Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Do we need a crystal ball?

Dear mouse,

There were two reasons why I spent the whole day collecting data about earthquakes.

Yesterday, I read about the opinions of the experts on the recent destructive calamity that hit Asia.

I have to admit that I loathe the way these experts assume the role of prophets of doom and spouse theories, the validations of which make their research firms richer by a few more millions of dollars.

Then there is an ongoing discussion about the most effective warning system that poor third world countries can use in ordert to save more lives in the future.

The second reason was to research the when and the what of the story I heard from my mother about how my great grandparents were saved from a tsunami. (Of course, the term used was not tsunami. It was more of a tidal wave. So, I started browsing the internet about earthquakes particularly in the Phils between early 1900s to the Second world war.

In so doing, I got the records of earthquakes all over the world. I found out that the Philippines was not listed among the countries that had devastating big temblors.

I was about to give up researching for the earthquake that happened during my great grandparents'time until the last source pointed to one earthquake that happened in the Phils. in 1918.

That must be it.

Recalling the story, I remember that there must be a warning made before it happened since the people were made to prepare for the coming killer wave. They were asked to flee from the coastal areas and tie themselves in coconut and other sturdy trees.

Some died but my great grandparents were among those who were spared from what they called a wave of death.

Who must have known that it was coming? What kind of warning device did they make use of in 1918 ?

I had read a story about an old man in Japan or China who owned practically all the rice farms in that small coastal town.

One day, the people saw him torching the almost- ready-to-harvest rice crops.

The people thought that he had gone mad.

All of them run to his direction in order to stop him.

When they were all in the upland, a big wave struck the low-lying area of the town. The old man burned the farm in order to make the people go to an elevated safe place. How he predicted that the swellings that he saw from afar was a killer tsunami was never explained in the story. There must be a natural way by which these old folks explained the phenomenon of the nature's wrath but many of us dismissed that as superstitions.

Do you know that old people believe that when animals get restless, it is a premonition that there will be an earthquake?

Do you know that fishermen can predict typhoon by the waves' movements and directions ?

Crude and unscientific maybe but even the scientists failed to warn the people from the Asian tsunami killer last week.

Do we need a crystal ball ?

The Ca t


At 12:19 AM, Blogger markmomukhamo said...

they were saying the tsunami affected areas could've been warned ahead of time. it's interesting to note the early reports on the web was that a tsunami hit sri lanka. obviously this was part of the shocks from the indonesian earthquake. maybe technology got the word out faster in sri lanka than in the burma-thailand-malaysia peninsula?

I too was doing some research on Philippine disasters (man-made or otherwise) for a story I'm working on. Some gems here:



At 7:40 AM, Blogger cathcath said...

tenks Mark.

appreciate it.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Sassy Lawyer said...

Just like there are people who can predict hurricanes by looking at clouds and feeling the direction and strength of the wind.

Sabi nga, cockroaches daw go up to the surface of land just before an earthquake. I think this is true kasi it happened sa bahay namin in 1991 before the big earthquake. Talagang invasion ng ipis.


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