The Philippines is usually resilient when it comes to typhoons. As a matter of fact, we’ve faced an estimate of 24 typhoons just this year.We’ve lost hundreds of men, thousands of houses and lost all our resources. Seeing their news and hearing their stories, I wonder about what the victims of Ondoy or Katrina or of the other past typhoonns were feeling as the latest disaster turned another province upside down.
Did they thank God, for the monsters who stole their families and destroyed their lives decided to spare their lives and instead ruined others’? Did they feel guilt for thinking that way?
My days in school finally paid off as I mourned for the loss of our resources, rather than for the deaths of families all over Visayas. For a moment, I felt guilt. But I dismissed any feeling of remorse for being practical rather than sentimental (as what the media continuously tried to do) for I was confident that we can pick ourselves up again and start over – with a smile in our face, hope in our eyes, and another corny pun at the back of our hands. And why, you may ask, was I so confident, rather than sorrowful? Because the typhoon did not just hit any race of human beings. The typhoon hit us. Filipinos – strong-willed, stubborn, sentimental Filipinos who have seen the worst of it all, and yet, they still have the strength to smile despite the hell that they have been through.
But you see, it’s like how the audience reacts when a comedian says the same joke repeatedly. Repeat it too much, and the people will laugh a little less with every passing moment, until one day, it becomes normal. The joke is no longer a joke.
Usually, when we hear ‘typhoon’ and ‘Philippines’ in the same sentence, we get the usual tinge of guilt, and it lasts for a while but in the end, it’ll end. After a few days, we start to ignore the news and get on with our lives because – aside from the fact that it rarely hits us – typhoons happens so regularly in our country that we kind of get used to it. The joke is no longer a joke, and the typhoon is no longer a tragedy.
Honestly speaking, if you were to ask me, typhoon Yolanda is no different from any other typhoons. So what if this typhoon took a hundred lives more than all the other typhoons combined? Does this make Yolanda any more special than the other typhoons? If you think I am heartless for saying this, then answer me this: Why are we just receiving help from other countries now?
Did it really have to take a supertyphoon – the worst one in the whole world for the whole year – to land in our territory for our people to receive help? Did it really have to take a hell of a natural disaster to take millions of lives for our neighboring countries to unite of a common cause?
I wonder what the past typhoon victimes, those who never received help in their time of need, are thinking right now as they watch leaders of the world donate money and food and clothes to the typhoon victimes of today.
Are they thinking, ‘Typhoon Discrimination’ as well?