some thoughts on the earthquake in haiti

by Roxanne C.

mass disasters. it’s never a nice thing to hear. they bring about such tremendous amount of damage and totally screw up people’s lives. but sometimes, they can also be a blessing in disguise.

i’ve been reading news updates and watching newly uploaded videos about the haitian earthquake daily on cnn. it gets more and more depressing each time something new is reported. more people dying, more people being dug out of the rubble alive but die soon after, more people homeless, more people in need of desperate aid, more people trying to get food and water or leave haiti, more people scavenging grocery stores and fighting over thefts and possession of food supplies or even candles, more people still waiting out in hopes of news of missing relatives, more mass graves being dug…

will our donations really help this impoverished country situated in the caribbeans? government and aid bodies have been really generous in providing help. some people have lamented the meagre amount of money our local government has donated to the cause. but i’m sure there must be a reason why we only gave that whopping $50,000. i mean, if our government gave them so much that we don’t have much left for our own people, then singaporeans will again complain that we shouldn’t have given so much to the point of sacrificing our way of life here. singaporeans. we only know how to complain but we never think. there are probably more steps our government is making and planning to mete out in the weeks to come, just that we don’t know about them. politics. it’s all politics. maybe we don’t really have as much money in our local piggy bank as we think we do. people are forgetting that we’re still living in the recession period. there are still people without jobs or people who are working for much less salaries. a government’s duty and priority is its own people and everything else comes after that. we’re not even that closely related to haiti anyway!

i’m not defending our government. i’m just taking a neutral point of view in this issue. of course there’s more that we can do. there’s just never enough that anyone can do to help those in need. where ever you go, whatever you do, there will always be people that need your help. it’s a fact of life. you can donate 90% of your money to someone and help him or her or their family get out of poverty, go to school and get a decent university education; or build wells in poor villages for access to clean water… there will still be thousands of other people like that who will need the same kind of help and this fact is not going to change anytime soon.

i’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to provide some sort of relief. we should. everyone should. but not everyone does. and if only a handful of people do that, it’s not going to be enough. looking at our local scene, even so-called charity organisations cheat us of our money. and deep inside i’m just so fucking angry with these retards. the ceo of nkf, the fucked up gay who calls himself a monk of renci, and other small “organisations…” what with their charity shows employing dangerous stunts and acting skills of our mediocre actors and actresses… when even we, such a well-developed small country can allow such callous acts, how do we gain the trust of those who are able? i’ve never donated for local causes ever since the nkf saga. seriously, how can anyone keep a straight face now when these charity shows still air on tv? when i see those people who “sell flags” (local term for people who ask the public for donations for charity organisations) i really pity them. do they really know where all that money goes to?

anyway, i’m digressing.

amidst all the terrible things going on now in haiti (6.1 aftershock yesterday) there is still some hope. let me explain.

sometimes i think natural disasters are mother nature’s ways of pulling the whole of humanity together and uniting us as one. it’s through these events that we find the greatest people living amongst us. the good. the saints. it’s how we find out about the poor countries and societies that really need our help. it’s how we find out that we can actually do something for someone to make their lives better. i’ve never even heard of haiti even before the earthquake struck and honestly, i’d thought it was just one of those poor african countries.

you see heartwarming scenes, hear stories that make you cry, learn of miracles that happen when you don’t expect to hear one. there are angels living in our midst. anderson cooper saving a bloodied boy from potentially being further injured from concrete thrown from people above crushed buildings, sanjay gupta (and his crew) staying overnight in a hospital as the ONLY doctor and performing operations while all the other doctors left “for security reasons,” richard moran risking his own life to save a girl trapped under rubble and didn’t give a care if his rival network’s correspondent covered the story… and many more. (i’m wondering, what is considered crossing the line in journalism?)

touching scenes like the faces of haiti’s young orphans as they remain in the streets amidst all the chaos around them, an elderly woman in her sixties pulled out alive after 7 days, a five-year-old boy saved from the rubble after 8 days, people found alive even after rescue dogs didn’t manage to sniff them out, a mother giving birth on the way to the hospital and this old lady, one of many who are left aimless on the streets, who put on a blue necklace because she knew she was going to be on tv (how can anyone live a life without an aim? it’s just terrible!).

tourism in the area will definitely increase once this period passes. now that people actually know that it exists, more of us will see how haiti is actually one of the beautiful islands lying in the caribbeans. beautiful sandy beaches, seas that stretch for miles and miles… like how the maldives was made prettier after the tsunami occurred. also, i’m sure organisations will be set up to help haiti and its people. awareness is the word here.

mother nature is teaching us things. at the same time, she’s saving people from their terrible lives. when you’re living in such terrible conditions, earning less than a dollar a day for each family, not having proper hygiene, etc etc, maybe you are better off dead than alive. in this way, maybe those who are dead are the lucky ones because now they are free. maybe they are having a far better time in heaven. or if they are reincarnated, the chances of having a better second life after this one is much higher than having a more screwed up one. though, seeing that almost all haitians are christians, i think they would be in heaven.

some people have questioned the point in making donations to haiti, citing the reason that in doing so, we’d just be helping them to overcome this disaster to get back to what they were like before – still impoverished and having terrible living conditions. maybe it’s true, they have a point. but why wouldn’t you help someone out when you know that you can? you can’t be that heartless and selfish. maybe they think it’s pointless but they’ve never been in a situation like this before so how would they really know? its only when they truly understand, that they can see how a little help can make an impact on someone else’s life. i assure you, it can. you just don’t know it.

ok, it’s not like i’m some un ambassador or something. better stop sounding like i’m soliciting donations. i hate it when people do that!

“please dial XXXXX now! your donation could go a long way in helping these people!” argh. such irritating pleas.

< p align=justify>and anyway, those who have wanted to help would have done so already. hmm. i hope things get better over there in haiti. they aren’t as lucky as people living in more developed countries like japan with their earthquake-proof buildings and the states with their money wells, which are ironically tired out from the drought season. i just needed to write because nobody i know will want to hear what i have to say about haiti. i think they don’t really care about what i think and they probably don’t have as much interest as i have in the issue anyway. bother. hmm, maybe i can try scott brown ousting kennedy jr from massachusetts? ha ha.

well, i hope everyone has a great day today, where ever you are! i’m just so full from breakfast that i don’t know if i can handle lunch.