But of course it comes across as being “negative” when we talk about just how horrific a disaster Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) brought upon the Philippines. It is being “negative” when one points out how decades of neglect, corruption, and idiocy had laid layers and layers of the groundwork that turned much of the Philippine archipelago into a gigantic disaster waiting to happen. And, yes, it is being “negative” when we blame President BS Aquino for presiding over the colossal failure of the Philippine government to be there when it mattered.
There is nothing “positive” about this disaster. It is an event that resulted in negative results.
I just gotta hand it to the morons who presume to tell me to lay off on all the “negativity” in the stuff I express in our chi chi dinners out and in the occasional updates I post on Facebook. At least I am consistent. I don’t pretend like nothing is wrong with the Philippines all year round then suddenly flick a switch and activate my “concerned citizen” mode whenever disaster porn takes over social media timelines.
I’ve just about had it with the blanket calls to “do your part”. Worst of the lot are questions like “What have you contributed to the relief effort?”. What I do and what I “contribute” is none of anyone’s business — specially of those people whose idea of “contributing” to society does not go beyond reacting to disaster. To begin with, that there are one million and one ways to donate to the Yolanda relief effort (and an equal number of promoters of those means) by and in itself indicates that there is something really wrong about the Philippines’ disaster response framework. It’s sort of like the pork barrel. Billions of pesos in “development funds” being managed by more than 300 self-important legislators translates to 300 kanya-kanya projects.
Same thing with the conduit of donated relief funds made up of kanya-kanya efforts. We have all this private-sector-driven tingi-tingi relief funding going on. Result: Lots of waste and very little scale. Why is this the case? Because during the 80 percent of the time the Philippines is not being ravaged by a super-typhoon, Filipinos pay no attention to developing a system (or making sure that their politicians do) to more efficiently fund relief at the scale demanded by the horrific situation the Yolanda disaster presents today. Instead, of spending that 80 percent implementing measures to anticipate disaster, we’d rather frantically squeeze reactive but inefficient relief effort into the 20 percent.
A disaster waiting to happen.
“Educated” Pinoys like bandying the above phrase around. But it seems they don’t really get what it means. The Philippines became that “disaster waiting to happen” because that is exactly what Filipinos spent that 80 percent of the time doing: waiting.
Next time someone tells me to lighten up whenever I complain (during normal times) about idiotic politicians, the idiotic ideas that are applied in their support, and the morons who spread those ideas, I’ll tell that person to make sure to unfriend me if the thought of telling me to “do my part” even crosses her mind when disaster strikes.
The problem with our society is that its portfolio of “heroes” are, for the most part, made up of people who fought the fires. But for me the real heroes are those who focused on preventing them. Who’s gonna sing praises for the people who were responsible for fires that did not happen? Nobody. Too boring. There are lots of blockbuster movies about dashing firemen but very few about people who invented fire hydrants, enforced the use of firewalls, and installed sprinkler systems. The heroes in the movie Armageddon were the characters of Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis who rocketed to space to nuke the approaching asteroid. Not mentioned at all where the scientists over the decades who built the US’s awesome space program that made that tale within our civilization’s reach.
I find this kind of ironic when we consider that Jose Rizal is the Philippines’ “national hero”. Rizal wrote remarkably prescient stuff about the Philippines during his time. Ultimately, however, Rizal failed. His writing, though widely studied, did not sink in. And so much of what the Philippines had since become was a result of the deeper points of his ideas not being truly understood by his own people.
If Rizal were alive today, he’d be well within his right to tell us: Told ya so.
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