Silver lining

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

by Rosa Hwang

From the eerie wasteland that is the Japanese port city of Sendai, a tiny reason to smile today, reported by Global National and other international media.

It’s a baby boy.

His parents named him Ray — as in ‘Ray of Hope’ — and his birth is not the only miracle in the family. His mother, just days away from the delivery room, managed to survive the earthquake and tsunami that claimed so many of her neighbours. His father, a doctor, was on duty in nearby Minamisanriku — a city that lost 10,000 of its 17,000 residents. The hospital was hit by a wall of water that reached the fourth floor and the good doctor stayed to treat the victims.

He only made it to his wife’s bedside, moments before his son’s birth.

Amid the devastating carnage and the nuclear emergency that’s immersed the country in death and uncertainty, little Ray represents the remarkable resiliency of his family and his country.

It’s a country of contradictions — ruthlessly competitive in industry, yet represented by an exquisitely fragile cherry blossom.

But this past week, Japan has revealed its true self to the rest of the world.

While some cultures would revert to an “everyone for themselves” mentality, the Japanese have displayed an altruism most of us can’t fathom — polite and patient, endlessly grateful.

The calm and orderly lineups for food and fuel are nothing short of remarkable. Deprived of the basic necessities, yet there is no grumbling, no cutting in line.

One American reporter in Japan, who was also in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, described how she was moved to tears by an elderly gentleman who bowed in respect and appreciation when she gave him a candy bar.

He hadn’t eaten in two days.

Almost a week after the earthquake and tsunami hit, there has not been a single report of looting.

No rioting, no histrionics, no anger.

How do people who have lost everything display such unbelievable stoicism?

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My friend Daniel, a Canadian who’s lived in Tokyo for several years, explained it this way: “We can only own our experiences. Everything else is borrowed.”

For a country that always seems to be forging ahead technologically, monetarily – this tragedy is an epoch.

As the Japanese tackle the unprecedented challenge of recovering from a trifecta of disasters — earthquake, tsunami and the lingering nuclear threat — they will need the world’s help.

But this is the same country that dug out of the carnage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and overcame the bad blood spilled over from the Second World War to eventually become an economic powerhouse.

So while there is heartache that surrounds little baby Ray’s birth, his future will be far better than his present.

Happy birthday, baby Ray. The world is on your side.

Rosa is a senior producer at Global National, based in Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @RosaHwangTV.

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