Different Views on Typhoon

Just get back from a business trip. Sorry that I was not able to catch up the blog and didn’t find a chance to post an OOB – it is among the longest break in blogging recently.

When I am on the bus back from Hangzhou to Shanghai, I finally find several minutes to use my Dopod 515 to check out the comments on my site and noticed annick and Angela were pretty upset about my comment to Typhoon: “But it’s first time that I learnt that somebody quote Typhoon as pleasant experience.” and “It is really disappointed to know you enjoy the Typhoon so much”. I also noticed a lot of my frequent reader made comments after it.

I can understand Annick and Angela’s upset. Typhoon is typically very bad thing. But meanwhile, several books, including the Art of Travel, taught me how importantly to see the world in different views – switching between point of views makes people happier. Sometimes, lack of local information blocks understanding and cause misunderstanding.

Many People in Shanghai Loves Typhoon

Many things have many different aspects. When we read about Typhoon, we only read about the area hit by typhoon. So the general image for typhoon is bad, very bad – killing people and destroy houses. But Shanghai is in a lucky position that every time typhoon hits, it will only pass Shanghai on the sea instead of landing on Shanghai. Since there will be several typhoon every summer, we will see typhoon as part of the summer season, just like the two continuous raining months.

When I first arrived in Shanghai in 1995, people told me typhoon is coming. I was so frightened, and soon got very confused that many people are so happy about it. I asked why and people explained the story 10 years ago to me, a new comer: Typhoon mainly brings cold air without causing too much trouble every year. When people feel too hot, and when Typhoon alarm comes, they know it will cooler soon.

Typhoon Does Cause Too Much Trouble For ME

Life is fill of happiness and sadness. Our attitude toward it does not prevent Typhoon from coming but greatly affects how happy we are. When Typhoon hit Zhejiang province, it caused a lot of trouble, but people their just take it as the routine – every year, just like people use Air conditioning to fight against summer and heater for winter, they have their own way to protect their home. Typhoon also went the long way to Beijing, which is 1400 km north, and it only turned out to be small rain. The same typhoon is not the same for lives in different cities. It means different even in people in the same city.

Just like someone pointed my nose and say: Hey, why not distroy your car? I ask why? They say: It killed millions of people world wide already. I said: But it is not THIS car. The typhoon in this city that I described is not the typhoon which killed people.

My Life, My City

As part of the mission of this blog, I just want to describe honestly about my life, and small things around me. The smallest part matters most for future visitors and people who are thinking about relocation to Shanghai. Most of the things I am even not aware of. Just like I completely forget the surprise I experienced 10 years ago when I first hear someone say they love typhoon, I didn’t expect this sentence will cause argument. But this is the most interesting thing.

When people talk about something, they tend to image it in the way they are used to, and from an angle from where they stand. However, the real situation may be different people who live with it. For example, people in America get upset about a lot of things they heard about China, for example, the one child policy, thinking “OMG. How can it be possible?” Actually, the real fact is different. Only by living on this land for some time and also taking history into account can we make a better judgement. That is a strong reason that keeps me writing for this blog – smallest thing like attitude toward typhoon can help a lot for cross-country understanding. Understanding is the most critical to world peace, as I always believe in.

P.S. Carroll, so nice to hear from you again. I want to add additional thank you for hosting me in SFO when I visited. I always think I should put it again somewhere on my blog again since it was so nice experience for me.

25 thoughts on “Different Views on Typhoon

  1. When the city dwellers built strong shelters and sewage in defence of all weather, of course, typhood is treated as a relief of the hot weather and blessing from above.

    Where in rural area, farmers’ yearly harvest can be destroyed overnight by strong wind and deluge, of course, typhood is a fearful monster.

    The love and hate of the typhood depends very much where you live.


  2. Jian Shuo, I’ve been reading faithfully ever since you were here for that visit — just haven’t found much to add to any of the recent topics until this one.

    As you know, your quest to make the world a better place by conducting open and honest discussions about things like this is a big part of what I love most about your blog. I feel sure that you have opened many eyes and hearts to a different way of looking at things. And yes, I too believe that understanding between people with differences is crucial to world peace.

