Helping Overcome Difficulties Facing Our Families
——Chinese and Thai Volunteers in The Rescue of Phuket Shipwreck

[Source]    CRI Online, China Media Group [Time]    2018-07-19 09:34:18 

Volunteers from the Confucius Classroom at Srinakorn Foundation School of Thailand assisting families of the victims to complete the relevant certifications

At 17:45 local time on July 5th, two cruise ships with Chinese tourists onboard saw the wrath of nature in the sea near Phuket, Thailand, where 47 tourists lost their lives. Since the accident, Thai Chinese language teachers, Chinese and overseas Chinese, staff from Chinese-funded enterprises and local Thai volunteers have joined the efforts to help the injured and the families of the victims overcome all difficulties, presenting a series of touching stories.

After the shipwreck, the Confucius Institute at Phuket, Prince of Songkla University in Thailand was among the first teams to participate in volunteer services. After receiving instructions from The Phuket Consular Office of Chinese Consulate General of in Songkhla in the evening, the Confucius Institute in Phuket immediately convened more than 20 teachers to carry out volunteer services, and also helped staff to check the rosters of victims on the two wrecked cruise ships in several hospitals in the city. In the following days, they helped coordinate the order of victims’ families to claim their remains in Wachira Hospital and provided families with food. Chen Xiaoda, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute in Phuket, shared one of the moving stories with the reporter: “There was a wounded person named Huang Xiaofeng whose glasses had fallen into the sea. He said that he had suffered from myopia and asked volunteers whether they could help him get a pair of glasses. I think we could do this bit for him, but it would take time to come up with all necessary prescriptions. A volunteer named Shi Yali who has the same eyesight as Huang gave her own glasses without a second thought. It’s so touching to see people help each other and volunteers do whatever they can to help.”

After the accident, the Overseas Chinese Service Center in Southern Thailand set up by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council also immediately participated in the volunteer service. Wei Guanglei, Secretary-general of the Center, said: “After hearing the news, our staff drove all the way from Hat Yai for more than 7 hours to this area. The Confucius Classroom at Srinakorn Foundation School, as the council member of the Overseas Chinese Service Center, also sent teachers to participate in the rescue work. These teachers provided volunteer services for victims’ families at the family service center in the airport, helped the families register information at the hospital, assisted the consulate in checking the certification documents and comforted the families when they were signing documents and dealing the remains.”

Wei Ming, Vice Chairman and Head of the rescue team of the Overseas Chinese Service Center in Southern Thailand, is a Thai Chinese. He lived in Mei County, Guangdong Province as a child, and returned to Thailand in the 1990s and has lived there ever since. After hearing the news of the shipwreck, he rushed to provide volunteer services with the staff of the Overseas Chinese Service Center. He said: “On meeting such an unfortunate accident, it’s one’s duty to rush to help however one can. In fact, I did it all out of compassion for my compatriots. Whatever problems Chinese people face in Thailand, we will help them. Being able to help our Chinese compatriots will also bring happiness to us.”

In addition, Chinese-funded enterprises in Thailand were also actively involved in volunteering. China Hydropower (Thailand) Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China, has been volunteering at the local hospital in Phuket and the command and rescue center at the dock from July 6th to July 13th. Yang Feifei, an employee of the company, has also become the most familiar figure to media workers recently. From July 7th, she did on-site interpreting for the morning and evening session of the press conference of the Phuket Rescue Command Center on a daily basis. Her team was also responsible for the translation and interpreting of the latest rescue news, the coordination of the Chinese media and the Phuket Rescue Command Center in Thailand, and the interpreting for the Chinese rescue team and the Thai Navy during their mission in the sea. In an interview with journalists, Yang Feifei said: “I am honored to have the opportunity to play my part and assist the families of the victims and the vast number of Chinese compatriots.”

The journalist also saw some local volunteers those in the team. Chun Lada is a post-90s Thai girl. She learned Chinese under the guidance of Mr. Jiang Aichun, the Chinese head of the Confucius Classroom at Srinakorn Foundation School. Chun Lada also obtained a scholarship to complete an undergraduate study at Southwest University in China. She just returned to Thailand after graduation last month. This time, she joined the teachers of Confucius Classroom at Srinakorn Foundation School to help the families of the victims coordinate their cremation. She told reporters: “Everyone is equal no matter their country. We all should help others when they face difficulties. I am honored to be able to help the families of the Chinese victims to solve problems. Although we must get up very early and go to bed so late every day, I don’t feel tired at all. The Chinese and Thai people as well as both countries are just like a big family and enjoy good relationship, so we should help each other.”

The hard work and efforts of the volunteers have touched the fragile hearts of families. A family member of a victim from Jiangsu province expressed her compliment and gratitude to these volunteers: “Now volunteers in Phuket are all helping us and doing everything for us. They helped us solve all the problems we faced. I’m so grateful.”

(Story by Cui Yimeng, CRI Online)

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