88 Days: Portents (Listen to the Suckhole)

I have no luck at all with earthquakes. Philadelphia is a stubbornly immobile city and has been since the Jurassic or so, my brief time in San Francisco wasn’t spiced up by even the faintest tremor, and when a small earthquake hit Beijing a couple of years ago, I slept straight through it.

I was awake for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit northwest of Chengdu today, and was on the phone at the time with a couple of people who, unlike me, work in tall buildings. Around 2:40 or so, both of them broke off mid-sentence to ask if we felt the ground shaking. I didn’t feel a thing; they both got off the phone and left their buildings in a hurry. According to online contacts, there were evacuations all throughout Beijing’s business district; Imagethief twittered that everyone was “watching [the] CCTV tower nervously” — it certainly looks unstable enough at the best of times.

If we could feel it in Beijing, more than a thousand miles away from where it hit, I can’t imagine what it did at the epicenter. I’m sorry to say, though, that my first reaction was not to worry about the people of Sichuan. My first reaction was, roughly, “awesome!”
And then I thought, hang on a minute: we’ve got disease; we’ve got unrest in the border areas; we’ve now got massive natural disasters — historically, this is about the time that Mongols on horseback or religious fanatics in yellow turbans should be invading and bringing about the end of the dynasty.

And if that isn’t portent enough for you, Joel sent me a link to a news story about a pond in Hubei that knows what’s going down:

Enshi, Hubei: 80 Tons of Water Vanish Suddenly

In a village under Baiguo Township, Enshi City in Hubei province, the Guanyin Pond, several dozen meters deep and approximately 100 meters in diameter, had held water for years until the morning of April 26, when in less than five hours all of the water disappeared after a massive whirlpool appeared in the pond, accompanied by a loud rushing noise.

The pond water is now gone. Only black muck is left.

One villager walked down alone into where the pond had been and scooped up two fish weighing more than 10 kilograms apiece.

Villagers proclaimed it a ‘marvel,’ and waited for experts to explain the occurence.

According to the ‘Annals of Baiguo Township,’ this phenomenon has occurred three times since Liberation — in 1949, 1976, and 1989, respectively.

Note: 1949 is the year the People’s Republic of China was founded. Mao Zedong died in 1976, bringing the Cultural Revolution to an end. The Tian’anmen Square protests took place in the summer of 1989.

Dynastic change, baby. Don’t believe me? Ask the suckhole.

Update: Via Shanghaiist, the Red Cross Society of China is now calling for donations to aid efforts in Wenchuan County.

Account name: Red Cross Society of China

For those who want to donate in RMB: you can send money to the RMB account at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China branch below:
人民币开户行: 中国工商银行 北京分行东四南支行
人民币账号: 0200001009014413252

For those who want to donate in foreign currency, you can send money and earn bonus points if you use a credit card for it, to send the foreign currency account at the CITIC Bank branch below:
外币账号: 7112111482600000209

Hotline: (8610) 65139999
Online donations: Red Cross Society of China website: www.redcross.org.cn

Update 2, 5/13 4:56 PM: Stunning new proof that we are living in the End Times: Seal attempts sex with penguin.

Comments (5)

  1. John wrote::

    Heh… Look out, it doesn’t always turn out well for prophets of doom, either… :)

    Monday, May 12, 2008 at 11:12 pm #
  2. Elyse Ribbons wrote::

    I’ve already gotten 3 different Chinese text messages making similar statements… (insert eerie music here)

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:05 pm #
  3. sabrina wrote::

    i believe wise mind can distinguish haphazard and fate

    rumors usually stop where true wisdom lies

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 6:01 pm #
  4. sabrina wrote::

    也许你听过 “流言止于智者”……还想对你对中国正在经历的这场灾难的关心说声谢谢,相信在爱的指引下,一切苦难都会过去….

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm #
  5. tristv wrote::



    Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 6:50 pm #