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Monday, 4 April 2011

Writing for the Right Reasons


Dear reader,

Recently I've been exhausted. My second masters is in full swing, and my assignments are piling up. At work, both my staff resigned. Social work is piling in. Then over the course of the past month, I slowly dealt with things, one at a time. I got one of my staff to return, or rather promise to return, after her honeymoon. The assignments -- well, I've finished two, and have another two left over. Work is plodding slowly along, and it does not help that I am by myself on many days. But the worst is over for now. My dad's staff have ventured to help me out, coming by in the afternoons, doing their own work at the desks. They come, almost every other day, whether driving themselves or sent by my father to my office. Life, while it isn't that rosy, is getting better.

A friend who runs a very successful Chinese-language blog, when asked what motivates him to write, told me that it is because he writes for his children, his next generation. (Never mind that his wife has yet to bear any children.) He said that he wants to write to teach his kids how to think, so that when he is gone, at least there is something that they can read. They can look back at the posts in the blog to find what he thought of certain things. I find that admirable -- to think of a blog as a heritage for one's children. I think that I like the idea. Every post of his was penned with the unborn children in mind -- something that I thought was unique.

And so, I am to pick up the pen (or cudgel) once again. I am to write once again. But this time, it's for a right reason.

Recently, I've been exhausted. Yes, there's that anti-smoking campaign that I've been roped into, playing the role of web master and textual content generator. Yes, its been tiring; but no, I don't think that I should give it up. Opportunities do not come every day, and often we will find that if we persevere, we will be able to create a better outcome for all persons involved.

Recently, I've been hard at work at the apartment, throwing my hard earned cash into things such as tiles and cement, and paying contractors a well-haggled price to do the job. It's all for the sake of the marriage, which I hope will take place next year. The bride-to-be has indicated her interior decor preferences, and makes those demands in view of her likelihood of staying at the apartment. A fair deal, I must declare, but nonetheless one that must be delayed slightly due to financial resources. For once an apartment is purchased, the buyer is left stuck with a bank loan and monthly maintenance charges to contend with. Loan instalments could just as well be covered by renting out the unit, but in this case, since it (the apartment) was purchased for self-use, it would be foolhardy to rent it out. A Tenant may not always take good care of your apartment, as he is only renting it and can shift away at the expiry of the tenancy...

Now on my mind there is only one thing: Hard work to make it all work. Hard work is needed to make sure that I can handle all the work that my goodwill can generate for me. Hard work is needed to make sure that I can comprehend the subject matter of the night class and live up to its demands. Hard work is required to make the social engagements manageable and deliver satisfactorily. Hard work is required, too, to keep everything together and propel one's self to eventual success!

Recently, the news showed that two workers have perished at the nuclear reactor in Japan. My heart goes out to them; they were so young, only 21 and 24 respectively. I was informed that not all the workers at the nuclear reactor were full-time employees of TEPCO (Tokyo Electrical Power Company), in fact some of them were volunteers who were of retirement age. They were herded into the reactor, and cut off entirely from the world, with no change of clothes, and no fresh food, and no contact with their loved ones -- not even to say, "Honey, I love you, and I miss you!" They who were holed in at the Japanese nuclear reactors, could only be certain about one thing: That they would almost certainly die within a short period of time. But onward, they worked, hand in hand, using their hands, to connect the seawater to the pipes, to the nuclear reactor. After many days of hard work and self-effacing sacrifices, finally, over the weekend, it was reported that the Prime Minister Mr Kan had decided to visit the site of the disaster.

Life is hard, but we should be grateful that we can live life. In some places, disaster takes away the lives of people before they can even think about whether or not they are happy with life. Some time back, the oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico took place, and people over here merely fumed at BP for not carrying out its obligations to the stakeholders in society. Then the volcano erupted in Europe, Iceland, and it was said that all flights had been interrupted, and we laughed since we could still use AirAsia. Then there was an earthquake in New Zealand, and some of us who had relatives there showed concern, but the majority of us couldn't care less. A few weeks later, Mount Merapi, red with anger, spewed its insides all over the foot of Yogyakarta, we were horrified that it could cause such damage, but heaved a sigh of relief to find out that we are outside of the "Ring of Fire". And then came the earthquake, off the north-eastern coast of Japan, generating the tsunami that crashed into the nuclear power plant.

A lecturer told us, that "Act of God" used to be the escape clause for many insurance companies, because certain events were beyond our capacity for anticipation. But the new point of view is to rely on "proximate cause", meaning "what was the next nearest thing that caused it?" For example, in the case of the Japanese tsunami / nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the problem may have been that the back-up electricity supply in the nuclear reactor could only hold for two hours. They should have prepared back-up electricity supply for two months in fact! Because after the tsunami, all power supply was cut off, and the back-up electricity supply kicked in, and TEPCO officials heaved a sigh of relief. The cooling system continued to work. After 120 minutes, the back-up electricity had all been exhausted, and the cooling system ceased to operate. The nuclear rods began to heat up..... the disaster began to mount.

In life, there is no "accident beyond anticipation". In light of the Fukushima disaster, we've become acutely aware of our measly mortal existence on the face of this Earth. What are we but a blip in the timeline of the universe? What are we but a speck amongst the grains of sand on the seashore? We should be more generous, less selfish, more optimistic, less pessimistic, more open, less opinionated. We should care more for our fellow men and care less for the hurtful things that others might say (but may not have said), do more for society's needs and do less to purposely sabotage others, think more kindly of people and have less preconceptions of them.

It's time to live an honest life and take pride in the fruits of an honest day's toil!

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