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?