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Thursday, 14th April 2011

The Way to Go

Two years ago, Dr BY Lee started his series of the "Director's Blog" with "Taking the Baton". Today I feel honoured to take the baton from Dr Lee, and would like to share with you my reflection on "The Way to Go".

I still remember the first day when I joined the Observatory as a Scientific Officer some twenty five years ago. My first post was to work with Dr Lee on the radiation monitoring programme in Hong Kong. Incidentally, during my training in the UK, the Chernobyl accident occurred. It is indeed unexpected that as I took the baton from Dr Lee, nuclear accident and radiation monitoring become our concerns again. The three-fold earthquake-tsunami-nuclear radiation disaster brings sorrows, worries and even fears to many of us. Is this fate?

For those of us educated in science, it is very difficult to accept the idea of fate and destiny. What we believe is the presence of uncertainties in the world, and that things are constantly changing and interacting with each other. For example, there is "uncertainty principle"1
in Physics, "butterfly effect"2 in Meteorology, while Buddhism talks about "Dependent Arising"3 (i.e. everything in the world has the nature of impermanence, everything arises from interactions of others which depend on conditions and chances). In other words, only "change" is permanent. Indeed, the rapid developments of the society in the recent years reflect that changes are normal rather than exceptional. Although we do not wish to have natural disasters, their frequent occurrence is a reality.

If we could accept that "change" will always be present, it is not difficult to prepare for the future. In the weather business, we will need to be proactive in weather monitoring, in disaster prevention and mitigation, and in public education. In management of the organization, we will need to upgrade ourselves, to embrace change, and to try our best to fulfill the needs of the society. When I was elected the President of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization last year, I also shared similar thoughts: In today's rapidly changing environment, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. In developing meteorological services, if we count on science and innovation, taking serve-the-society as our goal, recognizing the right direction and trend, be energized and versatile, we would be able to reach out and communicate effectively, seize the opportunities and achieve the desired goals.

It is therefore my belief that "the way to go" is not to be driven by fate, but to grasp the opportunities brought by conditions and chances, and to embrace the future by continuous improvements. Hope that these thoughts could be shared by my fellow colleagues.

I will soon be brainstorming with colleagues to map out the future path of the Observatory, in pursuit of excellence for the betterment of the community.

Sincerely hoping that we will continue to receive support from members of the public.

By the way: as we receive increasing support from colleagues and friends to contribute articles here, the "Director's Blog" is renamed as "Observatory's Blog" to reflect that this platform is contributed and shared by all of us.

CM Shun

Last revision date: <17 Jan 2013>