Friday, April 8, 2011

Student Reactions to the Earthquake in Japan

This week, my writing students' journal assignment was to describe their reaction to a current event.  Many of them chose the Japanese earthquake, and I was heartened to see that about 90% of the students seemed really sad about the situation and expressed their sympathy for the victims.  (There is a long history of bad feeling toward Japan here, particularly because of how the Japanese treated China when they invaded in 1940.)  Today I'm posting three entries that mostly capture the range of student reaction.

Two student journals repeated a rumor that the earthquake was actually caused by Japanese nuclear testing.  Here's one of them:
            I’m sorry to hear that a heavey earthquake took place in Japan a few days ago.  Thousands of Japanese couldn’t be provided with shelters of food.  By contrast, the earthquake happened in 12 May Wenchuan China more heavily.  The nuclear station bombed after the earthquake.
            I had great sympathy for Japanese people because nuclear leaking will lead to several generations have genetic variation.  Rumor has it that it is not an common earthquake.  It’s experiement of nuclear by Japan government.  Great power of nuclear bombing result in the earthquake under the sea and tsunami.  I totally believe that.  No matter now much they’re suffering, what they suffered is the result of what they had done.  Though it’s not a fact, Japan government developed nuclear industry regardless of the safety of Japanese people and even the world is despised.  It’s not the high time criticized Japanese government.  After all, their country are still in danger.  Fifty hears ago, Hiroshima had given them an example of the danger of nuclear.  They still don’t know to take class from it.  As to them, I despised.
Other students described their gradual change of heart when they heard the news about the earthquake:
Actually, when I heard that news about that demolished earthquake in Japan, I felt happy in my deep heart.  Because in China, patriotic is always treated as hating Japan, I think.  At least, if someone give a Japanese a lesson, he would be treated as a hero.  He is a patriotic man.  Most patriotic movie is war between China and Japan.
            However, I changed my opinion then.  Though we have different opinion on some history problems, we are all human kind.  Lifes of your enemies should also be valued I think.  Much less, our enemies are not those people who are in need.  They are those people who invade China…
            I don’t know how to help them.  What I know is that our government has done what we can do.
Finally, most students were genuinely sympathetic.  I like how this next one also includes speculation that the world will end in 2012, which was another common theme.  Note to Hollywood: Please do not make any more apocalyptic films.  My students are too tempted to believe them.
The earthquake and tsunami which happened in Japan in March really shocked the world, I think.  The magnitude of the earthquake was so big that it almost devastated the east part of Japan.  Many refugees are homeless.  In my usual days, I dislike Japanese, but I’ve been thinking for a while.  What I dislike is Japanese politicians not Japanese civilians.  The earthquake and tsunami have deprived many Japanese civilians of their lives, which was very horrible.  Some Japanese civilians suffer from nuclear radiation and I’m sorry for that.  People in HongKong donated a lot of money to Japan, which moves me.  Japanese people will reconstruct their homeland with the help of kind people from all over the world.  I believe in them.  At the same time, I hope Chinese people and Japanese people can eradicate the feud between two countries with the combined effort.  Wonder whether disaster predicted in 2012 will come.  When humans come face to face with the disaster in 2012, what can humans do?

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