information overload

I had something all ready for the blog (well in my head anyway). Something light and jolly, possibly even amusing. I thought it would be good.

But after spending far too much time in the company of the news for the last couple of days I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. It did not seem to be a fitting time for my whimsical notions.

I’m not known for my political activism or my social commentary but watching recent events unfold across the globe made my original ideas for today’s blog seem superficial and inconsequential.

Sitting in the countryside, undisturbed by anything other than the occasional tractor rumbling past, I watched with compulsive dread both Nature and Man bring chaos and destruction spanning the globe.

The terrifying sight on the weather maps of Tropical Cyclone YASI being upgraded to a category 5 storm and heading straight for the, already weather beaten, shores of the North Queensland coast in Australia, along side the real-time twitter feeds of frightened people who had been told to expect nothing short of carnage was humbling, to say the least.

Then to the other side of the world and blizzards wreaking havoc in a vast number of US states and Canadian provinces. Hearing the words of warning ‘is your journey worth your life?’ repeated over and over again. Seeing the pictures of deserted cities, lifeless, frozen and scared.

In Egypt the largely peaceful anti government protests in Cairo’s Tahrir square took a violent turn as bus loads of ‘pro-government protesters’ arrived and started throwing Molotov cocktails and broken paving slabs at the assembled demonstrators from the surrounding streets and rooftops. The anti government demonstrators on the square were un-armed civilians. This we know as various news agencies around the world have their journalists ‘on-the spot’ and have they have witnessed and reported that all protesters crossing the barricades into the square were searched for weapons. Yesterday afternoon hundreds of seemingly well organised and well trained ‘pro-government protesters’ arrived en-masse and armed and were allowed by the army to engage in direct and bloody confrontation. The pro-government protesters are alleged, (by an overwhelming number of citizens, news agencys and world wide government officials), to have been unleashed on the peaceful protest by the very man they were protesting against. You cannot fail to see why a growing number of ordinary Egyptians want to see an end to this regime. The list of casualties grows ever longer by the hour.

And I sit here in splendid isolation and feel extremely insignificant.

Australia woke to unprecedented devastation of property and crops that will take years to recover from but, thank God , their worst fears of mass casualties and loss of life do not seem to have been realised. Although there are still a few people unaccounted for, in the words of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh “‘I’m very relieved this morning, but I do stress these are very early reports It’s a long way to go before I say we’ve dodged any bullets.”

In the US and Canada at least 12 people are known to have lost their lives so far in the latest winter storms, buildings have collapsed under the sheer weight of snow, and with meteorologists warning that temperature are set to fall to around -34 degrees in some areas, the fear is that the death toll may rise significantly.

In Egypt the protesters continue their vigil in Tahrir Square, at the time of writing the square is peaceful, but its inhabitants fear what the morning will bring.

And I sit here in splendid isolation and feel extremely insignificant.

The growing senseof powerlessness and impotence I have felt over the last few days is at risk of becoming rather overwhelming. In this age of instant information exchange and real time reportage should I not feel more ‘at one’ with the world, should the intimate knowledge of world events now empower us to act and be a part of ‘something’?

Or is it a case of ‘information overload’? Too many images of desperate situations being beamed directly to our lives on a minute by minute basis enfeebling us rather than empowering us.

Tonight I don’t have any answers to that question. I don’t know if I ever will.

I do know that the advances in technology have, and will continue to, enhance and enrich my life, and I would be a much poorer and less rounded person without being able to access the these things. But for now I need to switch off from the wider world for a while, and concentrate on ‘my world’.
The people around me that make me smile, the people whose lives I can make a difference in, and situations where I feel I can have at least some degree of significance.

A bientot.


Author: hillywillyworld

Living as an 'ex-pat' in Thailand with my daughter Moo and sometimes my Hubby too (when he is not bringing home the bacon from Macau). Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes it's confusing. Most of the time it's just...random. Join me as I struggle and giggle my way through this thing called life.

4 thoughts on “information overload”

  1. I know how you feel Hils. Just at school I come into contact with so much hardship (in many different forms) with some of the children I teach. And I too have a pretty sheltered life.

    The news is scary but there is always a Ray of hope. It’s just not always easy to find.

    love and hugs,

  2. Hi Hilly,

    It’s information overload plain and simple. We are in an instantaneous wired world that is sometimes just too much for the human condition. You have to remember, what your seeing is not far from normal.

    1. The floods in Australia are in an area that is on a flood plain (go figure) and they were in a similar situation in the 1950’s and right now it is cyclone season over there.

    2. The weather in Canada and the US often gets as severe as you see it now, I am from Canada and we got something similar in 2008. This is not new and we know how to deal with the severe weather over here (12 people dead out of the 400 million in North America is tragic but not astronomical).

    3. Turmoil in the middle east is nothing new.

    Unfortunately all too often on TV and the media if it bleeds it leads. I think that last paragraph you wrote about turning off the wider world and concentrating on the world around you and the people who make you smile and in whose lives you can make a difference in was beautiful and 100% correct. I too must turn off the news every once in a while and take time out to smell the roses as it were.

    Chin up,


    1. Thank- you for your kind comments, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog.
      you will be glad to hear I switched off the news* and my chin is now up. Sometimes it’s good, essential perhaps, to stop and smell the flowers.
      * I may have had a couple of sneaky peeks!

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