Pray less. Do more.

We’ve all been consumed by a global affliction; nature’s tenacious hand on Japan.

Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events‘ doesn’t even come close to the trail of destruction that has unfolded. I believe for most of us, the past few days have changed our perspective on the fragility of life and evoked the compass of compassion, shifting our emotional/mental paradigm.

Truth of the matter is, I’ve been wanting to blog about Japan the moment since being bombarded with horrific footage, graphic images, dramatic reports and not to mention infuriating political comments and comical depictions impervious to the mounting cataclysm. I hesitated, for how can anyone say anything remotely relevant or comforting in the face of such devastation? Haven’t we all expressed our horror, concerns and sense of hopelessness over twitter and facebook? Haven’t we at some point placed hashtags in front of prayforjapan pleas? Don’t get me wrong, pray all you want but prayers aren’t enough – or exclamation of prayers for that matter. Fact: God is not on Twitter.

But no, it’s just not enough – donating money via iTunes, clicking “like” on a compassionate status, Retweeting BBC reports on twitter,  defending morality and ethics by debating it openly on Facebook…. etcetera.  All this suppression is making me feel emotionally repressed and I feel that words must be written.

I can imagine many things. Like if I were to lose my job, if my Australian Visa is to be revoked, if I were to be in a tragic car accident, have cancer, fall off a bridge…. many things. But I can’t imagine starting from absolute scratch, from literally nothing.

I can’t imagine when everything I have is gone in a single pulse. The local grocers, the swings at the park; everything one comes to love about their neighborhood, reduced to rubble. Cherished memories, first medal you won in kindy, grandmother’s hand knitted scarf, favorite books , life long collection of stamps, the letter father wrote before he passed on, but more over, the people you know and love, swept away in a apocalyptic wave, followed by the sick twist of fate; nuclear leaks from the power plants, threatening your very existence. How do you possibly carry on, let alone start over?

And yet, despite such great loss, there’s a sense of surrealism. Like when on one hand, you’re watching the horror unfold on CNN, and on the other,  Kim Kardashian tweeting about her newly purchased clutch bag. You listen to people ranting on about the iPad 2 and that new movie with Nicole Kidman, while people in Japan are running away from falling debris, living in darkness, shivering in the winter cold and starving from shortage of food. And who can pardon the insensitive cartoon depiction of Japan’s iconic Ultra-man sprinting away from a Tsunami wave or Malaysia’s 1st lady practically blaming Japan for its own tragic demise?

How about people complaining about their flights being canceled and their shares being affected by the Japanese stock market? Am I wrong for not sympathizing or seeing the humor in those callous remarks? I’m not asking you to stop living and bask in the misery of Japan but for heavens sake, practice some tact and feign some compassion if need be. Yes I am patronizing your comments with sarcasm and yes I am getting riled up, but if it takes such provocations to address the subjectivity of what is morally right and wrong, then I will not be afraid to speak my mind. I would rather be criticized for being eccentric than tactless.

I’ve digressed, but emotions and defensive debates aside, all is not lost. There is still that small ray of light and hope. International rescue teams from around the world rush to Japan’s aid, from Africa to Lady Gaga. Man power and monetary aid are flooding in. Even poverty stricken countries like Vietnam and Sri Lanka, have pledged generous amounts of monetary relief. Children in India lit candles and held signs reading: ‘Japan, we are with you.’ Thailand and Taiwan have sent food supplies, France and Germany sent search dogs and armies of personnel, India has sent shiploads of Wollen blankets, Pope Benedict XVI calls on the faithful to pray for the victims in Japan. People around the world are using social media to help reunite love ones.  They all form a tiny, tiny silver lining, but there’s a lining and I thank God for that.

*For those of you who want to do more than pray, here’s A CNN article titled:  Japan’s Earthquake:  How You Can Help. It’s a great compilation of giving organizations that are mobilizing and collecting funds to help those suffering in Japan.



  1. ok I need to make a comment on this one since it brings me tears. and I’m in the office. and the last thing i want is my Italian colleagues asking why I cry over such things and I question them back why they don’t.

    Yesterday evening I found myself sitting in a creative conception meeting while checking the news about plant explosion and how rumors spreading over FB about its radiant effects. Almost shouted at my boss ” ok…I don’t give a sh*** about what mkt team will say about this presentation… people are dying out there”

    somehow there are people who really put themselves in somebody’s shoes, people who try to do that and people who live in their own shoes… I accept them all. or should we put it this way..all people is kind but they just have different ways of expressing condolences. some have inability of making jokes?

  2. Maymee, I share your frustrations and confusion. What are we suppose to feel or do? Yes we’re all upset, but do we allow other people’s devil-may-care attitude to make us doubt our own emotions? I face the same challenge; trying to contain my own grief over the situation without expecting the same reactions from my peers.

    One undeniable fact remains; life goes on. But the crux of it is questioning what kind of life do we want, and what do we want our life to mean? What’s the purpose, value of our existence? All I can say is, stay true to your feelings, beliefs and emotions for without them, we are just breathing – not living.


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