    The fact that you were unafraid to come back and continue the discussion, explain your perspective, and welcome the dialogue that was stimulated by people’s differing perceptions of what you originally wrote, is the reason I wish you (or, since I really would not wish this on someone I love, maybe someone just like you) could be selected as President of the World!

    And of course you know how mutual the pleasure was during our time together when you were here. But, next time I promise not to feed you quite so much “rabbit food”! :-)

  3. “The love and hate of the typhood depends very much where you live.”

    Well, the where-you-live should also include geography, and luck. Typhoon is highly discriminating, only spots in its central (and hard to predict) path during its most intense periods would be most severely demaged. Some cities are located such that they simply will be less prone to direct hits by typhoons. Then, more importantly, it also depends on your attitude towards things. Some people after (or even before) a ntual dissaster’s hit would cry, 完了(wan2-le)! I’m over, the world has come to an end, even if the demage is not so big! Others would say, all well, so everything is destroy, so what, it will be a new beginning!

  4. A typhoon’s path could be narrow or broad, linear or curved. Typhoon also has different levels of intensity, which change from hour to hour. Its effects would thus be vastly variable.

  5. It’s just my little sympathy to the people who suffered from the storm, and that has nothing to do with political…. And until now, I still don’t believe you could describe it as pleasant (only if you try to pretend some extend of positive or maybe childishness) since I know it caused problem in many aspects.

    I do believe the sincerity of this website. However, might be due to lack of sense of humor, the statement such as ‘I wish you (or, since I really would not wish this on someone I love, maybe someone just like you) could be selected as President of the World!’ tastes bit sour to me.

  6. Don’t forget people still go to south east Asia for vacation even after Tsunami, and what we read during that horrible period?

  7. I was very moved by Jianshuo’s entry today – I really like his attitude. I understand his being positive.

    From my recent readings, I learned if more people talk about disasters, wars, and any bad things, more bad things could happen because they could be created by these people’s thoughts. Since human’s thoughts are powerful energy, if all this energy get together and vibrate on the same level, it could create exetremely powerful energy and come back to us (which are all those bad things that people have been talking about and felt compassion for).

    So if more people remain positive and send out positive energy, the universe will remain positive and our lives will be easier with fewer disasters,wars etc.

    Human mind is so powerful and it can create anything. So we’d better use it properly and use it to our benefit.

  8. Hey Jian Shuo,

    I thought of your job when hearing that Yahoo! bought a 40% stake in alibaba as expected today. Just wondered what you thought this meant for ebay in China, and consequently you.

  9. I live in Shanghai and I was there during the typhoon, and for me it was a pleasant experience. AirCon shutt off because the temperature was OK outside, and a cosy week-end inside my flat, while looking from time to time through the windows to see the rain falling in the wind. I’m sorry if some people can’t understand that this experience is pleasant. And no, the death of some people, even in Shanghai, didn’t affect this personal experience.

    Likewise, to the commenters who do not understand, I hope you don’t feel too bad using a computer, given the tons of purified water and refined oil it took to build, and the cancers that the children, who sniff the burning plastics to see if they can be recycled, are going to endure.

  10. As for a resident living in the interior of China,I’ve never experienced a typhoon,what I know about storim is all from TV,magzines,etc,it is indeed that the damages and casulties caused by typhoon are terrible,however,frankly,the situation in shanghai where Jianshuo lives is quite different from those places where suffer terrible typhoon disasters,they are 2 different conditions and consequences.

  11. Alexlee,

    You brought up an interesting point. The TV reports vs. grassroots accounts from people who actually live there.

    TV and magazines and all other media are in the NEWS business. They strive for sensational events or the sensational aspects of an event. If there are killings, death, destruction, injustice, etc., the news reporters and editors get on them like a cat catches on to fish. Events that end up being normal, pleasant, uneventful, or satisfying will never get noticed by the media. The direct hit areas by this typhoon got covered by reporters, Shanghai might have gotten very little (probably a lot of reports before the typhoon on preparations but none after it). From Jian Shuo’s post we get a sample of personal, truthful accounts from Shanghai.

