Now is the Time for All Good Men .
By Simeon G. Silverio, Jr.
Publisher & Editor
San Diego Asian Journal
San Diego, California
November 15, 2013
One of the best educational investments made by our parents was a 5-inch thick Merriam Webster dictionary in the 1960s. It had light maroon cover with golden embossed prints. As kids, we used it to define words. There was no Internet then, no Wikipedia, and no spell-check or dictionary features of today. It did have features like an Atlas, an encyclopedia, and instructions on becoming a good typist.
One was told to keep typing the sentence, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the country. I dont know why, since it didnt contain all the keys in a typewriter, which is the same as the keyboards of computers today. Apparently, the sentence would enable us to use both hands in typing, unlike the “chicken peck style of many journalists of our time using only their point fingers. During that time, we had at least five Olivetti manual typewriters, made during the 1950s. I theorize that perhaps one of the major clients of my fathers printing press replaced his typewriters with new ones; hence, my father could purchase the old ones for a song.
There we were, the five oldest children of seven, learning how to type by typing the same sentence over and over again. It paid off. Before long, I could type fast with both hands. When I was in college, I could type my articles while watching television. I would sit in a chair with the typewriter on my lap, my raised feet resting on another chair as I watched the television, my eyes away from the keys of the typewriter. I was already multi-tasking long before it became a household word. I bought that portable typewriter with the contributors fee I received from a magazine for my first professionally published article.
With the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda in Central Philippines, I am again reminded of that sentence that made me a good typist, a skill crucial to my professional and writing careers.
The Internet, including social media like Facebook and Twitter, is flooded with news, comments and photos of the devastation. It seems the sad tales of tragedies are unending. No longer are photos of food, family outings and other trivial matters posted. Everyone has a sad story to share. Such postings are so prevalent that I no longer bother to read them. I am not interested in reading the details of every victims tragedy. The message, for me, is already clear: the victims need help, and they need it fast.
Then the sentence from my childhood dawned on me: “Now is the time for all good men and women, to come to the aid of the country. Help is pouring into the devastated areas. At least 33 countries are sending help, in form of goods and money. The United States military has sent ships and personnel to the rescue, like the good ol cavalry responding to the call for help by victims of Indian attacks. Once more, the American military has landed in Leyte, the same site where U.S. General Douglas McArthur fulfilled his promise to “return to the Philippines, beginning the liberation of the country from Japanese hands during World War II. Even the government of Hong Kong, which is still nursing ill feelings against the Philippine government and demanding an apology for the mishandling of an earlier tragic hostage crisis, set aside their difference and sent aid.
While I appreciate this help and sympathize with the victims of the tragedy, I also feel sorry that my country, the Philippines, seems to make world news only after a disaster. While it may not be a shining moment for us, it could be an opportunity to show the world what kind of people we are. We should all get together, the overseas foreign workers, the so-called “Filipino pilgrims of modern day, the children of Philippines from all over the world, and help in any way possible. Let us not be mere bystanders. Let us be active participants in the worldwide efforts to help our poor brothers and sisters. More importantly, let us not complain. Let us not criticize government officials, no matter what political party they may belong, for their failure to give instant remedy to the situation. They are working way beyond their hours, getting little sleep to attend to the needs of many. The task is overwhelming. Remember, the typhoon is the strongest in the recorded history of the world. Not even America, with all its might and resources, can run an efficient, well-oiled machine to perform to the satisfaction of everyone. Just ask the victims of typhoon Sandy, hurricanes Katrina and Andrew.
With their limited resources, the rescuers, even paid government officials, need help, instead of criticism. I dont think one will get physically involved in the rescue efforts if he does not have a sincere desire to help. If you cannot help, get out of the way. Dont sit in the comfort of your home posting and forwarding in the Internet every negative blog you encounter. They would not correct the ways of the responders but would only discourage them. Too many cooks, as they say, spoil the broth. If you cannot volunteer physically, just send money. No amount of contribution is too small. Every cent we can afford we should send to improve the living conditions of the survivors and begin rehabilitating the devastated areas. More importantly, pray for the soul of the dead victims and the comfort of the living survivors.
If you are a disillusioned survivor, look at the bigger picture. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. A cheerful, beautiful morning after an evening of horrible nightmare. Let us just keep our faith. Withstand and pass this ultimate test in our life. And stay focused on the promised rewards of the afterlife and the resurrection. For, as we always say, this too shall pass.
The San Diego Asian Journal is endorsing the drive of Gawad Kalinga — led by its visionary founder Tony Meloto and his San Diego, California protegee, who is a successful entrepreneur in his own right, Tony Olaes — to this campaign.
The group is asking the public to donate funds “to purchase food packs which consists of bottled water, canned goods and rice for a family of four, which will last them 3-days. It is reminding potential donors that “each food pack costs $5.00, less than the price of a kids meal at fast food restaurants.
“So far, weve been able to purchase 20,000 food packets, says Tony Olaes local leader and Director of GK-USA. “As soon as we get the money, we wire it so our affiliates can purchase and deliver more.
GKs goal is to purchase 200,000 food packs. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar donated to the group for this relief effort, according to GK, goes directly to the purchase of the food packets.
“Our Philippine affiliate has waived all remittance fees, so the money goes to those in most need, says Olaes.
Many other relief agencies are sending aid, including the US Military and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who are providing medical supplies, tents and similar supplies, according to GK. However, it noted that many of the roads leading into Tacloban and surrounding areas are difficult to travel and in some cases, impassable.
Gawad Kalinga currently has relief teams already in those areas, clearing roads — so food, drinking water and other supplies can reach the typhoon victims.
For those interested in donating, go to: www.gk-USA.org.
The Internet giant Yahoo noted that with the Red Cross and other agencies saying they expect the number of casualties and total damage from the storm to soar, there are many organizations stepping up to provide relief to the victims and families of Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda).
Here are just some of them, according to Yahoo:
American Red Cross: Sent support specialists to help the hardest hit areas.
Direct Relief International: Direct Relief is collaborating with its partner on the ground, Asia America Initiative (AAI), to coordinate the delivery of needed medical aid, which is expected to arrive in the Philippines capital, Manila, early next week. The donation contains antibiotics, pain relievers, nutritional supplements, anti-fungal medications, wound dressings, and chronic disease medicines.
Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps is launching immediate relief efforts after one of the strongest storms in recorded history devastates the Philippines.
Oxfam: Oxfam rapid assessment teams are poised to provide emergency supplies and shelter in parts of the Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
ShelterBox: Donations designated toward ShelterBoxs Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts will be used to supply the most vital equipment needed and will not be assigned box tracking numbers. Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.
UNICEF: UNICEF is working to provide safe water, hygiene supplies, food, shelter and a safe environment to recover.
World Food Programme: WFP is mobilizing quickly to reach those in need. Please make a donation now to provide emergency food assistance to families and children.
Take your pick. Donate through any of the agency of your choice. Remember, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of our country. – AJ