Japan’s incredible sinkhole repair is a reminder of how the internet can inspire us to do better

Japan’s incredible sinkhole repair is a reminder of how the internet can inspire us to do better


A huge sinkhole in Fukuoka, Japan.
Photo: Kyodo/via Reuters

Recently in Japan, a large patch of busy road suddenly became a 15-metre-deep hole, injuring one person. The gigantic 30m by 27m hole – looking just like a Godzilla footprint – was filled within a week.

The huge sinkhole shocked the world, but what’s more impressive is how few people were hurt, and how quickly everything was fixed.

Time-lapse videos of the road repair have gone viral. Netizens, impressed by the swift reaction of the Japanese, have compared how their own countries would have responded – or, how they wouldn’t.

“This would take five years of planning and 10 years of construction in the Philippines.”

“People would first blame [US President Barack] Obama and then seek explanations in the US.”

The internet and social media makes it easy to see others’ talents, and to compare and harshly judge ourselves and our countries. But when Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, it wasn’t to make us feel bad about ourselves, it was to admire and learn from other people’s talents. Everyone is good at something, even if they don’t see it themselves.

Social networks sometimes spark hatred. But with good use, social networks can also encourage us to improve.

Castor Kwok, SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School

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From the Editor

Thank you for your email, Castor. That sinkhole was amazing, and luckily it did not affect any of the buildings next to it, or else it might have been a horror story. It’s no surprise it got a lot of attention online.

Many people are annoyed with their governments for being ineffective. Japan seems to have a very effective government when it comes to fixing things. You are right that we can learn a lot from the internet, but one of the things we also learn is that other countries are better at doing certain things.

It’s easy to bring this down to a personal level, too. Every time we see people on Facebook or Instagram they seem to be doing amazing things, or having amazing lives.

But that is quite far from reality. Just like fake news, people’s posts only show a certain picture – one that makes their lives look great.

If we start to believe that our lives should be this way, too, it’s easy to get depressed. We don’t have to have the latest of everything right now. True happiness is not found in possessions, but in doing something meaningful. That’s what we should try to achieve.

Susan, Editor


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