Disaster Discussions:

-email exchanges discussing disaster related topics


On Thu, 14 Nov 2013 11:18:08 +0100
"B" wrote:

> Hope all is well and stays well, the news that comes in sounds really
> horrific.

Well, the silly thing is, of course, that we have no idea of what they are
saying about us..... :)

The earthquake was definitely here (in Bohol) -and seems to be the opening up
of a new fault line -which may actually run through Tagbilaren (the main town)
about 10 km away: Maybe near one of the (slightly out of town) malls. There is
visible damage to (some) buildings in Tagbilaren. There are also rumours of
caves -along the coast road -which may become sink holes if traffic becomes too
heavy. The main road between Tagbilaren and Baclayon (and beyond) has been
diverted -for heavy traffic -and all traffic where the church tower fell down.
There are cracks in the Baclayon harbour wall and in various municipal concrete
constructions (which are near the harbour). The market has a a crack in one of
the pillars -but the roof is fairly light -and held up more by columns than
walls. Wooden houses (like ours) seem unaffected. However, up in the hills
(both here and elsewhere) the situation may be worse -because many people
already have a marginal existence. In some case, this may make it easier for
them to survive difficulties -but obviously not if everything they own has been

The typhoon was mainly in Leyte/Samar -so to the east and north of us. We only
got the fringe of the storm (level 2) while the main area would be level 5. The
actual storm was no worse here than we have had before. Lots of heavy rain -and
heavy winds (but not always together).

However, The main electricity supply for Bohol comes from Leyte (their main
town, Tacloban, seems to have been wiped out). Apparently, both generation
plant and transmission lines have been destroyed. Bohol has an old (diesel)
generator -which can be used for backup in an emergency.

Within a few days of the storm, it seems that the system (on Bohol) was
configured so that government and business users (perhaps including internet
cafes) got electricity -and the general public got nothing. This kept the water
pumps going in our area. It was also possible to charge mobile phones, etc. in
various places. However, a few days ago -the emergency backup overloaded. So
blackout for all! That was when the water supply failed. Last night,
electricity was unexpectedly restored. We had a blackout this afternoon -so
supply is still uncertain.

Perhaps the real problem (maybe for me, at least) has been the failure in
information. With no electricity, radio and TV (which we don't have) -and
internet are useless. There isn't a newspaper shop nearby...... The local
government isn't quite as slick with PR as in the more developed countries....
Perhaps there is no need -within the context of local politics......

When the water supply vanished, our garden helper told us she had been to the
well at 4 AM to collect water before the rush began -and that the reason for
the loss in supply was that the local pumping station had overloaded the system
through personal use (including karaoke). It wasn't easy getting objective
information from the Municipal offices. Many employees are not professionally
trained -perhaps haven't been informed -and maybe not used to being
interrogated about the way the system is run. There may also be language
problems -poor English -but also with anything that is not the local

However, the mayor's assistant did eventually tell us that the provincial
supply had overloaded -and the mayor was getting (for 1.4 million pesos)
emergency generators. How the system has been fixed so quickly -and what will
happen to the generators -I don't know. We also don't know how permanent the
current set up is.

Today were parish (Barangay) level elections. We don't know yet for sure who
won -but we did hear earlier that the current leader has been re-elected. We
hope so -she has worked hard to help poor people. Perhaps we can work through
her to help some of the really poor here in the area.

So you see, things for us, are not as bad as they have probably been showing on
the media. Actually, from the little I have read in a Philippine national
newspaper -or what I have seen on the BBC -I am sick of the media and see them
more as a problem than a useful resource. The national (and perhaps even local)
political situation remains very problematic (although local is probably not as
bad here as in many places -where corruption is high). Saturday, I did see an
interesting article about one town in devastated Samar -who were perhaps
grateful for the American aid -but were still engaged in a battle with the US
authorities to get back town bells that were taken by American troops as part
of war crimes committed by the US during the 1899-1902 Philippine American war.
The bells are apparently in US museums. It may sound silly -but it was just
like Iraq here then. Now, as an ex-colonised ally of the US, the Philippine
armed forces hardly have enough material to scratch their own backsides, let
alone help in a disaster -and today I read that the local infrastructure cannot
cope with the flood of aid streaming into the country from abroad......



Helping Hands?
On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 13:39:40 +0000
"M" wrote:

> Ok, in Holland 22 million euro's has been collected and donated to this disaster

Wow, that is quite an impressive sum of money.

