My daughter Armany and I share an obsession for ‘Lord of the Rings’. We have been known to watch the complete trilogy in one sitting, cuddled up on a sofa with a blanket, shouting out the dialogue before the characters’ lips move!
At Heathrow Airport, 02 July 2018 before I left for my assignment with Save the Children Philippines, Armany gave me a present, a copy of the first epic adventure ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. What surprised me was what she had written on the first page:
“Mum, when times get hard and Sam says to Frodo “Its only ever a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” You got this!”
As I was waiting for my flight, my phone pinged, it was an Instagram post from Armany with a further quote;
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept of to.” — Samwise Gamjee.
During this adventure, I did not keep my feet. I visited the famous 17th century Tosho-gu shrine in Nikko, Japan where I saw the most beautiful carving of the three wise monkeys, Mizaru, covering his eyes, Kikazaru covering his ears and Iwazaru covering his mouth. The carving embodying the proverbial principle of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”
Alas! Is ignorance bliss?
In my travels;
I have been accosted by young children in tattered clothing, carrying babies in bare feet, selling roses and approached me in my taxi during heavy traffic extending their hands for a few coffers. I have witnessed young children selling themselves on the streets for sexual favours. I have met children suffering from preventable causes like hunger and malnutrition. With my own ears, in this day and age I have heard about child pornography which is easily accessible on the internet. The media have exposed stories about susceptible children being radicalised into terrorist activities and shocking news highlighting topics like female genital mutilation in babies. I have heard that the lack of education is the primary cause of child marriages … the list is endless.
Are you really listening? If so, how does it make you feel and what have you done about it. Sighed? Changed the subject as it is too uncomfortable to talk about?
I am compelled to speaking about these evils and its hard. It’s hard to hear and harder to see and totally heart-breaking when I try to internalise these atrocities happening in this modern world. You see, I am not a person that can turn away as I am emotionally connected, and I want to understand WHY?
My first memory of meeting a child beggar was in Delhi, India about thirty years ago. I was sitting on a bench and about to bite into an apple and from the corner of my eye I saw a severe physically disabled boy wheel himself across the floor on a piece of wood. He positioned himself directly in front of me, gave me the large sad eyes and held out his tiny hand. His other arm was mutilated, the foot of his right leg was tucked awkwardly behind his bottom. I made eye contact with him and without hesitating I gave him my apple. We had a chat and I was horrified to learn that he, named Muna, used to walk, run and play. His favourite game was to see how close he could throw stones to a target. His handlers were responsible for deforming him so they he could make money for them as a beggar. He was more useful this way! I took him to the nearest restaurant and made sure to buy him a big plate of food, that way his handlers would not benefit. Right?
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” — Gandalf
Many people have handed over money to beggars. You may have been advised not to do this as this just creates more beggars, and you may have questioned what that money was spent on, alcohol or drugs?
Have you asked what it was for? Dare you ask?
A while back in Makati, I approached a scene where a young girl with a baby lay on the floor and another flustered older lady walked towards me, asking to borrow my mobile phone to make a call to the police, claiming the girl had been mugged. I told them both that I would go to the nearby bank and ask the security officer to help them. It became obvious that it was a scam so I asked why they were being dishonest. She started to shout at me but then hurriedly explained that ‘a man’ was watching us under her breath. Luckily the pedestrian crossing light changed to green and as people started crossing over, they both ran away, fast. It became apparent that the two scammers were being managed or should I say controlled!
Are you oblivious to these situations that happen everywhere in the world? Have you walked away with that conflicting argument in your head of whether to help or not? What is the social protocol?
“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for” — Sam Gamgee
The Lord of the Rings remains to be my all-time favourite trilogy because it’s the epitome – the most fantastic depiction of good versus evil. It candidly illustrates how a group of characters form a doubtful fellowship through a counsel and make an epic quest to complete a near impossible task.
The fate of civilisation rests with this fellowship, formed with the inclusion of individuals from very different races. The quest is completed with a dramatic conclusion but only so, as the fellowship must form strong bonds and then learn to strike strategic partnerships, place their hopes and faith in other unlikely forces who support them along the daunting journey. This is the key to their success in vanquishing evil.
In this blog I wanted to be bold and thought provoking and I wanted to highlight why donations to charities are absolutely necessary.
“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.” — Aragorn
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) are much like fellowships, trained experts in their field, highly sensitive to identifying what needs to be addressed and where. The professionals I work with are rigorously trained to be compassionate yet composed through exposure to experiences that the normal public cannot handle. They have developed niche expertise essential in understanding how to target and help drive key initiatives with support from others, to help banish ‘evil’. They are brilliant at establishing and nurturing the right strong relationships with the communities to facilitate sustainable solutions to allow positive change in this world.
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children, addressing key issues by implementing and supporting programs in the following areas: Child Protection, Education, Child Rights Governance, Health and Nutrition and Humanitarian Response. In the Philippines, the organisation has been working to make positive lasting change in the lives of Filipino children since 1981. Next year Save the Children celebrate their centenary.
That is 100 years of expertise!
I urge you to see the evil, hear about the evil and speak about evil. If you are apprehensive to help directly for fear of safety or doubt on how your kindness will be perceived/received, then please support NGO’s who are fulfilling their ambitions to rid this earth of unnecessary evil. Please acknowledge the sad truths in this topsy turvy world and if you want to make some peace with your conscience, donate.
Don’t Spectate … Participate … Donate
Donate so that our diverse NGO friends can gallantly continue to deliver their ambitions for much needed change to the people, animals or environment they serve.
@Armany: “I know your face” … and I will finish with:
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.” — Gandalf
We must plan a movie all-dayer upon The Return of the Volunteer 😊 which will not be by a pony, it will be by plane!
#LahatDapat is an exceptional Christmas campaign that makes a real difference in the lives of children – and lets ordinary people achieve extraordinary things by inspiring others. Donations fund local programs on nutrition, among other efforts, that save at-risk children from dying and allow them to reach their full potential.