Mar 13, 2011

The Japanese people in the earthquake

The Japan earthquake and tsunami are still all over the news. I was watching a news footage from yesterday and the Japanese news readers were wearing safety helmets and they're still staying there and broadcasting the news. There was a video of the inside of the NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) building, things were falling to the floor and a computer was hanging over the side of the stairs. They really are dedicated to their jobs.

There are people saying that there's a whole lot more natural disasters because humanity is mistreating nature, that human beings are the ones causing the natural disasters. I understand the reasoning, but I'm torn between two sides. On the one hand I'm disbelieving because how can mere humans cause something as large and powerful and unstoppable as earthquakes and tsunamis? On the other hand I can see how so many humans all together can cause an immense amount of damage.

On TV I saw a satellite photograph of the affected parts. Compared to what it looked like before, it was like a whole section of the coast was wiped out by the tsunami. Someone on the rooftop filmed the progress of the tsunami and the brown waves gushed around the houses. I remember seeing houses last year when I was in Japan with black roofs and white walls, exactly like the ones collapsed by the earthquake and tsunami.

The Japanese people are very controlled and orderly, as a culture. They're doing very well in recovering from the earthquake. Because they're so prone to earthquakes, laws regarding it are very stringent. Buildings are built to withstand quakes, and school buildings most of all. Schools would have to have the most shock-proof buildings. Generation after generation children are taught from a very young age what to do in these situations.

There hasn't been signs of panic, people knew what to do, they knew what to prepare and they knew where to go. New Zealand experienced an earthquake not long ago. Even in New Zealand, a place seen by many as a paradise on earth, there were cases of looting. In Japan, there hasn't been any report of that. Where people has been injured, others helped them, incidents like this could be seen everywhere.

Tokyo has a very developed railway/subway system. During the earthquake they all stopped. But in the whole system there was no noise, no raucous, no one complained. That's something very hard to achieve and it's a testimony of how orderly and self-controlled the Japanese society is.

Since the trains aren't running, those that want to go anywhere must go by car. The traffic is understandably slow, but on the road no one shouted, no one complained, everyone patiently waited for the traffic to move. One driver fell asleep in his car. No one woke him up, no one urged him to get moving, people pushed his car to the side of the road and kept going.

In a crisis, these admirable characteristics of a people stand out and shines. If every single person does what they're supposed to, does their own part, then the whole group will move like a well oiled machine and it's easier for everyone, and I think that's what's happening here. I don't think it's possible to achieve this to this extent except if we, like the Japanese, have these values ingrained in our whole culture and society in every level.

No comments:

Post a Comment