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毕业典礼上的悲伤

已有 4692 次阅读 2008-5-23 09:37 |个人分类:英语交流|系统分类:海外观察

        每年五月的中旬,康乃尔大学都要举行毕业典礼,今年的典礼对中国留学生来说不同寻常!众多的中国留学生中,有些就来自5.12地震灾区,他们在焦虑中迎来毕业典礼,对灾区亲人的牵挂冲淡了他们顺利获得世界名校文凭的喜悦!

 Sorrow at graduation for Chinese students who watched quake's destruction By George Lowery

May 21, 2008

    When Cornell students graduate on Sunday, Chinese and Chinese-American students will also have their minds on events thousands of miles away. Over agonizing days, two of them, doctoral candidate Leon Chen and senior Mimi Yang, scrambled for news of loved ones following the May 12 earthquake that struck Sichuan province in southwest China.

News from Internet sites provided valuable information, but e-mail and cell phones initially failed them.

Cornell has many Chinese-American students and 462 students from mainland China itself. Among them is Chen, who this year earned his Ph.D. in financial engineering. He first saw mention of the disaster on The New York Times Web site and immediately tried to reach his parents in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, where he lived until he was 18 years old.

"I called my parents, and they didn't pick up the phone," Chen said, seven days after the first quake. "I kept on calling their cell phone but ... cell phone service was suspended. I called many times and finally got them. They said they were safe and staying in their car. I was relieved."

 

Chengdu native Leon Chen said he was relieved to finally reach his family by phone after nearly a week of calling.

By May 20 the Sichuan death toll had risen to more than 40,000 with almost a quarter-million people injured. The massive quake's epicenter was 50 miles northwest of Chengdu, a city of 11 million. When Chen's parents felt their high-rise apartment building sway, they ran for the street.

"They drove to a suburb where there were not that many tall buildings and stayed overnight there in the car," Chen said. "Many people in Chengdu slept outside for three days." His parents have returned home, but he still cannot reach at least one friend. "I'm still trying," he said.

Yang, who has majored in economics and mathematics, received an e-mail from her mother, who moved to the United States from Sichuan when Yang was 7. "[My mom] said she was trying to contact people back in Sichuan without any luck," said Yang, noting that most of her relatives still live in the province. "I searched the news online and realized that [the earthquake] had hit my hometown, Shifang. It was heartbreaking to read the statistics of the casualties. ... After a few days ... we finally got in touch with [relatives in Sichuan] -- it was a big relief."

 

Mimi Yang, speaking at the May 16 Sage Chapel vigil, shows slides illustrating the Sichuan earthquake's devastation.

Many of Yang's family live in Shifang, a city of 430,000. "Luckily, a lot of my relatives live downtown, which wasn't as badly affected as the villages outside the city," Yang said. "Everyone was okay. ... [though] it's still a mess downtown. A lot of the people in the villages were brought in to live in shelters that have been set up throughout the city."

Yang will leave for Chengdu on Memorial Day, the day after she graduates from Cornell. "They're not letting non-rescue people into Shifang, so I'm going to stay in Chengdu until I can find a way into Shifang," she said. "The rescue efforts are the most important thing. A lot of people don't realize how hard it is to reach some of the places that need help the most. In some of the villages outside Shifang, you still can't get there, even by foot ...

"Landslides have trapped some of the rescue workers," she said. "I'm definitely going to do whatever I can, especially if I have to wait in Chengdu for a while." Yang said a number of Cornell students also plan to return to China this summer to lend assistance.

For Chen, who is still calling his parents in Chengdu twice a day, the outpouring of support on campus and from nations around the world has been inspiring. "I have never seen such a thing happening in China before. People are donating for the first time, and I think it's great that people from China and all over the world are working together to rescue people."

Yang, too, appreciates the support. "I was really touched by the amount of people that came [to the campus May 13 vigil], especially because it was the end of the school year. And by the amount of people who, even though they might not know people there, were willing to help. It's very overwhelming that even the tiniest countries are pledging support for China right now."

(王鹰  2008-5-23 Adopted from Cornell website)

 







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