Nature

People (foreground) swim in the swollen Yangtze River as the roof of an inundated pavilion is seen above floodwaters in Wuhan, Hubei, on 8 July 2020. (STR/AFP)

Floods in China: Can the Three Gorges Dam weather ‘once-in-a-century massive floods in the Yangtze River’?

Close to 20 million people across 26 provinces and cities in the areas spanning China’s southwestern region to the midstream and downstream areas of the Yangtze River have been displaced due to severe flooding over the past few weeks. The Three Gorges Dam has long been held up as a bulwark against such massive floods in the area, but recent signs that it is literally buckling under the pressure cast doubts on its ability to be an effective flood control mechanism.
Barringtonia racemosa flowers. (Facebook/蔣勳)

What I Ching and the mangrove tree flowers tell us about life

Chiang Hsun contemplates the transience of life as he observes the fleeting lifespan of mangrove tree flowers found along the riverbanks of Southeast Asia, southern China and elsewhere. Every flower has its own place and purpose, but like life, its brilliance is extinguished all too fast. How can one discern the meaning of life then? Perhaps the three-thousand-year-old book of I Ching offers us some clues.
The Statue of Liberty in Paris, during a winter flood. Humans have always struggled to master nature. (iStock)

From humility to arrogance: A fight with nature is a fight with ourselves

Zoonotic viruses will continue to plague humankind if man continues recklessly destroying the environment and natural habitats in the name of development. If there is any lesson to be learnt from the Covid-19 outbreak, Zheng Yongnian says, it is that humans, both in the East and West, need to learn how to be at one with nature, rather than seek to subdue or triumph over nature for their own ends.
A Buddhist follower wearing a face mask prays under rows of lotus lanterns ahead of Buddha's birthday at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul on 23 March 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

Taiwan author Chiang Hsun: One humanity, one world

Officials at the Taiwan district office have been calling quarantined individuals every day to check how they are doing. A beneficiary of such acts of duty and kindness, acclaimed Taiwan author and art historian Chiang Hsun feels immensely thankful. He reminds himself that no one should feel lucky facing the pandemic, and all this is but part of the pains and sorrows felt by all sentient beings under this universe.