preso. These clearly show that in a game, someone has to serve and try to tag other players in order to be replaced as 'it'. It is the same in our society, in order to survive. In the Philippine politics, everyone promises to serve - I just don't realize if fulfilled. Or, do these politicians really mean serving constituents or serving their interests?

When McCain conceded to Obama in the recent US elections a few days ago, he gained my respect. It was game well fought. Acceptance that you lose a fight shows maturity and his ability to understand where he stands. The democrat president-elect was a gentleman as he thanked supporters during his speech. What I adored in his speech was when he said he will listen. Listen to all of the people, especially when they disagree. Have we seen this in Philippine politics.

Now, I hope politicians in the Philippines will go back to their childhood days. Try to look from the perspective of children as they played. Imagine playing luksong tinik or tirahang tsinelas. Being sport is a sign of maturity that even children embody. Accepting defeat and being humble as they win. With the intention to serve like the 'it', whenever possible.

I am still hopeful, our politicians will mature... like children.

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