Monday, October 13, 2008

A thunderstorm is not just another bad weather

Last saturday, if you lived in KL, there was a HORRENDOUS thunderstorm and I was caught out, racing against time to make it home. Obviously, it was too late.

Thunders roared and lightnings flashed, repeatedly. I could hardly see my screen. Suddenly in this weird city, jams began to pile...I never understood KL, cars can just appear or disappear at weird timings. As I struggled to unlock my gate under a miserable umbrella which did not quite served its purpose in a thunderstorm, I was wet and cold in those brief seconds.

In the comfort of my room after shower, I ter-remembered the families I've visited in Laos. As my thoughts began to form, thunderstorms now carry a completely different meaning to me. It's not just another bad weather that caused massive traffic jams or resulting to people turning up late for work. To us, we seldom think beyond that. Myself included.

But that afternoon, I began to think what thunderstorms mean to the poor. I have seen how they lived and I know for sure, their roofs leak when it rained, they cannot go out to forage for food in the jungles or walk some miles away just to find odd jobs. Children can't go to school or come out to play.
Everything comes to a halt for them, and I mean LITERALLY everything.

They don't have hot showers or electricity like us. I can still go to work when it rained in my nice little kancil, buy food or order something over to fill my stomach, have a hot shower and blow my hair dry, put my clothes into washing machine and finally lie down at night to sleep with proper shelter over my head, dry.

Wet.Hungry.Cold.Maybe even loss of homes.

And these are just what I can think of, what happens to the poor when a thunderstorm strikes. I am sure, there are so much more which I (who have never really been poor) don't know. Climate change does affects us, the 'normal average' people and even the rich BUT climate change affects the poor even more, making them poorer than they already are.

You might reason "how can we know what we do not know"?
"How do I know what it does to the poor when I have never lived in poverty myself?"
And I would say that's a quite a valid point you are trying to make.
But I believe, we can learn what we do not know. My knowledge too, is little and I would admit, hadn't I been to Laos, hadn't I read Planet Prepare or work with World Vision, thunderstorms would just mean another bad weather for me.

But now, not anymore.

It not an excuse to not know just because we are not interested to learn.

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