#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]


#107 earthquake

Lately the forces of nature is wreaking havoc beyond measure, man’s control and words to describe.

Can one predict or foresee this earthquake coming? According to a source, this was predicted 5 years ago…

“Sichuan is virtually certain to experience an earthquake measuring above 7 in the next few years,” Chen Xuezhong, a senior researcher with the geophysics institute of State Seismological Bureau (SSB), wrote in a paper published in December 2002, in the periodical Recent Developments in World Seismology. (ChinaDaily)

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this quake was the result of “motion on a northeastern striking reverse fault on the northwestern margin on the Sichuan Basin…its depth 29 kilometres below the surface.”

The earthquake of 7.8 or 7.9 richter scale in Wenchuan on May 12th, according to seismologists was as huge and disasterous as the Tangshan quake in 1976 that claimed tens or hundred of thousands lives —


The tremors were felt as far north to Beijing; east to Hongkong and Taiwan; south to Bangkok (Thailand) and west to Tibet.

To govern a huge country like China is not easy — lately the governing leaders were confronted with crisis upon crisis. I was grateful to hear their Premier Wen Jiabao went to the nearest site, Dujiangyan almost immediately, as Wenchuan closest to the epicenter of quake was inaccessible.

It was sad to receive news that many children in schools were buried under the rubbles. It was most difficult for bereaved parents to want to enter the site to scramble and look for their child and these might create pandemonium. How does one read news at Herald Tribune when soldiers cordoned off bereaved parents? If one had worked in relief disasterous areas, one understood and deemed best to leave the rescue to experts. Sometimes, it was frustrating and depressing to stand by and watch but…


In order to get to Wenchuan, rescuers and soldiers had to go on foot, even this was just as precarious and dangerous due to aftershock tremors, falling rubbles, heavy rain falls, mudslides and unimaginable but rescue a must.

In contrast to cyclone nargis in the Irrawaddy delta, Burma (Myanmar), rescue work was set in place at the earthquake in China almost immediately.

According to a friend, Wenchuan is a beautiful place and Wolong is the reserve country for pandas, I hope the magnitude of disaster was not that of the Tangshan quake.