Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Food for Thought: Death and Recovery after the China Earthquake

I am fascinated by “alternate” modes of thinking, being and doing. This op-ed in the NY Times about interviews they conducted with people after the massive earthquake in China this summer is a perfect example of this. It is a short read, I encourage you to check it out.

Where’s the Trauma and the Grief? NY Times August 2008
“Three months ago, an earthquake struck China’s Sichuan Province, killing nearly 70,000 people…To my eyes, this part of the region looks forlorn. Houses and stores have been reduced to empty shells. Piles of rubble line the streets…”

“I asked if people in the village have suffered any psychological aftershocks from the trauma. Another villager, Tan Fubian, piped up and said that they just try not to think about it. These were weird, unnerving interviews, and I don’t pretend to understand what’s going on in the minds of people who have suffered such blows and remained so optimistic. All I can imagine is that the history of this province has given these people a stripped-down, pragmatic mentality: Move on or go crazy. Don’t dwell. Look to the positive. Fix what needs fixing. Work together.”

“I don’t know if it’s emotionally sustainable or even healthy, but it raises at least one interesting question. When you compare these people to the emotional Sturm und Drang over lesser things on reality TV, you do wonder if we Americans are a nation of whiners.”


Written by Aman

August 24, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Global Health

One Response

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  1. I think that has more to do with privilege than anything. Generally Americans have the luxury of worrying about triviality since they’re not fighting to survive on a daily basis. The third world has a different mentality. But I wouldn’t say it’s cultural. You’d likely find the same thing in any rich country in Western Europe.

    In any case the disaster in China has been extraordinary. I don’t think we’ve been doing enough to help.

    If you or anyone else is interested in helping build a school in Chengdu, please take a look:


    September 2, 2008 at 1:17 pm

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