There is no equivalent to Chinese New Year in the west, that I know of anyway. It’s big. I’ve been busy getting ready for it, because we’re going on a trip.
However, I’m also silenced in the face of a humanitarian crisis of grave proportions across southeastern China. Keep those affected in your prayers.
I understand that trains have resumed running roughly normally in Guangzhou at least, but as of about noon today there were still 200,000 people stranded, waiting in cold weather to get on the trains to return to their family homes for Chinese New Year. People wonder, why do they wait out in the cold and rain? It’s not just because this is what they live for, working sometimes thirty days per month for a year and sending the money home to their families. In many cases, the factory dormitories where they live, sleeping in shifts, are closed. They have no other place to go.
And they have been waiting outside, in a bitterly cold, drizzly rain. Thank goodness the sun appeared and the sky was clear today. The official report is that 60 people have died as a result of the weather, but I can’t help but think in actuality there must be many more. The sight of crops frozen over in normally verdant fields has also been troubling: I fear this may affect the coming year’s food supply.
Fortunately, the Chinese are a fundamentally kind and resourceful people who will overcome adversity. I’m sure there will be a way through this. Local charities are brimming with donations of aid, and workers are volunteering to assist. That glimmer of hope and kindness is a nice silver lining in the cloud of this adversity.