Post Earthquake Post

I have been to Sichuan province to its capital Chengdu to be exact not for a vacation but for a weeklong workshop (read: work). Even we stayed mostly late nights working at this nice hotel by the Jin river we managed to have time touring some spots of this misty and beautiful city that offers tasteful and spicy Sichuan cuisines that would numbed your lips. At one time, I brave myself to take a cab to visit Tianmu Park to say hello to Chairman Mao enormous waving statue and went to the city’s own version of People’s Square to be greeted in awe by locals doing wushu tai chi or ballroom dancing and just unwind with friends while sipping their morning tea in the courtyards. I enjoyed this city.

Last Monday afternoon, SW of China was jolted by 7.8 magnitude earthquake with epicenter in Wenchuan, a mountainous county of Sichuan. Many were reported died and more than thousands still missing. The tube camera’s aerial shot of the affected areas was incomparable to apocalyptic scene you could only imagine happened on film. Considering its proximity to the quake center, approximately 100kms, Chengdu was lucky enough to have survived the tragedy. The city with a population of 11 million only suffered less compared to its neighboring northeast counties. Pan, a friend I met here in Shanghai replied in my text saying all his family in Chengdu were fine and I was glad to hear that.

The strong quake was felt even in far away Mainland cities like Beijing and Shanghai and also rigged Indochina countries. Here, in Shanghai, it swayed the tall buildings in Pudong and Wuxi causing workers to evacuate their office and to stay outdoors for a while.

It’s a time of grieving but the Chinese government was very instant to response for relief and rescue operations with Premier Wen Jiabao on the scene taking charge and inspiring both the survivors and rescuers. I admired the Premier when he spoke impromptu to the people. He delivered very powerful yet hopeful and words. Such quotes you only find on books nowadays.

Others will claim these as mere state media propaganda but I see sheer sincerity on the leader’s face.

Seeing many homes in ruins and people lives loss saddened me. But in this time of event you’d likewise see ordinary men and women becoming heroes doing ordinary things helping the needy and in unity with other men and women aim to save lives in their own little way.

It’s almost a week now but the repercussion crisis showcased to the world how unity and compassion is always possible with the Chinese people and this might disappoint some occidental critics. With only three months left before Summer Games begins in Beijing, this tragedy and its aftermath will indeed define more of China to the rest of the world.

My prayers go to all the May 12 earthquake victims and to Sichuan province. This page is dedicated to you.

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