As everyone knows by now, Japan has been hit by a terrible tragedy. Fortunately for my wife and I, our family and friends are located in the south western part of Japan. They are well away of the from the triple threat of earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear catastrophe. Unfortunately, many others are not and while the situation is mostly under control, they need help.
I've been hearing a lot of comments complimenting the Japanese people on how they have refrained from rioting or looting. My wife was confused by this. Ahhhh, the naivete of the Japanese who have no idea why a person would vandalize an unsupervised vending machine or loot in times of chaos. It's a sad statement of society when we have to compliment people for behaving in a civil manner.
With this tragedy, people in Abu Dhabi have been attempting to step up to raise funds for Japan. The Japanese ladies association and has been busy making traditional Japanese crafts such as origami Mother's Day cards and origami shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. My wife spent loads of time making these things and arranging to raise money at a college in Abu Dhabi (not where I work), and selling them. The ladies raised loads of money in anticipation of the local Red Cross giving permission to raise money locally for the Japanese Red Cross for relief efforts.
Unfortunately, the local Red Cross has yet to give its decision and it doesn't look like they will anytime soon. It is illegal for any organization to raise funds locally for Japan without permission, so all the money raised for Japan relief efforts will now be given to the local university's Japanese Club. The Japanese Ladies Association also had a fundraiser planned in a local elementary school, but now it looks as if it will have to be canceled due to legal issues.
A similar thing happened in Dubai where people have been asking the local Red Cross for permission to raise money for Japan but are "busy" right now and will give an answer "later." According to sources, when the people who were trying to raise money kept calling to get an answer, they were told to, "quit calling or the answer will definitely be no."
As with anything in the UAE, I'm sure there is a very good reason why the local charities are taking the extra effort to carefully consider the pros and cons of allowing charitable organizations to collect money for the victims of this disaster. Individuals are welcome to make donations themselves. However, it is illegal for me to suggest that people make donations to the Japanese Red Cross through bank transfer. In addition, it is illegal for me to suggest that people who want to donate via credit card make a donation on the Hunger Site.
On a side note, I want people to know that it is illegal for readers to write suggestions in the comments section for places where those wishing to donate can help out, even if it is written anonymously.