In different languages over the globe, there are various ways to describe the reactions of human beings in the face of difficulties and extreme trials. In Chinese, we often use 稳如泰山 to describe the cool-headed calmness and steadfastness of a person in the face of troubles and challenges, just like the majestic Mount Tai (Tai Shan), standing high into the sky.
The key character in this idiom is 稳-calm, steady, still, firm, proper. When we close our eyes to draw an image of this character in our head, a big mountain standing out of the ground and oceans would best describe its stillness and calmness. But, if we pay a closer look at this character, we will find, half of this 稳 is a simple character 急, which means fast, urgent, rapid, and also with an extended meaning of worry.
If we say history is a mirror in reflecting the reality, then this character 稳 is a good reflection of the scientific and philosophical nature of Chinese character culture and history.
Last week, the flood in the Hunan Zhengzhou provided us the best demonstrations of what 稳 could mean in our reality.
There are tons of photos and videos online spreading the horrible flood and how people react to this disaster: The equivalent of a year's worth of rain fell in just 3 days in Zhengzhou, with 1/3 of them within one hour.
It would be a common-sense that we worry about the damage such kind of natural disasters brings and we worry about people in the center of it. But what brought down my heartbeat rate were stories that described this 稳. Among countless stories and silent heroes, here are two small ones:
The first is shown in the left-up corner photo: a student stood in the flood, like a peg hammered into the ground, holding a bicycle, next to an underground drain to let the water flow away, but not to let passing vehicles fall into the underground drain.
Another one is captured in the right-down corner photo: Young people who got off work were trapped in the subway by the flood, and everyone stood in the carriage in an orderly and calm manner.
Did their hearts beat faster, more rapid, with a sense of urgency? Or, with the worries of their safeties? It was not a rehearsal of a play or a game, but it was their lives that were in danger.
But, although our hearts beat faster and more rapid for them with our worries, we feel so calm when we realize that our new generation and young people can stand steady like a mountain in crisis and disasters.
As, they are the strongest force for our better future.