Is The Culture of Kindness Enough to Get Through in a Crisis?

As everyone battles through the coronavirus outbreak, we remember what’s important to help us in difficult times and why it is necessary to pay it forward despite eventual donation fatigue.

No one is exempted from the COVID-19 crisis and the swell of struggles that come along with it. With this knowledge comes the awareness of how there are people who are in urgent need of help. In our country alone, our front line workers are in constant need of a steady stream of protective equipment and supplies. As we continue to learn about news of scarcity, it ignites the blazing spirit of kindness for many. Individuals, non-profit organizations, and private institutions donate and lend help in their own ways.

However, these continued efforts may eventually pose a concern, possibly relenting to the reality of ‘donation fatigue.’ While it may be heartwarming to know there are heroes among us, it doesn’t erase the fact that relying on donations alone for this entire crisis might wear out soon. When it does, who could we turn to? When the nation’s leaders who are supposed to protect citizens turn their backs on us, who can help us in these challenging times?

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LEFT: Lance Gokongwei of Gokongwei Group donates P100 million of funds to support frontline health workers. RIGHT: Jaime Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corporation adopts the P24B response package for the crisis. (Photos from JG Summit Holdings and Ayala Corporation)
LEFT: Designer Patty Ang opens atelier to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers. (Photo from Patty’s Instagram) RIGHT: The Aivee Clinic prepares masks, rubbing alcohol, gloves, and hair masks for frontline workers in hospitals. (Photo from Aivee Clinic’s Instagram)

Culture of Kindness

With the government-mandated actions of community quarantine and closure of schools and businesses, everyone was left wondering how we can live and move amid this outbreak. For business conglomerates, the awareness of their influence called them to help. Apart from assisting their own employees, they reached out to communities. From manufacturing disinfectant alcohol, donating medical supplies, supporting the production of testing kits, to providing food packs, these business giants show power and wealth can be used for generosity. Even individuals across industries have shown the true spirit of Bayanihan. These Filipino figures inspire us to donate and do what we can. They recognize they have the capacity to give and acted on it to help.

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Health workers. (Photo from The New Yorker)
(Photo from Health Magazine)

Remembering this Ongoing Crisis

Although it warms our hearts to witness this wonderful culture of benevolence and humanity, it doesn’t erase the fact that it has become a condition now. Donation fatigue is the exhaustion resulting from the constant reliance on the generosity of people. Its existence came from the underlying problem with how our nation’s leaders respond to the crisis. With their continuous insufficient action, ambiguous plans, and empty promises, we couldn’t help but fear both for the present and our future.

The responsibility to survive was thrust to us, the citizens, and we were forced to take it. We had to rely on the initiatives and efforts of the private sector, rather than the nation’s public servants. We are left to fend for ourselves, having received little help from the government. With the continuous falling of the public’s level of trust in political institutions and systems, it becomes alarming how we will get through this crisis.

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(Photo from The South China Morning Post)

What can we do? We remember those in the frontlines and those who help. We continue the culture of kindness they have started. Be it through small or large-scale donations, supporting the production and distribution of necessities, and even as small as offering help to your neighbors, we must not get tired of helping. The lack of organized leadership in our nation at present encourages us to reach out to one another. We only have our fellow citizens to do what should be done, showering aid to those who need it.

Apart from assistance, it is crucial to keep in mind our present struggles. We remember what is happening right now. We call out people’s words and actions and anything that is counterproductive to surviving this crisis. When the next election period comes along, we recognize and elect the right people who will lead us. We must carefully choose the next line of leaders, those who are honest, competent, and willing to get their people through difficult situations. Filipinos deserve better, and it starts with awareness of the problem and how kindness can brighten our future together as it knows no absolute exhaustion.

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