I’ve heard a few comments, attributing the Dale Abenojar controversy to a kink in our Filipino-ness. I don’t know what you think about Abenojar’s claim that he had summitted Everest on May 15, from the more difficult China (Tibet) side. For my part, the picture the Star ran yesterday — with first-time Alpine climber Abenojar standing straight, two thumbs up — looked too posed, unlike, say, the unglamorous shot of Romi Garduce slouching on the summit, almost falling back on the clutch of Sherpas sitting beside him. But like many others, I guess, I’m open to contrary evidence.
The question is: Is the controversy typically Filipino? Is it Pinoy in the sense I’ve heard it said? "Pinoy talaga!" Or "Pinoy na Pinoy, ano?" ["This is so Filipino" — close, but not exact.]
The answer, I guess, is: Only if we nationalize numerous other competitors, such as Peary and Cook, who famously disputed the distinction of who was the first man to reach the North Pole. (Today, Peary retains the advantage, but it is only fair to say his claim is still questioned by many.)
The controversy, I wager, is a typically human one: Born of ambition and competition and jealousy and pride, of "the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself," to put old William Faulkner to use again.