The Marocharim Experiment

Sword-days, red days, and sunrises

Category: Current (Page 2 of 39)

Yolanda: Donations

So instead of spreading toxicity over the Internet (which we can do WAY, WAY later, not today, pag may time, so to speak), I’d like to take this time to help get the word out on donations.  There’s already enough awareness spread out there, so it’s time we ramp it up and donate.  And donate smartly.

If you haven’t donated yet to help out those affected by Yolanda, please consider sending donations over to UNICEF, the DSWD, or the Philippine Red Cross.  Other aid organizations are found in the GOV.PH website, and all over Facebook.  If you’re reading this from overseas, please consider making donations through the Salvation Army, Doctors Without Borders, the International Medical Corps, or even through iTunes.

Whenever you can, please try to donate money: while this may be a good time to donate old clothes we’ve outgrown or medicines we don’t use, I think that the pressing needs of our suffering countrymen demand a smarter, more useful donation.  Try to talk to your HR about giving a donation (no matter how small) as a salary deduction.

From what little I know of development work (I’m not an expert), donating in cash is more useful for the following reasons:

  1. Cash is easier to hold on to and to transport than, say, boxes and bags of shoes.
  2. Donations-in-kind are more expensive to transport, to sort out, and to distribute than, say, boxes and bags of clothes.
  3. Those in the ground would know more about the needs of the victims, and with the cash they can procure and purchase goods more efficiently than we can if we gave in kind.

I came across this Greatest Good Donation Calculator from the USAID CIDI; hope it lends you some perspective on how much the costs of a gift-in-kind can be, and why a monetary donation may be a smarter gift to give.

Cash donations also help fund the rebuilding of these communities in the future.  Despite the specter of graft and corruption plaguing the Philippines, making these donations means getting more relief and projects out there and funds the humanitarian and rebuilding efforts.  Crowdsourcing the flow of international aid is something that many Filipino netizens are doing a lot of lately, so public transparency is there.

Off-tangent, I hope that these discussions on social media about where all the aid is going can spark interest on the nature of aid, humanitarian work, and the challenges facing aid.  For those of you who want to get to know more about aid, there are some great blogs out there that discuss the topic of humanitarian aid from aid workers’ perspectives: Good Intentions are Not Enough and Tales from the Hood come to mind.

And here’s an absolute essential: the Google Person Finder.

So yes, you don’t have to feel helpless, small, and significant in donating whatever cash you can this payroll (or right now, if you can, or maybe someday soon).  A little goes a long way.

Oh, and one last thing: when making donations let’s keep in mind that it’s not about us, it’s about them.  And at the risk of sounding a little too touchy-feely about it, I strongly believe that there’s truth in saying that when it comes to giving, it’s about being the giver that others need, not being the giver we want to be.

Hope you can share!  Not this post, but a donation to the victims of Yolanda.

Postscript: The view on the relief efforts and all the chatter in social media, that will come later.

Making a Million People March

For all this talk about “hijacking” and an exchange of words dividing a critical mass, I think a more sober perspective on the Million People March is necessary.  Not that I’m the most sober (irony intended) person to lend that perspective, but I’d like to take a crack at it.  I would suggest reading the pieces of Tonyo Cruz and Jego Ragragio first before reading this one, though.

Let’s start with something basic and essential, but has often been downplayed throughout this whole conversation.  The fact to the matter is that there weren’t a million people in the Luneta march, the EDSA march, or the Ayala march.  So we bend the rules of math, and say that 70,000, 3,000, or 10,000 is equivalent to a million by virtue of metaphor.  And we bend the rules of marching as well, and say that those who expressed their support online through Tweets and Facebook statuses are part of the march, by virtue of metaphor.

That extends to what these marches are all about.  Some people claim that all discretionary funds are pork, and should be abolished.  Still others claim that government needs discretionary funds in order to function.  Some people claim that President Aquino should be ousted (or be impeached or that he should resign from his position) because of his involvement in the pork barrel scam.  Still others claim that this is about government accountability and transparency, and not the ouster of the President.

All that extends to why we’re arguing in the first place.  On the one hand, some blame the leftists for “hijacking” the Million People March for pursuing their own political agenda, relying on passé methods of protest that turn off the middle class who are at the center of this protest.  On the other hand, some blame the pro-Aquino camp for “hijacking” the Million People March to preserve the President from any further criticism of this matter, that this is a black-and-white matter of being pro-pork or anti-pork.

And there’s the rub, I think: are you a “million people march” if you don’t have a million people, and the thousands you have march in different directions?

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Thomas the White Communist

Without beating around the bush, here’s the reason why Thomas Van Beersum is hated and reviled by many netizens: he is a white Communist from the Netherlands who’s friends with Jose Ma. Sison.

What’s there not to hate? We don’t like being told off by foreigners who think they know everything. We don’t like Communists who think they know everything. We sure as hell don’t have any love for Joma Sison, who thinks he knows everything. He’s easy enough to hate as it is, and when he’s hurling strong propaganda on an already-crying cop and disrupting the President’s State of the Nation Address, we hate him even more. Deport him. Let him go back to the Netherlands and fraternize with our enemy. Fuck him.

Now I’m not writing this to defend Van Beersum’s actions. But he was not the one who made PO1 Sevilla cry. He was not the one who instigated any sort of violence when he was in the streets that day. His crime is this: he is a white Communist from the Netherlands who’s friends with Jose Ma. Sison.

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What the F

The key stakeholders in the name of a nation are the people. It’s not the commission in charge of language, much less the national artist in charge of that commission. Just because “Filipinas” is correct (at least from the point of view of indubitable scholars of the Filipino language like Rio Alma), doesn’t mean we should reject the word “Pilipinas” altogether.

To be fair, the vanguards of the Filipino language – the likes of Almario and the commission he leads – make a very good point. Our language is “modernized.” Nevermind that the consonant “f” is found through many languages in the land before colonization; but it is this “modernization” that makes us move beyond, say, “ispageti” and call it “spaghetti,” or our reporters’ penchant for the word “pamoso” when referring to someone famous. The more we reject unitary identity the more we struggle with national identity, and linguistic inconsistencies are a symptom of that.

What I’m struggling with, though, is whether or not this is a problem in the first place.

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