My apologies - when I blogged this, I have no idea of the impact and fatalities involved. My heart goes out to the affected families. Let us pray for all those affected. I only found out the tragedies of lives lost after I blogged and PING at Petaling Street Project.
Penang island experienced a tremor today. In case you KL-ites do not know what a tremor is, it is the distant cousin of an earthquake. Sumatra island get earthquake, we get tremors. The feeling is like having drank far too many beers when things begin moving, doors creak, furniture swaying. It happened before but this morning, 26th December 2004 is by far the longest and most obvious.
My usual morning wake up time is 11.30 am but I decided to be extra holy and woke up at almost 9am. Toddler stirred and thrashed in bed, indicating he wanted breakfast in bed. The man I had been married to for 16 years was playing a game of 'rock, scissor and knife'(one-two-som) with me on who should go to the kitchen to prepare 'breakfast' for our kid. But since I decided to be extra holy and listen to St. Paul's word of 'Wives, submit to your husbands....", I obediently went to the kitchen. (hey, I ran a breastfeeding support group so I have obligations not to say 'i went to the kitchen to make a bottle of milk using a plastic bottle with silicon teats and use milk that comes from cow with ABC brand which is enriched with calcium and iron and fortified with DHA).
When I went back to the bedroom, I heard the door creaking. You know? When you humped too hard, the bed creaked like that? *eeek, eakkk,eeek,eakkk* I thought it was the wind and keep staring around, wondering why the curtains aren't flying. That man I married to for 16 years was semi-awake. And in that few moments, I realised that it is an EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!
But you know what that man asked? "Was it you?"
And I go huh? "Me?"
Things started to get wobbly and the siren we had in our apartment units started screaming. We have a siren which the guards will activate when flood waters get high. Neighbours are already shouting for people to go down to the open. (Yeah, yeah, Penang is prone to floods. Bad state administration.) So, I scooped up my toddler, minus wearing contact lenses or spectacles (and something else but cannot mention here) and went to my other kids' room. My man has to change his sarung into a shorts so he doesn't have the agility like me. SUrely he cannot run out of our apartment in sarung mah. What if it dropped while rushing down the staircase? And cause some auntie to die of heart attack? Or some SYT or even severals SYTs scampering for him instead? I can't afford to fight with several SYTs over one man, can I?
Now, when I think back, I think I make a good SWAT member (you know? those all black special weapon team). I scooped up my toddler while he held on to the only food source available (chey.. my McBoobies dried up already, I am referring to the bottle of cow's milk), I went to the kids room. Left leg kicked my eldest son's ass. Right leg kicked my #3 son's ass and one spare left hand smacked my #2 son's ass who is sleeping on the upper level of the double decker. And screamed "Earthquake liao, quickly run!!!"
Wah... I managed to get them to jump out of bed so easily. Usually, nothing can wakes them up, not even 'house on fire' threats. This woman who is dressed in a FILA t-shirt with a huge embossed F I L A (thank goodness!) across the chest and a shorts, continued on in her 'survival mode'. Grabbed the keys, open the door, started rushing down from the 3rd floor of our apartment with my toddler in hand and my #3 son following. And the rest of the men? Chey... they needed to wear shirt, have to go another room and find the shirt, change shorts etc etc. Wasted precious minutes which can determine between life and death. Men... they are like that wan....
All our neighbours were rushing down the stair case and it was really, really chiqik/exciting/gempak. My immediate neighbour just had a newborn and was in a state of panic. Poor woman. Don't laugh, ok? The whole situation at that time was really worrying because the tremors went on for more than a minute. And with the flood siren that is going on, I thought our 5-storey apartment units are going to rubbles. Chey.. it did not happened. Otherwise, I can test my skills like saving lives.
So? We were finally on the ground, out in the open. And yikes, I can't see my neighbours' faces because I am long and short sighted all in one. My hairs were standing and I got killer's breath. And the only 'protection' I had at that time was a toddler to 'cover' me up. As an afterthought, thank goodness, I can't see. Or else, I may have noticed a few DOMs trying to spell F I L A. Anyway, all the DOMs were boasting that this is by far the longest and worst tremors.
Now, that's not the end of the story. I have vengeance on my mind. I had been mistaken for a herd of elephants. Only a herd of elephants can make tremors like that. And my man thought I caused the tremors by just walking into the bedroom. Wait till he get the herd of elephants on top of him.
Did I manage to make it to church (at 10am)? Yeap, all the more I should go and thank God. I thanked God I wasn't in the toilet bathing at that time. Or I was wearing my 'ventilated' batik nightdress. Nay, just joking....I really do thanked God that our country is free from natural disasters and prayed that there really isn't any major earthquake around the region.
I met Peter in church (around 11.30 am, after mass) and was excited to hear his version. But I suppose his area doesn't have the same impact or he is less of a SWAT/survival mode person like me. Laugh all you want with my over 'kan-cheongness' (excitement) but when you are a mother with so many little children lives in your care, your maternal, protective instinct jumped in. Bra or braless, it doesn't matter. Who cares if your neighbours see your 'just jumped out of bed' look. Safety first.
And the true story from The Star and another one.