Thoughts on a Sichuan Trip - Prelude
|Alice Poon||Jun 13, 2008|
Here is my translation of his recounting post:-
“I’ve come back to Hong Kong from a trip to the disaster areas like Dujiangyan and Mianzhu. Throughout our trip we met some very special people. They have enriched our trip and our vision.
I have to make a note of the people we met on our trip, because their liberal outlook on life, has made our trip much more fruitful:-
A cab-driver who drove us from the airport to the motel: He gave us a brief account of what happened in Chengdu after the earthquake struck. (Strictly speaking, Chengdu has not been subjected to any disaster.) He said one thing that made a deep impression on us: ‘Look at the twenty- to thirty-year old buildings – their structures have remained intact. Yet it is those schools that were built in recent years that ….’
Cab-driver Mr. Li who drove us from the motel to Dujiangyan: He volunteered to use his cab to transport those wounded in the disaster. His heart is filled with passion and bravery. The young and adult people who have hearts make us feel that China has hope.
Someone who looked like the outlaw monk Lu Zhishen (魯智森) in Shui Hu Zhuan (水滸傳) and whom we met several times on our trip: He was always carrying a backpack and traveling alone to the disaster areas to find out what had happened. Whether it was in Qing Shengshan or Han Wang town, we happened to run into him a few times. He has a merciful and noble heart and was determined to experience the aftermath first-hand.
A brother from the Dujiangyan Christian Church: He opened up the entrance door of the church building which had already been closed down as a dangerous building, so that we could have a chance to see for ourselves the damaged structure. He also shared with us some of the tragic stories.
Teacher So Kwun Wong from Medical Care: He is one of the volunteers from Hong Kong-based organizations and was gracious enough to let two total strangers join his expedition.
The Yeung sister from the Chengdu Christian Church: She volunteered to give us a ride in her car covering three to four hundred kilometers, traveling with us to one disaster area for a visit. She also accompanied us to various other disaster sites without one word of complaint or the slightest fear.
These six strangers, because of their open attitude, have nourished the lives and travels of the two of us. Without using a Christian jargon, this trip is one that has been accomplished above target, exceeding all expectations. If we apply Christian jargon to the trip, then we would say that it has been a blessing, because God deployed his angels for us.
Before I talk about my thoughts, I would like to make a few remarks as the foreword:-
(1) Although Chengdu has not been affected by the disaster, its tourism business has taken a beating due to the earthquake. Even in the main streets of cities like Dujiangyan and Mianzhu, people were doing their best to return commercial activities to normal. Newspapers were reporting several days in a row on efforts made by the authorities to revive tourism business. Therefore, any saying about ‘obstructing rescue efforts’ is groundless. The locals would welcome tourists with open arms. Just imagine, even over the Tuen Ng Festival weekend, the business turnover of restaurants were only about 70 percent of normal times.
(2) After the Sichuan earthquake, China’s era of volunteer service has officially gone on stage. When people say that China is only capable of producing poisonous merchandise, what we can see after the disaster is that many Chinese who have ‘hearts’ have shown up to offer their service. It is worth observing how NGO’s in China will develop going forward.
(3) Guangliang’s (光良) song ‘Fairy Tale’ (童話) has become a theme song for the Sichuan earthquake. There is a story behind this.”