Opinion: Friendly takes a bad turn in Hong Kong
MANILA, Philippines -- Tuesday night’s historic win by the Philippine Azkals over Hong Kong was easily overshadowed by the uncalled for action by some of the home fans at the Mong Kok Stadium towards the Filipino fans and the visiting team themselves.
Even moments before kick-off, some members of the Hong Kong crowd were already jeering the Azkals. The crowd then turned from bad to just appalling when they booed and hissed while the national anthem of the Philippines was being played. Consequently though, the Filipinos showed class by standing up and showing respect the moment the home side’s anthem started to play.
As the match went on, action took place not just on the pitch but in the stands as well. The locals started to hurl water bottles and trash to the Filipino crowd, which is made up mostly of women and children. When the Philippines took the lead via a James Younghusband header in the 33rd minute, the disgruntled HK fans resorted to calling the Filipinos ‘slaves’ and ‘bitches.’
No forgiveness yet?
A large black banner in Hong Kong’s side of the crowd with the words “Lest we forget, 23/8/2010” sums it all. Clearly, some of them have not forgotten about it yet. They have not forgiven yet.
Going back to August 23, 2010 in Manila, a bus boarded by a group of Hong Kong tourists was hijacked in Rizal Park. The Philippine government did its best to rescue the tourists and, unfortunately, failed. They did not only fail but they failed miserably. The Philippines, for a moment became the laughingstock of the world.
At the end of that fateful day, 9 tourists from Hong Kong were killed.
It is reasonable for the people of Hong Kong to be hurt and to be angry. But what they should understand is that no one wanted that to happen. As a matter of fact, the Filipinos will have this memory ingrained in them forever with much pain and regret.
Excessive and unwarranted
Tuesday night’s behavior of some Hong Kong locals watching the match was truly excessive and unwarranted. The match was supposedly a friendly, but it turned out to be unfriendly and hostile, after all. With the FIFA going even harder on acts of racism recently, it is likely that Hong Kong, or at least some of their fans, will be meted with punishment. We don’t really care, however. We just want this fissure to be healed.
People from Hong Kong are treated well when they visit the Philippines. They are given not just the respect, but the warm welcome Filipinos are known for. In Hong Kong, thousands of OFWs work hard to serve them, even beyond the call of service. But that does not warrant them to call our nation a ‘nation of slaves.' And we absolutely do not deserve to be treated like what they did on June 4. - Rappler.com