Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lessons from Japan

The recent unfortunate triple whammy - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout that besieged Japan was heart-wrenching. Amid the chaos, there was calm and order. The Japanese stood out for their stoicism.

I know my own personal challenges is merely a tiny drop in the ocean compared to what Japan has or is facing today. However, the way Japan handles these disasters holds profound lessons to the way we lead our lives.

Japan is no stranger to natural disaster. The word "tsunami" originates from a Japanese word meaning harbour wave. Japan lies on the cusp of the Pacific-Philippine-Eurasian triple plane junction, where the complex interaction of the three tectonic plates is unpredictable.

The Japanese are well-prepared, they have built buildings to withstand the tremors of earthquake, they have built barrier at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear plant, they have numerous back-up plans to handle the many what-ifs situation. Despite their preparedness, a black swan event occurs.

Instead of despair, we see the stoicism of Japan strongly playing out as the unfortunate event continue to unfolds. Besides stoicism, there is perhaps another Japanese word "Gambaru" which means "do your best", "hang on there", "keep going" that is keeping the Japanese going.

Japan is still coming to grips to the extent of the damage. I have every confidence that Japan with her stoicisim and Gambaru spirit will recover from this setback and rise to greater heights.

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