by Nguyen Hang
"Do charity" is a term we've heard more often than usual these days, as Quang Ninh Province and several localities in the northern region have been battered by prolonged torrential rains, flash floods and landslides over the past week.
Tran Lap, a famous rocker with nearly 160,000 followers on Facebook, shared on Monday his own thoughts after he did charity work in Van Don Island District's Sen Village in Quang Ninh to help people there resume their daily lives. Van Don is one of the districts suffering the most from the rain.
"Too much instant noodles, uncooked rice and old clothes are here. How can people eat instant noodles and uncooked rice three meals a day while they have no clean water or electricity? How can they wear all the old clothes you donate to them? These people, they have a lot of problems to deal with after the torrential rains destroyed their property. It's better to donate money than instant noodles, uncooked rice or old clothes. They need money to repair houses and cover medical expenses if a disease breaks out after floods or for basic needs of daily lives. Charity-doers, you should come and directly give your monetary donation to them. That is the best and effective way ever, I think!"
The story he shared is actually not new at all. The same thing happened when the tropical storm Nari, with wind speeds reaching 134-149km per hour, hit the central region in late 2013, killing 20 and injuring 172.
After the storm, a huge amount of instant noodles was sent by kindhearted people around the country to Huong Son District's Son Kim 2 Commune in Ha Tinh Province that winter.
At that time, Cao Vi Ky, chairman of the communal People's Committee, told online newspaper Doi Song va Phap Luat (Life and Law) that after receiving donations from people throughout the country, each household in the commune had 10 packages of instant noodles and 100 kilos of rice.
Some had to sell the noodles to take money and buy more necessary things, he said.
Also related to charity work, a video clip posted on a Facebook account named Nguoi Cam Pha early this week told about a voluntary group in Cam Pha City that delivered instant noodles and rice to support people in the city's Mong Duong Ward. The group wanted to directly deliver the goods to the local residents. However, the authority told them to pile at a storehouse and then they would give them to the people later.
The authority said that there were 90 households in the ward, and the donations were just enough for 80 so they would leave the goods in the storehouse until another volunteer group brought more goods, so they could be divided equally among the disaster victims.
The authority's action was not wrong, but it annoyed the volunteers in this case. Both the authority and the volunteers had their own arguments.
Also after Nari hit Ha Tinh, Vo Khac Dinh, president of Huong Son District's Fatherland Front, told Doi Song va Phap Luat that most volunteer groups wanted to give their donations directly to those who needed them.
"We know their warm hearts and we also understand why they wanted to do this themselves," he said.
However, it meant donation packages were not delivered evenly among districts. Some districts that needed more donations received less and others received more, he said.
The local authority just wanted to collect all the donations and then allocate them to storm-hit areas, he said.
So, the problem here has become: how should we do charity most effectively?
I personally think both volunteers and local authorities should co-operate to work toward their common objective.
And every benevolent heart in the country that wants to share sorrow with those who suffer should do charity with an attitude that matches what Winston Churchill said: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." — VNS