My previous trip to Taiwan was in 2012. And, last Thursday, I flew to Taiwan for a 7-day holiday, and got back yesterday morning.
As it turned out, the day I arrived in Taiwan, I narrowly avoided the airport flooding incident. I only found out that the airport was flooded by rainwater after I had safely checked in to my hotel.
My first sightseeing destination was in Hualien, and I spent barely 3 days there. After I had left for Taichung and Taipei, it was reported that an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 had struck.
Then, to conclude my trip, it appears that I was very likely on the same train as the murderer who stabbed commuters on the train traveling between Longshan Temple station and Jiangzicui station. I had alighted at Longshan Temple station just before he commenced that senseless killing. Cheng Chieh, aged 21, managed to stab 4 passengers to death and injured over 20 others.
Some reports state that Cheng started his massacre at 4.25pm. I have a photo of me eating meesua at 4.39pm, after alighting from the train at Longshan Temple, and walking to the stall. It was a truly close shave.
Grateful to be alive
Just reflecting on this one trip alone has made me realized how fragile life is, and how I could have been injured on any one of these occasions.
I may not be able to ‘see’ my guardian angel but I’m quite sure he’s there. How else could I have so narrowly avoided these ‘calamities’?
My conclusion is that my mission on earth has not been completed yet; my time’s not up yet. So I have to make every day count, help more people, do more good.
Will I return to Taiwan?
Right now, my answer will be ‘no’. It’s just way too scary there at the moment. If you don’t already know, there have been Facebook pages set up in support of, and idolizing, Cheng the MRT slasher! Like, are you kidding me?!
If you insist on traveling to Taiwan, do keep updated regarding the online threats of similar metro stabbings. This incident might spark off copycat killings, so try to stay safe. Avoid Taiwan in May next year, and on the anniversaries of Cheng’s death (I’m assuming he’ll get the death penalty).
The yummiest meesua and pineapple cakes are not going to draw me back to Taiwan for a while.
The burden of parenthood
Cheng’s parents have produced a written apology: http://www.ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/2014/05/23/a1111450.html
I believe it’s pointless for them to say anything now. If only…
I would like to urge parents to pay close attention to the kind of computer games your kids are constantly playing. Cheng was a fan of violent games, and look where it got him and many others?
Sure, we cannot stop our children from playing games they enjoy. But we should engage them in other activities, such as volunteer work, nature walks, etc.
Stay safe, folks. And always buy travel insurance!