About the Sichuan earthquake

Last night a friend thanked Jessica, “I want to represent the Chinese people and the Chinese government to thank the American government and the American people for the assistance with the earthquake.”

Here in Tianjin we’re far from the damaged areas. Some people felt the earthquake, but most didn’t. Things are normal, except that everyone is talking about the earthquake and people are upset. Jessica’s teacher cried in class yesterday. Mainlanders at a national level have a really strong emotional sense of shared identity (being ‘Chinese’ and part of ‘China’ is very very important to a lot of people). That means when a disaster of this size happens, people hundreds of miles away with no relatives in the affected areas are still pretty emotionally involved. They feel this as something that happened to ‘China,’ and so they feel that they personally have a big stake in it. All our teachers and friends are talking about it. It’s all over the news of course, so I’ll just give these two links:

  • a large collection of photos from the earthquake. [UPDATE: this site has received so much traffic that their servers are having trouble. If you can’t get through, try hitting refresh a couple times – works for me anyway. Over 300 pictures.]
  • “This is not a natural disaster – this is done by humans.”
    People’s grief is already turning into rage, much of which is directed at the usual suspects: corrupt local officials who skim money out of public works like schools, which results in many ‘tofu’ buildings that aren’t built anywhere near to code and, in this case, pancake in the earthquake.
  • News video of a kids getting rescued from the rubble. As he’s carried away half-conscious on a stretcher, one student asks for a Coke (at the 2m 15 sec mark).

P.S. – There’s a new thing in the right sidebar: “InterWǎng Debris” (“net” in Chinese is 网). It’s where we’ll put the most interesting or funny China-related links that we stumble across and think are worth sharing. They’ll change quickly, since new stuff comes through my e-mail and Bloglines everyday.

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