Angry Birds & A Pixellated Pinoy Sea Captain : Early Xmas wishes

As of last count, 1100 birds have been found dead, but many more have sunk to the bottom of the sea, and we'll never know how much have perished. There were pictures markedly worse than this one, enough to drive you to tears. Thanks & acknowledgment to Dominion Post / for the photo.

[Note from Noel : Not angry actually but dead, and those who are really angry are the birds left behind, and unable to propagate rapidly diminishing species. Belated happy birthdays to Carol Ng Sy , Cherry Ong, Robin Tan (11th October) and Penny Rose Tan ( 14th ), now let’s brace ourselves for NZ‘s biggest rugby match in eight years tomorrow, All Blacks vs Wallabies ! Go go go ! ]

Dear kabatch, kabayan, brods, officemates, iskolar ng bayan, Huttmates and friends :

BEHOLDING Man and the dilemma of this plane of existence, there seem to be very few absolutes in a sea of relatives.  The purest good may sometimes be poison in unlimited amounts, for example.  Or the tics and tackiness of even the most satanic dictators can sometimes provide quirky (if a bit too entertaining) distraction from the monotony of daily life.

Which is why it’s quite unusual to see something as absolutely and unequivocally awful as an oil spill, particularly one in a pristinely preserved idyll like New Zealand.  There is no upside or pogi points to be philosophized about it.  It is despicably, horribly and unqualifiedly bad for all concerned, and it tends to stay around even longer than is expected, which is believe me, long enough.

Please excuse the uncharacteristically blunt language. By nature, I try to be PC, diplomatically pleasing all around and all that, but there is simply nothing the spin doctors can do about this debacle.

An additional thorn on our side is that one of the principal actors in this tragedy is a countryman and there is no way (not that we want to) we can deny that.

The captain of the Rena, granted name suppression but not back home. Thanks to the Dominion Post for the picture.

But two things : this isn’t a race thing, any more than a plane crash piloted by two Caucasians isn’t a white issue, as many Kiwis have pointed out.  Notwithstanding the well-considered prudence of the judge granting name suppression against the Pinoy ship captain in court two days ago, the danger to him and his crew was probably overstated.

And this is the second thing : efforts of Kiwis now are not focused on the blame game but on cleaning up beaches, saving wildlife and preserving what’s left of the Bay of Plenty, which is one of the most immaculately beautiful showcases of nature in this part of the world.  Having said that, I humbly present seven early Christmas wishes in light of recent events.  The 7 represent each of the weeks before December and Christmas season , which we all need to remind ourselves that in the light of bleakest tragedy, Jesus Christ is there to give us grace and hope :

The last 72 hours, the ship has been listing in various directions. Strong winds previously feared to have pushed the Rena to a doomsday position have actually helped right itself from a previously precarious state. Thanks to Dominion Post / NZ Herald for the photos.

I wish that the endangered species further placed in peril by the oil slick will find pockets of surviving members of the same species elsewhere in New Zealand.  At least three to five species of the birds affected by the Rena oil slick number less than 2000, meaning they were already in trouble before it happened.  But there is precedent for finding the same species in isolated areas of the country, and for the sake of continued biodiversity and preservation of precious wildlife, I hope this happens shortly after the cleanup, or even during such event.

I wish the cleanup volunteers, despite the many discomforts, continue to perform their heroic tasks.  This might be the only country where, out of pure community spirit and do-goodness, you want to clean up your beach but are prevented from doing so.  There are now actually more volunteers than official cleaners of the debris and oily sludge washing up on the 22 kilometers of beach, but because they are not properly trained and the Government doesn’t need to expose itself to any more liability, are carefully selecting who can volunteer to do for free, pardon the French, a totally shitty job.  Now how outrageous is that ???  Anyway, I hope the volunteers don’t give up, cuz even if (and maybe because) my kabayan was partly responsible and I want to help, I would think twice about going out there, for obvious reasons.

I hope the winds cooperate and don’t make it too hard for both the salvage operation and the beach cleanup.  Strong winds, which are notorious all over NZ, are a bane to the oilslick operations in two ways : they make it more difficult to remove the oil, and they also endanger the position of the vessel stuck on the reef.  If Divine Intervention makes it possible for calm winds to prevail the next few days, it would mean a whole lot for everyone here.

I hope the Rena itself doesn’t crack like a rancid coconut, as this would be total catastrophe despite everything that’s happened.  It’s estimated that around 300 to 500 tons of the ship’s fuel (which serve as ballast as well) have seeped out of the hull after the vessel crashed against a shallow coral reef, and this has already incurred extensive damage to marine life.  But it’s nothing compared to what will happen if the balance of the 1700 ton fuel capacity empties into the Bay, which is a virtual certainty if the ship sinks.  The consequences are too dire, and in fact for me are unthinkable.  Fortunately it has not come to that yet, and everything ( I hope) is being done to forestall that.

I hope all the remaining containers teetering like carelessly connected Lego Blocks on a giant kid’s creation don’t fall off, and are salvaged in time to not cause any more damage.  Most of the 70 containers that have fallen off contain consumer and food items but one or two contain hazardous materials that will be extremely difficult to contain should it spill out to the water. This means the earlier the containers are retrieved and placed on other vessels, the better.

I hope New Zealand wins the Rugby World Cup semifinal against Australia tomorrow night, and against the Wales-France semifinal winner at the finals next week. God knows NZ needs the cheering up, after all the things that have happened the last 12 months, the twin Christchurch earthquakes that killed 182, the Pike River mine blast that killed 29 coal miners, and the thousands left homeless and vulnerable from all these events.

I hope, lastly that my mother who celebrated her birthday yesterday continues to enjoy good health and the love of family, who she has taken care of and loved back for so long.  I love you very much Mom !

Thanks for reading !


4 thoughts on “Angry Birds & A Pixellated Pinoy Sea Captain : Early Xmas wishes

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