Wednesday, October 31, 2007

volunteer -- humane society

vol·un·teer [vòllən teer] - n
somebody who works for nothing: somebody who works without being paid

I can’t even count the number of times that i've been introduced me to someone new that I’d never see again. She’d tell me to help the newcomer, show them how the place works, what we do ever Saturday morning. Quite often this happens at the Humane Society. When I started in October 2006, I was under the impression that there was some commitment involved in volunteering. Perhaps I was under that impression because the application form said that you can’t have more than three unexcused absences or you’re gone, well that’s not the words they used but that’s the drift that I got from it.

Regardless of what an application form says, if you’re going to join a team shouldn’t you put effort into it, shouldn’t you come every week and do what is asked? True, there is no money involved but when you fill out the “volunteer application form” isn’t that pretty obvious that there’s no money. Volunteering=no money. Well that is unless you volunteer for the Hawaii Office of Elections who will pay you (though it is under minimum wage so it’s supposedly not considered working). But does it really matter if there isn’t any real sort of incentive other than the fact that you feel good about yourself and that you’re helping someone out? Apparently.

On top of that, I feel you should put effort into what you do if you’re volunteering. You shouldn’t just have the attitude that you’re showing up and that’s good enough. How many times has it been that are seven volunteers and four rooms. Three of each clean one room and three people clean the fourth. Everyone working on their own room finishes before the three cleaning one room and when they find out that we finished they stop and expect us to finish. Uh, no. You have a third of the work that we have and you expect us to do it for you? I don’t think so. The way I see it, you should keep doing your work. If you’re just slow that’s fine but keep working and if we notice you need help or if you ask for help then we’ll help. We volunteers aren’t total jerks, well unless you get on our bad side like when you expect us to do your work. If you need help we can help you get it done faster. But take advantage of us and you’d better keep working because no one else is going to do it.

Am I just blowing this out of proportion? I guess that’s for you to decide. But please the world doesn’t revolve about you, and it doesn’t revolve around money either, accept that. I know that there are people that won’t do anything without compensation and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it but themselves. Sometimes I wish that I could just tell them, let them know that there is something good about doing something and not getting paid. It leaves you feeling like you did something good, that you made a difference in someone’s life. The person you are affecting may never know, but that’s fine. Helping out shouldn’t be about the credit that you receive back from it. It shouldn’t be about getting your name out. It should be about that warm fuzzy feeling that it leaves inside of you.

Oh yeah and volunteers, don’t spend your whole time talking on the phone rather than doing your work.

Monday, October 29, 2007

courage -- firefighters

cour·age [kúr ij] n -
quality of being brave: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.

That is the definition that my computer gives me, but how is that possible? Everything in life has consequences and most people in their rational minds think about those consequences before taking action. And if you do that, wouldn’t you have some sort of uncourageous thought?

Perhaps courage is subjective. Maybe all the words in that thing we call the “dictionary” don’t really mean anything. Someone who I think is courageous, you may think is a wimp. And the same with someone you may think is courageous. Last week there was a lot of news on television about the fires in California, or at least on the only news station I watch. I’d like to say that all the fire fighters out there could be the definition of courage. But are they really? Okay, they aren’t completely overcome by fear because if they were, they would be somewhere else, at home or at the Qualcomm Stadium, but there must be at least one drop of fear somewhere in those muscular bodies of theirs. Okay, maybe they’re just super amazing and really have no fear of flames flying in every direction, but they must have been scared at one point in life or another. Maybe you’re not scared of bombs and grenades but you could be scared of bugs. Or maybe you’re not afraid of bugs but you’re afraid of the dark or afraid to talk to that handsome guy you see all too often. Does that mean you can be courageous sometimes and not at others?

I know people that have done things that some may think is courageous, but I know the truth. They only did those “courageous” things because it was the last possible chance. More like a do-it-because-you-may-regret-it-later kind of thing. It still fits the definition, but in cases like that is it courage or is it fear, fear of regret? I think the latter.

I would have also thought that reporters, correspondents on the scene could possibly be considered courageous. However, if firefighters who run to where everyone is running from aren’t the epitome of courage, than reporters definitely aren’t, right?

