Resolve

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Harry Connick Jr. – When My Heart Finds Christmas, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

You’re meant to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve for the new year. Last New Year’s Eve, I made the resolution that I would not make any resolutions any more, at least, not in public.

At the very least, though, I will make it a point not to forget Boxing Day, even if at the moment, I am feeling shitty about being an armchair aid-giver, and sitting here now still, doing what some may say is merely dissing local bigwigs for not doing enough. But as some say, at least they’re doing something.

ComfortDelgro, the transport giant, has very commendable employees and drivers who have donated $50,000 to the Red Cross fund, OCBC has ‘raised $487,000’; Hong Leong Foundation has ‘donated $200,000’ and will direct all proceeds from their purchase of Russel Wong’s exhibition’s opening night to the Red Cross fund.

And, ‘for SembCorp Environmental Management, it had valuable contacts with those in the karang guni trade. And so it mobilised its network of karang gunis to go house to house in HDB estates to collect clothes for the survivors. Quek Keng Kwang, General Manager, SembVISY Recycling MRF, said, “Most of them willingly donate all the clothing which have been collected and this is their hard earned money everyday.”‘

There are a lot of people and corporations who have helped, or tried to help, even if they’ve been a complete moron and donated a pair of high heel shoes (I read this somewhere but I can’t find the link). But as I was telling LMD, who was so alarmed at the sudden and uncharacteristic ‘righteous anger’ on this blog that she thought someone with a conscience had hacked into my Blogger account, I am not about to pat these people on the back and say well-done, especially when they can do a whole lot more. What some of these giant local corporations (quasi-corporations included) are doing right now is akin to someone witnessing a person getting seriously hurt in a car accident and then merely leaving a packet of tissue paper for the victim.

But New Year’s Eve is New Year’s Eve, and don’t let anyone begrudge you for going out and having a good time. Life has to go on, even in a disaster zone. But whatever you do, don’t forget Boxing Day 2004, raise awareness whenever you can.

P.S. Sim Mong Hoo, not only are your products ugly, your people are still flogging your iPod killer, while the iPod’s people have taken down the Christmas trimmings. (From atypical Singaporean)

applesite
creativesite

Surf stop: (Warning: You may find this offensive) tony pierce + busblog 1 + 2

Over and above S$2 million: NTUC offers condolences

Some corporations, really big ones, like Pfizer, Amazon.com, Citigroup, Cisco Systems, Bristol-Myers Squibb, have rallied in response to the tsunami disaster by donating generously.

Over here, our very own very big quasi-corporation, NTUC, ‘expresses her deepest heartfelt condolences to the families of victims affected by last Sunday’s tsunami that struck many parts of Asia, following the earthquake off the coast of Aceh, Sumatra.

The Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF), on behalf of the labour movement, has made a S$20,000 donation to those affected in the region through the Red Cross.

Additionally, 5,000 food relief packages worth S$50,000 and weighing some 1.5-million tonnes have been sent to Colombo, Sri Lanka by NTUC Fairprice, which is working with Mercy Relief to raise up to S$100,000 for tsunami victims.

Staples will also be channelled to Aceh where the quake was hardest hit. On 1 Jan 2005, members of the public can also purchase Food Relief Packages at S$10 each from Fairprice supermarkets, which will then be sent to Aceh and other parts of India. Donation cans will also be placed at all Fairprice outlets from today’.

As some Singaporeans are wont to say, very big corporations here must have very good reason for not being as generous as say, Abbott Laboratories. But you know what? Right now I just feel like telling some large local corporation they’re a fcuking ntuc.

S$2 million and more coming

There were odd bits of humanitarian activity here amidst the end of year shopping madness. A couple of friends have been online urging people to drop off donations at collection centres around Singapore.

The government has sent a DART team, two Chinooks, with several Super Pumas on standby for Thailand and Indonesia, and has said that this is ‘over and above the $2 million assistance the government had announced to help affected countries’. It’s OK guys, no need to do PR damage control, just send help.

And the search for a platoon mate, who my reservist platoon thought had gone to Phuket for Christmas, ended with a phone call with him saying ‘wrong person lah. I never go Phuket, but I remember you and me talking to someone one night in the jungle, very dark, so cannot remember who it was. But he say he was going to Phuket with his wife’.

We’re still trying to figure out who it is.

Meantime, here’s a list (gleaned off BBC) of NGOs on the ground at the disaster sites:

Cafod
Care International
International Red Cross
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Oxfam
Save The Children
Unicef
UN World Food Programme
World Vision
Christian Aid
Islamic Relief

Click on to find out more about what they’re doing, and how they’re trying to get aid to the sites.

I’ve also heard that some of the stuff Singaporeans have been donating, like old clothes, blankets and towels, are not quite that high on the priority list, and that these items are:

1. Tents
2. Food (Pre-cooked or ready-to-eat meal packs)
3. Water Purification Tablets
4. Wheat Flour, rice, other staples
5. Drugs: Paracetamol, anti-biotics, wound
dressing, suture material, disposable syringes,
vitamins, and vaccinations for diarrhea, cholera
and malaria.
6. Intravenous infusion (saline and
dextrose)
7. Portable generators

So, don’t be in a hurry to dig out your old clothes from your cupboard yet.

Not good enough

As I write, the toll has climbed to over 50,000.

Cheh Zhai Meen says if you have DBS internet banking, you can make your contributions payable to RED CROSS TIDAL WAVES ASIA. Thanks for leaving that comment.

While it doesn’t seem appropriate to apportion blame in an event such as this, I’m of similar sentiment as Mr Brown when it comes to Singaporeans and their actions (if any) in attempting to ameliorate the suffering. Why so slow? Can’t we fly our vaunted medical team there first, then help evaluate what needs to be done? Surely there’ll be things to do as soon as you hit the ground, no? Maid agencies here can send sacked domestic helpers back to Indonesia faster than you can blink an eye, man! Not good enough, dudes!

(Update: RSAF C-130 with supplies despatched to Medan)

Also, you know when the people in Colorado discovered the massive earthquake, and measured it as a very big one under the sea off Indonesia, how come it didn’t occur to their expert brains that tsunamis would more likely than not, ensue? And if it did occur to them, it would’ve occurred to them that it would have ensued on such a devastating scale that would have prompted them to take ALL POSSIBLE MEANS to contact AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE in the region affected.

What do you mean by NO WARNING SYSTEM? Use your blain! Call the State Department, call consulates, you have internet? Google! Wah lao! You can put decimal places on the Richter scale and you cannot make a few simple phone calls?! It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before! Not bloody good enough, dudes!

(Update: From NYT (login required):

…The Pacific center, operated by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, faced two problems in recognizing what was occurring in the Indian Ocean and alerting potential victims. There is no direct connection between an earthquake magnitude and a resulting tsunami. Not all quakes under the ocean lift the ocean floor to displace the water needed to create a tsunami….
…Dr. McCreery, the Honolulu center’s director, said the initial estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude, 8.0, would have been likely to generate a local tsunami….
)

My World Bank friend, who’s back in Washington tells me news coverage in the US of the disaster is appalling. It seems this is just some earthquake and big waves somewhere in Asia, and the only thing worth reporting is how many Americans have been victims of the disaster. Probably because holidaymakers in the region are predominantly European and not American, says my World Bank friend, who called me earlier very upset that her favourite beach in the world, Raily, is no more, and she doesn’t know what’s become of her friends who live there.