It’s late here in HK and I’m on my way to bed.
As I do every night, I just popped my head around the door of Baby T-T’s bedroom; ostensibly to re-tuck his kicked-off covers but – it’s clichéd for a reason – really to watch him sleeping.
Tonight was different. Tonight, as I watched my peaceful, content boy I was unable to shake the news reports I’ve been reading all day from the Philippines – reports of death, desperate people who have lost literally everything in the typhoon, unable to even find drinking water.
And as I stood there, I couldn’t stop picturing the horror of being unable to give my child a drink of water. Imagining being a mother of a toddler just like mine and having nothing to give her son when he tells her he’s thirsty.
I don’t know why that – of all the dreadful, horrifying details that have been reported in the media since Haiyan struck last weekend – is the one thing that really got to me.
More than the pictures of bodies in the streets, more than the aerial shots of devastated cities reduced to matchsticks, more than the aid workers’ reports of horrible injuries untreated. No water to give to your child to drink. Who can imagine worse than that?
Now I’ve seen posts like this popping up all over blogs these last few days, and I’m not intending to be a bandwagon-jumper. Anyone who knows me knows I’m no campaigner. I’m essentially a pretty self-centred, averagely middle-class person with neither great tragedy nor great privilege in my history. I don’t work tirelessly for others, I’m not religious and I don’t need anyone’s pat on the back for being a ‘good’ person. I know this is just one of many terrible, heartbreaking situations in the world.
So why blog about this?
Maybe it’s that being a parent makes you feel that your child is the only really important thing in the world. Or maybe it’s just the proximity of this particular tragedy to HK that hits home so hard; we’re just two hours, but a whole world away.
Perhaps it’s guilt over the fact that so many of HK’s Filipina domestic helpers right now don’t know if their children are dead or alive while they are here looking after ours.
Whatever the reason – and I don’t want to come across all Bob Geldof here – but if you can, please donate to one of the many reputable charities currently working in the Philippines. UNICEF, The Red Cross and Plan are all on the ground and urgently need funds to supply shelter, body bags, food and – yes – water.
The situation is desperate, it’s sad and it’s beyond my imagination. And for that, I’m grateful beyond words.
Normal service will be resumed shortly.