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Jan 05, 2005


Evelyn Rodriguez

I remember someone at church this Sunday mentioning TV as a possible notification system. Hmmm, since my vacation started on Dec 15th, I never saw a television until the Phi Phi Hill Resort on Dec 26th. We never had a TV in our bungalows (even at the very nice Relax Bay resort in Ko Lanta) and I'm not sure how I can convey how very little fishing families own if you've never travelled to the developing world.

I still think if we're going to talk about technology as a solution, cellphones are the best - albeit, not perfect - bet.

And it doesn't hurt to trust your instincts.


Once upon a time, before TV, probably even before the printing press, this is what myths and oral tradition were for. When the Water God and the Island God are fighting, the Water God pulls the tide far, far out so that he can smack the island with everything he's got. Humans should run like hell.

The survivors of this one will remember, and might tell the story to their children and grandchildren. How can technology help spread the tradition instead of washing it away (excuse the metaphor) in the tide of media culture?

Glad to hear you're okay. Thanks for the first hand reports.


It is not at all hard to believe that people are still terrified. I was here when the Kobe earthquake happened, and I was terrified for weeks. Months. What you wrote about the rumours was absolutely true here, too - and this was with information overload - there was in no way the lack of communications that you had to deal with. Rumours spread like wildfire anyway, often by phone. "This was only the beginning. The quake has set off a chain reaction." "Another big one will happen tonight. My grandmother had a dream." This sort of nonsense was even being spouted ON TV by so-called 'experts' (qualified with 'could haves' and 'mights' that we didn't pay attention to), and no matter how much your rational mind told you it was wrong, nobody can predict an earthquake, nobody knows, you BELIEVED it. Because the impossible had happened once, and now your world had been changed forever, anything could happen. Nothing felt rational anymore, and superstition threatened to take over. If someone had told me that sacrificing a goat would stop the next one, I would have asked, "Where's the goat?" and "Pass the knife." (And I like goats.)

It's embarrassing to think back on. But it is also perfectly understandable. These sorts of things are beyond our normal experiences. It is terrible to feel so exposed and vulnerable to forces totally outside our control.

For a long time it felt as if the fear would never fade. Sudden loud noises still make me jump. But the fear does fade. Things do improve. I know it seems impossible, and yes, you are changed forever, but truly, it does get better.

James Cherkoff

Thanks from your kind comments about my welfare in Sri Lanka Evelyn. I am now back in London with Liz, safe and sound. I know what you mean about the above. What has been strange about getting back is realising that my friends and relatives here had so much more information about what was going on, while we were right in the middle of it in an information-free, rumour-rich zone. Subsequently, we were quite relaxed and they were desperate!

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