The Slovenians have also sent help (as well the Swedish -and many others -including Britain, the US and Japan)

> but off course how it gets there and who distributes is a big question mark !

Yes. This is quite a problem.

Saturday, I bought a newspaper. The front page presented various issues (mostly trivial). However, "important" issues were:

-1,4461 days since 54 people were massacred in a Mindanao election related issue -and the trial is still limping on -with several witnesses already dead.

-Senator Enrile ready to answer corruption charges against him with respect to "pork barrel" (discretionary) funding.

-Balangiga town in hurricane torn Samar is grateful for US aid but would like the US to return the church bells looted by US troops (after massacring the locals as revenge for the death of 48 American troops by "insurgents") during in the 1899-1902 Philippine American war.

Obviously, there is quite a complex mixture of corruption, mismanagement and anti-colonialism.
So if you add in reports of incoming (perhaps uncoordinated) aid overwhelming the (poor) local infrastructure (which has also been damaged by the disaster), plus the problems of (internal) communication (without electricity there is no radio, tv or internet) then perhaps you can see there is quite a mismatch in perception (and expectation) between donors and receivers.

Also, the political inheritance of the American period means that many bureaucratic posts are political and not professional appointments. For good or bad, the political system here is very "personal" -and (some) individuals have great power. It may cut out bureaucratic inefficiency -but it also makes corruption easier.

For example, a local politician may receive financial aid from foreign donors -but remain silent as to the source of the funds. He may also channel funds through friends and relatives -or promote schemes which benefit his political and/or business interests.

As far as our personal experience goes, electricity comes and goes without warning -or explanation. Tap water needs to be pumped -so there is a direct relationship between electricity and water supply. We have been informed that the local mayor has bought generators to keep the water supply going. However, we have no idea where the funds came from -and we have no idea what will happen to these (expensive) generators if normal electricity supplies are resumed. We don't even know how, why (or even how long) we are getting electricity now.

So, it is very difficult to know if the Dutch (or other money) has gone into rebuilding power plants and transmission lines, providing temporary supplies of electricity and water, emergency housing, food -or even helping people directly with income support (very little social security here) or rebuilding their houses.

Then there are people living in remote areas -who may perhaps be completely forgotten.

In other words, giving money is a good start -but there are many, many, problems that also need to be solved before any aid becomes effective. So, "aid" needs to be provided in phases (a bit like medicine, perhaps): Emergency aid, short term (temporary) aid and long term aid. Doing all that, without promoting certain interests, is quite difficult and presumably needs a lot of coordinated planning.

In turn, providing the physical and conceptual infrastructure to develop the planning process -and implement it -is (in many ways) a political issue (deciding priorities and balancing various interests)..... all of which there is no time to do, in an emergency.....

The obvious answer is to work through local government channels -but if these are untrustworthy (through poor organization or deliberate corruption) then how does one get help where it is needed?

Quite a puzzle.

However, I'd be interested in more details about the organization of the aid and its distribution channels on the Dutch side.


On Fri, 29 Nov 2013 15:45:52 +0000
"M"  wrote:

> Well there seem to be multiple beneficiary's for the money,
> all organizations involved in some sort of aid:
> <http://samenwerkendehulporganisaties.nl/contact/>
> So the GIRO number 555 collects the money and distributes to the organizations.
> I hope they do not go through local governemnet but local NGO's
> otherwise it will not go where is needed, I know enough people here
> who refuse to donate because they do not believe the money
> ends up with the people who need it,
> I have looked for some  social media outlet that actually shows deliverd aid,
>  where when and to who.
> That should be very easy nowadays even in third world countrys but not easy to find.

Sat, 30 Nov 2013 13:56:44 +0800
Trevor wrote:

Thanks for looking.

I'm not surprised that it is difficult to find hard information about what happens to the money. I'm convinced that the so called "Information Age" is really the "Propaganda Age".

So finding out where the money goes is a real problem.

If one checks out the following links -then one can see why it is important to be critical about aid and other "development" issues"

To be honest, I don't know what the solution is either. Although, I do still believe that "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".

Perhaps the idea of a single global (capitalist?) system is a logical error too. I'm very suspicious of outside demands for countries to "clean up their act" (however much I hate the consequences of their not doing so): Because I suspect that commercial interests merely wish to have a homogeneous global system so they can continue to exploit it (often to the detriment of the local people).

