Science, Tech & Environment

Cultural expressions of grief

China's state run TV broadcast a special last night to mourn the victims of the quake and it included a musical tribute from Chinese pop stars. That sort of musical catharsis is something Americans are familiar with. It happened here after 9/11. A month after the 2001 attacks, stars assembled to play music and help the public outlet their grief. But the Chinese show went somewhere American events of that kind don't�a young earthquake survivor was introduced and she spoke and said, if my parents are still alive, I will take care of them. Then the girl's father was found and contact was made between the daughter and the father. That sort of scene might come across as distasteful in the US, but it's ok in China. He says China's sensibilities are in contrast to that of Japan, where people are more reserved, reflective and that has existed for centuries. He says in Japan you wouldn't see those kinds of public expressions of grief and instead charity operates at the local, family level. A 1995 earthquake in Japan shook those traditional values and many felt the government response was inadequate at the time. Myanmar is taking a different approach and Burma is using their TV messages to broadcast defensive messages.

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