I first heard the phrase 'people like us' used as euphemism by Singaporean men to indicate that they were gay. They abbreviated it to PLU. Thus in Singapore a PLU is a gay male. Maybe it has a longer history from elsewhere. I am not an ectyomolgist!
While we worry about disasters in other places in the world, especially third world countries, there is clearly an inability by us, well by me at least, to relate to the events. We can't personally do anything about the starving kids in Africa. Can we do anything much about problems in the third world, disasters included. We can donate money that goes who knows where.
But it is quite a different matter when they are people like us. That is the affected who live in a western country and live a similar lifestyle to our own. That's why the Christchurch earthquake tugged so hard at our hearts. We can visualise being in a similar situation. They may have an odd accent but they live very much like we do. They lost family and friends. They lost a lot of history. They lost tourist dollars. They lost their lifestyles. They are people like us.
I can't pretend to understand the mysteries of the Orient, let alone Japan, but having being there, I include Japan in people like us. Yes, there are major differences, but not as great as you may think. There are Asian countries, there is Singapore which stands alone and then there is Japan and and to a lesser extent South Korea.
What might the average Japanese do on a Sunday? They might go for a picnic in a park. They might visit a beach. They might drive to a bakery in the hills to buy a treat. They might go to a museum. They might have family or friends visit at home. They might just hang out with friends if they are younger or stay in the bedrooms and use social media or just tech play. Sound familiar?
While it is good to donate to one of the NON religious organisations who are in there helping in Japan, doing what the government does not, don't forget that it is a very rich country. Unlike Britain, the US and Australia, they haven't sold their mothers to the world and owe little to anyone outside of Japan.
Speaking of money, I hope you quickly sold your energy shares, especially those that have a nuclear component within the business. As a naive youth I was passionately anti nuclear. Over the years I had mellowed somewhat with my views, in spite of Chernobyl. Russia was incompetent and their reactor was old and built on the cheap. Japan is a first world country and in spite of all the safety precautions, it has still all gone wrong. I am now once again a naive youth. Nuclear is just too damn dangerous, never mind the waste.
Clearly Japan did not pick up the dangers of nuclear during WWII. Or might reactors been forced on them after the war? They have tens of reactors sprinkled around the country and yet they only produce between 20 and 30 per cent of the electricity. While I don't think the damaged reactors will be a serious contamination problem, are the worth the risk.
Gunns, Tasmania, pulp mills. Off topic? No. Significant shareholder, the Mitsui Corporation of Japan. Meat, minerals, livestock, coal, fuel oil, construction materials, shipping, money trading, leverageing, broking. I don't know if they are involved in nuclear, but if they aren't, you couldn't do better with the money you have taken out of nuclear shares and put the money into a company like Mitsui. There is a lot of money to be made in Japan as the re-construction gets underway.
I don't have spare cash to invest in shares, so that does not need to occupy my thoughts. Instead I will grieve for what seems to be tens of thousands of people like us who are dead and leave the money making from the disaster to others.