Local autonomy does sometimes help create local dictators (but not always). De Toqueville, in his book "Democracy in America" claims that the smaller the autonomous unit, the less worthwhile it is to control. So, indeed, perhaps "globalism" merely promotes "small town" corruption on a global scale.

I'm not even sure that "National Governments" aren't more of a problem than a solution. It was colonisation that destroyed local systems of government and control  -forging political entities that never existed before. I suspect this might be a major cause of the problem. Personally, I suspect that "tribalism" may not be a bad way to run things. After all, the highly admired commercial system is full of commercial "tribalism" -so why can't social tribalism be (at least) equally effective? Then, you would have a large numbers of groups of autonomous people -who collectively solve their own problems. Of course, that means that "outsiders" must respect tribal lands -which of course is difficult when some mining company can make a fortune digging them up.

Meanwhile, Giro 555 apparently determines the future of thousands of people in the Philippines..... I've sent them an email.



Social Action and Reaction:
On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:58:42 +0100
"B" wrote:

> The newspapers show horrible pictures of Tacloban and area being completely
> destroyed. Last week on monday all tv and radio broadcasts focussed on
> collecting money for the disaster, I think the total score was about 35
> million euro.

Yes, this is typical media behaviour: Something attracts their attention -and
they blast away at it. Then within a short period something else happens and
they move on to that. So one only gets sensationalist impressions of (often)
very complex situations.

One also notices that the emphasis in aid reports is usually on amounts
collected -or amounts spent -and very seldom does one get a real insight into
the effectiveness of the result (unless it's a case of obvious corruption).

A Dutch ex-student writes that the sum was 20 million euro -so it is good to
see that with all that media coverage -the basic facts still remain

> My colleague has a friend who has a family member in the Tacloban area.
> She said they are still alive and managed to get in touch,
> but that they are scared of dying of hunger or thirst.
>  That really sounds heartbreaking.

Yes, I can imagine. I'd be very interested to know more about their situation
and how it develops. How effective has all the aid streaming in been in their
specific case?

What happened to their home, what happened to them?

What kind of crazy world is it -where they can communicate with family
thousands of miles away -but cannot get basic needs satisfied locally -when so
much media attention is focused on them -and so much aid pouring in?

Those are the kind of questions I'd like to see answered!

> I am happy you guys are reasonably ok,

I guess we are as snug as bugs in a rug...... A bit of discomfort due to the
intermittent supply of water and electricity (sometimes an irritation at the
noise when the electricity gets turned on -and radios and karaoke machines
blare out!) -but generally we can manage. In fact, we often prefer to sit in
the candle light (if not working). Fatima's mother sends candles, tins of food
and other goodies by courier. So we have our own "relief goods" -some of which
we pass on to neighbours, etc... We are not used to eating processed food.

The election seems to have gone quite well, with the "forces of evil" in
retreat. Our Barangay captain (who is very pro-poor) was re-elected against a
turn-coat challenge from a former ally on the Barangay council. Four of the six
"council" members are allies of hers. In other Barangays in our municipality,
it seems that the pro-poor group won. That means we can try to help a little
(maybe with small sums of money for serious need) by working through the
Barangay captain.

It seems politics here is very personal (and not "policy" based) -which may not
be a bad thing at the local level -if people are popular because they function
well and not for trivial reasons. It seems people have become a little cynical
regarding promises -so "personal reputation" is perhaps the only thing left.

However, as far as I can see, (locally) there are two main "camps":

1. The pro-poor -who support poor people but perhaps are a little weak in
helping people to rise above their poverty (which has both material and
immaterial aspects).

2. The pro-rich -who (perhaps) try (too hard) to remove poverty (or the poor)
by focusing on "economic development" -by encouraging "business" (in all its
forms) while developing the material and immaterial infrastructure required by
business. These people are perhaps somewhat weak in distributing the wealth
created to those outside the circle of associates who created it. This is, of
course, the (global) mainstream approach.

The traditional left-wing approach also seems obvious within this simple model:
One continues (more or less) with the same (basic) economic system and
infrastructure -but works on the redistribution of income. Unfortunately, I'm
not sure that this is satisfactory. It ignores what one might call "cultural
factors" which are both the cause and consequence of different lifestyles: It
seems to me, that we are fairly comfortable, despite the difficulties, because
we are less reliant on the damaged infrastructure. In the cities, the
discomfort is likely to be much higher -because the reliance on the
infrastructure is much greater. On the other hand, in many ways (for email and
related technologies) the infrastructure still plays a valuable role in our
lives. So, it seems to me that the consequences of the infrastructure need to
be closely examined -and not simply accepted as being entirely positive -or
inevitable. There are clearly vested interests that do their best to ensure
that certain developments take place. The more self-sufficient people are -the
less they can be manipulated -and the less they can be exploited for "economic
development", which thrives on (inter-)dependence.

