As I walked out of my dorm, I glanced at the deep blue skies decorated with few clouds hanging freely being shoved around by the wind almost in a playful manner.  I gave up on the thought of living as a cloud as I saw them struggling to survive due to the tenacious sun mercilessly casting its rays on them. I took a deep breath and was suddenly surprised by its freshness and texture. Yes, freshness! In a city like Hsinchu where the air pollution dominates year round having fresh air is almost impossible. The possibility that I have adapted to the city and that indeed it was just less industrial smokey fog lingering in the city caught me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every step towards my lab convinced that it was going to be a beautiful productive day.

The old colored boxed room suddenly made me forget what a nice day it was outside as I became enslaved by my data mining project. I lost the notion of time reading, coding and predicting patterns of online shoppers. The project has grown increasingly complex with pressure mounting specially trying to keep above the average expert in the Kaggle competition. Without any warning the alarm went off! A loud warning in Mandarin kept repeating forcing students stepped out of their labs. I soon learned that it was merely a regular fire drill. Everyone got back into their respective labs but still unable to get back into the same momentum before being rudely interrupted.

Mockingly, the building started to swing slowly and suddenly turned into aggressive shunts. I was convinced that it was an earthquake. I became fully aware I was in 7th floor yet I felt safe. Without any alarms or anyone rushing outside students continued watching videos, reading, coding, playing games. It seems everyone had adapted to earthquakes and accepted them as part of their life.

Coming from a region where an earthquake causes skyscrapers to collapse and entire cities to be devastated, I soon started to receive calls from relatives and friends asking about my well-being. To their relief I was fine. Despite news reporting an earthquake of 6.5 no damages were reported and most importantly no lives were lost. What had started as a nice calm day had turned into nature giving us a wake up call.

It is indeed pleasing to know that Taiwan is one of the most safe places in the world. In Central America an earthquake of 5.0 causes devastating catastrophes taking hundreds of lives, eroded mountains taking entire villages by surprise among other irreversible effects. Fortunately, for the most part, Taiwan has top of the line technology with well defined regulations for engineering and manufacturing. I consider it Taiwan an exemplary country in terms of security and development that is worth scrutinizing to implement similar systems in our developing countries. I am sure that with better regulations, improved manufacturing and engineering technology developing countries would suffer less losses due to natural catastrophes.