Saturday May 24, 2008

And the Earthquake news only gets worse

I went down to breakfast this morning on my last day in Beijing before flying home this afternoon. When I sat down to read the paper, the following table leapt right off the page.

55,740 killed24,960 missing
292,481 injured11.36m evacuated
$3.55b received in donations

The really distressing thing on top of the number of people killed is that nearly two weeks after the quake, the chances of those still missing cannot be good.

On page 4 of The China Daily brought me to tears.

I won't reproduce the stories here, simply the titles and links.

Maybe it was because I have school age children. Maybe it's because my father is a teacher. These stories are of incredible bravery that ended up saving children but the teachers losing their life.

These teachers were heroes in the highest hounour of the word and I'm glad these stories are being told.

And some poems sent in also published on that page are equally touching.

Monday May 19, 2008

2:28pm today in Beijing

I have just had a unique experience.

At 2:28pm today outside the Beijing Office I am currently in, the city stopped. It was exactly one week since the earthquake.

The streets were filled with people simply standing respectfully.

For three minutes all that could be heard were car horns and sirens, and (I am told later on) an air raid siren also was sounded.

I had known from the paper this morning this was going to happen, but nothing prepared me for just how touching this was. I had shivers running up and down my spine and in remembrance I could feel myself tearing up.

For that three minutes China stopped to pay respect to those lost. You could feel the solemnity.

Tuesday May 13, 2008

China Earthquake: Oh my god!

I'm supposed to be putting the finishin touches on another customer presentation this morning (in the light of one I gave yesterday). I simply had to stop doing that and get my thoughts down as I was finding it hard to focus.

Yesterday I made a comment on a colleague's blog about the earthquake, as I am also travelling in the region. I noted that I was giving a presentation to a customer at the time and actually didn't notice. I had it pointed out to me that we had had a tremor or a 'quake after I finished.

I got back to one of the offices in Beijing that afternoon and had an Australian colleague in a chat session point me at an article in an Australian newspaper about the incident mentioning a loss of life of about a hundred. This in itself was incredibly sobering, as any such loss of life is tragic.

This morning I woke up and flipped on BBC World and was utterly gobsmacked to hear 10,000 dead!

I find myself at a loss to describe my feelings. On one hand I am incredibly grateful for my own safety, but 10,000 people?

Oh my god!

This is beyond tragedy.

The loss of human life on this scale is beyond comprehension.

The China Daily lists the numbers lost in various areas. One in particluar leaps out at me. In comparison to some of the other areas the numbers are small but how can the following not tug on your heart?

Dujiangyan: Over 50 dead in a middle school. Many more are buried beneath rubble.

I almost dread going into the office today as there are certain to be people who either know that they have lost family and friends, or perhaps worse, don't know whether or not they have. My heart goes out to all of these wonderful people who have made me feel so welcome here.

I wish I knew what more to say.

Update#1

I just called my manager in Sydney to let him know that I was fine. He told me that the Australian news services are reporting on 900 kids in a collapsed school.

I am fearful that the news is only going to get worse!

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Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him

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