However, in turn, the "poor" seem to be divided into two groups:

a. The (generally, but not always, older) hard working people -who receive
little benefit from their struggles. This may be for a number of reasons:
External exploitation, a way of life which is being eroded by modern life -and
perhaps the loss of the cultural traditions that helped their parents survive.
However, there are still high levels of mutual support operating within this

b. The (generally, but not always, younger) generation -who have access to
"easy money" (from pensions or family members abroad or in the merchant
marine). These seem to have no other aspirations than sitting around (in
groups) drinking and playing music (and perhaps building expensive houses). In
this group, mutual support is probably only on the social level -and not on the
material level (but, being an outsider I can't be sure about any of this).
Certainly, there are what one might call "cultural differences" in the aims and
ambitions of the various groups.

Perhaps the "rich" too can be divided into two groups:

a. Those who remember their poverty so well (or are so far above poverty) that
they remain open to helping others in less fortunate situations. However,
indeed, the need is often so great (and so complex, due to the power of the
extended family) that even simple gestures can lead to complex situations.
Personal and family networks (and divisions) may be (sometimes) critical here,

b. Those who are trying to distance themselves from their poverty (or are
scared of falling into it) so that there is no solidarity with others (either
rich or poor) -only personal interest.

It is particularly sad when poor parents sacrifice everything (sometimes
including valuable land) to educate their kids -who may then join the group of
middle class who forget their origins. Although, obviously, some kids do help
their parents. However, "education" (and social environment) does (inevitably?)
inculcate middle class values -which often undermine their parent's way of
life. Potter, the author of "The Singing Detective" demonstrated this in his
own autobiographical TV script. The "Phil-Ams" are also particularly noticeable
in this respect -often exhibiting a disdain for all aspects of life in the
Philippines that are not reflections of an American lifestyle. Nevertheless,
(permanent) emigration (to US, Australia or Europe) seems (until recently, at
least) to be a popular ambition -especially among those who can afford it.

Logically, the (local) reactions of people to the recent disasters also seem

i. Some people seem to want to return to a more simple way of life -which is
less dependent on external things -and so less vulnerable. This group may find
the organized church somewhat hypocritical in its requests for money to support
the church system, especially while people are still suffering from lack of
basic needs.

ii. Other people apparently wish to build even higher the wall that isolates
and protects them from the vulnerabilities of daily life.

When visiting the shopping malls (for the supermarket) in Tagbilaren -one
certainly gets the feeling that the mad consumer Frenzy is over (although for
how long is obviously unknown). Suddenly, the "basics" seem more important than
all the earlier frills that keep the consumer economy going. On the other hand,
it is possible (even likely) that all those who are addicted to the consumer
economy have already left for places where they can (unashamedly?) enjoy their

However, "junk food" seems to remain popular -perhaps even more so under
difficult conditions because it provides an instant "feelgood" sensation -with
minimal preparation (and so especially tempting under difficult circumstances).
We, in contrast, are experimenting with slow cooked stews and traditional food
preservation methods (including a simple evaporation cooler) to counter the
effect of an unreliable refrigerator.

> take care!
> Is there a report on your website? (with work so restricted)

Well, actually, this (and other emails) may well end up as part of it...... In
that context, I'd be interested to know how your colleague feels about such
things (you can pass my comments on, if desired). All these comments (however
expressed) merely represent thoughts and questions which are open to change.

However, working has been frustratingly difficult: Last night the power was
restored around 7 PM (just as we were thinking of going to bed). Then it kept
going on and off -every time I managed to boot the computer. The internet
connection was also very uncertain. I did manage a bit of email but finally got
defeated -although I did manage to do some work (emails and garden diary)
around 11 PM -until I got too tired. This morning the power was off at first
but came back around 7 AM. The internet connection seems(ed?) ok -but I've
given up following the outside (BBC) news -which seems total propaganda
bullshit to me. You can see how reliable the connection is -by the delay
involved in sending this message.... ;)

For various reasons, we went into Tagbilaren on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday
-which is quite tiring. Monday morning (election day) we couldn't get a jeepney
in the morning -but when we tried again in the afternoon, one came almost
immediately. However, some of the things we wanted to do were impossible
-because it was a public holiday on Monday and many shops were closed (hence
our return on Tuesday). On Saturday, there was no electricity supply -even in a
local hospital -but by Monday it had returned (many people seemed to be selling

Being November, the weather is also changeable: Sometimes, it is nice and sunny
-but if I try to work in the garden then it often rains -and by the time I've
cleaned up -it stops.....

