Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘opinions’

Leveling Down the Contention of Words

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

“There has never been anything at the magnitude of what we are trying to do now,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told palace reporters at a press briefing last Nov. 13, “Not in size, not in volume, not in even the breadth of it.”

As the national government admits being appalled at the disaster left by Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda as its FIlipino name) ten days ago, the rest of the world feels mutual. It’s like watching a horror movie, except it is in the primetime newscasts. However, being in the very scene of it still feels surreal to me.

I would have loved to tag along with one of our teams assigned to Tacloban City last week. Tacloban, Leyte was one of the greatly devastated places left by Yolanda. But considering the place’s limited necesities for a woman like me, only an all-male team was sent.

As first hand witnesses to a storm’s aftermath, I tried to understand the hardships they experienced. They had no place to stay, no food and water to sustain them (as they have given their provisions to the Tacloban people), and they have to endure the stench of the dead and of human waste. But how much more I tried to feel the heart break for the people who endure the loss of what they have owned and the loss of their very loved ones. What was left was their very existence, coping with the last strain of humanity nearly being snatched from them. They try to survive in a desolated town unfit for living.

It might be easy to say that the rest of us who stayed wish to come to

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes --- and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes — and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

Tacloban just to give out a hug…or maybe a small act of kindness through food and water. But how far are we willing to go? How far would we be willing to sacrifice time and your comfort zone to feel their pain. Living there sounds too inhumane for most of us. Helpless, all we can do is sigh and speak out our thoughts and symphathy.

As I watch from afar, it’s a pain to hear criticisms and politicizing at all sides. There’s this underlying contention between the main government bodies, the private entities, and the vox populi. We can talk too much. It’s easy to give blame. But can’t we just shut up and try to feel the pain of the victims themselves? Perhaps, it’s easy to make conclusions in what goes on in their everyday life. But can’t we think of focusing at their basic needs first? These people, are just like us — human, limited, and in need of one another.

Perhaps, most of us can never understand how it is to be in their shoes. For us living far from them, we try to comprehend what flashes through our screens or what blares through our airwaves. But we can never see the whole picture. Who are we to judge conclusions, then?

Perhaps, some of us can never get the chance to reach them personally. Perhaps, most of us might never understand the whole picture of what’s happening and why it happened. But setting aside our own conclusions and criticisms might help rebuild a new future. A little grace, a little love, through our what-we-have can uplift their spirits. Behind the camera, must be a more drastic story beyond words.

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The Cause of Critical Thinking

This society is tired of thinking. For the cause of knowing things and bringing them to conclusion, we tend to speculate instead of digging deeper due to our lack of perseverance to find the unadulterated truth. Most views are results of quick conclusions. Just like our digestive system, our minds are tired of digesting every information forced into us. We have no time to think things over. We have to move on.

I must admit it’s sometimes tiring talking and listening to people who make up senseless conclusions to an issue. People tend to get what they see, and don’t take time to understand the other side of an issue. Well, we wouldn’t have much time at all, as we have to move on to another issue.

Media awaiting for the remains of Sec. Jesse Robredo at Malacanang. Speculations that his aid left him in the plane carelessly floated through social media. Yet, these speculations were silenced when his wife, Atty. Leni Robredo, thanked his aid Jun Abrasado for being her husband’s protector.

There are times that people would ask me or my fellow reporter, on a certain issue. When Sec. Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash, a few people asked me hoping to confirm that the plane crash’s lone survivor, his aid Jun Abrasado, was the primary suspect at all. By my observation, even though they asked me, they already have a conclusion drawn into their brains. And no matter how you tell them that the investigation’s not over yet, they’d stand on their original cause: he is the suspect.

Tragically, the majority is satisfied with speculations. What 86% of the population nods at, that’s final and execucatory. When the issue has died and when the unaired side has come up, no one seems to care, for judgment has been finalized.

And yes, we have moved on, to speculate on another issue.

I wonder if everyone would silence down and think about things will truth and understanding dawn into us. We love to speculate for we love to blame. Even though we don’t have a first hand on issues, it’s natural for many to point the blame at someone (just like in Jun Abrasado’s case) in order to prove that we are better than the accused. Oh, and we are tired of thinking things (and reactions) over. We think we are intelligent enough to say what we think in an issue. But when we shut up and think of what we have speculated and said, it was not for good at all – it was just another demolition job to a single person or to society itself.

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 says. I must admit I am not careful with my words all the time. But when we are careful with our mouths and think over what we see and hear, I believe there’s no reason to speculate and talk senselessly. Talking senseless things is an end to the prudent soul and this bring us to the loss – and perhaps, death – of knowledge. Ending up in speculation will cause us to cease from pushing for further knowledge of things around us, and stop us from pursuing the truth the Lord wants us to know. Besides, when we do, our brains will not be exercised well, causing us not to be productive in thinking.

It’s not easy to teach society to unlearn and learn. In our pride, we hastily conclude things. In order to do so, I guess there has to be a destruction of the order of norms that we have known and has been perversed for generations. One painful wake-up call must be a cause for us to think and rethink…instead of blaming and speculating, which fools usually do.

Unifying Diversified Thoughts

To know both sides is a matter of humanistic fairness. We are all made in diversity and yet we try to be as fair as we should be, listening to every angle to know the truth behind. In my work as a journalist, I noticed how different government and civilians views are to one another. Besides that, in every sectors of society, different groups have emerged, taking up a stand for something…or someone.

It’s fortunate to be a free nation, giving a chance for every voice to be heard. I’ve been to different rallies, and I wonder how and where do they get their passion to fight for their cause and rally in the streets no matter how small their numbers can be.

The government in turn tries to appease every groups. But no matter how, not everyone can be appeased. The fight and the call will never end…until both sides will humble themselves and listen.

It’s not an evil thing to be passionate for a cause. It is the one thing that keeps us determined to fight for it. Without it, there’s no reason to live. Yet, one thing that society lacks is humility. I understand that if we lay down ourselves, unlearn the twisted views we have on one another, and listen, nothing can be solved and it will remain as a cycle in generations after generations.

No matter how the government tries to make the most systematic plans for the economy, no matter how loud every NGO’s cry for appeal, every action we make will just bounce on each other’s wall of pride. We expect the government to do everything we demand, the government in return maintains its auspiciousness despite of the transparency it magnifies. It takes two to tango. Without humility, we’ll be blinded by our suspicions until we grab the power handed to us.

But here’s the One thing that we’ve been missing in our society. Our trust in God. Ok, I don’t mean to sound religious here. The Philippines has been considered as the only Christian nation in Asia…but that does not mean we fully trust Him. We can say “In God we trust,” just like the first American government, but we can say without leaving our hearts to Him. Once we do, that is the sign of genuine humility. It’s like saying, “We’re partners in nation building, God.”

It is not an easy thing and to see this must take a lot. We have to be ready to lay down and unlearn our poisonous doctrines in order to push through for a revived society.

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