Sierra in Asia

Sierra, a senior majoring in marketing and member of SMU’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams, is participating this summer in SMU-in-Australia-and-Asia. The group will spend three weeks traveling in China to cities including Shanghai and Beijing, and then will spend three weeks in Western Australia.

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A country haunted by its past

Sierra-Nanjing.jpgWe left in the morning and flew to Nanjing to see the famous museum where we learned about the Nanjing massacre of 1937-8.

Prior to today, I didn’t know anything about this tragedy. It was absolutely incredible to see this museum. Walking through it reminded me of the time I traveled to Austria and saw a concentration camp.

The Japanese were gaining control of much of China and moved in on Nanjing. Here the Japanese went into complete hysteria after gaining control over many cities in China. Their undefeated army had a controlling mindset of “kill all, destroy all.”

What followed was a devastating six weeks of rape, murder, and torture that’s hard to even imagine. In this short time period, more than 300,000 Chinese citizens and officials were killed. This is considered the flashpoint between China and Japan. The horrors of this grave history struck me in the same way the Nazi camps did; it’s the reality of seeing what man is capable of doing.

For lunch we went to a fancy Chinese restaurant. All of us about went tone deaf after listening to the same song repeat itself for 90 minutes straight. I think Benjie, our musician in the group, was about to go crazy from this single melodious elevator music.

So finally after that long “tuneful” lunch, we drove to Shanghai. We stopped at this little rest stop along the way to get some interesting snacks. Of course we couldn’t read any of the labels so every taste was a bit of a surprise. We finally arrived around 10pm, just early enough for some dinner. I was too tired to even eat, though; after so much traveling all I wanted was a bed.

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