As the "backlog" of work increases -so does the frustration (a little) -but one
can only hope it will eventually sort itself out. This is Asia after all!

However, it would also be silly to get upset about such things when many people
are perhaps still homeless.

PS: It seems the things local people have been calling "sinkholes" (which I
thought were caves that could become real sinkholes) are probably tectonic
"fault lines": Many of which run along the coast road (between us and the sea).
Our stretch of coast road is not yet banned for 6 wheelers and above (as a
large section already is) -in fact, heavy trucks loaded with quarry material
(road repair?) drive up the road near our house. On the other hand, I suspect
fault lines must connect -or the earth would be unable to shift (except perhaps
upwards) -but I've no idea where these lines run -with regards to sections of
the coast road that are apparently unaffected. Certainly, we are both rather
ignorant of such things -although I believe Fatima's father was a geophysical

Apparently, (some) local people believe earthquakes are caused by a (giant?)
pig rooting under the house (pillars)..... but perhaps in our case -it is not a
pig! ;)



Crazy World?
On Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:16:33 +0800
"L" wrote:

> > What kind of crazy world is it -where they can communicate with family
> > thousands of miles away -but cannot get basic needs satisfied locally
> > -when so much media attention is focused on them -and so much aid
> > pouring in?
> > Those are the kind of questions I'd like to see answered!

> I think this problem is also partly a result of the alienation (via
> various means including education, work organisation, design of
> housing/settlement, patterns of media consumption, etc) of people within
> villages as the "global village" take their place.
> A crochet friend asked how she could donate to me to help our
> neighbours directly, thus she said she didn't want to give to
> organizations like the American Red Cross. She said:
> "The typhoon hadnít even landed, and the ARC and a whole lot of other
> organizations were already begging for donations; donít know which will
> really help the problems, and which are like the ARC and uses any
> donations for whatever they want (no guarantee that it will go to the
> Philippines at all, let alone to the affected people)."
> In this instance, the organizations and the people donating don't even
> really know (or NEED to know) what exactly is going on and how what
> form of aid will help in what way. How many people actually know about
> what is going on in Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and how many people actually
> I think this is alienation, the splitting up of communities, villages,
> families, unions, friends, etc. into independent individuals or units.

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 18:35:31 +0800
Trevor wrote:

Well, I guess one can look at this positively -and see how the infrastructure can perhaps work in a positive way:

It is for example possible that the US Geophysical and Weather organizations pick up early warning signals via their satellite systems -and notify the Red Cross -who then swing into action with contingency plans.

Obviously, the earlier the logistics and the emergency infrastructure can be put in place -the higher the survival rate (assuming these systems work effectively). Getting things ready, and possibly in place, before they are needed is part of good planning.

On the other hand, I did meet somebody who claimed that a massacre in Liberia was funded by aid organizations bribing local war lords with protection money -so the aid could be delivered.

One might also ask if rushing in and mopping up the mess caused by others -doesn't actually discourage those responsible from cleaning up their own mess. It certainly seems to work like that with some children! ;)

Certainly, some people can make a good living from "non-profit" systems.

....and alienation is almost inevitable when people become integrated into large scale infrastructures which are too complex for them to feel able to fully understand the system.


On Thu, 28 Nov 2013 19:53:08 +0800
"L" wrote:

> I think that K was upset about the fact that people are being
> asked to give money to causes that they (the people, and perhaps even
> the organisations as well) are not even informed about. On top of this
> is the fact that aid organisations actually use a lot of the money
> that they receive for their own organisational needs.
> K adds: "Here, people are being told to donate to the American Red
> Cross-- which, granted, has sent relief to PI. But, not necessarily all
> the money being donated to the PI relief. They put all donations in a
> big pot, and then decide themselves how to use it. Over $1 million/year
> goes to pay the salary of the director. The PI Red Cross director
> probably doesnít get paid as much, but likely their policies re: use of
> donations is similar."
> K sent US$25, she said, "itís not much, but hopefully when
> combined with what you already have, it can do some real good."
> Emphasis on "some real good"! I said US$25 can pay for extra needed days
> labour for the carpenters to fix F's house!
> With your comments about the profit of non-profit, if there were more
> people like K, and the individual and small community/cluster
> infrastracture was there (because of the presence of people like
> K), maybe we won't have any need for organisations like the Red
> Cross and their rich directors. :)
> Of course, if countries like the Philippines hadn't been so badly
> messed up by post-colonial "obligations" of modernisation, disasters
> like the typhoon could be dealt with more effectively on a domestic
> level ...


