Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Poorly-rehearsed Musical: Love during Earthquakes

I was perusing my feeds on Chinese blogs, and came across this post by Mr. Wang Xiaoshan on a love question made by one of the entertainment section editors of a newspaper.

Here is my rough translation of the question:

"An earthquake can test how you express your love. When an earthquake first happens, what is your first reaction?
A: Hide under a table in panic
B: Open a window
C: Drop everything and run outside
D: Stand in place out of fright.
Analysis: Individuals who selected A are rather alert and protecting of their love. If their love is revealed, they become nervous. They get so nervous about their individual partner's devotion that if they can't relax, they'll just get weary. Individuals who select B are stable, steady lovers. After they fall in love, they become more steadfast and more confident about their charismas. For those who select C, once they fall in love they are crazily filled with energy, as if everything on their minds has just been liberated. For those who select D, they fall in love like diving into a river headfirst. Other than their significant loves, they don't think of anything - their grades and work all suffer, and everything else is just in an awful mess."

So, since we students across America are taught to hide under their desks to protect their spinal cords from being severed by falling debris, are we protective nervous lovers?

Mr. Wang notes that the editor was sacked. "I don't think he should have been sacked," he argues. "This editor was just more heartless than the others."

How can any newspaper try to comfort its readers by comparing love to tragedy? (Unless you're one of those melancholists in a permanent pre-Juliet Romeo state or Peter, my friend who has given up on dating) A disaster and loss of life calls for grief and support, not amateur psychology. Since China has an unprecedented amount of domestic press coverage on the earthquake in the Sichuan area, it has been amazing to see the solidarity of the Chinese people in pictures of bright-eyed children holding candles and volunteer workers digging through rubble. Now is a time to connect broken families, through radio programs like "Phone-in for Peace"; to reestablish the education system and get students back in school; to get to rid of earthquake side-effects that threaten more lives, like quake lakes. Albeit the question's attempt to distract worried minds from the death and destruction caused by the earthquake, its humor points only to remind its readers of lost love and unnecessary self-criticism.

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