Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Yesterday the quake hit Sichuan, a couple of provinces to our west but it was so powerful that we felt it here too. But thankfully nothing was damaged. My biggest fear of course would be the destruction of the Three Gorges Dam... that would just mean we'd all be trying to swim for safety...
For the latest news we have to rely on the Internet and the only English language TV channel available here, CCTV 9. The last news broadcast I heard at 7:00 put the number of dead at 9200 and rising. Unfortunately, thunderstorms are impeding the rescue work.

Last night when the number was still pegged at 107, a university representative was walking around in our dorm talking to students.

Students: How many people died?
Representative: I don't know, do you?
S: You don't know?? CCTV 9 said 107...
R: oh ok. Did you contact any of your friends in other provinces?
S: No, did you?
R: No.
S: Why? Don't you have any friends?
R: ...yes I do.
S: So what are you doing here?
R: Just making sure you are okay... The university is maybe going to take some protective measures.
S: Like what..??
R: Maybe give some advice....?

I really don't want to debate on the way distribution of information is handled here and I do think there is quite a bit of the quake being shown on TV mixed with all the reassuring images of troop mobilization and emergency rescue work. But next time they send someone to talk to us, they better send someone who knows what he's talking about.

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