~19th March 2014~
|921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan|
This is a place suggested by my cousin-in-law, the laughing doctor. She has been there before and she said it's something different to open our eyes. Taiwan is badly seated on the long horseshoep-shaped seismically active belt of earthquake epicentres with daily movements of the earth. Either the movement was so small that it was insignificant or it was so deadly that the Richter scale went crazy. This place used to be a primary school but has been dedicated to become a museum when the biggest earthquake shook the Taiwanese nation on the 21st of September 1999 hence, the name begins with 921.
|The Richter scale walkway...|
I've only experienced two aftershocks when earthquakes happened in neighbouring countries. This place was a little bit far off from the city of Taichung thus, the place was not sardine packed with humans. I guess tour agents won't bring tourists to this place which doesn't portray happiness but reflected on a very sad incident. It's only a reminder that life is fragile. The earthquake happened in the middle of the night or else there would be more children casualties as this primary school was badly hit.
|One from the gallery....|
The entrance fee to the museum is NT$50 only, somewhere around RM5. There are 5 different buildings that needed to be covered. Please move faster. We slow pokes ended up running to get all chops on our paper. Remember to bring an empty note book or paper to collect the stamps at various places. Even at MRT stations you could collect the chops. We had all the chops of the places. It's something like souvenirs without having to pay at all. The first building you walked into is known as Chelongpu Fault Gallery. That's where you can see all the displays and explanations on what makes the earth move and how earthquakes take place.
|The main building of the school...|
The Earthquake Engineering Hall is next. I wasn't paying much attention to the explanation. Small prints in Chinese, English and Japanese kill my eyes. I am not a reader when I'm holding the camera. I'm more interested with snapping photos. And I find it annoying to listen to any wrong translation of the English Language. It is either hilarious or after listening to all the wrong usage of words, you ended up so confuse, your brain has been shaken with an earthquake of a different kind, that would be mental earthquake.
|One of the classroom blocks...|
The first thing that you would come face-to-face with to know that this place was truly a victim of a massive quake would be the running tracks, which has been lifted up and brought down at such impact, the running tracks looked like a frozen surf on the sea.
|The running tracks...|
Then, we came upon this school building which you could see the water tank on the rooftop was slanted. I couldn't think what would have happened or how would the children felt if the quake happened during school hours. I would want to be at home in the comfort of my room, bed and comforter when all come tumbling down in a heap. As one with fighting spirit, I will find ways to come out of the rubble but if its meant not to come out alive, praying for the last time would be good enough.
|The washroom being shaken away...|
Was that the washroom? Where to run when calamity strike? There's nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Crying would be futile. Screaming would be useless. Dying wasn't your choice either. Losing limbs would leave one totally devastated. Being alive would be a miracle. When we saw the ruins of what an earthquake could do, we were really thankful that Malaysia is still, until today, a peaceful country without calamities but unless the nation starts praying, there might be a change in future. Change for the worse, not for the better. Some parts of our beloved country has not been spared of hurricanes. The sign of the earth at birth pangs.
|Thank God no classes in the middle of the night...|
Another reminder was no matter how rich you are, how powerful you are, when calamities strike, no one, rich or poor, would be spared. Therefore, humble yourself before you are brought down to your knees by force. No matter how big your house is now, everyone ends up at practically the same big box at the end of the day.
|Be careful... how? I don't know...|
There were three more buildings which were not connected. One was the Image Gallery. That's where we were given the experience to feel the same magnitude of quake that happened on the 21st September 1999 measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. The room has small round cushions stuck to the floor and at first we chose the corner, nearest to the bookshelf with books. Then, I was thinking what if the shaking was really bad and the bookshelf come tumbling down on us unfortunately, that wouldn't be such a great holiday and it was only our third day in the country. So, we shifted to the centre of the room. True to my words, the books, not the shelf, same tumbling down on where we first got ourselves seated. After watching a short video clip and going through the quake simulation, we said that if really there's an earthquake, we wouldn't run anywhere. There's just nowhere to run.
In every life, there's death. The same goes with in every death, a new life is born. Isn't that new plant a resilient one? It grew out of the concrete slab. Before long, the concrete slab will completely crack to give life it's on way. A concrete slab has no life of its own. This is another one of God's amazing creation. Oh, don't miss out the 3-D movie at the Disaster Prevention Hall? I don't remember where. I don't even know where. I just know there's this 3-D movie to tell you what you should do in the event of an earthquake and what you shouldn't do. The midnight earthquake really taught them an expensive lesson. The casualties must be very high but not as high as Tangshan's big earthquake in 1976. I read Chinese history written in English. I would very much like to read about Taiwan's history but I've not come across any such books yet.
|The completely shaken school....|