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Monday, December 27, 2004


'Twas the morning after Christmas and a Sunday. Normally, hubby would take toddler to the park but yesterday I told hubby to stay home with the kiddos since they've had so much excitement the night before at a Christmas party.

So I took a morning walk to buy breakfast for the family. It was just after 9.00pm. I walked past the pool and saw many little ones playing happily in the water since it was the school holidays. I then walked past a group of people near the barbeque pit. I thought it was unusual to have so many people up on a Sunday morning but it did not cross my mind that anything was wrong.

When I reached the shophouses, I saw that the coffeeshops were packed with people, again, unusual for a Sunday morning. Then I came across a huge crowd of people standing at the roadside staring up at their condo building. This time I knew something was wrong. A man in a car asked me what was wrong when he drove passed me but I told him I didn't know.

At first I thought someone was trying to jump from the building, the way everyone was looking up. Then saw a police car with the siren blaring loudly informing everyone to get out of the building for their own safety. I asked a lady what had happened and she told me that she was having a bath when she felt a tremor. She quickly put on her clothes and left her unit in a panic when she heard her neighbours shouting and other people rushing out and leaving their homes.

I quickly rang my husband and told him what had happened. He said he felt our chair move too at our own condo but only briefly. I then saw the police car entering our condo compound area informing everyone to leave for their own safety. I checked with one of the police officers in the car and he told me that we had to leave the building because a tremor had been reported and that we would be allowed back after structural checks had been made.

I hurried home and we took our kids out for the day, only returning after checking with the guard. It was rather quiet when we left. I think many residents were probably not aware of what had taken place. It is worrying indeed that we are not prepared for emergencies of this or any kind.

In Malaysia, we are fortunate not to have natural disasters like these. The worst of our problems are storms and floods. This makes us unequipped and unexperienced to handle emergencies like these. It is indeed very scary. I am rather shaken by this.

I watched the news many times throughout the day to find out what was happening. As of this morning, it was reported that the 8.9 magnitude earthquake(the biggest in 40 years) and tsunami has taken more than 12,000 lives. Here are more recent updates. Blog updates on the situation in Malaysia can be found here and here. I am haunted by the images. What a horrible and terrible tragedy. My brother and his family has just returned from a seaside holiday at Phuket. I shudder to think of what could have happened if they had chosen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is indeed a grim reminder to us to be thankful for the little things in life and not take anything or anyone for granted. It is a reminder to me to let the important people in my life know that they matter. A reminder to look after my little ones well and to give them lots of cuddles and love NOW not 'later when I have more time'. My heart cries for those who have lost their families. I cannot imagine how a father who lost his 4 children all in a blink of an eye would feel or those who watched helplessly as their children are washed away. I can only hope there are no more after-shocks.


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