What can we do for Japan?

Instead of the usual Thursday blog update, this week I would like to share some information regarding the tragedy that hit my home country. My family, my friends are all safe but that doesn't make the three incidents—earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant malfunction—less serious.

The whole incident started somewhat similar to a Hollywood film, such as fishing boats sailing across rice fields while a car frantically finds a way to avoid the onslaught of waves.

But the similarity ends there, sadly. The whole picture is increasingly looking like a beginning of a year-long marathon. It's not going to end in a happy tone after two hours of viewing.

Forget all the hypes for now. What can we do? That's the only question that matters now. After researching (=googling) for several days, here are two things that Japan needs right now.

  • Send money. Don't sent stuff (including yourself).

Nobody in the ground zero has the capacity to accept small contributions such as clothes, canned foods, and blankets. Put yourself in their positions—what you need is 10,000 identical blankets that doesn't require inspecting and repacking and considering sizes and genders. Who does that? Big brothers—corporations and international organizations such as the Red Cross.

We're not a big fan of them, but who cares? They get the job done, so let's support them. It is very easy: go to Google.com, click the special link under the search box (or go directly), check all the news and Red Cross donation box. Make it as simple as possible for the people out there.

  • Spread words that you trust.

It is true that the Japanese government and the electricity company are not doing a great job in terms of disclosure. They simply don't have the capacity or experience (in case of the electricity company, they do have an incentive to shut up). What we can do is to restrain ourselves and send information that we personally trust. News from a credible organization is not always trustable.

What we should do is not to judge information based on its source, but based on our gut. Before you pass the next "Japan in crisis of meltdown" rumor that came from your friend or your RSS feed from The NY Times, read the whole article. Watch the whole video. And ask yourself: Do I believe it? If the answer is yes, share it. If no, don't. It doesn't matter if the news came from the Associated Press or your grandma—it is ultimately about creating mutual trust. Let's trust ourselves more, first.

Here are some information that might help in getting a better perspective, or inspirations.

Finally, let's focus on the hope, not despair. Three senior citizens were rescued from their apartment after three days of lockout due to tsunami. What did they say with a broad smile, right after they had been rescued?

  1. We are all fine.
  2. We have been through this before. (So there is a positive aspect in getting old, after all)
  3. Let's build it again.


I would like to add: Let's behave like that old, nameless, but awesome guy.