Feed on Posts or Comments 01 October 2023

Society newlight on 19 May 2009

One year on

It was about this time last year, when the news kept coming. The casualty number kept increasing, and there were still places not accessible to the rescuers, many of whom were ill-equipped soldiers and volunteers trying to get through the mountainous roads destroyed by landslide. The whole nation of China was in deep shock and mourning. It touched everyone. I remembered that when reading Tania Branigan’s report from Dujiangyan on the street, I struggled to contain my emotion. Then there was the great determination shown by the rescuers coming from all parts of the country and overseas to save as many lives as possible. And for us who were thousand miles away, all we could say was we must do something.

The Sichuan Earthquake Update‘s call for donation met with overwhelming response. People from all over the world approached us to give us support, send their donation, give their time, work as volunteers, donate their work for charity auction, and much more. Wendy Wu, CEO of Mother’s Bridge of Love, recently published the figures and plans for the distribution of the donation.

The news agenda have moved on. The earthquake may look remote and distant for most people who have matters closer to home to worry about. But in Sichuan, the reconstruction of the earthquake-hit area has only just begun. New schools are rising up, but the parents are still grieving their lost children. However, Out of ruins, people are rebuilding their life, and love has flourished.

I’ll keep the Sichuan Earthquake Update project going. Hopefully we will see more news about the rebuilding of homes and lives there.

Society newlight on 22 May 2008

A few drops of water

I’ve never been a person afraid of numbers. But I am now. From last Monday, 8000, 12000, 19000, 22000, and now 40000. My heart sank every time I heard the number had increased yet again. I tried to resist imagining what the number means as individual persons and families. I couldn’t. Watching TV news became an emotional ride every time. More than once, I burst into tears in public when I read the newspaper report.

Since last Wednesday, I’ve been helping to build the Sichuan Earthquake Update website. This is to update the public with latest information about the earthquake, its aftermath, and the rescue, relief and recovering process. It is not a news website; rather, it is focus on personal stories, direct experiences, and volunteers’ action and requests. A small team of volunteers are keeping contact with the front line, collecting news and stories, and translating messages from Chinese to English. The website is a joint efforts by charity Mother Bridge of Love (MBL), LinkChinese UK, and Chinese Young Professionals in Edinburgh. We also asked the public to donate money to MBL, who will use the fund to help children affected by the quake.

The website went alive on last Wednesday, quickly attracted about 400 daily visitors from the UK, but also from China, US, Singapore, Hong Kong and other places. In one week time, MBL’s online donation page has collected over 15,000 pounds. Reading the comments left by the donors is heart-warming. The sympathy and support shown by the public and fellow Chinese are tremendous.

I was reading this tale the other day, which has its origin in Buddhism literature. A mountain is on fire. A bird dives into a lake, then flies over the fire. The bird fluffs its feather to spread a few drops of water towards the fire. The God sees this and says to the bird, “Do you really think you can put out the fire with a few drops of water on your feather?” “No,” answers the bird, “but I once lived here. I must do something.”

Yes, we must do something.