I think I‘m starting to finally see it, yes, courage is subjective. Not only in the sense that each individual has a different idea of the perfect definition, but in the varying circumstances. Doing something because you don’t want to regret it later isn’t courage, it’s fear. I guess it’s just overcoming one fear because you’re scared of something else. But, firefighting and all the branches of the military and everyone that tries to make a difference without selfish reasoning (even reporters), now that’s courage. People who ill risk their lives or the stability of their lives to help the lives of other, that sure is the “quality of being brave.”

I’d love to boycott the dictionary, and not end up with definitions that I find impossible to fit or too vague. Unfortunately, without the dictionary I wouldn’t be able to define words like dacryocystorhinostomy (surgery to correct tear blockage).

Friday, October 26, 2007

admiration -- anderson cooper

I know that there are a ton of other things that I should be doing right now, other than this. I could be studying, I could be...I don't know, but all that doesn't matter much right now.

All I can think about is the book I just finished reading . What could probably be considered the most inspirational book I have ever read. I'll admit that the only reason why I bought it, and for that matter even read it was because I've got a crush on the author. It's like when we were young and all had a crush on some celebrity, whether it be Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Ashton Kutcher, or even Travis Pastrana. I guess that I should thank my dad for all those time that he used to watch CNN so I could find a fascination in that anchor. Who cares if he's 40, something about him drew me in.

I see it a little differently now, I've been watching his show daily, and have realized that there is a lot more to that gunmetal gray hair, blue eyes, and pale skin, than meets the eyes. There is brilliance, there is pain and sorrow, and in my eyes admiration.

This was the first and only book that has brought tears to my eyes everytime my eyes met the words. It was one of the few books that I have found utterly impossible to put down. Anderson Cooper's language it amazing and the personal side of the story is what makes Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival one that touches your heart.

I never thought that I'd read a nonfiction book about war and starvation and hurricanes and tsunamis. Thats never really interested me much. I've always said that I'm more of an animal person, that I like animals more than people. Now, I have to change that. Still, I'm not the biggest fan of people but I've learned a lot more about the world outside of America.

Anderson Cooper saw all of this up close in person, he's seen more dead bodies that he can remember and been in situations that we'd never dare to enter. His life has more drama and suffering that anyone I know. His dad died when he was 10 and his brother commited suicide not long after but jumping over the balcony right outside Anderson's room, right in front of their mother. He has traveled all around the world, trying and reaching his goal of becoming a reporter. All that I envy, I admire. I wish to be that person that leaves college knowing exactly what they want to do with ther life and even making a fake press pass so they can do it. I want to be the person that's not afraid to travel to Iraq, to Burma, to Rwanda. Well, not unafraid, but daring enough, someone who's willing to risk there life to help others.

In the book he speaks of the people that he has met in the past 15 years of being a reporter. The people in Iraq, who live every day to the fullest because they never know if it will be their last. The women in Niger who's last child has died of starvation. The tragedy that hit Sri Lanka because of the tsunami, and Louisiana due to Katrina. These are the people that I should truely admire. The people who live everyday in fear, but still manage to smile once in a while. They are the people who are much less fortunate that we are, the people who we don't think about when we are at the market and can buy whatever we feel like eating. They are the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, of those who have lost their lives. I want to be like these people too.

I want to stop taking things for granted, I want to go back into journalism. for a while I did want to major in journalism, then I found environmental law and wanted to do something relating to that. I thought that after 3 hours a week of Preofessor Kato, there would be no way in hell that I'd ever consider journalism again. But due to this book, I once again want to go into that field, but one thing stops me. Cooper says that he went in to reporting because he wanted to help people. Tell the world the story of what's going on where we can't see so that we can help. But that does nothing for the present. The life of the child that is on that thin line between life and death can't be saved by a broadcast tonight. If you look at journalism as a way to help people, it only help those in the future. Nothing you do will help the people who are suffering at the very moment that you are reading these words. The people who once they pass, will never be remembered. That's what bothers me.