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Sorry, But I'll Have To Hurt Your Feelings

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热度1265票 时间:2008年6月06日 21:42


[in translation]

The following is one of the 45 emails that I received today.  I have reproduced it below after eliminating a small portion of the content that might disclose the identity and location of this netizen friend:

Old Yang, I know that you share the same grim feelings about the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan just as I do.  When we see those life-and-death televised scenes, we really cannot bear to watch even as tears rolled in our eyes and our hearts writhe in pain.  Why do these dreadful disasters occur again and again in China?  Can earthquakes really not be predicted?  [deleted words]  My daughter came back from school today and asked me: "The Tangshan earthquake could not be predicted 22 years ago, but is the level of prediction technology today still stuck at the 1976 level?"  I had no reply.

Perhaps, there are many questions about this disaster and we have much anger.  But we can only keep our silence right now and hope that our government and our army can actively save lives.  We can only pay attention to the situation quietly and pray for the safety of our compatriots in the disaster zone.  I have signed up to donate blood.  [one sentence deleted]  I think that this is the small thing that I can do for the people in the disaster zone.

This is a sensitive period now.  We don't feel good.  I think that you should stay low for a while and not used your pen to poke at the hidden darkness.  Otherwise certain netizens may feel that you are mean and nasty.  The overworked Premier Wen is up at the front lines and his tears moved the hearts of many Chinese.

Old Yang, I know that you are a brave man who is filled with a combative spirit for the motherland in your heart.  But I am really concerned whether your inappropriate speech could hurt the feelings of many netizens.  At this time, they won't understand you and they can't appreciate your intention.  They will lash at you because they think that you have betrayed them.  This is not something that I want to see.

You should not go too far or too quickly.  Sometimes, you have to stop and wait for your netizen friends to catch up.  If you want to enlighten your compatriots and fight for your ideals, you should not be too flagrant.  You should use a different method or style, and you may achieve unexpected results.

I think that silence is golden right now.  Silence is best.

Take care!

A netizen friend who really cares about you.

During the past couple of days, I only wrote a couple of essays which are not all about the Sichuan earthquake.  But when I looked at the comments in my blog, about one-third of them are critical or even abusive.  I also received up to one hundred emails per day with some of them being abusive.  Frankly speaking, none of these emails or comments touched me.  This particular netizen friend is new to me, but I like him and I think that he understands me (note: he read all 2 million words in my published works within a short period).  His letter was sincere.  However obstinate I am, I ought to stop and reflect.

Am I moving too fast?  Have I gone in the wrong direction?  When a person's writings keep hurting the feelings of the readers, is it time to stop and reflect?  At the very least, I think that before I begin to reflect, I should say "Sorry" to all those netizen friends that I have hurt.

But having said sorry, I still want to reflect because such seems to be the duty of a writer and an intellectual.  I don't know if I am right.

In terms of the facts, the biggest earthquake in thirty years -- and this is the biggest natural disaster since the reforms began -- has occurred.  Which Chinese person is not pained?  We all wish that we could have super powers to help the victims.  In terms of the facts, the Secretary General and the Premier have toiled hard and long since the earthquake occurred -- especially the Premier at the front lines.  Anybody must be touched.

(Note: I disagree with certain netizens questioning the earthquake prediction problem, because this is not a problem just for China.  The most advanced nations in the world, such as the United States, are not able to predict earthquakes.  Although the United States was able to announce the earthquake quicker this time, they obviously were not able to predict it because there was no reason why they would not communicate the prediction to China.)

After the earthquake occurred, everybody joined together.  Would I differ at this moment?  Here I will relate the evolution of my ideas to share with netizens.

What do we need most when we encounter a disaster?  Unity, of course.  But this unity is not the kind that will not allow any opinions.  For example, if the earthquake was actually sabotage or if someone continues to sabotage, or if someone prevents us from making rescue, we should unite against them.  But there is no such problem now.  The existing problem is how to render help better.  As of now, we still many brothers and sisters buried in the rubble and there are other disaster victims who are left homeless.

The netizens are touched by Premier Wen, and so am I.  But he did not move me to tears.  Instead, I was almost moved to tears by another person this morning.  She had no name.  Her face was covered with mud.  She was probably a middle-aged woman.  She appeared on CNN.  Her right leg was injured and she was lying down on a plastic sheet in the street.  It was raining and she only has one umbrella.  So she moved the umbrella sometimes over her injured leg and sometimes over her head.  People kept rushing past her, but nobody took care of her.  On this morning, I did not have the Premier on my mind.  I only had eyes for this nameless woman.  My heart also had those many disaster victims who remain underneath the rubble out of sight.

The Chinese government is doing its best in this disaster.  In terms of the speed of response and the amount of human and material resources, this is unprecedented in the long history of China.  This deserves our encouragement and applause.  But do we stop here?  Hasn't our government done its best?

When many netizens saw me criticizing and nitpicking on the government at this time, they thought that I must have an axe to grind.  At the very least, they said that I am not being kind and honest.  They accused me not being a Chinese.  They said that I should support the government, or at least be touched by Premier Wen.  They wondered, "Have you no heart?"

I am sorry if I have hurt the feelings of everybody.  But I want to tell you what I was thinking about.  At this moment, I could join everybody in prayer, or write stirring essays, or even maintain a silence.  After the earthquake, many netizens indeed wrote many good and stirring essays, such as "Tonight, we are all people of the disaster zone" and "Today, we are all disaster victims" and so on.

But you should visualize that if you were really a disaster victim, what would you be doing?  You definitely would not have the time to write this kind of essay.  Not many people in the disaster zone will be reading your essay today.  Your essay was not written for the people in the diaster zone.  So what are the disaster victims thinking about?  I can categorically tell you that they are definitely not being touched to tears, because most of them are still bleeding from their bodies and their hearts!  For those disaster victims who are still waiting for help, they will always be thinking:  If your work is the best ever in history, then can you do even a bit better?""

Let us supposed that we are really disaster zone residents.  Our hearts are joined with theirs, or we are disaster victims, or we are even lying underneath the rubble waiting for help.  What would we be thinking about in that case?  Would we be grateful towards the help?  Of course not.  All the help in the world, even if it is the best ever in history, will always need to be "better" in the eyes of of the people in the disaster zone.  Besides, is the the best ever help in our history also the best in the world?  Do we fall short of the help that is rendered elsewhere in the world?


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