Everything Else

Prayers from a small island nation

Without sounding callous, I just wish to say that I am extremely thankful to be living in Singapore.

Aceh is not terribly far away from us, and yet the disaster took nary a life here. However, 23,000 60,000 114,000 others were not so fortunate. When the tsunamis struck them unexpectedly, they were swept away into the vast ocean of water, possibly never to be found again. From Indonesia to India to even Somalia, the tremors were felt and the worst is yet to come. With a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter Scale, the greatest since 1900, nobody really knows how to handle a disaster of such scale simply because it has never happened before in our lifetimes.

And since we live on this small island nation, we will probably never encounter natural disasters such as this in our lifetimes. And as we pray for the victims of the tsunamis, we should also mutter a silent word of gratitude that we never will. Let us be thankful that we live in an island that is protected all round by land masses, that we are geographically sound. Let us never take our survival for granted, and as a result, grow increasingly self-centeredness.

I am a self-declared shopaholic. The post-Christmas sales get my heart pounding, which explains why I was trawling the malls after work just now. I confess now that a yummy-looking pair of shoes that I had seen is still calling out my name, hours after I left the boutique. But do I really need another pair of shoes? What would be the use of 50 pairs of shoes, when the money could probably go into feeding a starving child whose home has been destroyed by the ravaging waters?

I’ve never dealt well with large-scale disasters. September 11 had turned me into a morbid, gloomy zombie for days after. And now, as I read the news reports, my heart clenched tightly and tears threatened to spill. But instead of just whinging about it, this time, I want to make a difference. And I can, by donating money to the Singapore Red Cross. They are raising money to fund purchases of emergency items such as medicines and food parcels to aid the victims. Every bit counts.

Let us do our part in ensuring that relief comes to those aggrieved in the speediest manner.