#120 a teen-survivor’s courage

I want to record this one of many human stories…the Sichuan earthquake has seen survivors young and old saved from rubbles from several to hundreds of hours after the quake struck; in one case, water fed with love by one’s spouse.

Xue Xiao, the 17-year-old, was saved after he survived 80 hours in the rubble — his parents were crushed emotionally. His right arm was crushed and amputated yet he hopes to fulfill his dream one day…

…when Xue called out to his rescuers Zhang and He: “Uncle, I want to have a cola, I want an iced one”, he was speaking the language of the new generation, a generation that has grown up on junk food and aerated drinks.

The Cola Boy’s passion for life is exemplary. The words he used to console his mother leave a lump in the  (blogger’s) throat. “Mother, don’t be sad. I knew I would lose my right hand if I were saved.” If this is not the triumph of the human spirit, what is? Xue knows that thanking Zhang and He for saving him is tantamount to belittling their effort. That’s why he told his mother when she asked him to thank his saviors: “No need to say thanks between friends.” Here is a 17-year-old showing the maturity of a wise man. And the fighter in him spoke when he said: “And I will learn to use my left hand to continue with life. I love math. I want to be a scientist.” (quoted from columnist Op Rana in ChinaDaily)

I hope the leaders in the provinces and counties take care of those who they are called to govern and not corrupt the system and callously interpret policies set by the Central Committee. I hope these leaders will not go out of their way to prove they are capable at their jobs at the expense of the poor and helpless.

The world criticise the President and Premier and leaders of a country but the truth is those down the line are the ones who created many ills in a country.

I wish those leaders in the West will not make callous and uncalled for remarks and allegations listening to one side of biased persons or judging a situation through their tinted glasses!

I can understand if parents protest against those government civil leaders…they reap that they sow…these leaders will be judged accordingly.

I hope the forthcoming days will find more graciousness on the lips of leaders around the world.

#119 one prays for China

I’m praying that my Lord Jesus Christ will give the Chinese the courage to face tomorrow and at some unkind and callous words of discouragements to the victims and people of China. 

I pray for all aftershocks to cease and allow those in authority to concentrate on reconstruction and serving her people.

I pray for salvation and healing to come upon the land of China. That China will be the favored country tomorrow…that God will bless China bountifully.

I pray that those whose children died in the quake will allow the dead to rest in peace, though difficult that may be — to forgive those leaders in the counties and to give those callous leaders a second chance to prove themselves to bring good to those under their care.

During my time working on oral history in understanding Christian believers in China in late 1970s, one lesson that stood out — those suffered forgave those who persecuted them. They saw those who persecuted them were forced to under the circumstances. They saw another unseen force at work quoting from the Christian Bible when Paul wrote in the New Testament in the Letter to the Ephesians Chapter 6:12…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…

Furthermore God in Christ has enabled many miracles and wonderful testimonies that shone brightly in those days of darkness.

The quake is a double-edged sword — this either draws the best out of humans or the worst in humans.

“Weeping may tarry in the night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)



多难兴邦 :

the 4-character Chinese phrase is an apt encouragement given to the students by Premier of China after the 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan that took many lives and left 5 million or more homeless.

The Chinese language has that terse quality in describing the devastation as nation’s hardships. I doubt if the English language is able or do justice to translate these 4 characters.

Can this be translated as — ‘a nation’s triumph over numerous hardships’ or ‘a nation triumphs over many hardships and misfortunes’? Doubt either convey the depth, breadth and height of the aftermath.

According to BBC’s James Reynolds, the scene of the devastation is beyond description and footages will never be able to convey…only when one is there that one can understand. I believe my stomach is not be strong enough to take such if I was there.

The Chinese indeed are the resilient people — any peoples of the world who suffered such devastations of this magnitude are… 

Update (3rd June): The Chinese phrase translated by a China Chinese…

During his visit to Sichuan’s Beichuan Middle School, where the quake claimed many lives, Wen Jiabao wrote on the blackboard for the students “Distresses may help resurrect a nation” (duo nan xing bang). This was a theme repeatedly discussed in China’s ancient political writings, the first dating back to Zuo Zhuan, a book of commentary on the events in the Spring and Autumn periods (770-476 BC). [quoted from columnist You Nuo on 2nd June ChinaDaily]


#117 when earth shook

He cried when the earth shook

schools, hospitals and homes turn to rubble

burying the living

roads inaccessible.

