MY First Earthquake Experience In Taiwan_Jevon Mckenzie_NTHU

Life in Taiwan has exposed me to various ‘first time experiences’. I’m currently in the 2nd and final year of my MBA program at National Tsing Hua University, and some of my experiences thus far have been filled with joy and happiness while others have been filled with horror and fright.  Ultimately, regardless of the polarity of my experiences in Taiwan, even when it was a horrifying earthquake, there was always a ‘life lesson’ to be learnt.


I am from the beautiful country of Belize, which is the only English Speaking in Central America. It is also the only country to be considered as both a part of Central America and the Caribbean. Belize is well known for its many tourist attractions, which among others include many Maya ruins and coral reefs; home of the most famous and enigmatic crystal skull (discovered in 1924), as well as home of the world’s largest living Barrier reef. There are various similarities between Belize and Taiwan. Both countries are very multicultural; therefore, personalities vary throughout the country. Belize is a Tropical country; therefore, the sub-tropical climate of Taiwan is similar to the climate of Belize during the summer. In contrast however, Belize does not get as cold as Taiwan does during the winter.

           Although we don’t have earthquakes in Belize, sometimes we feel the tremors when there is a big earthquake in one of our neighboring countries. Such occurrences are not frequent, maybe once every three or four years. Such occurrences are so rare that most people get excited when they experience it. Very few people in Belize truly understand and sensitize with the effects of earthquakes. There is this popular saying: “Who feels it knows it”. I believe that to fully understand the effects of an earthquake one would have to have had the experience of an earthquake or at least listen to stories from a close friend or family member. Most Belizeans have never had that experience.  I have never experienced a strong earthquake. Prior to coming to Taiwan I only experienced the tremors of an earthquake twice. Those experiences were fun and always became the joke of the next day. Since I came to Taiwan I have experienced numerous mild earthquakes. Prior to coming to Taiwan I wasn’t fond of watching international news; everything international seemed too farfetched. The only real earthquakes I ever saw were those in the movies, and I always considered those to be exaggerated images of streets cracking open and skyscrapers falling down. As opposed to those around me who have been exposed to strong earthquakes I had not; therefore, I still made fun of those mild earthquakes. It was not until I began to talk to the other students around me about the possible effects of earthquakes before I gave it serious thought. I heard various horrifying stories from various countries. It was at this moment that I became fearful of earthquakes.


The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that caused the buildings to fall in Tainan was felt throughout many cities in Taiwan. Hsinchu is over four hours away from where the epicenter of the earthquake was; however, it still rocked many of our buildings. At the time of the earthquake I was sleeping. I live on the 4th floor of my dorm, which is a 10 story concrete building; however, when the building started to shake I felt as if I were rocking in a hammock on the top of my dorm. The memories and thoughts I heard from friends about the devastation that previous earthquakes have caused instantly rushed through my mind. That was the first time I had been scared by an earthquake; little did I know, that night was just the beginning of my horrifying experiences with earthquakes. The following morning I turned on the news and was in awe at the sight of the devastation that the earthquake caused. Since then I have experienced many mild earthquakes; however, unlike before, during every earthquake many images of devastation always flash before my mind. I’m much more cognizant of the various possibilities; therefore, I’m much more fearful for my life during an earthquake. It was at that moment that I realized what I saw in the movies were based on reality.

Rest In Peace to all those who have lost their lives to an earthquake. Jah Guide and Bless those who have lost Loved Ones to an earthquake.