A reflection on Wen Chuan Earthquake

A reflection on Wen Chuan Earthquake

Bear Liu's photo
Bear Liu
·May 12, 2022·

3 min read

wen chuan

Creator: JOHANNES EISELE / Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Today is the 12th of May. It has been 14 years since that incident happened.

Fourteen years ago, the Wen Chuan Earthquake took nearly 100 thousand lives and wiped out cities in just a few seconds. It was the biggest disaster I've experienced since I have memory - the previous big earthquake was in 1976. Later I learned that 87,587 were killed (18th deadliest earthquake of all time); 374,643 were injured; 18,392 were missing.

The whole country was deeply shocked; then everyone immediately wanted to do something to help, including me. I was 27 back then, skipped work in the afternoon, and went to the blood centre to donate blood. The nurse told me there was a long queue ahead - "we don't need blood for now. Thanks for that, sir!" I went back and donated some money, roughly half of my monthly salary.

During that few days, everyone wanted to help: billions of money were donated, and tons of food and medicine were gathered and shipped to Sichuan. We also heard great stories: pilots flew into the risky area to deliver stuff, volunteers from all over the world went to rescue, and teachers protected their students during the earthquake with their own bodies.

But then, around a few months later, we heard about the corruption of the Red Cross Organisation in China: the donation was stolen and spent on fancy cars, etc. It just crashed my belief. I started to doubt the effort and emotion that I put into it. It felt like an idiot! I can call that the end of my innocent age, the starting point of many major changes in my life.

I've learned that life is more significant than just money and work. I was just focused on my work back then, and after the earthquake, I started to think about "making a dent in the universe." That was the drive for me to create a podcast ten years ago, and wrote two books since then.

I also learned I want to help people: as life is technically meaningless, that's the meaning I want to define for my life. That's probably why mentoring and sharing experience is something I'm always happy to do.

Fourteen years later, I've been through a few things, and now I can see the complexity of humanity. I understand that bad thing could happen, even with good intentions. If I go back to 14 years ago, I would do the same thing to help people again. I prob will help individuals myself rather than just donate.

I share my thoughts in my second language(English) with my English-speaking friends, but also it would be good for me to think and reflects on things from another perspective.

Life is short, so do things worth doing, and don't waste your time. Just do it.

Life is also meaningless, so define the meaning of your own life.

---关于汶川地震的一些感受。在准备写时我忽然想起,这个话题我在以前写过,但从未试过用英文来写。我很少用英文写专业之外的东西,这次尝试一下。一是换换表达的角度,二是也想让很多国外的人了解中国普通人的善良。

> 下面是AI机翻的中文(基本翻得还算通畅)。

今天是5月12日。那次事件发生至今已有14年。

14年前,汶川大地震夺去了近10万人的生命,并在短短几秒钟内摧毁了城市。这是我有记忆以来经历的最大灾难--上一次大地震是在1976年。后来我了解到,有87,587人死亡(有史以来第18位死亡的地震);374,643人受伤;18,392人失踪。

整个国家都深感震惊;然后每个人都立即想做点什么来帮助,包括我。那时我27岁,下午翘了班,去血液中心献血。护士告诉我,前面排着长队--"我们暂时不需要血。谢谢你,先生!" 我回去后捐了一些钱,大概是我月薪的一半。

在那几天里,每个人都想帮忙:数十亿的钱被捐出,成吨的食物和药品被收集起来运往四川。我们还听到了一些伟大的故事:飞行员飞到危险地区运送东西,来自世界各地的志愿者前往救援,教师在地震期间用自己的身体保护他们的学生。

但是,大约几个月后,我们听说了中国红十字组织的腐败:捐款被盗,用于购买豪华汽车等。这让我的信念崩溃了。我开始怀疑自己投入的努力和情感。我觉得自己像个白痴!我可以说那是我纯真年代的结束,是我生活中许多重大变化的起点。

我了解到,生命的意义不仅仅是金钱和工作。那时我只是专注于我的工作,在地震之后,我开始考虑 "在宇宙中创造一个凹痕"。这是十年前我创建播客的动力,此后又写了两本书。

我还了解到我想帮助别人:因为生命在技术上是没有意义的,这是我想为自己的生命定义的意义。这也许就是为什么指导和分享经验是我一直乐于做的事情。

14年后,我经历了一些事情,现在我可以看到人性的复杂性。我明白坏事可能会发生,即使是好的意图。如果我回到14年前,我将再次做同样的事情来帮助人们。我可能会自己帮助个人,而不仅仅是捐赠。

我用我的第二语言(英语)与我的英语朋友分享我的想法,但这也有利于我从另一个角度思考和反思事情。

生命是短暂的,所以要做值得做的事情,不要浪费你的时间。只管去做。

生命也是没有意义的,所以要定义你自己生命的意义。


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