I’ve been listless the past couple of weeks, and no matter what I do, I just can’t get back to the groove of being a med student.
Over Christmas break, I took a week to travel to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and to Saigon in Vietnam. I thought that a vacation was just the thing I needed to set my mind straight on focusing on med school, but I think I was mistaken.
Over that week, I met people who showed me that it was possible to put your life on pause and travel the world to gain perspective. And if it’s one thing I’m sure I’m missing, it’s that. Perspective.
This piece is very spur of the moment, and so I’m not sure if I really want to expound on that bit. Maybe a part of me is afraid that if I explore that thought, I won’t be able to follow through on my commitment to be a doctor. And maybe the fact that I was able to write that just now tells me something that I’m not quite sure I’m ready to admit—to myself and to the world.
Here’s a post that I read at the Facebook group Narinig ko sa UP (Overheard at UP). It’s an open letter addressed to the president of our country, Benigno Simeon “PNoy” Aquino III.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
After being stuck in a dead zone with no comms and internet the past 48 hours ngayon ko lang nababalitaan ang latest antics ng ating kagalang-galang na pangulo.
So take this as one Taclobanon’s OPEN LETTER to His Excellency, Benigno Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Gusto ko lang sabihin, NAGHANDA ANG TACLOBAN. IN FACT, most people we encountered who survived, survived precisely because NAGHANDA SILA. People were evacuated, centers were put up, and warnings were issued.
Ang tanong, bakit madaming namatay? kasi tangina naman pre mas malakas pa ang yolanda sa katrina. Kung ang US nga hindi napigilan ang hagupit ng katrina. This was not something anyone could have prepared for. Isa pa, wala bang nakapagsabi sa yo na nasa tacloban ang SENTRO NG BAGYO?? pano mo maikukumpara ang “casualty count” ng leyte at samar sa ibang probinsiya ng hindi mo rin ikukumpara ang lakas ng tama ng bagyo.
Pero alam mo minamahal naming pangulo, di ka naman namin sinisisi, puta bagyo to eh, nature to, alam naming hindi ikaw ang dahilan nito. Isa pa, ang mga waray, hindi magaling sa blame game. ANG IKINAGAGALIT NG MGA TAO NGAYON ETO LANG:
AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE ARE DESPERATE FOR A LEADER THAT WILL SEND THEM A MESSAGE TO PICK UP THEIR BROKEN SPIRITS;
AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE NEEDED ASSURANCES THAT YOU HAVE THEIR BACKS;
THE ONLY THING YOU GAVE THEM, WAS A BIG “FUCK YOU TACLOBAN, THIS IS YOUR FAULT, DON’T BLAME ME.” (Forgive my very liberal paraphrasing)
Tangina naman pre (i hope you don’t mind my audacity to refer to you on friendly terms), hindi naman namin hinihingi na pigilan mo lahat ng bagyo. O kaya na personally ka mamigay ng relief goods. Ang hinihingi lang ng mga tao sa yo, bilang lider ng sambayanang Pilipino, ang maging inspirasyon sa amin.
The best leaders throughout history aren’t remembered because they prevented huge disasters, they are remembered because when disaster inevitably struck, they inspired and rallied the people. I’m not an expert on Philippine history, but isn’t that what your parents did?
I’m sorry Mr. President, but you failed us. You failed the people of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Samar, Biliran, Masbate and all the other provinces that had to face the last few disasters.
On a final note, that “casualty count” you so callously keep referring to? That’s not just a number to us. That “casualty count” are family, friends, and neighbors that we will never see again. People we loved and cared about that we will never be able to laugh with or share a drink with.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not for a moment presume that you don’t know the pain of loss. I’m sure you do. But, you see, that’s precisely my point. I’m sure you understand, that any human being going through the deepest and darkest grief doesn’t care much that it’s this or that person’s fault. What we need from you right now, Mr. President, is an outstretched hand, not a big middle finger.
Formerly of San Jose, Tacloban City
Current address: N/A
Things were bad before this (the Zamboanga City Crisis and the earthquake in Bicol and Cebu) and I know that tensions are probably running high in the government, but words like this from the nation’s leader isn’t helping at all. It’s actually making things worse :|
Sending help is easy! In fact it’s in your hands. It’s just a text away. Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)
There are many ways to help:
Many establishments are accepting donations in cash or in kind. Some even hold fundraisers, pledging to donate their profits for a day for the victims of Yolanda. If you live near UP, there are relief centers in the Kalayaan Residence Hall, College of Engineering Basketball Court, and Vinzons Hall, where you can drop off your donations. You can even volunteer in the sorting and packing of goods! Here’s a list of what is most needed at the moment:
Food (canned or packed)
Blankets and/or Comforters
Take care, everyone, and let’s continue to help out in any way we can. Don’t forget to pray for the safety and welfare of those affected. Hope this serves as an eye-opener about the very real and very threatening effects of climate change–we have to work to save the environment NOW!
