The story of Faye Nicole San Juan
has received quite a bit of coverage in the Philippine press, but almost none here in America. Word of Faye Nicole began spreading through the Filipino community around the end of October, via an email titled "Misplaced priorities can mislead a nation." It was all about how the Philippines had supposedly let down 12-year-old Faye Nicole.
Faye was a young girl hoping to represent her country in the International Science Quiz in Brisbane, Australia. Her essay on "The Effect of Ionized Radiation on the Philippine Fruit Fly" had won her a place at the competition, but she couldn't afford the airfare, and the Philippine government wouldn't provide it for her. But luckily her church, Bread of Life Ministries, offered to help her go. She made it to Australia, but no sooner had she got off the plane, accompanied by her mother, than they were robbed by a fellow Filipino. Undaunted, they pawned some of their clothes and walked 2 kilometres to the competition. Faye proceeded to win first place (though there were no Filipinos there to cheer for her), but now had no money to get back home. A kindly Japanese stranger who was at the competition luckily helped arrange for them to get a flight back home.
The Philippine press, when it learned of this story, gnashed its teeth about how little their society supports bright kids like Faye. But they needn't have bothered. The entire story has turned out to be a hoax
, invented by Faye's mother. The immigration departments in both the Philippines and Australia have no record of their travel. This science quiz doesn't seem to exist. And Faye's church has denied involvement. It's not known why the mother invented the story.