i am quite depressed at the moment thinking about the disaster. . just now during the solat jumaat , i just felt like to fly there right away and do my stuff; clowning for the traumatised children in the affected area. but i do understand that at the moment all relief efforts are concentrating on the search and rescue missions. pyschosocial support mission will usually comes in the later stage. Normally during the first stage of disaster, people are kept busy with searching the survivors and rebuilding their destroyed house and lives . Only in the later stage, people will suffers from depression and trauma and psychosocial support are most important. In the later part of the rebuilding lives , i believe i can be useful. I have emailed and sms-ed to my contacts in national relief agencies offering my service when needed. I don't have other things to give except my clown service to the traumatised victims. phewwww.... just imagine not even a year ago i was in bam and now it happened in my own backyard.
my clown teacher , Shobi emailed me yesterday offering help and prayers. I replied,
" Hi Shobi! me and sam 'uncle button' safe and sounds in KL. sam just got back from thailand few days before clowning in the northern thailand. he told me that phi phi island where he was there many years ago, just flattened within seconds when the tragedy struck on the 26th dec, it never occured to me that the tsunami hits us exactly one year after bam earthquake. At first we were thought that the damage is minimal.we were completely wrong. to date in malaysia, we lost 65 lives within seconds. hundreds were displaced. we were lucky sumatra island buffered the damage. but in sumatra, devastation is total. Strangely, I do not know whether i have the courage to go again and clowning for the survivors. but if they call me i will.i know the courage will somehow come to me. they have yet to call us. i think the priority now is to provide medical and humanitarian aid. psychosocial support will come in the later stage.
She replied today,
"Glad you are all OK. It's hard to watch it all on TV and not be able to do much. Everyone here is told to send money and I think in 3 hours our local TV station raised US$ 30,000 for the Red Cross. People are all very concerned. I think clowns have to sit on their hands for the moment. I've clowned in India and know it takes the people a little time to understand us. In their tradition anyone who wears a red nose and big mouth is a "demon" I also think the Indian peoples are very dramatic about their grief (which is a good thing as they express themselves) and a clown would be hard to understand in the immediacy of a crisis.
HOWEVER, after the immediate crisis is over, after everything has settled down, there sets in a great boredom -- long hours with nothing to do -- when people have to start their lives all over, rebuild their families, communities, find new employment. When the spotlight of the media is finished with the crisis, then the clowns can do their job. We can bring hope and cheer into the lonely corners of despair. I have seen this happen and so have you. Just a little bit of "We have not forgotten you" is so important. I hope that some clowns do get to Shri Lanka and Indonesia and Thailand in the months to come. I would certainly like to part of any of those groups and certainly will cover it in my newsletter. Keep me updated on what is going on. For sure, I'll see you at clown camp! Big hugs to you both.
Ah! it is a gloomy day indeed.