    Imagine two TV reporters. One writes, typhoon only brought Shanghai rainstorms and street water and many people actually feel kinda pleasant. The other reporter writes: typhoon hit Shanghai hard, many people – four – got killed, streets are flooded, nobody can be seen outside, Shanghai is virtually shut down (or is he talking about all Air Cons shut down?). The first reporter’s piece will never make it to the TV screen. If I were a good, responsible editor, I would question which report described the truth. But if I were a mediocre or a greedy editor, guess what, I would of course choose the second guy’s bleak report, thus starting a vicious circle of media frenzy, in another word, lies. I salute Jian Shuo for painting the typhoon picture from his personal experience and telling his true feelings.

  12. exactly, that’s the different between personal blogs and newspapers.

    Newspaper and TV write news dramatically.

  13. bigbro,

    I agree with you that most news media like to exaggerate the event so it can draw more attention and sell the story at higher price, after all, these are the bread and butter of the news workers.

    Often the media have to “make” news to stay afloat as the “truth” is always boring.

    It is same with the news media all over the world and that is why news media are losing credibility over years.


  14. 9/11/2001 morning, I was interning in a big corporation in chicago area. people (mostly americans of course) were so excited watching the burning world trade centers on live tv coverage. at some point a young white guy came ‘pleasantly’ to tell me ‘it was collapsed and was so powerful’.

    well i dont think they are unpatriotic – instead a human nature of knowing ‘something is going on’ …

  15. Here in America, a lot of people watch Weather Channel very faithfully (or you can say a pastime) whenever there is something big happening, like hurricane or tornado, even though they are still hundreds of miles away from being affected. One of my former roommates could indeed sit there studying the satellite map for like an hour. I don’t necessarily think they should be criticized just for not showing any anguish. This world has become overly obsessed with political correctness.

    Looks that the word “livejournal” is blocked. Hmm…

  16. Different people from different cultures at different time may have different views on one same thing. For example, typhoon in my city is just as normal as a raining day. But for those who live in the north-west China may never have an experience on typhoon in their whole life. This is the same on the earthquakes in Japan. When I first experienced an earthquake last October, I though the whole building was going to collapse. But all the other Japanese students were staying in their room playing PS2. I asked them don’t you afraid? They said they had got used to it. That earthquake was just level 3. Image if that happen in some other city like my hometown or Durham, I guess the whole city will be totally under chaos!

    Trackback on : http://www.richardhong.com/en/p/A_topic_on_Typhoon.php

  17. “Our attitude toward it does not prevent Typhoon from coming but greatly affects how happy we are.” I agree with this, but i believe our action does help to minimum the destroy from typhoon. I think it is worthy of spending time on helping those who need help from typhoon instead of sharing or arguing attitude on typhoon…

    Again, I need to state it doesn’t matter with political…Again, i hope jianshuo or jianshuo fans could understand, just as what jianshuo has posted , what i have posted here also presents personal attitude.

  18. I was here in Shanghai during the typhoon. I’ve never been through one. It was quite scary–not at all pleasant. Growing up in the Bay Area and having gone through several major earthquakes, I’m NOT use to the duration of hurricanes or tornadoes. Earthquakes last for a minute at most. All these other natural diasters last a long time. I didn’t appreciate the howling winds all night long and the continuous deafening thunder. I know Shanghai didn’t feel the true impact of Matsu, but for me personally, it was scary enough. I really don’t want to experience that again.

    Angela and Annick: you two are way too sensitive. Chill out! 7 people dead of Typhoon Matsu is nothing. I gaurantee more than 7 people die naturally in Shanghai each and every day.

    Life and death go hand in hand–like Ying and Yang. If people don’t die, the world will over populate. And China of all places needs to dramatically reduce population, not increase it.

  19. I guess the Shanghainese are somewhat similar to many Floridians who have experienced many powerful tropical storms and hurricanes lately. They just kind of take them in stride and hope that the next one passes them by. I don’t know any Floridians who have packed up and left.

  20. and I don’t know of any Midwestern who has packed up and left the Midwest because of a killer tornado. they’re viewed as a risk of living. big deal. that’s mother nature.

  21. where do you think typhoon gets it energy?And why did it happen to your city instead there were so many places that where it must happen?

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