Raising awareness, you’re not my cup of tea

In an interview that I recently did, Join Silica Liong, a Fine Arts Indonesian student here in Melbourne said:

“The media is where you hear and see information, and what you hear and see, you consume. You don’t trust everything that you see, but you actually pick the ones that you think it’s true.”

And I think it’s very true.

(To read more about the article that I made, see Indonesian Fine Arts student Join Silica Liong connects the dots)

So when Steve Jobs died and million others frantically shared his story on Facebook, Twitter, newspaper, and every other media, I shut down.

When Whitney Houston died and the TV gave a tribute towards her story on and on and on and on, I shut down.

When everyone is talking about how Michael Jackson died and his drug addiction and the complicated case with his doctor, I shut down.

And when everyone is talking about Kony and how he is seen as the child villain in Africa, I, too, shut down.

As a journalist, I need to know what’s going on, but the psychology part within me keeps on denying those ‘top’ issues that everyone’s talking about. I don’t want to know, and I don’t really care. When too many people start looking at one direction, I just want to keep my head on the other.

The first time a friend shared about Kony 2012 video in Facebook, I took interest, and played the video. After two minutes, I got bored (literally), and because I was in the car, browsing through my iPhone instead of my MacBook, I thought that I’d see the video later.

That night, from three shares in Facebook, the video has had thirty plus shares and counting, and I shut down.

Some friends even inserted some inappropriate comments, in my own opinion, regarding this matter. Defamation (or instant publicity, depending on how you see it) of Joseph Kony goes even more viral.

Everything is about Kony, the villain that Michelle Griffin in The Age refers as the Voldemort, from we shall stop Kony, we shall increase funds and charities to be able to stop Kony, to we shall increase this important issue to everyone!

Call me a skeptic, or a cynic, but when someone nudges something about humanity, we often just “Oh, this issue is horrible,” click share, give a few comments, and after a week full of Kony bombardments, everyone resumes to their own life.

Out of those 70 million YouTube viewers, I bet only a few who really do something about the issue.

So we now know about the horror in Uganda. We know about how children are seen as invisible and how they are unable to live a decent life due to their community. But we have always known about this, don’t we? So what next?

I watched the movie “Hotel Rwanda” a couple of years ago, well, isn’t the message similar?

Why suddenly the issue of Kony is a big deal, and why now?

I keep asking the question, why now?

This issue has been there forever, if not for quite a long time already, but why suddenly everyone’s talking about it?

And why Kony?

Whether you believe it or not, Kony might or might not exist. He might be the real person who slaughter children, or he might be a made up figure just for the purpose of having someone to blame for. I don’t really know what the facts are, and I am not really keen to find out, but there’s one thing I’m concerned about.

When people start to care about the world, and the world only, what about the people, the children around you? You might share the video on your Twitter, your Facebook, you might email some friends and say, “STOP KONY!” like some of my friends do. But I wonder behind those innocent words, do they really care about stopping Kony, or do they just think, “It’s just a click, it’s no biggie,” and forget about it afterwards?

Sometimes I feel sad. I feel sad for we are used to care about people who we never know about, and start neglecting those who actually living in our own community.

Remember Mother Theresa? She doesn’t need to increase awareness of the children in poverty so that she can have some help in doing what she does. She just does the most essential thing: she helps them. So why suddenly life becomes complicated and the ‘raising awareness’ stage is included, instead of just dealing straight with the problem itself?

If one man can make a difference, why suddenly everyone needs 70 million others to do so?

You want your children to be able to live in a better world. We grow up with this simple idea that the world is ugly, full of bad people who want war, and we always believe that if we fix it now, our children can live a life full of world peace. But fixing the world, for me, is not merely about fixing it. It’s also about loving it for who it is, no matter how broken it is, because then in your eyes, the world will become perfect.

One day I will forget who Kony is and who the director of the movie is, but I will not forget about the important people who have walked pass my life, and that’s where I want to invest my time and energy.

10 years from now, the organisation might not say thank you for your effort in supporting to stop Kony (I’m not saying that you can’t do this, it’s entirely up to you), but your special friends and families might do, and they will remember you for life for the silly little things you used to do with them.

Life is not about one impacting million others. Sometimes life means impacting one person’s life dearly, and just let him to pay it forward.

And you know, stopping Kony might be teaching your younger brother about that homework that he’s been stressing around, or tutoring refugees for free in a local library around your neighbourhood.

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3 thoughts on “Raising awareness, you’re not my cup of tea

  1. Batman says:

    While I have no doubts that Kony is an evil evil man, there’s something really fishy about this whole campaign to stop him. Oh yeah huge oil reserves have recently been found in Uganda, let’s use some random Ugandan warlord as a pretext to invade the country Iraqi style!

  2. Thanks @loonyliterature! Your comment makes my day :)

    Hi Batman, yes yes, I really think there’s something fishy going on too. There are a lot (and I mean, A LOT) of criticism in the papers about Kony and and the Invisible Children organisation. Let’s just hope history won’t repeat itself.

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