et in terra pax hominibus, bonae voluntatis

the whole week flew by and i thought: friday, i shall finish the week and catch my sanity.  so i dragged self up early in the morning to cram mahler 1 for the class i work for. yawning, i had my eyes barely open, toothbrush stuck in my mouth, clicking through the daily emails, spams, scheduling and special online doctoral degree offers (somehow they have stopped sending me penis adverts. i wonder what caused that).  and as a proper farcebook sucker (i cant help it. i do like looking at it multiple times in a day, just to see how everyone is... or just to snoop, an honest answer), i started to eavesdrop on my friends...

then a surprise: magnitute 8.9 (max 9.1) earthquake in japan.

the farcebook was scattered with comments from friends, hoping and looking for footages or news from tokyo (where they are staying for next couple days) or yokohama (the concert venue they were on way to).  apparently the quake struck while the coach was on the suspension bridge. beside video footages of sendai (the initial quake location) and updates on fukushima nuclear plants (which seems to be in an unstable condition), there were no particular news from either places.  i thought: well, that's promising, since it meant nothing major have happened in tokyo or yokohama.  and from what have read up till now, it was 6 miles under the sea, by town of sendai, in northern end.  tsunami engulfed the coasts. another one broke in niigata.  fukushima nuclear reactors are in danger of leaking.  and fukushima is at least 300km away from tokyo and it will take time for the reactors to start leak, meaning most likely it wont happen.

it is such a weird feeling.

i remember vividly when the twin towers went ablaze in that one fall day of september. already nine years ago. but the weird atmosphere still lingers upon remembrance, like the taste of aspartame.  so many people were running around at the faculty. the air of uncertainty and tragedy soaked the quiet campus.  nyc is so close. and there are so many connections from 'here' to 'there,' as nyc is one of the musical focii of north america, many profs and students knew people closely in nyc.  despair. 

this is much larger disaster than 11/9. and it was created without any human intervention- as cliche as it may sound, it was nature who took over.  earth plate moves so slow we cant ever sense. but with such a power and pressure, once it collided, not only it changed the physical sense of the world, but of 'living' world as well. and bizarre enough, my love is currently in japan and that is the only reason how this news became personal, i suppose.  

in contrast, the christmas tsunami of 2004, which was a much larger event, with casualties over 230,000. i cant even picture that many people in my head.  but because it was far, it came and went; i put my hands together for the souls lost and lives displaced, however, it wasnt personal.  as many wished and felt for the unlucky ones, like me, we all quickly forgot unless we were personally involved. passive observation.  sadly, similar experience with haiti disaster.  im not trying to undermine the importance of this particular quake, but with numbers being counted in hundreds, rather than thousands, it is a weird feeling to acknowledge to self that this event just became such a personal thing.

with a bizarre logic of: being strike by earthquake is probably even more rare than being hit by the bird crap, i attempted communication with minnow. and text came, swiftly.  everything is alright. no one was hurt. bus was on suspension bridge on way to yokohama. concert cancelled for next two days (i assume now third one would be canned as well, as niigata was hit over later).  there's enough time for japan to get the nation together. they have hotel and insurances. they are essentially british government employees. united kingdom, being one of the wealthiest nations, would take care of its citizens, especially when it is a very tiny sliver of its population (for instance, if uk itself was hit by the quake, the resource will be distributed much thinner, as there are simply more people for the set budget).  they are staying in tokyo dome, one of signature buildings of tokyo.  of course the engineering behind tokyo dome would have taken earthquake as a variable.  

if minnow was travelling alone and belonged to the nation of lybia, i wouldve been worried.

through the gridlock, these orch musicians, i guess at least some of them (as minnow did) got out of the bus, walked back to the hotel.  being proper musician, minnow even grabbed some beer from 7/11. awesome. haha.  then we were lucky to have the time and the net connection to catch up, as the rabbits wee and tee had the chance to talk for a bit.  and finally i sent minnow off to sleep and i went on with my day.  

and now passively following the news, i think of the regrets, losses and heartaches.  somehow, it's making me think of my little brother. he was suddenly gone one day. the night before, he was warm and living. in the afternoon, just a simple one line news: your brother is dead.

though the numbers of casualties could be classified as 'small,' the actual amount of remorse and regret, sorrow and lamentation would be impossible to calculate.  i think about how things have changed in my life in a year- it would be a full year on 26 april this year since i lost my wee bro.  and every day, i grow one day further from him.  he lives in many different forms in lives of me, my family and his friends. and the people that i wont even know about.  and that's just one life.

minnow is well, which is great. i think it is almost funny that so much of his optimism has rubbed off onto me in past two years.  i am not so sure if i wouldve taken such a leisurely stance when i first heard about the quake two years ago.  with minnow, i grow a bit more open and honest, bit by bit, as he is willing and selfless towards me.  it was easy to look at the news and calmly think: he's alright. and he is.

then i think of this tsunami of tears that will come. when aftershocks are gone, the echoes will continue. in people's lives. unsaid words. unspoken things.  forgotten memos and simply, loss.  as the world will soon forget about it and move to the next crisis. lost thoughts, midair, inbetween life and 'lived.'

with the news, the tsunami arrived in my mind.  fortunately, minnow is safe and there are not much practical worry for japan.  yes, we should help, but they are well-prepared and there is wealth and support that will help clear the situations.  then like i started to grieve for myself for loss of gabe weeks after the funeral and burial, the real tearing and tsunami will take place.  in places where no one else can go, but each individuals alone.  

i wish i could do something, send a message that may matter to someone.

but i do realize there is no place for it at the moment.  first logistics. to take care of people. to organize. to pay, to deliver, to recover.  the thoughts will not necessarily have places for them yet.  or ever.  and so here i am, scribbling on electronic wall, grieving for the losses that has not come yet.  et in terra pax hominibus, bonae voluntatis.  


1 comment:

  1. i just hope we can somehow pull together and avoid another 'lord of the flies' situation. it is so easy to be 'me me me me.' it is quite disappointing to see how people really are without the veil of 'civility' once the pressure rises in a situation.

    of course, i am not there and it's always harder to estimate. but while one is there, it is critical, as a citizen, to look beyond self. as it will need all people involved to pull together. it is easy to be critical, yet i cant help but to hope of real 'civility' to return. to transcend above the simplistic need of self.