Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Earthquake after-thoughts...

I don't think anyone would like to read more about the horrifying tragedy that struck China's Sichuan province last Monday - but somehow I just felt compelled suddenly to want to write this post..

In fact, at 2:28pm on May 12, my parents and I were still in Zhuhai, China but heading towards the harbour to take a ferry back to Hong Kong. That day was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. We knew nothing of the disaster until we reached Hong Kong and when my brother-in-law picked us up for dinner, he informed us.. But none of us knew how big the magnitude was at that time..

As I picked up the newspaper the next morning, I knew how bad it was. But being on holiday, I was not going to immersed myself into following the aftermath of the tragedy. I know now it sounded kinda selfish..while my dad and brother-in-law probably watched it on TV or Internet or reading the news, I didn't do that. I knew I would be greatly disturbed and saddened.. so I was only reading headlines until three days later when we went home, and I picked up a local news magazine and an English daily.

(The least I had done was donate some money when I came across the Red Cross people collecting funds for the earthquake victims in Central. But I know giving money is the easiest. I salute those who actually volunteered themselves and in process risking their lives in the relief work.)

But I still didn't watch TV news (Astro's Chinese news channels had comprehensive coverage) at home. I heard how my brother-in-law cried, so did my parents while watching television. So I hadn't cried (because I didn't subject myself to it) until yesterday - the 0ne-week mark of the tragedy.

Two something in the afternoon, I was in my room when my mom suddenly called my name. As I entered her room, she pointed to her television (i think it was on Phoenix News Network) which had no sound at all. The whole China was observing a three-minute silence in respect of the victims of the earthquake. But in some cities, vehicles let out long honk probably signifying wailing or crying for the deceased..

Seeing the solemn and distraught faces of the citizen across China on the TV screen, my mom and I stood in silent and I felt tears welding in my eyes. Just like the Tsunami disaster, although the destructions were so bad, one thing came out of it. Humanity unite, and everyone, despite nationality, race or religious differences, come together.

In a way, China had responded well in the relief work. I couldn't help to wonder if such disaster ever struck Malaysia (God forbids) what would have happened..

At press time now, more than 40,000 had perished and many more injured. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes... stories of heroes and survivors and victims made it even more heart rendering.. But in a way, I don't know if there is a media overkill cos personally I felt adequate coverage would suffice but for more than one week now, those news channels are broadcasting 24/7 nothing but on the earthquake and programs surrounding the disaster.

But again, it is such a big news for China that we could not neglect its impact..

Personally, I think this earthquake also taught us, especially myself and my family a lesson. You see, as I briefly mentioned in the last post, I had some tiffs with dad during the trip.. even when in Hong Kong. I was pretty upset as I felt quite wronged sometimes. But what my sis said really woken up me and even my dad, I think. She said just look at what those people in Sichuan are going through and yet we were fighting over small insignificant issues.

And for my parents too. At least mom realised it and I hope dad did. He had been easily provoked and became angry at either mom or myself.. in fact, even on the anniversary day i.e. the earthquake day, there was another episode between the three of us which timing was at the same time as the earthquake! I think that kinda shook us a bit too..

So yeah, life is unpredictable and short. It is folly not to treasure our relationships especially that with your family and loved ones.. While praying for the families of the earthquake victims and the relief work, I only hope and pray that we would not take each other for granted, else one day we will live to regret it.

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