By Jade Pangilinan
Just as I am contemplating on writing about the natural calamities that the Global Pinoy has to face, another earthquake rocked Japan barely a month after it was hit by a devastating tsunami and earthquake.
So far 2011 has not been a good year for the overseas Pinoys, with the earthquake in New Zealand, civil unrest in the Middle East, floods in Australia and the tsunami in Japan. Add to that the Filipino workers executed in China for drug trafficking and the growing number of Pinoys on the death row in various countries. Still, these disasters, natural or man-made, are not enough reasons for more Filipinos to stay here in our country. Each day thousands of our best manpower leave for foreign shores in the hope of finding greener pasture and better opportunities than what the Philippines has to offer. Disasters are mere challenges that the Global Pinoy has to face.
When the first big quake hit Japan in March, my first thoughts were of my friends in the Jeepney Press, kuya Dennis and ate Marty, and my cousin Evita and her family in Tokyo. I really am thankful for their safety and well-being. In the days that ensued I followed the news and saw the hard work of the people in the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, especially the Ambassador, who did their best for the Pinoys in Japan in spite of the limited resources they had. I realized that theirs was a thankless job given the many demands that some of our Kababayans were making, ranging from pamasahe to better accommodations.
I was also inspired by the likes of Jeepney Press’s very own editor Kuya Dennis and his family in keeping alive the spirit of volunteerism among our Kababayans, despite the fact that they were also victims of the same disaster that hit everyone in Tokyo. It is comforting to know that in spite of everything that has taken place, our newspaper Jeepney Press is still alive, kicking and running! I guess disasters really have a way of bringing out the worst and the best in the Filipino. It is during disasters that we learn of stories of courage and everyday heroism. It is also during disasters that we highlight the lack of support or attention we get from the government and we are overwhelmed with a certain sense of helplessness and fatalism.
Overseas Pinoy or not, I think that everyone has to prepare, at least psychologically, for disasters in our lives. These may be personal disasters or obstacles we have to face, whether with our family, relationships, career or whatnot. They may also be disasters of a 9.3 magnitude which we have to face with the rest of humankind. Come what may, we just have to find the strength in ourselves and strength in God to pick up where we left off or start all over again if necessary.
By Christopher Santos
This time you will help me write this article.
The purpose of us writing for Jeepney Press is to inform, to express, or simply to share. Walang writers kung walang readers. YIELD is yours. Sa kabila ng mga recent events sa Japan, alam natin na maraming nabuong karanasan, maraming tanong na nangailangan ng sagot, mga pangamba na naglabasan, at mga bagay na hindi natin kailanman inakala na pag-iisipan natin. I am equally sure that among those concerns, no matter how many forms they are camouflaged as, there are certain truths that only self-honesty can unlock. I know this is an editorial column and I have a responsibility to declare my opinions. However, tulad ng nasaad ko, this is YOUR column as much as it is ours. All this time, you have been reading my articles. This time, as respect for that self-honesty that only reveals itself at times we are truly challenged, I will simply ask the questions. Kung ang layunin ng pagsusulat ko ay para bumuo ng opinyon, and since this column has always been for our readers, this time ang mga sagot ninyo ang bubuo ng column na ito. By the time you finish pondering on what I can only hope as thought-provoking points, in your own silent accord, then we have collectively created a masterpiece. Hindi kailangan nagkakaisa ang mga sagot natin dahil wala naman makakaalam nito kung hindi ang mga sarili ninyo. Ang dapat lamang ay magka-isa tayo sa pagkilala ng isang oportunidad para higit lalo natin madiskubre ang mga sarili natin sa gitna ng mga pangyayaring pinagdaraanan natin lahat dito sa Japan.
We cannot publish your thoughts or your answers but you will be joining us in fulfilling what we in Jeepney Press are here for - to trigger something that will make us better people. We cannot predict the future. It's stupid to live past the present. But we can be prepared because, in the long run, it will be easier to select an option than to search for one. Walang sagot na tama o mali. Pero mayroong totoo at hindi. To our readers, kayo lamang ang makakaalam ng tunay na sa loobin ninyo. It's time na pakinggan natin ang sarili natin. And, before we proceed, thank you po for helping me write our article...
• During the midst of the 3/11 earthquake, gaano ka kahanda sa anumang mangyayari sa iyo?
• Ano ang nasa isip mo sa loob ng limang minuto na iyon?
• Anong paghahanda sa buhay o sa sarili mo ang hindi mo natupad bago lumindol?
• Ano ang unang naisip mo noong una mong mapanuod ang pag- atake ng tsunami sa Japan?
• Noong kinagabihan ng 3/11, ano ang pinag-usapan ng buong pamilya mo?
• Ano ang binago ng 3/11 sa iyo at sa pamilya mo?
• Sa kabila ng mga nangyari, nagpapasalamat ka ba na nasa Japan ka?
• Mayroon ka bang naisip o nakita na magandang bagay sa personal mong buhay na bunga ng mga pangyayari?
• Kung hindi mo man naisip na bumalik sa Pilipinas, bakit?
• What do you miss most about Japan after 3/11?
• Gaano mo na-appreciate ang Japan recently? Bakit?
• Gaano mo na-appreciate ang Pilipinas recently? Bakit?
• Ano ang pinakamakabuluhang tulong na naibigay mo sa gitna ng mga nangyayari?
• Kung may paraan na malaman mo na mangyayari ulit ang naganap nung 3/11, paano ka tutulong?
• May nagbago ba sa kumpiyansa at tiwala mo sa Japan matapos ang 3/11? Higit ba itong tumibay?
• Kung mayroon kang mahal sa buhay na magnanais tumira sa Japan ngayon, ano ang ipapayo mo?
• Kung sakaling papiliin ka ng isang lugar lamang kung saan ka tatanda, saan ito? Bakit?
• Kung sakaling talagang kaila-ngan mo na bumalik sa Pilipinas, handa ka ba?
• Kung sakaling talagang kaila-ngan mo na maiwan sa Japan, handa ka ba?
• Huwag naman pahintulutan ng Diyos, pero kung ang Pilipinas ang nagdanas ng trahedya, uuwi ka ba?
• Ano ang napatunayan mo sa loyalty mo sa Japan?
• Ano ang napatunayan mo bilang Pilipino sa Japan?
It is not my intention to solicit a choice, take sides, or present an ultimatum. I don’t even dare to stir emotions. This issue’s YIELD is sincerely dedicated to trigger truths that we take for granted. At least, I hope that's one good thing we can extract from our recent challenges. The very first article I wrote for Jeepney Press on its inaugural issue was about bridging Japan and The Philippines. Masaya lang ako to discover that after all these years, and inspite of everything that took place, and taking into account what is still happening, I was able to put into test what I firmly believed in then until now. I am a Filipino in Japan. To this date, I have spent more time in this country than in our own. Pero walang nagbabago kasi at the end of each day, it's not where we are or who we are that counts. It's what we do that makes a difference.
Maraming salamat po ulit. It was fun to "write" with you all.... Stay safe everyone.
God bless Japan.