A Little Sensitivity During Calamity

As part of my training for certification as a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, I spent considerable time helping one of the candidates for Open Water Scuba Instructor certification. As far as his skills are concerned, he had no problem. However, the candidate came from a less fortunate family. Needless to say, he was not able to complete secondary school. His inadequate education background made it difficult for him to understand key concepts in physics and physiology.

I go to his place at the end of the day to help him with academics. If you’re wondering why I would go to his place, it’s because his place is walking distance from the dive school I co-own. Just to be clear, this event happened some ten years ago when I was still living in Boracay. If you’ve never heard of this place before, use Google.

Manila Flood 2012 (1)

Residents wait for their family members being rescued

To continue, the candidate is living with a Japanese national who, at that time, was completing her Rescue Diver certification. One night, I went there with a female companion, whom I was having a relationship with. Before we went inside the house, I asked my girlfriend to be less showy. I told her that the Japanese girl is having serious issues with the candidate, whom she suspects of having an affair with someone else.

As is the case with many couples, when romance is just starting, couples tend to be sweet to each other. I was concerned that our display of affection might add insult to injury. I didn’t want us to be a reminder of romance gone wrong for the Japanese.

I was being sensitive.

Manila Flood 2012 (2)

A father carrying his daughter on his back holds

As I write this now, monsoon rain had brought in unimaginable amount of rain over the National Capital Region and nearby provinces for two weeks now. A few days ago, intense rain caused widespread flooding. Public and private offices, and classes were closed. Tens of thousands of people have to be evacuated. Already, nearly 60 people have lost their lives.

As I looked at images and videos on TV, online news sites and those posted friends in social networks, I could not help but ponder.

I am thankful that our house and warehouse were not flooded. As people flee for their lives, my children were home, comfortable and safe. As people in evacuation center and heavily flooded areas wait for food, clothes, and other aid, my children spent their time playing.

Manila Flood 2012 (3)

A soaking wet child sits on a post on a flooded street in suburban Manila

There are real people out there, tens of thousands of them. Some of them are my family, some are my friends, and I worry about them. As my children argue, who gets to play which toy first, there are real people out there waiting to be rescued. There are still people on rooftops, cold, wet and hungry.

In social networking sites, there are people who spread rumors, which caused panic. There are those who posted luxuries, reminding others whose house remains flooded that they aren’t so fortunate.

In times like this, if not for anything else, a little sensitivity helps.

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