What would come to your mind if you were asked to name a monumental landmark of your homeland or hometown? What is it about it that made you name it?
It has been two weeks since the first big earthquake hit the Southwest region of my homeland. One of the buildings that was most affected is a monumental landmark of this region – a castle erected about 400 years ago. Its stone walls have collapsed at multiple points and the majority of its roof tiles have fallen off. It is said that it will take more than a decade and over 180 million USD to repair the damages.
However, this landmark architecture has become a symbol of hope for the people of this region. The stone walls only collapsed at the points that have undergone re-building; parts that have remained the same since originally built are largely intact. And the roof tiles were actually designed to fall off when hit by earthquakes, for if they stayed on, their weight would have made the entire castle collapse. The architects and carpenters 400 years ago had built it to last, over time and through disasters!
Maybe we find hope in its posture, to remain standing even when it is shook from the ground.
Maybe we find hope in its structural resilience to withstand the many challenges it faces.
Maybe we find hope in the wisdom and thoughtfulness our ancestors built into it that will help us survive the hardship we are facing now.
Maybe what was built to last was not just the building itself, but also the heart, the wishes, the hopes of the people who built it. And maybe the whole of it is why we name monumental landmarks as such.
I hope we will be successful in repairing this castle. I hope we will be able to repair it to last another 400 years, and carry forward in time the heart, our wishes, our hopes we build into it. I hope people in the future will look up to it and be able to find hope in it, just as we have.
And I wish all the best in monumental landmarks around the world that are to undergo repair works – I look forward to one day look up to them again in their new forms, with the heart, the wishes, and the hopes built into them, proudly standing the test of time and built to last.