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It has been a terrifying ordeal.

I am drained physically, emotionally and mentally.

When the quake hit, I was 5 floors up, in a building right at the heart of Christchurch.

It started as any normal aftershock would, with the familiar roaring sound of the very earth moving beneath us. After 2 seconds I realised it was no normal aftershock, as the familiar rumbling turned to violent shaking. 

I was thrown off my feet, and landed on my knees. Computer monitors toppled everywhere. The shaking seemed to engulf the world, and my mind almost went blank. I remember falling down. I remember clambering under a table with Bronwyn, my boss. I remember a short respite where as I slowly stood up, I looked out the window and all I saw was smoke and dust, like a bomb had gone off in the middle of the city.

My mind still had trouble trying to take everything in. Aftershocks I can take with relative ease... A full-on earthquake.. with me smack bang in the middle of it all... Now that's a totally different story.

I come to my senses as someone barges in through the door and calls everyone to evacuate the building.

We comply.

Everything is a haze as I step onto the street. People are wandering like lifeless shells, not knowing where to go, everyone's faces pale in shock of the enormity at what lay before them - utter devastation of what was a vibrant city just minutes before.

I call my wife, and breathe a sigh of relief as she tells me she and the children are OK, uninjured and taking refuge under the table. I am proud of them.

My mind tells me to find a place to take refuge, at least until the worst of the onslaught is over. I go to Victoria Square, a green patch in the middle of town, away from the collapsing structures around us.

People are everywhere. Some are crying. Some are comforting one another. Others make jokes, trying to lighten the mood, though nothing can take away to impending sense of danger that is running rampant on everybody's mind.

My heart jumps as the ground rumbles from below and I know that an aftershock is imminent.

The earth shakes and buildings start crumbling even more.

My eyes are wide with fear.

After half an hour, or it could have been 15 minutes or an hour.. time seemed to cease to exist and I felt like I was in a bubble that was distanced from reality.

I knew I had to make my way home.

So I got up, and waded through the liquefaction and sewage, my feet becoming wetter and and wetter, as the water gushed through the gaping hole in right shoe. I have no choice but to soldier on. I walk to my car... and as I walk beside the river Avon I see shattered windows and crumbled walls... until I see something that astounds my already battered senses - a high-rise building totally in ruins. I can't help but think about how many people were in the building when the earthquake hit.

I reach the car, and breathe a sigh of relief. Still intact, with all the surrounding cars crushed by bricks. My only task - clear a path through the rubble - by hand.

I do.

It takes me 2 hours to drive through the city, back home to my wife and children.

I reach home, and find them under the table.. safe and sound.

Pray for us.


It's good to see you're safe, it must be horrible to be in the middle of it all!!
Cat-in-Sydney said…
Oh dear! We heard about the quake but never thought it's very bad this time. So glad to know that you're OK. I always remember Christchurch as an elegant and beautiful city, so serene and peaceful. And I'd like to remember it as such. I pray for no more earthquakes. You take care, mate. purrrr....meow!
Jordan said…
Wow, glad you're ok man.
Gukita said…

That was one nasty experience you had there Bang, and I'm sure will make you all the wiser. The experence is immensely valuable.. You will have a living comparison of how they handle catastrophe there, how they take it, how they respond, how they comfort, how they mitigate the after effects....
Ailin Abdullah said…
Glad you are okay Lobo!

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The End

I am in a hotel room.

It is unclear who else is in the room. It must be my family. But I am uncertain. I know I am in the room with people I love.

The hotel room is in a building that towers above ground level, and we can see all the houses below.

I am in Hawaii I think. How I know that I do not know. All I know is that we are beside the ocean.

I feel unsettled as I look out the window. Something is compelling me to look outside the window. It is getting dark. But I know by right it should not be dark. It is midday. And then I see it.

In front of me a huge storm cloud is gathering. But I start to quiver because it looks like no ordinary storm. The clouds are pitch black. Black as death. My eyes follow their shape to where they originate. I gasp.

I see a gigantic water spout, a tornado in the ocean, funnelling its energy to the black cloud. The water spout is also pitch black. Rain now pours uncontrollably. It is a hurricane at its full blast, but not just that. It is much, much more.

Aku, Bini dan Ginger Beer

Aku haus...

Tekakku yang kering ini menginginkan rasanya yang menenangkan jiwa itu...

Perasaannya apabila ku menggenggam botol kacanya yang sejuk dan berwap-wap dan mengangkatnya keluar peti ais kecilku, perasaannya seperti seorang kanak-kanak Taman Keramat memegang aiskrim Malaysia 10sen pada hari yang panas membara...

Riang... Nikmat... Penantian yang menyiksakan, tetapi penantian yang lazat...

Dengan pergerakan yang perlahan seperti 'slow-motion' dalam sinetron Indonesia kegemaran surirumah-surirumah di Malaysia, muncung botol Ginger Beer kegemaranku mampir bibirku yang terketar-ketar sedikit, sehinggalah aku dapat rasa cecair yang sejuk membasahi tekakku...


Sedap tidak terperi...

Aku menghulurkan kepada biniku, dan dia juga meneguk kenikmatan...

Aku menadah tangan meminta kembali Ginger Beer kesayanganku yang berjenama Bundaberg buatan New Zealand.

Saat itu tidak tiba-tiba...

Aku tertanya-tanya... Mata terkebil-kebil...

"Ni saya punya ya Bang..." ujar …