I just did.
Did you hear about the recent earthquake in South East Asia? You probably did not since it was a tiny, tiny incident compared to the one that struck Japan earlier this month. Nevertheless, I still want to talk about it because it happened to me, for real. And it got me thinking about things I never did before.
On March 24, about 8.30 pm local time, a 6.7 Richter earthquake shook the ground. The center of the quake was 100 meters from the surface and was located in Burma. No official report regarding the extent of damage from Burma (that country has been closed since…forever). That night, I was on a night shift, a busy one. I was on the eleventh floor of the hospital building, examining a middle-aged woman who was admitted for unexplained high fever and headache. Handful of medical students was standing around the bed, observing me (which I can never get used to). Nurses were walking about doing their jobs and several dozens of patient were on that floor, looking sick as they should be. Out of the blue, I felt dizzy and lost my balance. I noticed the IV fluid bags swayed on their poles and then someone from behind me shouted nervously, ‘earthquake!’. The building was literally swinging! Everyone started to panic. Some crouched down at corners while many quickly crawled under tables. My mind kind of went blank at the moment. I was not afraid but simply shocked and in partial denial.
The actual earthquake did not last very long, only a few minutes, and the severity scale had reduced from 6.7 to approximately 5 Richter in my city. Luckily, no one was hurt and the building did not collapse on top of my head which would ultimately result in me getting buried under tons of concrete and the untimely death of this blog. The real emotional turmoil started after the quake. Fear suddenly took over. First, there was fear of the impending aftershocks then fear for my parents at home. I was not sure exactly what to do. I told the students to leave the building by stairs. There must be standard protocol for evacuation in situation like this but such protocol has never been rehearsed or even mentioned around here. Until that very day, earthquake was something we only heard in world news program. The phone network immediately crashed because everybody dialed up all at once. Facebook exploded with comments; seriously, do people normally dash towards Facebook after crisis? Some of the suggestions from my friend’s facebook said that one should run up to the top floor of the building so that when the whole thing collapsed the one on top would be safe because there would be nothing to fall on him. I wondered how many people actually believed that.
My point for this post is that this earthquake, although small and generally harmless, reminded me of many important things. My life and everything around me that usually seemed secure were actually very fragile. Within a blink of an eye, all that I was and all that I relied on could disappear. I felt like I should have been more appreciative of my life and what I had. All the trivial things that I worried about didn’t matter anymore. I should be more thankful and grateful to my family and my friends. I should tell you guys more often how much I appreciate you reading and visiting my blog.
Lastly, my heart goes to the people of Japan who, until this very day, are still struggling against all the hardship and suffering. I wonder if this is a sign of world apocalypse. I surely hope not. There are still too many anime I need to catch up.
ps. big thank you goes to Reyneholde who thought about my well-being on March 24 via twitter. Thank you!