Philosophers from Cicero to Krishnamurti have maintained that one should treat every day as the last, though it is hard to tell whether chaos or harmony would ensue from such a prescription. There is, after all, a large probability that there will be a tomorrow. Yet after the tsunami friends in Bangkok and elsewhere spoke of revisiting what is truly essential or important. Maybe if enough disasters of this scale befall us we will return to viewing death as a part of life rather than as a refutation of it. Maybe if we have enough sadness and loss we will remember again what it means to be happy and whole.
(Aside from perhaps Nick Kristof, Champeon–who lived in Thailand for the last several years–) is one of the more perceptive observers of Asian culture.