Sunday, 16 August 2009

Are there not enough reasons to help?

What if the day comes, when we are no longer sympathetic of the sufferings of people in the rest of the world? Are we then relieved from the obligations to care or to help?

Many of us in this part of the world will never understand the true meaning of an earthquake or typhoon. Yet we have heard so much about them... without getting a scratch or becoming wet, without being blown away, without losing someone we loved. But I do wonder how badly the news of a disaster and the casualty report have an impact on us. We may have frowned, we sighed, made a few sympathetic comments, and then most of the time we resort to doing nothing. They are mere interludes in our comfortable and egocentric lives.

Sometimes, it may be that our cynicism towards the mass media got the better of us. News reports are often exaggerated, sufferings amplified and our sentiments toyed with to boost viewrship. I am not trying to use these as excuses to justify an indifferent attitude. But it is no wonder many of us would rather exercise more discretion and careful assessment before rushing into actions.

Typically, the first things to happen after news of a disaster is a fund raising campaign. I know it is hard to be convinced that donations raised for disaster relief will be fully utilised for the benefits of the victims, especially when the disbursments of funds are often not transparent enough. But I believe that there is hope, if we choose to do something now. We should not let our skepticism prevent us from doing good, even if we can reach out to those in need in only a very small way.

Like many others, I have been trained both in my personal and professional life to look at "the bigger picture". There are very few occurrence like Cyclone Nargis and the Sichuan earthquake, whereby the destructions were so devastating and casualty rates so alarming that they instantly got the whole world's attention. In this respect, events of smaller scale tend to be overlooked. It may seem that the 500 lives lost to Typhoon Morakot so far is small, compared to 70,000 deaths in Sichuan and even smaller in comparison with almost 150,000 fatalities from Nargis. But imagine you were one of those 500 casualties... wouldn't you ask, "Why me", if the chances are indeed so remote?

Last Monday, the death toll in Taiwan from Typhoon Morakot was 100. Today it is 500. Thousands of others are still trapped in villages in the mountainous area. Other than praying for their safety, a small donation might be a good way to start helping. Afterall, it is also a blessing that we have the ability and are in the capacity to help those in need.

Help with Typhoon Morakot's disaster relief now!

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