On Fri, 29 Nov 2013 06:18:35 +0800
"r" wrote:
> You're back! :D I was surprised to hear from you this soon. But glad to
> know that you're okay and little by little, everything is returning to normal.

Things are fine here (as long as nothing else happens to upset the apple cart -as they say)

> > Don't know what you guys were doing -but it seems the plug got pulled on
> > the emergency electricity supply while you were in Tagbilaren -and we lost
> > our water supply fro a few days. :)
> Hahaha! Really? I wonder why. Maybe because of the construction of roads
> and maybe a pipe broke down that they have to close the main source. But I
> assure you, we didn't do anything. :D

Actually, it was more serious than that. It seems that earlier (when we lost our electricity) the power company had diverted emergency power to certain "privileged" areas considered important.

However, the system overloaded -and so nobody got any power.

I guess your hotel had a generator and so you never noticed anything. However, the day you left, we went to the Borja Hospital -it was deserted: With no power or water it was crippled.

It was that experience that made me realise how much like a trip to the old Soviet Union tourism probably is. The tourists stay in hotels, with as many comforts as possible -and get taken around on special trips to certain specified places -so they never ever really get to meet the people, or have a chance to understand the real living conditions there. Of course, the media also back up this illusionary world -by presenting fantasy programmes which set the scene and help create the required myths.

It's quite a weird paradox: people come to see something -but what they see is a carefully constructed "virtual reality" that has little to do with the real situation and often merely confirms the visitor's pre-concieved ideas. Often leaving them as little chance as possible of being actually confronted by any unpleasant realities -because it ruins the "consumer" experience..

> > Luckily, at last, the electricity (and sometimes the water) has now
> > returned -although the internet connection is sometimes a bit erratic.
> That's okay, don't you think? It's better to have them once in a while
> than nothing at all. :D

Perhaps not. If one can't rely on something (or somebody) then it is probably better to learn to live without it/them.

I've probably wasted a lot of time trying to connect with the internet (for example) which could be used better if I did other things which don't need the internet.

We notice that the lack of electricity and water also changes our behaviour patterns so we are less dependant on it. That "liberates" us to a certain extent -and also creates an exciting chance for the exploration of new (or possibly "old") ways of doing things.

A friend wrote:
" > That made me think of a friend of mine who is always stuck between living
  > on the streets and living with people or institutions that he cannot cope
  > with (or maybe they cannot cope with him). It seems as if he always only
  > has two options which are both not very good. I think instead of being
  > busy with these two options he should try and change the puzzle so that
  > other ways will hopefully appear."

And I agree entirely.

Too many people seem to spend their lives in disagreeable ways -perhaps simply because they cannot think of other options.

> > Anyhow, now our isolation is hopefully over -I'm curious as to what you
> > guys discovered and experienced while here. Otherwise, we remain
> > completely in the dark! ;)
> For me, personally, I liked your place. Secluded, peaceful and environment
> friendly. But we can't deny that we still need some new technologies to
> make life a little easier and faster. :D


What will you do with the time and energy saved by these technologies?

.... and what will you do if you are suddenly deprived of them -for any reason?

In fact, we suspect that the poor people living in our area have suffered less from the various problems -because they have they have never learned to be dependant on the things that city folk need.

Unless, of course, their house has been totally destroyed -or their family killed.

> We visited a lot of places there, saw some of the places destroyed by the
> quake.

Ok -so you "saw" them. But what does this mean to you?

What did you think (or feel) when you saw them?

> But I still want to see the Rock wall of Bohol and the island in
> Punta something that rose after the quake.


> So did you see my website about the Philippines? What do you think?

I think that our thinking is so different that it is almost impossible for one of us to understand the mind of the other.

