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Monday, 11th August 2008

Hospital, typhoon Signal, loss of lives

Today I return to work at the end of my sick leave. I have been away for 12 days but it seems like ages.

29 July evening : as I laid on the floor waiting for the ambulance, I was thinking, "Could I come back to work again?" I must thank the ambulance crew and the medical team at the Emergency Ward who got me out of trouble.

30 July to 5 August: I stayed in the hospital. I could do no more meteorology than watching the clouds and calling 1878200 to listen to the latest weather reports.

While in the hospital, all the people I met viz. doctors, nurses, paramedical and other supporting personnel took good care of patients, working hard and passionately. But still I saw people blindly blaming and criticizing them. It was very unreasonable and I felt very sorry for the situation. Why are there always these people who see things only negatively, without appreciating that others are working hard to help them?

5 August: I left for home around noon. Doctors warned me that I must take good rest and gave me sick leave till 9 August. Seeing that a tropical cyclone was edging close to Hong Kong, I called Dr B.Y. Lee, acting director, to discuss about the situation. I requested him to take charge of the typhoon signals.

6 August: howling winds woke me up in the small hours. I could not resist picking up the phone, intending to ask colleagues at the forecasting office what was happening. But then I hesitated. I stopped short of dialing the number. I hung up the phone and went back to sleep. I thought that I must learn to trust the procedures, the system and the people.

Signal number 8 was in force during the day. The normally busy city responded to the onslaught of the storm in an orderly manner. Long-time Hong Kong citizens would take it for granted. Some even tried to figure out tiny things which they could criticize. But the overall scheme of typhoon warning signals and community response in Hong Kong is in fact the envy of our meteorological counterparts as well as civil defense people worldwide. The system is so simple and effective, to the extent of being incredible. It is a model which many try to emulate.

9 August: the equestrian event started in Hong Kong. Last time I wrote about my worries about the weather in my blog. It turned out that we enjoyed the best possible weather, that is, cloudy without rain.

10 August: I read in the newspaper that a traffic policeman lost his life in an accident while on duty for the Olympic Games. Then I was shocked to learn about the loss of two firemen in thick smoke while trying to rescue people. Civil servants dont just shed sweat and blood; they even sacrifice their lives in delivering service. Here are my solemn salutes to my three dear colleagues who passed away.

I take this opportunity to pay my tributes to all civil servants and medical personnel working in the front-line. They face countless unfair criticisms day in and day out but still they persevere in delivering quality service. They truly deserve our great respect.

I also invite fellow citizens to look more on the positive side and to be thankful to people who serve us. In a world of peaceful mutual respect, we would all live more happily. Why not give it a try?

Back at work today, I remind myself that I should say "thank you" more often everyday.

C.Y. Lam

Last revision date: <17 Jan 2013>