Weather is beyond serious business here. When I wrote about Typhoon Koppu not long ago, I had little appreciation for the destructive forces brought on by natural disasters here in Asia, even though Taiwan had just recently been ravaged by Morakot in August, not long after my sister moved over there too! Perhaps the fact that she was ok, in spite of what I saw in the news, subconsciously led me to ignore the great powers of Mother Nature. Then after experiencing ye olde typhoon signals in HK myself, was not incredibly impressed either, and fortunately Koppu wreaked relatively little havoc.
Last weekend, however, was a completely different story for much of Southeast Asia. First Typhoon Ketsana drenched the Philippines with a month’s worth of rain in one night, killing hundreds and stranding hundreds of thousands! Ketsana went on to hit Vietnam and Cambodia, killing about a hundred more people, and devastating further.
But that’s not all! A sub-ocean earthquake spawned a tsunami that killed some people in Samoa and yet another earthquake hit Sumatra and Indonesia just two days later.
All this and now Typhoon Parma is looming, threatening to slap the Philippines with more, and threaten my weekend plans here in Taiwan, and possibly my return flight on Sunday! (More on Taiwan to come).
I was in complete awe with what nature could do, and realized how ignorant I have been all my life, as this is what life is like for Asians all the time. In fact, typhoons are going to continue to thwart and threaten through November (for some reason, I thought it was only a summer occurrence).
I wondered if my friends back home knew of these incredible natural disasters, and shockingly few did. I did see the news make the New York Times headlines, but who knows for how long it remained front and center with the ever-changing webpages. Nevertheless, only one of my friends had any clue and he is currently researching Asia to move there himself.
It made me realize just how little we ever hear about Asia, or are familiar with Asian issues. At the same time, it makes no sense to be so closed-minded! I really appreciate having this opportunity to live on this side of the Earth, and to get a fuller experience of just how huge and varied our environment is. I am very lucky to have this opportunity.