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Thursday, 22nd May 2008

Leaving sadness behind

From 19 May to 21 May, the country mourned the great loss of lives in the Sichuan earthquake. Today let us leave the sadness behind and resume working hard for the future.

Life by its nature includes both "living" and "dying". The earthquake reminds us that dying is inevitable and therefore that we should appreciate the great value of being alive. Everyday, we should be grateful for being alive, care about people around us and do our jobs properly so as to contribute to the collective welfare of the world.

On the 19th, Observatory staff stood in silence in honour of the dead in the earthquake. In the silence, a Magpie appeared on the lawn, worked its way up the branches, eventually reaching its nest high up on the mast for aerials. To me, it was reminding us of the never-ending story of Life and encouraging us to live our own lives fully.

Indeed in the small wood within the Observatory ground, there are endless stories to be told about the working of Life.

A pair of Black-eared Kites built a nest this year and successfully raised a chick. It is starting to exercise its wings but is as yet unable to fly. A resident of Hillwood Road recently sent me a couple of photographs; I am happy to share one with you. I would like to thank her for alerting us about the breeding effort, so that we were able to minimize human disturbance to the birds. Last year, we were not aware of it. There were too much disturbance such that the eggs were abandoned, which was a great pity. Life is indeed very fragile and needs a lot of care.

Furthermore, the flowering trees in the wood at the Observatory are very impressive this year, most probably because of the prolonged cold spell earlier this year. Since winter felt truly like winter, spring does look like spring in the old days, with beautiful blossoms everywhere. The Flame of the Forest Tree is now in full blossom and the red mantle fully explains why the tree is so named. A birds eye view photograph is attached, to show the wonderful view.

Every year, typhoons and rainstorms cause some degree of damage to birds and trees. But they also bring the rain-water which is so essential to Life. Nature is always both positive and negative.

I hope that we would not let one single disaster lead us to see only the negative. We must remind ourselves of the joy of having a great diversity of life-forms on Earth. Being alive is happiness itself.

May the dead in the Sichuan earthquake lie in peace and the living stand tall in embracing the future.

CY Lam

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Last revision date: <17 Jan 2013>