March 15, 2011

Times like these

I do not generally write off-hand posts. It normally takes me a few days, sometimes a few weeks to figure out what exactly I am trying to say. I also try and stay away from current affairs. I try my best to also refrain from commenting on natural disasters and other calamities--a technique that is politely referred to as "milking a post". But, after watching what happened in Japan last Friday, and the ensuing tsunami and predicted nuclear crisis, intertwined with the clutter on social networking sites, e-mails requesting a donation and hoaxes about nuclear rain, among others, I felt that something had to be said.

First of all, my condolences to everyone who has been affected by this series of tragedies. I have no personal experience of any calamity, so I will not attempt to offer any advice to you.

However, it has come to my attention that you are not the only victims. Clearly, a massive bunch of well-meaning souls with a lot of free time, who happened to watch Youtube footage of the natural disaster and promptly upload it to Facebook have been affected as badly, if not worse. Yes, the same ones that have "Pray for the people of Japan" as their status message. "Light a candle for Japan's tsunami victims". The same group have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness, panic and money, aided admirably by Messrs. Twitter and Outlook, in spreading unverified information. More despicable however, is news that a few invertebrates are trying to make a quick buck or add to the chaos by contaminating search results with malicious links and setting up fraudulent websites that seek donations. It is a damned pity that millions of years of evolution have produced such specimens.

In times like these, however, where information can be spread as easily as butter on warm toast, where technology has made it all too easy to pass on information without feeling the need to verify it first, I think that people--especially office folk and others with easy access to a PC, need to read the following 5-point strategy if they really want to help:

1. Take a deep breath.
2. Remember that you are not the only one who is feeling bad about the events in Japan
3. We know that the work you do in office may not actually change the world and therefore, you have an earnest desire to change the world with your mail forwards. However, it would be great if you could verify them every so often.
4. Point number 3 holds good for your status updates and tweets as well.
5. Stay calm. If you must watch or share a Youtube video, let it be this.


  1. I would like to add 6th point to 5-point strategy:
    6) Contribute to the cause, if you can.

  2. just visited the site and I would definitely recommend it...proof that google has become a way of life...

  3. My thoughts exactly, Sajiv. Great piece.

    What ticks me off is the fact that nobody on fb cares a rat's ass if there is a drought in North karnataka or a cyclone in Orissa.
    Maybe it's not fashionable.
    Nobody prays for them.
    Nobody creates an 'event' for them.
    Please don't think I'm anti-Japan or anything. I'm hurt and I wish them well. I wish I could help, but I know sitting on my ass in Bagmane tech park I'm not of much use.


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