Apocalypse Here and Now

Sunday, December 26, 2004
If you've been paying any attention to the news lately, then you know that South-east Asia has been hit by one of the worst natural disasters in modern history.

I happen to live in the geographical heart of South-east Asia: Singapore. But besides a few early morning tremos, the tiny city-state was largely spared from the terrific earth-quake and subsequent tidal waves that wrecked destruction across the surrounding region.

My concern today lies in the Maldives, a group of thousands of tiny islands located off the tip of India. My family has holidayed in the tropical paradise every year for the past four years; and during our visits we've become close friends with a number of people who live there.

When the tsumanis struck, the tourist season was at its peak. Since the Maldives is situated at sea level, it is likely that many of the islands, along with hundreds of crowded, high-end resorts, were submerged and wiped away by the monster-sized waves that swept across the Indian Ocean -- although we can't know for sure what's happened, since communications are down.

The disaster has left me shaken and sad. It was only yesterday that I was wishing I was in the Maldives, relaxing on one of its magnificent white beaches. Today, I can't imagine myself going back.

My prayers are with the Maldivian people, and all the unfortunate souls who have fallen victim to the terrible wrath of Mother Nature.