In helplessness,

man dropped his differences and ego

to help the devastated.

Courage found in victims to start afresh…

He cried when his wife left him

the innocent 15-month-old son

a stamp of their short-gun marriage

causing a deeper earthquake

in life.

#116 rain

The sounds of rain…soothing…

‘Tis music shutting out noise

made by thoughtless young

in deep of night

consoling the awoken light sleeper.

No home to return?

Has loneliness drown you to love

hearing your voices?

Has loudness become your companion

in still of night?

#115 public library users

Have you visited a public library where you find bags on seats and not a human being?!

Are these seats reserved? Are users allowed to reserve seats in public libraries?

I found out from the librarian — at the Central Library, officers were not allowed to remove the bags; at the Jurong public library, the officers were allowed to remove with a note and announcement aired for the public not to leave belongings unattended. There were announcements made that public library do not take responsibilities for any loss of personal belongings. Rightly so. If an individual wished to leave his/her belongings unattended, he/she deserved that.

In public places, like on trains, the public is constantly warned not to leave bags around or articles lest these are suspicious ‘you-know-what’…why are public libraries allowed?

At both these places — central public library and Jurong public library — I found university students leaving their files (with name of university on writing pad) and bags on the seats.

What manner of young do we have in Singapore? Are these the educated ones? Where is the social etiquette? Is this not a reflection of poor family education? Is this their right to a seat in an air-conditioned public places especially in a public library? Or, pardon me, behaviors some foreign students??? I suspect it’s the Singaporean young!

I find more using the library when the weather gets hot and during the school holidays.

You find all kinds of people — some well-dressed but dragged their feet in their slippers or slip-ons.

There is little self-awareness to noise…flipping of newspapers, walking and stomping feet of the little ones and, talking and laughing loudly, and chatting or answering the mobile!

There is clout about human rights…is this not infringing on rights of one in public places to a seat such as a public library — for browsing or reading?

I’ve enjoyed going to public libraries from a tender young age. I hope the new generation will not make life difficult for librarians or inconvenienced themselves lest should there be bomb scare or eventual bombed out places!!!

#114 a 3-day national mourning

image from xinhua

Wenchuan earthquake claimed 40,000 to date… The air was filled with ammonia and lime powder to prevent epidemic resulting from the decayed under the inaccessible rubbles.

On 19th May at 2.28pm, China called for a national 3 minutes silence with sounds of air-raids, honks of cars and ships to observe those who died at the 8.0 richter scale earthquake in Sichuan; and a 3-day national mourning for the victims — all entertainment events canceled and the Torch Relay delayed and the television personnels to wear black.

The photos above showed kindergarten and school students taking the 3-min silence as many schools around Wenchuan and those closest to the epicenter of the quake collapsed or buried under the rubbles. Many students died — a new generation disappeared under the China’s one-child policy.



Most interesting! I received this sms on the recent happenings in China — when adding the single numerics, they all add up to 08.

  • On Jan 25, the snowstorm preventing many from returning home for family reunion at the Spring festival celebration — mother nature from the sky (天灾):   1+2+5= 8
  • Mar 14, human rights groups gathered in protest about Tibet during the Olympic Torch Relay — man (人huo):   3+1+4 = 8
  • May 12, the 7.9 richter scale earthquake in Sichuan — mother nature under the earth (地 zhen):    5+1+2 = 8

Coincidence? hahahaha…

The Olympic Games will be held in Beijing on August 8th, 2008:  080808!

#112 earthquake 4

A Time’s reporter wondering why the earthquake was not predicted (even when she knew earthquake was not predictable) when it first struck.

Alerting a tremor is different from predicting a tremor.

#111 earthquake 3

I continue to follow the earthquake at Sichuan with great heaviness. Like BBC’s James Reynolds shared — one cannot fully understand the scale of disaster or even describe fully that seen on sight.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jamesreynolds/ — on 16th & 18th May posts.

Yesterday at 2.28pm — that was when the 7.9 richter scale earthquake struck on 12th May, China observed 3 minutes of silence with sounds of air-raid and car and ship honked in respect of those who died; its national flag flown half-mast for 3 days of mourning. It was moving to watch on Phoenix channel (SCV) the nation of billions stood together in paying their last respect, many choked with tears and displayed their grief.

Though tens of thousands died, yet there was glimmer of hope and joy when survivors were found alive after being buried in the rubbles a hundred or more hours passed.

It’s amazing at the number of pictures and video clips available on websites…yet…