I suppose many Malaysians would agree with me that it has not been a pleasant December for us this year. Unless you are a totally clueless person, I’m sure you would have heard of the terrible floods that has devastated 8 states in the country so far, with Kelantan and Terengganu on the east coast being hit worst.
What I would like to say is that, forget about talks and slogans, this is the best time for us to walk the talk of 1Malaysia. This is the time for us to show some solidarity and help our fellow Malaysians in need in whatever means that we can.
I’ll be open and show you what I did, lest you accuse me of only talks. I’m not so heroic to set my job aside and volunteer myself to the front line. The only thing I did was to donate a paltry RM 100 to ABIM (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia). earmarked for their Ops Skuad Prihatin Banjir 2014.
Don’t jump into conclusions, I am not converting to Islam. I’m pretty sure I will not do that in my life. The only reason I chose ABIM is because I saw their updates on Facebook and felt that they are doing a good job in helping the flood victims. Helping the needy (and everything else actually) should transcend race and religion anyway.
And don’t take this wrongly. I’m not trying to brag about my contributions here. Donating RM100 is nothing to brag about. There are many people out there who are doing much more than what I am doing, especially those who volunteer their time and effort in the front line. I’m just trying to reach out to any readers I have out there who might be 50:50 about doing something but not sure what to do or whether to do it or not.
And I’m writing this post not to urge you guys to donate to ABIM. I’m not even writing this post to urge you guys to donate money. I’m writing this post to urge you guys to contribute in whatever way you can to help our stranded fellow Malaysians. Look for ways that you can afford to contribute.
If you have already done what you can, good. If you have not and are at a lost as to how to help, I believe most churches/temples/masjid/community centres would have some sort of relief program being set up. You should also be able to find many sources online encouraging donations and asking for volunteers. In fact Mak Glam shared quite a number of links on her blog post, I just saw it a couple minutes ago(good job!), you can go there if you do not know where to begin your search.
If you are planning to donate items instead of money, please take note that you are trying to help the flood victims, not getting rid of unwanted items. They don’t need old clothes and old shoes. Things that they desperately need (according to what I gather from Kelantanese colleague):
- Drinking water.
- Bread, biscuits, tinned food (basically food that can be readily consumed, they don’t need rice, lack of drinking water to cook).
- Medical supplies.
- Candles and matches (let there be light, even when there is no electricity).
If none of the options work for you, then help pray for the floods to go away as soon as possible. I’m sure our collective prayers will help somewhat.
When I checked CNN’s website earlier this evening and saw this breaking news about AirAsia QZ 8501,
I was elated. This is good news! We are not seeing a prolonged inability to locate the aircraft (debris), unlike the search for MH370 which until today is still underway. Apparently Indonesia has learned from our mistakes of wasting too much time feeding misinformation to the general public and instead went on with the task of search and rescue immediately.
I was going to share the news on Facebook in a good mood, but I was halted when I scrolled down and saw this image.
It totally destroyed my mood and set me firmly back in my place.
We might think this is good news as it stops the mainstream and alternative media from putting up a prolonged circus show, but who are we to judge for the affected families and relatives of the victims? Step back and think: instead of finding closure, most of them would find confirmation that their loved ones are dead. There’s 0% hope that their loved ones might still be able to come back to them. That’s heartbreaking stuff.
So I did not share the “happy” news on Facebook. Instead I sat in the office (yes, I arrived in Penang and went straight to the office) to reflect, and then went for dinner. I came back home to see my Facebook wall flooded with Shares. Some were shared with RIP messages (which is maybe fine, I guess), but some (to my chagrin) came complete with praises to the authorities and (to make matters worse) congratulatory messages to the deceased families for getting closure so quickly.
I am posting about this because I want to say: guys, this is wrong! You do not f**king congratulate people for getting confirmation of death!
I think a part of the problem is maybe that with Facebook, it is so easy to Like and Share things. But I think another part of the problem is definitely that people don’t stop and think before they hit those stupid buttons.
Stop and think. Think hard. Not just rationally, but try to put yourselves in the shoes of the affected people. If you are not even sure whether what you share and/or what message you attach to the share will affect other people negatively or not, it is best not to share it.
(Pictures were all taken from CNN, I figured since these stuff are already in circulation in the biggest news portal in the world, it makes me less of an asshole for plugging the pictures here)