> > Hope everybody got back safely -and had a good trip.
> We're home in Manila. Had a safe trip, thank you. And starting to work
> again after a little vacation. :D I forwarded your email to the others
>  and I am sure they will reply to you once they have a pc. :D

Well, I am interested in people's impressions: What they saw -and what they think about what they saw.



Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:53:11 +0800
Trevor wrote:

>  It would be nice to see how different people respond to the same circumstance...

Well, after reading your report, my Ravelry friend (who is in the
US and her husband is a war veteran (not sure where)!!) said "Not all
Westerners have that value system that Trevor mentions. The Marines are
going over to help with food and water and other aid for the people who
are homeless."

I wrote back (below). I didn't pick up on the Marines since that is
going to be one heck of a can of worms!!

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 19:52:30 +0800
"F" Wrote:

> Well, after reading your report, my Ravelry friend (who is in the
> US and her husband is a war veteran (not sure where)!!) said "Not all
> Westerners have that value system that Trevor mentions. The Marines are
> going over to help with food and water and other aid for the people who
> are homeless."
> I wrote back (below). I didn't pick up on the Marines since that is
> going to be one heck of a can of worms!!

" I had a closer look at what Trevor wrote (sorry that I didnít look
closer last time!), and I think he is correct. He was referring to
western valiue systems that are screwed up, with passing reference to
the news article ďOlympic torch in first spacewalk.Ē

Of course, it does not mean that ALL western people have screwed up
values. That would be an oversimplification and rather reductionist
assumption. But it is true - there are values that are screwed up.

I havenít read the news article itself but it certainly does not give
me any great positive feeling hearing about an Olympic torch in outer
space. I personally find the Olympic games a horrid commercial
exploitation of young athletes and the patronising public. And what
about the space program (I am not sure if this is in the US or Europe)
- costing billions of dollars in public money while people around the
world (including the US) are being evicted out of their homes and
living a life way below the poverty line, having no decent health care
or even access to clean healthy non-gmo food that wonít get them sick
in the first place.

With that, I donít necessarily agree with Trevorís aesthetic of placing
the news-sensationalistic Philippine typhoon disaster in the context of
ďscrewed up western valuesĒ via a BBC news report on the Olympic torch.

Instead, Iíve written something about our own small village experience
on the typhoon (to go on my blog later). I like to write this so that I
will remember the people who came to seek refuge in our home. Modesty
aside, I think this is a much better report on the typhoon than
Trevorís! ;) "


Note: The references to the Olympic Torch in Space come from  Typhoon Reports:  Baclayon, Bohol, 7 - 10 November 2013 Where I wrote:

 However, one can't help feeling that the sensationalism of the press doesn't really help -and that western value systems may be pretty screwed up.....

Typhoon Haiyan: Thousands feared dead in Philippines

Olympic torch in first spacewalk

Bread and Circus I guess.......


Military Aid:
12 Nov 2013 19:34:39 +0800
Trevor wrote:

> > > > > I'm re-reading Halťvy's History of the English People in the
> > > > > Nineteenth Century: Part 6: The Rule of Democracy (1905 -
> > > > > 1914) .... and beginning to suspect (again) that the powers of
> > > > > evil run the world quite efficiently in their own interests -but
> > > > > it is really very tricky to get a more fair balance......

> > > On Tue, 12 Nov 2013 20:06:15 +0800
> > > "L" wrote:
> > >
> > > > I just realised, almost all of my of my US contacts have family in
> > > > the military. There's Lo's retired husband, there's C's
> > > > daughter who's a major in the army stationed in Afghanistan, her
> > > > husband was in the army too, then there's my new friend Ch whose
> > > > father was in WWII (shot their mom and himself, mom survived!) -
> > > > there are more acquaintances with family in the US military, but I
> > > > don't have as much contact with them as Lo, C and Ch.
> > > >
> > > > Ch has been sending money to help folks here. She seems to feel
> > > > obliged to help, perhaps because her ex-husband is Filipino ...
> > > >
> > > > I'm sure Trevor would like to chat with my American friends and
> > > > their army contacts, but I'm sure if that happens, I'd lose all my
> > > > new friends!! LOL!

