Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What makes a Great Nation: Its People

"What has made this nation great? Not its heroes but its households"

~ Sarah Orne Jewett

During my short stint in The Little Red Dot, I was privileged to get to know a couple of great Japanese men. They are, like typical Japanese men, expected to look cold – a sign of dignity amongst samurai (by the way, Y-san is a descendant of Y-clan Samurai) – hence, they are not socially approachable. They take their responsibility heartily and it shows when, as supervisors to their subordinates, they are the first to clock in and the last to leave, ever eager to assist anytime, anything, anywhere. As long as I have known them, they are always in the state of readiness – ready to take up a new challenge and ready to sacrifice their self-interest to achieve common goal of the organization they serve. For all their hard approach to life, these few men never failed to amaze me when they express their thoughts and feelings in writing, beautifully. For their unfriendly gestures in public, they are calm and collected souls, making sure you feel secured because your wellbeing is their utmost concern. My brief connection with them – these exceptional Japanese men – rekindles my faith in Ronan Keating’s “You say it best, when you say nothing at all”. They simply epitomise the silent greatness of Japanese people.

During this difficult moment that befallen their Tohoku (North East Region of Honshu Island), my mind wanders afar – one in Down Under and another in Vietnam – carrying warm thoughts and kind prayers to soothe their worried souls, hoping their loved ones back home are safe and well taken care of. I am sure they yearn to go back and do something, anything, to alleviate the sufferings that we witness on telly every single day.

Bourses around the round fall steadily since the tsunami struck Tohoku as Japanese investors start to bring back their Yen to their beloved Land of the Rising Sun. Having read Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of A Geisha”, I know this tragedy, amidst burgeoning public debts, less-conducive government of the day and rising ageing population, will be another rebirth of Japan and its people. I pray that they would remain stoic and once again, relive the tale of Phoenix rising from the ashes, like what their forefathers had done during and after WWII, well described in a few chapters in Golden’s novel.

This calamity struck me hard because a week before behemoth 9.0 Richter Scale Earthquake, I read about 52 melon-head whales stranded on one of the beaches in Ibaraki Prefecture. With the help of environmentalists, 22 were safely led back to the deep water - their natural habitat while the rest died from exhaustion. From various incidents of whale stranded on shallow water - the largest being around 200 melon head whales stranded in shallow port in Philippines in 2008 - scientists believe that these sensitive creatures may suffer from damaged eardrum, as a result of sea quake, which cause their disorientation in finding food and eventually lead them to shallow water. These whales on Ibaraki shore may have experienced the same fate.

This is indeed a difficult time and I believe the Japanese people would only come out of this stronger and better, holistically.

My deepest condolence to them.


dochisyam said...

Salam Fi sha
What impresses me most is watching on tv how patiently the people there lines up for their needs.
Even in times of great crisis, they remained dignified, disciplined and humble.
I am amazed at these amazing people.
They will come out it and you can bet, stronger and better.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Fi-Sha, good posting. And yes, the Japanese are a unique people in many ways.
I have stayed, worked with them, and no other country comes close to work ethics, politeness, courtesy, punctuality, etc to name a few.

And watching TV as well reading about what's happening in Japan....there is one word we will not read, see or find...'looting'.
As well people lining up, helping others, caring, sharing...
They are one of a kind.
Our hearts and prayers goes to them.

semuanya OK kot said...

Of course discipline and consideration are the foundations of civilization. However, what makes a people great is not just persevering stoically. Since the Stone Age ended, the major threat is fellow humans and not nature. So a great people are those who neutralise and punish their rogue leaders.

What is the relevance to Japan, so much more "advanced" that us? The construction and cement intustries determine development close to the coast. The nuclear industries takes the country ever closer to hell.

"Learn from the mistakes of others; you can never live long enough to make them all yourself." - John Luther

Antares said...

Bless your angel heart, Fi-Sha xoxox