I can’t adequately express the sadness and fury I feel upon seeing the trailing blaze of death and destruction that Super Storm Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) left after it struck my country, the Philippines, over the weekend.
I watched the news this morning, then again this evening, after school. News of the widespread destruction caused by the typhoon and the storm surge (equivalent to 3 bouts of tsunami waves, they said) it caused devastated me. Seeing all the houses toppled over by the wind and the rain, the trees, cars—it all breaks my heart.
The storm was so strong that it managed to topple some of the evacuation centers, resulting in more injuries and lost lives! All in all, Typhoon Yolanda managed to leave the Philippines with approximately 10,000 victims and casualties—this isn’t even taking into account all the equipment and places destroyed by the torrential rains and winds.
The worst part, however, is seeing Facebook friends posting about how they can’t contact their parents, family, and friends who are in the affected area, due to the communication lines being down. That is probably the worst part—not knowing. Some people in the affected area even resorted to writing their news on pieces of paper, which were later broadcasted by the news teams already on the scene. Of course, the relief one would feel upon knowing that their loved ones are safe is also enough to feel a little hope return to you, but imagine the catastrophic feeling of finding out that someone you know is dead BY SEEING IT ON A PIECE OF PAPER. I can’t even begin to think how I would feel and react upon hearing something like that. It must have been a million times worse for those sending the news :(
The news of rampages breaking out due to the deficiency of necessities such as food, water, medicine, and clothing is also saddening, but not much can be done since the road are impassable and the seas were stormy during the aftermath. The helicopters that were available were not sufficient in transporting all the goods that the people needed. Desperate residents have even resorted to looting and ambushing relief ops in the hopes of receiving something—anything—that can help them.
News of foreign countries and local, as well as international, celebrities donating and helping out warms my heart, but I can’t help but wonder how does one bounce back from something as big as this? I know, however, that the Filipino spirit is strong, and it is through helping each other that we can relieve even a little bit of the load on our affected fellow countrymen’s shoulders.
Here are some links from Time World on how you can help! You may also volunteer at relief centers near you!
UNICEFis supporting relief efforts by helping displaced families find access to shelter, clean water, food and vaccines and airlifting $1.3 million of additional supplies from its Copenhagen warehouse. You can donate online, call 1-800-367-5437 or text RELIEF to 864233.
The Philippine Red Cross is providing a tracking service for family members looking for missing people. The organization is accepting donations on its website (100 PHP = $2.30) and is looking for volunteers to help assemble relief packages at its headquarters in Manila.
The American Red Crosshas also activated a family-tracking service for those looking for a missing family member in the Philippines. Donors can send a check to their local chapter, indicating “Philippines Typhoons and Floods” in the memo line.
The World Food Programmeis mobilizing 40 metric tons of high-energy biscuits and additional relief supplies, but it is also accepting donations online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 or +39-06-65131 from outside the U.S.
CAREis accepting donations on its website and has deployed workers to the Philippines to assist with emergency relief. You can donate by phone at 1-800-521-2273 or +1-404-681-2252 for international calls.
Oxfamhas emergency responders on the ground to assist with relief support. The organization is asking for contributions to its Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund online.
ChildFund Internationalis distributing clean water, food, blankets and other emergency aid items. Staff members are also setting up child-centered spaces in evacuation centers to offer counseling and relief for children and their families. Donate online.
*Note: I know my writing is a bit incoherent and the flow is just terrible, but everything I wrote here was just from the tip of my tongue and it’s a bit like word vomit but I can’t help it—I just had to get it out there.
Blogs are all about voice — we respond to a blog when we connect to the person behind it. While tone, style, and formality vary depending on the blogger’s goals, most bloggers hope that their voice comes through clearly.
For some of us, being true to our voices means unleashing the occasional (or not-so-occasional) f-bomb, which can either draw readers in or shoot your blog in the figurative foot. Is there a place for pottymouths in the blogosphere, and how do you decide how much to let fly?