> > On Wed, 13 Nov 2013 02:03:14 +0800
> >  Trevor wrote:
> >
> > > Indeed, "The Military" are a whole can of worms......
> > >
> > > I suppose it is nice of the US marines to want to help the suffering
> > > people of the Philippines -but I still can't help feeling that
> > > (somehow) the people of the Philippines might not be suffering in the
> > > same way (for better or worse) if the US government -backed by the US
> > > military didn't exist, or behaved differently.
> > >
> > >
> > > Personally, I don't think I could ever trust another human (or an
> > > organization) enough to put my life unquestionably in their hands.
> > > However, I realize that perhaps in dangerous situations, training and
> > > discipline are the only things that will get one through.
> > >
> > > Sometimes, I have the suspicion that a good artist need the same
> > > level of discipline (but maybe different) as a warrior.... (and
> > > perhaps there are differences between warriors and soldiers).
> > > However, I don't know enough about these things.
> > >
> > > I'm tempted to say I have great respect for people who test their
> > > beliefs by putting their lives on the line..... but I suspect the
> > > generals actually test their theories by putting other people's lives
> > > on the line..... However, that is something less honorable...... and
> > > maybe the people who do put their trust in these people are fools. If
> > > the aim of the army is to protect people -then why does the
> > > Philippine army have such few resources for helping people, when it
> > > is America's best buddy?
> > >
> > >
> > > Perhaps I'm crazy, and I'm sure that if I was in real difficulty I'd
> > > be glad of help from anywhere -but I still feel there is something
> > > wrong with the way the world is run -and that rushing to help people
> > > only when there is an emergency is not the right way to do
> > > things...... A bit like sinning all week and then going to church on
> > > Sunday -just to clear your conscience.
> > >
> > >
> > > A tricky can of worms, indeed......

> On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 7:04 AM
> "L"  wrote:
> > Will reply later, in the meantime, here is what Lo says:
> >
> > > Here is an interesting article about the space race benefits -
> > > http://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/benefits.html
> > >
> > > As regards the Olympic torch to space, well, it didnít do much for me
> > > either. I can understand why, the Olympics draws lots of attention,
> > > big companies who employ lots of people use the Olympics for
> > > advertising and also the Space Race, so they are able to get double
> > > their moneyís worth in advertising by putting the two together. The
> > > news has been reporting more and more of the Philippines disaster, I
> > > think that is good, everyone here is feeling bad for the people who
> > > are living in Tacloban. I hope this reporting will help them.
> > >
> > > I loved your story of your visitors! We call things like that
> > > hurricane parties, LOL! I have been to some wild ones years ago.
> >
> >
> > And my reply - I try to be nice!! I like Lo!!
> >
> > But thatís from NASA! So of course they are promoting the benefits
> > because it directly impacts the funding they receive! If I had more
> > time (and I used to work in this area of critical research) I would
> > look it all up and study the history. I have a book (canít look it up
> > right now, itís under a pile of more books!) written by someone was was
> > part of the space program and his account presents much of the
> > politicking and corruption within the agency. It is a very difficult
> > situation for earnest hardworking scientists, military officials and
> > politicians. I know ex-Marines and people who used to work for the NSA
> > and so I have some slight idea of how difficult it is as value systems
> > and interests clash. Most of the research done by NASA, DARPA etc (I
> > know some people whose family were working with jet propulsion
> > technology when it was being invented after WW2) are being used to kill
> > people in (often illegal) warfare!
> >
> > The typhoon disasters and numerous strange weather patterns are now
> > also being linked to global industrial activities, including the
> > consumptive and wasteful behaviour of people living in modern cities.
> > Mountains and forests are being denuded, mined and ruined for the sake
> > of development. See
> >
> > http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/could-typhoon-haiyan-be-a-wake-up-call-for-warsaw negotiations
> >
> > Overall, I think that humans as a whole are not prepared to wisely and
> > peacefully use the research, inventions and discoveries (and the
> > wealth) that they are creating. It will take some time before we all
> > evolve to being wiser and benevolent.
> >
> > BUT I do value the small efforts of individual people, from everywhere,
> > in helping those in need - from their own neighbours to others across
> > the globe. A crochet friend from the US is donating US$500 to help
> > repair our neighbourís house and it is going to be more than enough to
> > repair two more houses here! There are people buying lots of patterns
> > which allow me to give money to help Penny and her family in
> > Catigbi-an!! :)
> >
> > And your friend J sent this message privately:
> >
> > > Say hey to Trevor.  I would imagine that he has a huge theory going on
> > > why the world's worst storm hit the Philippines!  LOL  Tell him he'd
> > > better cut out all that empty debating and get right with Jehovah
> > > before we get to the Battle at Harmaggedon!  Hugs to you both.


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Trevor Batten
 <trevor at tebatt dot net>
 Baclayon 2013