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Quake and tsunami

During this quiet Christmas in Brabant (a southern province of the Netherlands), I can hardly imagine what disaster awaited me had I gone to southeast Asia as previously planned.

As I watched the BBC news live broadcast from my Mac computer, I felt the same addiction to live news returning. I had first felt the need to watch the news after being in Manhattan on 11th September 2001. I had felt confused yet guilty for being alive. Yes, I "almost" went to the top of the World Trade Centre for a conference. And now, I "almost" went to South East Asia for my winter break.

Here was a natural disaster affecting an area of the world caught off-guard. Boxing day early morning dive. Boat outing. Jog on the beach. Families on holiday. Honeymooners. Sunday. 26th December 2004.

Like in September 2001, the way I remembered it, I watched the death toll rise. 7000. 8000. 9000. And now, 23,000. More than twenty-three thousand killed, not to mention the unknown figures yet released from the closed country of Myanmar formerly known as Burma.

I have been to Phi Phi Island twice and Phuket three times. To see the destruction of paradise breaks my heart. I have been to Penang, Malaysia where 40 people have been killed. I have heard from my scuba diving instructor about the 200 meter clear blue waters of the Maldives. It's a place I've longed to visit. How will the people ever trust the sea again?

My father who has experienced earthquakes tells me that it's like living hell. When the earth moves, you feel very vulnerable.

When I hear the word "tsunami," I instantly visualise that famous print of Hokusai --- the tidal wave. I have yet to see online video clips capturing such a wave. Apparently the water recedes just before the tidal wave gathers momentum and floods the land.

The tragedy of 11th September 2001 occurred on a beautiful, sunny morning when disaster was the last thing on people's minds. Ironically, the earthquake in Sumatra causing the tidal waves in South and South East Asia also rumbled without warning. One was man-made, causing a death toll of 3,000. The other was mother nature acting under the forces of the full moon, spring tide, .... showing her might, many times more than a pre-meditated murder mission. One should never underestimate nature. And one should never try to play God.

Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa by Hokusai part of 36 Views of Fuji

27 December 2004 Monday

Related links:
September 11th
BBC News
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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