Jason Day is now the No. 1 golfer in the world, thanks to a masterful victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday in Illinois.
Promptly, the Philippine media went into overdrive, saying Day—a Filipino-Australian or Fil-Aussie—just “won” another crown for the Philippines.
Of course, he is an unhyphenated Australian, so let the Aussies savor his victory.
We, Filipinos, will just have to bask in his latest triumph, not tell the world that he is Pinoy just because his mother is (from Leyte) who had immigrated to Down Under.
Not even his visiting his relatives who had survived Typhoon Yolanda changes the fact that Australia made him what he is now.
Mga Australyano ang nagbayo at nagsaing, tapos tayo ang kakain?
Naman, as your favorite President this side of the Pacific once said.
Unless the golfing sensation himself says he is a “Filipino, period,” then we can rightfully claim him as one of our sporting heroes.
As far as this corner knows, Day has not said so, and, therefore he is Australian, mate, and so let’s not get excited.
P’re, this is not the first time that the local press has referred to foreigners of Filipino descent as hyphenated Filipinos or Filipinos and nothing else.
There was over-achieving Alex Pagulayan of billiards who is Canadian but has reportedly adopted dual citizenship and elected to represent the Philippines in international tournaments.
In his case, we can claim him, because he is playing for us, not the Canadians, and until the day he chooses to represent Canada, he is as Pinoy penoy as he can be.
Take another case: The Azkals—the Philippine national men’s football team—is largely made up foreigners with Filipino roots (their moms are Filipinas).
Among the Azkals are Stephan Schrock (Fil-German), Phil Younghusband and Neil Etheridge (Fil-British), Misagh Bahadoran (Fil-Iranian) and Daisuke Sato (Fil-Japanese).
Simone Rota, we can own, because he is Pinoy na Pinoy, his name sounding Italian only because he was adopted by Italians, who gave him their name.
They are actually playing for their Filipino mothers’ homeland, so we can proudly say they are Filipinos and they themselves seem to be comfortable and proud to be Filipinos as they are to be football players.
I think there is nothing wrong about being vicariously happy for the Azkals, the Malditas (the Philippine national women’s football team that has a number of mestizas in its roster) or Gilas Pilipinas, which will represent the country in the FIBA championships in China that start this week.
Gilas is composed of hyphenated Filipinos, natural-born Filipinos and naturalized Filipinos, who have perhaps sacrificed a little part of their professional careers by picking the national team over the PBA (at least for two weeks).
We can claim them, without guilt, because they will play in part for MVP (that’s fair) but for the most part for the Philippines.
I’m sure there are other Days out there but unless they achieve what Jason has achieved, let them be happy for being Dutch, Americans, Spaniards or whatever.