It’s been a week since the 8.0 richter scale earthquake took place in Sichuan. 

I hadn’t watched TV for a very long time but during the last 7 days, I’ve been watching it all the time. It’s extremely sad to see people losing their loved ones. It’s always the ones who survived being in suffer, not the ones who died. It makes you burst into tears when you know that those you see weeping on the TV have lost literally everyone in the family. Many parents have lost their only child. Many kids have lost all their family members and are left orphans. And seeing these scenes, one can’t help wondering why such thing would happen. Why?

Some people said that it’s punishment from God/heaven/etc (depends on what you believe in). I’ve read different comments on youtube saying that it’s a result of the wrong doings of the PRC government. I’ve read local critic writing that this is a punishment to all the injustice of the Chinese government. Yet, I don’t believe so. God is righteous. (At least my God is.) He doesn’t punish the innocent for the sin of another person – except when Jesus took all our sins into his own accounts and God punished Him instead of us on Calvary. Surely the PRC government has done a lot of bad things, just like any government on earth does, God wouldn’t punish the people who didn’t choose to be born under the rule of the government (and it’s God’s will for those people to be born there). 

If it’s not a punishment, then why?

To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can give a concrete answer now. Just remember God is good all the time. It’s hard to believe that the earthquake took place for a good reason. But years later, we maybe able to tell. Just as many of us couldn’t understand why there was 64 incident but looking back now, we may see that it helped to pave the way for opening China. It’s not entirely open yet, far from it, but it’s opening now slowly and step by step. (Don’t mistake me. I’m definitely pro-DB/CP. Never ever voted for DAB.) If the students succeeded back in 1989, I wonder if China could have grown/opened that much. Look at where those student leaders are now. Few of them are still interested in politics. I’m not blaming them for not being persistent. It’s their lives and they have every right to choose their way. What I’m saying is, they might be really concerned about politics back then and they really wanted to correct all the wrong doings of the government but did they really know what to do next if they succeeded and the government overthrown? I doubt that. But since the incident was so painful that none of us would forget, it enlightened many people to think and plan how to help open up China. It changed the course of life of many people. 

Back to earthquake, it maybe a way to prevent an even bigger disaster; maybe a way to change Chinese policy; maybe a way to alert people of the “defects" in infrastructure; maybe a way to remind people of their conscience and pull their mind back from just focusing on money… etc. We don’t know. But just remember, in the end, it is good. 

Reflect on ourselves: did we have the same feeling when we saw Myanmarese  suffering after the cyclone? did we have the same emotion when Japanese suffered after the Kobe earthquake? Did we have the same sentiments when we saw what’s going on in Iraq or Afghanistan? Did we have the same compassion for those starving to death in the third world?

Then ask: when we say it’s a global village, when we say there is no frontiers among races, do our actions and feelings really reflect what we talk?

What can we do before disasters hit instead of making donations after it takes place? Many natural “disasters" are related to human activities. There’re more cyclones now than before because of green house effect. We talk about environmental protection but what have we done so far? When was the last time you buy clothes because you really needed them instead of just trying to get something new and trendy? Do you bring a shopping bag with you all the time and refuse to take plastic bags? Do you bring a bottle of water from home instead of buying a (plastic) bottle of water from 7-11/Circle K? Do you switch off the lights when you don’t use them? Do you switch on the fan instead of the air conditioner in the summer?

We’re so generous in donating money for emergency relief. It’s not a bad thing at all. But when was the last time you notice someone in need of help on the street? Maybe just a tourist trying to find his/her place; Maybe a kid running around and almost knock down another person; Maybe someone sneezing needs a piece of tissue… 

Compassion is not what we feel inside but the actions we take in response to what happens to the others.