When tremor hits, femininity shines

July 8th, 2008 - 9:52 am ICT by IANS  

By Zhan Yan
Beijing, July 8 (Xinhua) When William Shakespeare wrote “frailty, thy name is woman,” he may have no idea what women could do at times of extreme adversity. As the 8.0-magnitude earthquake rocked southwest China’s Sichuan province May 12, it let out not only the devastating power from the depth of the earth, but also the incredible strength within women.

A two-month-old girl baby was found on the day of the quake under the ruins in Longwan village in Beichuan county. She survived because she was shielded by her mother, who died protecting her.

The mother’s body was found in kneeling position, with the right hand pressed to the ground and the left holding the baby tightly. A thick roof beam lay across her back. The baby was found crying in the safe space formed by her mother’s curved body.

The mother had undergone enormous pain while giving birth two months earlier.

She chose a natural delivery rather than the less painful Caesarean. “It’s for our baby’s health,” Huang Lingli told her husband Mu Jianfeng.

She fainted several times during the 25-hour delivery. During labour, her husband repeatedly asked her to have a Caesarean section, but she refused: “I won’t give up. I want our baby to be as healthy as possible.”

“Marriage and child-bearing, the two most important things in a woman’s life. I’ve done both and good days always follow,” the husband recalled her saying.

However, she only spent two months with her baby Mu Qianqi.

In the eyes of her husband, the woman seemed to have boundless energy. She was busy all day, caring for the baby, cooking, working the farmland and tending other family members.

The husband worked in Shanghai, thousands of miles away, earning money for the family.

“Our daughter laughed in her sleep and woke up giggling,” said her last text message to her husband.

The man said he would keep this message in his phone for the rest of his life, and would show it to the daughter when she is old enough to understand.

Though they have suffered both at the quake zone and on the home front, women in Sichuan have helped to inspire and give hope to those around them with their strength and love.

Li Diyan never expected her husband to carry her photo every day, because after two decades of marriage, she knew he was just not the romantic type.

“I thought he knew nothing about romance. He never told me ‘I love you’ in all those years,” Li says. When she knew she was wrong, it was too late.

One month before his scheduled retirement, Colonel Qiu Guanghua was killed in action — his helicopter crashed while carrying a dozen trapped and injured villagers from the remote mountains.

Collecting his belongings, rescuers recovered from the pocket of his shirt an old yellowing photo - his wife’s.

The helicopter disappeared in bad weather in the cloudy mountains. It was found after a 10-day search.

She has set up a memorial hall at their home. She pours two cups of liquor before his photo every night, toying with her jade necklace pendant. It was a token of betrothal from him. The photo shows another hangs round his neck.

“Mum, you gave me life, but I am sorry I can’t sustain yours. How I wish I could be your mother if there were afterlife, then I could take better care of you,” wrote Li Jia, 26, on the blog dedicated to her mother, who died in the earthquake.

Li Jia, an art editor of an advertising company in Chengdu, was having on-line chat with her mother, who worked in Beichuan county, when the tremor struck. Her mother went suddenly off-line and couldn’t be reached on her mobile.

Finally, word came that her mother’s workplace was flattened during the quake and her body couldn’t be found. Li Jia couldn’t believe that her meeting with Mum May 1 when they danced together to celebrate the Labor Day was their last.

Memories haunted Li Jia and she decided to open a blog on May 26 for her mother. She wrote that she met her mum every day in her dreams and hoped to see her often in this way. She regretted she could never tell her mother ‘I love you’ because she was too shy.

She promised to her mother she would be strong and happy as mom always wanted to see her.

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