#274 water everywhere

I grew up in the 1960s when floods were common place. For the past 35 years or so, there was no flood and I have complimented our first echelon of leaders for solving this longstanding and menacing flood problem to my foreign or overseas friends whenever they sprout negative remarks.

Today, and in particular this year 2010, water-level seems to have risen whenever there was heavier rain fall! Why? If the water-level is rising, what precautions are the respective authorities taking? Is this the result of blocked canals? Dare I point the finger — a result of outsourcing jobs where companies run by those who grew up in safe and secure nation-state that they ignore such things as clearing debri or blockages in canals? (Mind you there are more mosquitoes flitting around even on high-floors and rats seen running freely at night in recent years. Should one complain, this falls on deaf ear until that such affects one in authority personally!)

This news about handcuffing a photo-reporter is… Did the policeman read the man’s rights before handcuffing him? If he did not, then this borders abusing of power and infringing on the rights of the public.

If the defense that the photographer did not heed the policeman’s warning, surely the man-in-uniform should know how to outwit the man without making a fool of his uniform!

Mother-nature has a way of revealing some truths!

#269 volcanic ash disrupt air traffic

The ash spewed from a volcanic eruption, which began as early as April 8th, from the southwestern part of the Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull glacier has disrupted air traffic according to news received yesterday.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines

“The meteorological situation is such that the volcanic ash is progressing very slowly eastwards but there is not a lot of wind… so it is very slow and very dense,” he (Mr Flynn) told the Reuters news agency

The move silenced Heathrow airport, the world’s second busiest, and stranded tens of thousands of passengers around the world.

The Republic of Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland all later shut down their airspace entirely, while there was also major disruption in France, Germany, Poland and Spain. (quoted from BBC)

According to a resident who had planned to travel from Oslo to London told the BBC, he had to stay home and he could actually smell sulfur in the air.

#264 possible quake predicted 2 years ago

No one expected an earthquake to break out in Haiti even though she was warned 2 years ago by scientists a quake was possible. No one believed this could happen as there was no quake for the last 200 years in its natural history. No one was prepared for this tumultuous magnitude.

The 7.1 magnitude Richter scale earthquake literally wiped away the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince — its infrastructures and all government buildings; presidential palace, justice palace and the churches and cathedrals and the 5-star hotels…many, many others. These buildings were supposed to withstand the quake but… Naturally the loss of human lives outweighs all — the nationals (an estimate of 150,000 or more dead in a city of 3-4 million people without mentioning those homeless and missing), foreigners and peacekeepers.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the West, if not in the world. This is the result of greed and corruption of governing leaders who thought of themselves rather than the people. Is this one ugly face of democracy?!

The aerial view of the island is made up of Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the Dominican Republic, it’s green but on the Haiti side, it’s brown, little vegetation. Were the people in Haiti so poor that they exhausted that they could find in order to survive? Interestingly, the quake whose epicenter struck close to the Haitian capital did not affect the Dominican Republic.

However the Haitians are resilient. One witnesses those surviving are grateful they are alive.

Children as young as a few years old were rescued from the rubble after several days without nourishment or liquid; a few elderly in 70s and 80s; and the one in his 20s after 11 days! One cannot underestimate the will and  inner strength of man…

Looting was evident in all places of tragedy when aid was slow in coming after several days fled by.

Though the promised aid was forthcoming but food and water was slow…so very, very, very slow in reaching the people in need…naturally a hungry man is an angry man.

How do you survive and keep sane and good when your loved ones are missing or dead? Dead bodies strewed everywhere. The stench in the air. People are in state of shock. Rubbles strewed all around. Buildings collapsed. No home to return to. Literally nothing!

My impression of Haiti was Haitians practised voodoo which is one black magic or dark forces which even seeped into the churches – the Catholic cathedral and the Episcopalian cathedral! Can this quake wipe out this voodoo practice?!

Can Haiti start from ground zero? I know the people have the ability but… Will the necessary aid and billions of funds raised get to the people there?  (I hope NOT those American contractors assigned to build Haiti though!) Are there good and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves for nation-building?

On Russia Today Spotlight tv program, I heard an interview where this young Haitian student working on his postgraduate in Russia is very articulate in his understanding of his own country and insight into the devastation.

Those Haitians studying overseas will not be able to receive funds from home any more…

I pray for God to raise good, upright and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice for the new breed of Haitians.

#172 desert farming

I found this videoclip at International Herald Tribune on the risks of desert farming.

Israel is a country that makes the most of every drop of water there is to produce food…Naturally the cost of producing food this way is costly and there is no way that man can control the weather. Will man die of starvation when there is massive drought?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid959009704?bclid=1026280058&bctid=1721772082.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid959009704?bclid=1026280058&bctid=1721772082. (dated 10 August 2008 IHT)

Lest not able to see the videoclip, please enter ‘the health and science’ category on the right of the videoclip page.

#158

Living in these days of uncertainties and a sense of hopelessness pervades —

senseless killings where suicide bombers and terrorists made war on the innocents and civilians by planting bombs around the most crowded and unexpected areas;

mother nature wreaks havoc — global warming; earthquakes, droughts…

perplexing economic crises — staple food crises, fuel hikes, subprime and credit crunch, etc;

and political hagglings around the world…

— as a Christian, the words written in the Book of Revelation are true source of comfort. Those warnings ring true…and reassuring me good triumphs over evil, hope as we face difficult times and gives guidance when my faith is wavering.

#143 a world without waste

Japan is the cleannest country in the world. I’m impressed by the orderliness and environmental cleanliness. 

Today the Japanese champion to living a world without waste…a community living on zero waste policy. They recycle and going-green conscious. Please the view and listen to the videotape and read the link below…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7502071.stm

Scotland, in 2005, adopted this zero waste policy.

Will countries in the world follow this good example?

#127

Will there be fewer obese kids around now that the food prices soared especially in the more affluent countries?

The only sad situation is the really poor suffer for want of basics.

It seems the world leaders were making concerted effort to eradicate poverty only to find food prices soar — the days for cheap food is gone — poverty remains. Indeed the poor will always be with us.

What can we offer to these poor to help them rise up? The really poor are too proud to reach out for handouts as dignity is the only left as a human.

One weapon to fight poverty is good governance — governing leaders who are concerned for the welfare of the people and to weed out corruption.

#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)

 

#118

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]

 

#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.