The Reluctant Stylista

Yolanda Tacloban victims photo from Inquirer

Photo from Inquirer

 

Reading the newspaper this morning was heartbreaking (and, as callous as it sounds, I admit don’t even tear up that easily on tragic headlines if pets or animal cruelty aren’t involved).  But I have family in the provinces of Cebu and Mindoro who are safe now.  And when I read about the tragedies of other families in Leyte, Tacloban and other affected areas, I imagined what I would be feeling and thinking now, if that happened to any of mine own.

There was that mother who had to witness her daughter giving up on life, pierced by wooden debris, and telling her mom to let go and save herself.

And there’s the barangay chairman who spent the day ferrying other people to safety, thinking his family at home was safe in their concrete house–only to come home and find out that he was mistaken.

I wouldn’t wish these on my worst enemy.

 

We all want to help out, but let’s take it a step further and do it smartly.  All sorts of help are pouring in, and we all have good intentions, but if we don’t plan it carefully, we might be hindering the relief operations instead.

 

This article illustrates what NOT to donate, and I highly recommend you read it: 10 Worst Things to Donate in a Disaster. But if you’re short on time, here’s the bottomline: used clothes, blankets, food, even medicine take a lot of time, manpower and effort to inspect and sort before they are doled out to affected families. The best way to help out is to donate money, BUT make sure it gets to the right people.  Sign up with a trusted organization like Red CrossGawad Kalinga or Unicef for donations and also for volunteer work so that you’re not getting in the way and you get briefed on where you efforts are best placed.

Google has also launched a one-stop site for news updates, international donations and missing persons tool.

If you’re a fashion blogger and you’re thinking of donating clothes, I think it’s better to just hold a garage sale and give the proceeds to where it’s needed.  There’s really not much use for animal print and high heels out there.

Noemi Dado of Touched by an Angel made Yolanda Aid Monitor to help us keep track of donations from the generous hearts of our international friends.  As of this writing, funding has reached about 4 billion pesos, and I hope and pray that this is used properly.  Yolanda Aid Monitor will be updated regularly.

Red Cross Philippines - Haiyan Yolanda

Gawad Kalinga Yolanda Haiyan

Unicef Philippines - Yolanda Haiyan

 

There are so many things happening in the Philippines right now, I don’t know where to begin.  I’m afraid to read the newspapers, but I must–despite the sadness and disappointments.  But something made me smile today–and if you’re feeling the same way, I’m sharing it here so you can enjoy some good vibes as well.  God knows we’re in dire need of good news right now.  Read full article here.

Tiny Helping Hands for PH

 

The Only Thing Necessary for Evil to Triumph is for Good Men To Do Nothing

 

I rarely do blog posts related to current events, if at all–I always thought I had other avenues for that other than my fashion and lifestyle blog, considering my social media networks.  But last night, I realized that as a blogger, I do have a certain influence.  It’s sort of surprising, because I’ve never been that active, and I do updates like a Philippine volcano–big bursts, then all of a sudden…nothing.  And I’ll never get awarded Miss Congeniality at the events I attend.  But then I noticed that my simple tweets about Ms. Universe 2013 and the international relations with Hong Kong got favorited, retweeted and replied to a number of times.  My Twitter timeline is a casual thing, with only a thousand or so followers, but I may have friends or followers that have legions more than that, and a simple retweet from them could spread like wildfire.  My older brother, who I think posts witty write-ups and eloquent notes regarding current events in his Facebook timeline, gets a few likes for these, maybe 10 if he’s lucky and it’s half from relatives.  But if I share his words on my timeline, it gets at least 3x the viewership and shares even when I don’t have anything to add to it.

If you’re a blogger, especially a serious one, know this: you do have influence.  And yes, it’s our personal platform and we can say whatever we want…and/or we can acknowledge this influence and use it for the positive.  Don’t think small, like I did.  The internet is rife with the ridiculous, absurd, comment-baiting and negative attention-seeking crap–we all recognize that, too–but how can I complain about them if I don’t do my share of writing out information that can enlighten and help others (not to mention, heavily Google-crawled)?  Sure, you may scoff at likes and retweets but if there’s just one person who responds and acts on a positive note, then it’s not a waste.  It doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t require a production (this post is long, but only because I felt I needed to emphasize where to direct people’s well-meaning efforts).  In fact, all it might take is just a little sensitivity regarding the nature of your public posts.  Know that especially in times like this, whatever you say can and will resonate somewhere.

Please, make it count.

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