‘Yolanda’ has stolen Christmas… but not forever
A very well-loved and widely celebrated event has been stolen by the strongest and most devastating typhoon to hit the Philippines. Called “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”), it wreaked unimaginable havoc and devastation in the Visayas, particularly on the islands of Leyte and Samar.
Yolanda left behind thousands of people dead and untold suffering among millions of others, not to mention destroyed crops, trees, electric power lines and communication systems, as well as basic infrastructure like roads, bridges and school buildings. The extent of destruction Yolanda inflicted on the nation is unparalled.
Aside from laying waste practically most of the Visayas, Yolanda stole the most celebrated holiday season of the Filipinos—Christmas. The typhoon struck suddenly, and saddeningly, at a time when the happy and fes tive Christmas mood was beginning to fill the atmosphere. When it hit the Philippines, Christmas carols were already being played, in the broadcast media, at malls and in every store selling items associated with Christmastime.
Needless to say, the most adversely affected are the children who traditionally start thinking—even weeks and months before the Yuletide season—about caroling, their favorite means of soliciting money from neighbors, friends and relatives. Expect the children’s caroling to be less fun and rewarding this year. Why?
Because this early there have been signs that money will be tight. Companies that donated sizable sums of money for the typhoon victims might decide to minimize, if not totally cancel, bonuses for their employees. There will be less Christmas gifts and celebrations—that is, if these are not altogether scrapped—as money intended for the purpose would have been donated to help the typhoon victims.
Nevertheless, it will not be a totally sad and bleak Christmas. The thought of having contributed to the alleviation of misery and the feelings of uncertainty, hopelessness and despair among Yolanda victims will be fulfilling and rewarding. Even if there would be less money in the pockets or in the bank account, less food on the table, fewer clothes, there would be comfort in the thought that one has helped people in their time of need.
After all, the true meaning of Christmas is not found in material things. The true spirit of the season is in the heart. Let’s not allow Yolanda to deprive us of the joys of Christmas. Goodwill and concern for fellow human beings cannot be forever lost in the people. Merry Christmas!
—EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO, founder, Kaguro
and former president, Quezon City PSTA, [email protected]
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