Listen. I will be the first one to tell you that my presence on social media, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, this damn blog, whatever, is silly and frivolous and oftentimes obscene. So when I do get real and talk about something serious, it might seem weird and out of place and maybe a bit flippant. Let me make it abundantly clear, my love of talking about butts, boners and glitter, in no way reflects how deeply I feel about the recent natural disaster in the Philippines.
News outlets are reporting that Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest tropical storm to make landfall ever recorded. To put it into perspective, a tropical storm stronger than Hurricane Katrina wiped through the province of Leyte (central Philippines on the east coast), and destroyed at least one major city Tacloban. Fortunately, where I come from and where my family currently lives, was far enough away from the eye of the storm to receive any major or lasting damage, certainly no injuries. My family is safe and unharmed and just fine. They’re lucky.
Many are not.
I’ve been limiting how much footage I actually watch of Typhoon Haiyan and its aftermath because the images are very upsetting. And as a person who LOVES horror films and real-crime documentaries that are filled to the brim with death and gore, that says something. Seeing the destruction and the suffering on the faces of those affected forced an incredibly visceral reaction out of me, one that surprised me. With every video clip of people swimming through muddy and unclean water to save others, with every sound bite of a mother crying because she watched her daughter pass away in front of her, or with every interview of a local who is just pleading for one clean shirt, I see people that could be my family. Tragedy happens on a major scale on a very regular basis, unfortunately, but this one really got to me because of the familiarity of the victims’ faces and voices. In every interview, I can understand them. I know the language they’re speaking. I know how awful it must be.
And yet I don’t. I probably can’t even come close to feeling the sense of loss the victims feel because I’m not there and haven’t been since I was 8. I’m a privileged Filipino-Canadian living in my parents 1,800 square foot home, driving two cars (neither of which I own, obviously), chasing my dream of being a performer who will maybe get paid regularly one of these days. I wrote an entire blog entry (on my overpriced Macbook, no less), on how I anguished over which 5 Gap dresses I should keep. And then I ended up keeping all of them. When one woman just wants one clean shirt, I’m boo-hooing over 5 dresses.
Perspective. I am so lucky to have the life that I have. And it’s terrible that an event with wide-scale destruction has me thinking about me. There are more important things to deal with in this life, and there will be problems greater than my own, and there are people who really need help. So if you have the means, however little you think it may be, I’m asking you to please donate towards relief efforts. The Philippines is not a wealthy country by any means, very different from our own, but that doesn’t mean they need any less. The Canadian government has said it will match any donations to registered Canadian charities providing aid to the Philippines. To make things way easier for you, here’s a list of some of those charities. I’ve already supported the Red Cross and Global Medic. And if a broke-ass ho like myself can “sacrifice” 5 MAC lipsticks to help someone other than herself out, maybe you can too.
*This list of charities was taken from a CBC article. Click here for that.