Rising to the Occasion

Vanda Miss Joaquim, National Flower of SingaporeOn April 15, 1981, Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen as Singapore’s national flower from among 40 other contenders, including some 30 orchids. It was selected particularly because of its hardy and resilient qualities and its ability to bloom throughout the year – these qualities remind me of the Japanese.

The Japanese are not only showing their hardiness and resilience in good times, they are also showing these exceptional characteristics in the worst of times in one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded which also spawned a deadly tsunami that slammed into the small island nation, leaving a huge swath of devastation in its wake. They have also shown their abilities to bloom beautifully and gracefully just like the Vanda Miss Joaquim. The recent calamity did not put the affected areas into a state of chaos and in fact the Japanese has remained calm in handling and facing the situation; they have given all of us a very valuable lesson.

It can be challenging enough for some to maintain their composures during good times, not to mention during times like what the Japanese are going through now. They have not only continue to display an air of gracefully in their daily lives but have also extended their hands to others who are affected.

Many have truly risen to the occasion as a report by Associated Press. I am truly touched to read all the stories of people going beyond their own sufferings to make life better for others.

A lesson on “initiative” from Students in Karakuwa, who are bringing buckets of water from the school swimming pool to give survivors the dignity of a proper flush. Another lesson on unconditional sharing: “For a long time, in the countryside, even if you didn’t have enough for yourself, you shared with others,” said Noriko Sasaki, 63.

In another article by Hiroko Yoda in cnngo.com, she wrote:

Everywhere I go, I see people helping and encouraging each other, even total strangers. The outpouring of support and sympathy, especially in a metropolis filled with people who normally keep to themselves, has been astounding.

At my local supermarkets, prices have been lowered to help customers, who politely line up and pay without panic or complaint.

Hiroko also reported that in a broadcast interview with students by NHK, one of the students said, “We want to tell everyone living in shelters like us to stay strong,” and another said, “We’ll rebuild Japan together.” These are words from junior high schoolers, many of whom have yet to make contact with their families.

Lastly in the report by Associated Press, the Japanese has taught me the most valuable lesson on Gratitude:

At the school in Karakuwa, 43-year-old Emi Yoshida reads a book, still wearing the same clothes she had on the day the tsunami roared into town. She has not showered in a week and longs for a bed. Still, she is grateful for the comfort the community has provided her and her two sons.

Many, including myself at time, are being caught in the day to day activities of pursuing what we want in our lives and we have forgotten about what we already have; a gentle reminder to myself to be grateful for all the things I have or may have taken for granted … including the air that I am breathing in while typing this. Gratitude!

Photo from wellgrowhorti.com

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6 thoughts on “Rising to the Occasion

  1. Hilary

    The Japanese people are certainly setting an example in their behaviour as they deal with their desperate plight .. it must be exceedingly difficult – my heart goes out to them … and thanks for telling us about the orchid: the flower is beautiful .. Hilary

  2. meleah rebeccah

    My whole heart goes out to those suffering. I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of devastation they are facing. I sent a text to the Red Cross and
    I gave $10 donation. It’s not much, but it’s all I have. I am also HIGHLY IMPRESSED with the way they Japan is handling this tragedy. I’m not sure the people in America would behave the same way.

  3. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Meleah, my heart goes out to them too. I wouldn’t be sure that I can behave the same way too. However, as we continue to build our character, I believe that we wouldn’t be very far off.

  4. bingkaycoy

    I am praying that we who are safe are blessed to bless them .
    I think the Americans have already shown such behavior as this when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. I think it’s human nature that people help each other esp. in tragedies.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ bingkaycoy, ironically that sometimes it only takes tragedies to bring out the best in people. I believe that it is human nature that people help each other; just that in the daily life, some people are just too busy going through their lives to make time for others.