Torn between the feels and le facepalm

Empire State Building lit up in colors of the Philippine flag as skyscraper looks to bring awareness to the plight of Super Typhoon Haiyan victims Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508251/Empire-State-Building-lit-colors-Philippine-flag-bring-awareness-Typhoon-Haiyan-victims.html#ixzz2kxlCxRUk

Empire State Building lit up in colors of the Philippine flag as skyscraper looks to bring awareness to the plight of Super Typhoon Haiyan victims
Read more: http://dailym.ai/1awVcXP

First of all, thank you. The feels have been nothing short of awesome. It doesn’t matter how “big” or “little” you’ve done compared to what your neighbours have given. We all act according to what we have, so don’t feel bad. Each helping hand deserves the same amount of gratitude. Thank you, humanity. So much feels.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the overwhelming awesome, stupidity persists. I’m not even going to talk about this, this, or this. The news has got those covered well enough. I’m talking about ‘ordinary’ people on social media.

The sanctimonious minding of other people’s business is not awesome

Yes, it can be a touching symbol of solidarity to abstain from non-typhoon relief related matters on social media, but don’t push it. I love symbols–don’t get me wrong–but we shouldn’t be confusing the symbols for the actual goals. The goal here is to help out. If you decide to fast on instagramming or taking a ridiculous number of ‘selfies’ a day whilst helping out, that’s perfectly fine and good. Remember that your goal is to help out and not changing your profile picture into a map of the Philippines. So, there’s no need to go about being an arsehole by telling people they should do what you’re doing, too. Let them decide on the symbols they want to carry. Besides, who says you can’t help out and enjoy the rest of your day in some other way?

On a similar note, there is no need to apologise for posting non-relief related matters for reasons already mentioned. If anyone tries to stop you, kick their arse. You’re allowed to live your own life. Again, you can help out as much as you can without denying yourself a life outside helping out (but you are certainly free to do so if you wish, Gods bless you).

Resilience and the greatest nation in the world

Filipinos are a resilient people, we know that. I hate that we have to constantly bug the world with a ‘selfie of resilience’. They know, we know, let’s get some work done. Yes, we’ve been dirt poor for decades, butt-raped by imperialists for centuries, and battered by typhoons for much, much longer–and yet, here we are despite all that. But this “resilience” has more to do with human nature than our ethnic makeup, really. I’m not sure if “Pinoy Pride” actually helps feed the hungry, to be honest. I bet it’s good old human altruism, nothing less.

Yes, resilience is an admirable trait, but if we really want to actually live, we should be banking on other values, too. I don’t know, maybe a thirst for knowledge? Disaster preparedness? Indignation? An actual cohesive identity? There are a million other things to live by alongside resilience, because that alone isn’t going to transform us into better people.

Shut up and help

It goes without saying that criticism and humanitarian work are not mutually exclusive. For one, if there’s something wrong, you need to say it. You need to point it out, so it can get fixed if necessary. That’s certainly one way of helping out clear the rubble, and you can certainly do both.

The theology of natural calamities

Anyone who’s been saying the storm was a heaven-sent opportunity for the world to know that the Filipino is strong, that humanity is one (etc.) deserves to get their arse kicked. That we are helping out each other is a response to the calamity. The calamity didn’t happen that so we can help out. Trust this animist when he says that storm-gods don’t do that shit. If you don’t trust me, there’s always science to point that out for you. It’s not a hurricane’s business to check on who needs the most reminding if they’ve been naughty or nice.

Speaking of ‘facepalming’ beliefs, there’s also the “prayer is the best/only thing we should depend on“. Erm, no. Prayers are really nice things to have (I should know!), but you can’t buy food with prayers. I really wish they could, but they can’t. Prayers can be a great way to start up a mood or move someone to action, but they can’t actually move mountains. Sorry, but I’d rather have inconvenient truths over inspiring lies, and you’re talking to a devotee of a dozen gods.

Well, I think that’s about it. I certainly don’t hope to write some more. I don’t enjoy ranting, but thoughts are better said than tucked away. Now, shall we return to work and make more awesome feels?

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After Haiyan/Yolanda

By now, I’m sure the whole world knows what hit the Philippines last week: just one of the craziest typhoons in recorded history.

It’s heartwarming to receive messages of concern from friends abroad, and I’m thankful(?) that my hometown was hardly hit. Sadly, other parts of the country weren’t so “lucky”. (And that’s all that’s saved us, really–geography–not divine providence.) Over 10,000 people are feared to be dead or missing. We get hit by typhoons every year, but not like this. It’s feared to get worse as the effects of climate change increase, but that’s a discussion for another day.

It’s so heartbreaking that I’m still at a loss for words. I can’t even describe my own grief. (Despite this, others are being total morons.)

I’m leaving this space in memory of all who perished, their mourning kinsmen, and the countless others still missing. The human spirit is resilient–regardless of nationality or ethnicity–and prayers can be a great comfort, but right now, nothing can be more helpful than food, clean water, medicine, and dry clothing. I wish I could give more, but at the moment, this is how I can help. We should all help in whatever way that we can.

Here are some ways how:

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Proper use of Twitter, Facebook hashtags regarding #YolandaPH" via justinpaolo (instagram.com/p/ghlDhOJWjH)

“Proper use of Twitter, Facebook hashtags regarding #YolandaPH” via justinpaolo (instagram.com/p/ghlDhOJWjH)

You can also find a great deal of ways to help here:

You may also enquire on how to help where you live. Canada’s Red Cross/Croix Rouge makes itself available for Canadians who’d like to offer their assistance. I’m sure other countries are doing the same, too.

Thanks ever so much for taking time to read this!

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