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Singapore: Reactions to Japan Earthquake Disaster

Let’s start with Singaporean students in Tokyo who wrote about their experience when a strong earthquake struck Japan last week. Tang Chee Seng used the bathroom to store emergency supplies

At first, I felt slightly dizzy, a feeling that I knew was part of an earthquake.

It seemed minor at first, until my shelves and dishes began to rattle violently.

Remembering some half-truth I’ve heard about certain bathrooms in newer Japanese buildings as being earthquake-proof, I quickly moved to the toilet and sat down, waiting for the shaking to stop.

My friends and I stocked up on canned goods, water and emergency supplies, based on the hypothetical situation that we would be trapped under rubble. I set out my supplies into a backpack, along with my thickest waterproof jacket and clothes laid out on the limited rack and floor space in my toilet

Cassandra Eng, also a student in Japan, recalled how she was unable to differentiate between the tremor and herself shaking from fear

I’ve moved and kept everything heavy and dangerous from my shelves. I’ve packed an emergency bag and stocked up on food. I only dare to lie in bed when I know I am going to give in to exhaustion. I sleep in clothes that I’m ready to run out in. My running shoes are unlaced and placed at the head of my bed next to my emergency bag. I have 4 litres of boiled water in my room and a tub filled with water should the supply be cut. I eat anything and everything that doesn’t require cooking. I don’t want to watch the news but I have to, so I keep it running. I bathe with the news on maximum volume so that I can hear the earthquake alert siren if there is any. I can no longer differentiate between an after tremor and myself just shaking and it scares me because I don’t know when to panic.

I am tired of living in fear.

She observed how everybody was helping each other in Japan

And yet, I have never loved this country more. Japan has impressed me even more in time of disaster and I cannot respect her people and her preparedness more.

Companies and restaurants are giving out free food and drinks, schools are opened as shelters, free calls, free wireless, free lodging at hotels, and more. People are scared and are all in a rush to go home or make a call, but there’s still order. There is a definitely an increase in demand for food, but there is no rush. Already, money has been raised for those affected by the quake. And the fact that this country has continually aimed for earthquake-proof buildings has saved the lives of so many.

Ng E-Jay reacts to the statement of Singapore Senior Minister Goh who compared the ‘noise’ made by Singaporeans about the flooding disaster which hit the city state last year and the ‘stoic’ response of the Japanese today

It would have been great if SM Goh has commented only on the fortitude of the Japanese. But he turned this tragedy around and used it to accuse Singaporeans of complaining about relatively minor events like our recent floods. He said Singaporeans were noise makers.

This is reprehensible.

Japan as a nation will be stronger as a result of dealing with this crisis. But the People’s Action Party (PAP) will not be stronger as a result of their ineptitude at managing Singapore’s flood control system, which has failed spectacularly, repeatedly, and inexcusably.

Media giant Channel News Asia was forced to apologize for sending this marketing email only hours after the earthquake in Japan

Be a Part of Channel NewsAsia’s Breaking News Coverage on the Japan Tsunami

Channel NewsAsia: Massive Tsunami Hits Japan after Massive Quake
A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake shook Japan in the early afternoon today, unleashing a powerful tsunami that wrecked havoc along the streets of coastal towns. Book your spots in the Weekday Evening News Bundle as the channel brings viewers comprehensive coverage reports on the disaster with extended versions of news bulletins tonight.

… Call our sales representatives now!”

Lucky Tan praised the Fukushima nuclear plant workers and volunteers who remained to repair the damage in the plant. He asked if Singaporeans would do the same thing if a similar disaster hit the country

If a situation like Fukushima surfaces in Singapore and volunteers are asked to be part of a mission to save others by risking their lives, how many will volunteer? The situation is different from a war and you're asked to be part of an army….this one is a suicide mission where your health and very likely your life has to be sacrificed away with a high level of certainty.

Spotlight on Singapore believes the government should convince neighboring Indonesia to drop its plan to build a nuclear plant

Singapore should vigorously oppose the construction of nuclear plants in Indonesia.

The annual haze that plagues Singapore, thanks to Indonesia, is child’s play compared to a radioactive cloud.

The Enquirer is hopeful that unity can still be achieved in Singapore even if natural disasters are rarely occurring in the country

Do Singaporeans need a national disaster on the scale of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami to coalesce a sense of national solidarity? Are we spoilt in the absence of natural calamities?

While immensely tragic and painful, external threats and disasters had this unintended effect of uniting a society, as history has shown.

While disasters bring out the best in everyone, a sense of national spirit and belonging can still flourish in a safe and stable Singapore. A key to achieving this is an inclusive society where feedback and criticism are respected, not a top-down leadership which dismisses all comments as “noise”.

Singapore Red Cross continues to receive donations and other forms of assistance that will be given to Japan earthquake survivors.

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