Posted by: mensab | July 6, 2008

One with Euro

Indonesia is one with Europe, in football, the most popular sports in the world.


During the 2008 Euro Cup finals between Spain and Germany, Indonesia was awake and glued to TV. The time was 12 midnight in Jakarta until the early morning of Monday last week. Men and women, boys and girls, young and old, football has captured the imagination of Indonesians.


Binaya (co-intern in Asean) and I favored Germany to win the prestigious Cup. I had my own reason; I don’t know about his. I simply liked Germany. I thought I had enough of Spain (well, it colonized the Philippines for four centuries).


Earlier that day, the Philippines watched the Las Vegas, USA show of Manny Pacquiao overwhelming David Diaz for the WBC lightweight title for his fourth titles in different weight divisions. It was late in the morning, approaching noontime in the Philippines. Manny Pacquaio has captured the fantasy of Filipinos.


Manny Pacquiao in the US for the Philippines; football in Europe for Indonesia. Two countries in one region, two sports, two colonial continents.


A person embodying national craze in the sports, or even bigger than any sports in the Philippines, for the Philippines; a sports embodying national passion for Indonesia.


In my Monday morning “ojek” (motorcycle) ride to busway, “Yakob” asked me, “Did you watch TV yesterday?”


I said, “tidak (no).”


“Oh, Spain won,” Yakob declared gleefully.


I thought he was referring to the Pacquiao – Diaz bout. I thought he was a die-hard fan of Pacquaio.


And so I thought. But he is an Indonesian, after all. Football reigns supreme in the country among all sports. That makes Indonesia one with Europe and the world.


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