Yolanda

“You think you own whatever land, YOLANDA. The earth is just a dead thing you can claim, but I know every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name.”  –  Colors of the Wind, Pocahontas

 
I know, I know. That’s supposed to be “you land on” (I know my Disney), but it sure sounded like Yolanda to me last night, when I heard Pocahontas singing it while Hubby and the Little Creature were watching the cartoon. It somehow works, too, the revised lyrics, given the circumstances due to Typhoon Yolanda’s recent chaotic visit to the country last November 8. I will not expound on it anymore. There are many more people who have done it more eloquently and powerfully in the worldwideweb.

 
I do not know anyone personally who was directly affected by the storm surge (I didn’t even know there was such a thing before. I don’t think anyone does except the storm surge SMEs), but I do have a lot of friends and colleagues whose families hailed from Leyte and were severely affected. Heck, my maternal grandmother hailed from there so I have a lot of distant relatives whom I do not know personally who lived there.

 
I tried to help in my own little way, getting the list of the names of my friends’ families and passing them to my hubby hoping that he could at least use some of his past military connections to find out how they were. Sad to say, there was really no way of knowing (errr, maybe his “connections” just weren’t really that high up on the echelon. In this country, connections are important; suck up and scrounge around the powerful, rub elbows until they’re down to stumps – that’s what you do when you want to go places). Yolanda had done some serious territorial  pissing and had claimed Leyte as her own. The province had been completely cut-off from the rest of the world.

My helplessness  was frustrating. I’d rather just stay inside my safe little bubble of denial and fuss about the Little Creature, whine about pregnancy #2, fret about my stiff, wiry hair or (the most important of all) figure out how to use the Urban Decay Naked Palette without looking like a decaying urban zombie. But Pocahontas made me think about Yolanda’s aftereffects last night. There wasn’t even a connection between them except for the words of her song sounding similar to “Yolanda”.

I’d like to be less useless and donate at least a little something but I am discouraged by the thought that my help will not reach the people who deserve it. I hear really bad things which, although unverified, aren’t really that difficult to believe, given some nasty Filipinos’ track records — donated stuff sold to typhoon victims, Spam or other imported canned donations replaced with local canned sardines…and maybe donated clothing finding their way to the thrift store racks… on and on and on. People are so ingenious when it comes to racketeering.

 
I get the pillaging and looting when the food went scarce. It’s human nature and the primitive instinct to save one’s life and one’s family. I’d probably do the same thing. But I heard unconfirmed reports of rape. Whut the F#$*. At times like those, how can one even heed the call of the libido? They got off on the storm surge and hence the urge to “surge”?!?!

 
I wish politicians and crookies (crooked rookies?) would stop politicking and bickering… and dealing with the disaster in an equally, if not more, disastrous manner. I admit, it gives me great malicious pleasure when they embarrass themselves because of the stupid things they do and say. But how about we try to lie low a little bit, ladies and gents, and contain the idiocy within the local perimeter where everyone considers you all a mere source of amusement? Just this one time, please. The world is watching and it puts not just you but all Filipinos in a bad light. Really, not all of us are that bad…

…Like the admirable people who braved the storm, who fought all the odds to survive and who risked their lives to help others. I have heard of this military officer who was swept at sea together with the boy he saved from drowning. He kept both of them alive by keeping afloat for hours, forcing the boy to keep awake, until they were finally and miraculously swept back to shore. My hero.

I am amazed by the surge (no pun intended) of kindness and the rapid responses of all the unnamed people all over the country and the rest of the world to help alleviate the suffering of the typhoon victims. Let us hope that your donations will indeed fall into the hands of the right people and they in turn, would ensure that these be passed on to the appropriate recipients.

 
I am thankful that my friends’ families are safe and our distant relatives, whoever they are (my mom still knows some of them), are safe.

 
I am sad for all the people who died and those still unidentified bodies lying around the area. I would not know what to do if some of them were friends or family. I can only imagine the horror that the survivors experienced, seeing piles of dead bodies lying around.

This is selfish but I am relieved that we did not experience the same thing in Manila. In the provinces where, from experience, everything seemed more laid back and everyone seemed kinder and more accommodating, desperation seemed to have turned people into combatants to survive. In Manila notwithstanding the high crime rate, simple things like the clock striking five and the urge to go home make people all turn against each other viciously just to squeeze in the MRT or the buses or the jeepneys. Most of the time, when I am caught among the homebound savages, I find the ladies b**ching amusing, but I get scared of being mangled so I usually just walk away and wait for the rush hour to pass. I have to admit, I also did my share of elbowing and clawing. Imagine how worse the people will devolve into if the storm had surged into Manila. I don’t want to think about how I myself will react or cope. ‘Nuf said.

 
I’d like to go back to my bubble now. But before that, a finale from Doctor Who (he has a Tardis, I have a bubble). In the Episode “Vincent and the Doctor” from the fifth season, Amy Pond thought they could change the life of Vincent van Gogh after meeting him when they traveled back in time. But he still committed suicide and Amy Pond was left heartbroken and frustrated.

 
Amy Pond: We didn’t make a difference at all.

The Doctor: I wouldn’t say that. The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey.

(Amy sobs)

 
The Doctor: The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa. The bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.

 
Amy Pond ponders.

 
Allons-y.

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