The world is dying.

Today is 11 March 2011.  At approximately 3pm, an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Japan, causing widespread destruction as fires were ignited and houses collapsed. The earthquake which originated off the northeast coast generated an equally devastating tsunami that consumed coastal villages, swept cars into the sea and ships onto land. The scenes of live destruction and lives lost played out on TV and outpourings of sympathy and concern poured out from all corners of the globe.

Part of me wanted to be concerned, to be worried about what was happening to the Japanese, and how they were going to cope. I wondered how Prime Minister Naoto Kan was going to handle the situation. I’m sure if Singapore’s government had to handle such a calamity, you’ll find them unworthy of their obscene salaries.

The other part of me, the apathetic part, was ignoring the doomsday images on TV, busy surfing the Android app store to find cool apps for my new HTC Incredible S. The first part was so disgusted at this, he forced him to put down the phone, but my hand always picked it up again.

I felt ashamed that I was so preoccupied with my own worries and activities, that  I was secretly glad that I never had to contemplate what I would do in the event of a natural disaster, since Singapore is blessedly devoid of such things. I tried to pray for Japan, but when I started, I realise my inability to conceive the problems the Japanese were facing meant I was at a loss of words for what to pray. That frustrated me. To live in such a sheltered environment was a curse, not a blessing, when I don’t even know what it feels like to be an oppressed youth in an authoritarian government, to know what it’s like for my stomach to growl every single minute. Would I dare rise up against the government if the need ever arises? Why aren’t I participating in overseas aid activities? Merely donating money and signing Avaaz petitions leaves me in the position of an armchair activist, a weak specimen of the human spirit.

As I grow older, I hope I truly become a helper of people, because people need help, and often their problems eclipse your own. I like to tell people that one of my goals in life is to save the world. I better mean it.

God be with you, Japan.

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