Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him
~René Francois Regnier
A few years back, i decided to go up Penang Hill at 6 in the morning. What I thought would be a quiet, lonely ascend to the top with furnicular train, there was a large group of Chung Ling High School students - all boys - getting on the train as they had Cross Country uphill on that very day.
I must say I should be a teacher because I love students, being surrounded by these young souls hungry to get to know this world and everything in it. Alas, I am not.
While I usually being taken aback by rowdy behaviours of some students, I found these boys well-behaved, even gentlemanly. One decided to give up his seat to me and the rest bowed their heads acknowledging that it was their pleasure to do so. I listened to their bantering and boy, how i missed being a teenager with a purpose in life.
As we stepped from the train and bid each other farewell and I told them to have fun, I almost cried. I was touched by their souls and was telling my friend that I would write to the school headmaster commending excellent students they have groomed. Alas, I did not - a holiday turned into madness at works and i blame my short-term memory for failing to do so.
Reading this sad dragon boat tragedy, the Penang Hill sweet memory suddenly came to life. Although I wanted to lambast such improper actions taken by the team (but do we really know if they had to do what they had to do with what they had, so to excel?), having the same opinion like Dr Hsu's because such mishap once rocked people of The Little Red Dot in 2007, I couldn't help thinking that I could have met one of them years ago.
It is indeed lives wasted but I am sure they will be remembered as precious lives that have touched people's hearts in many ways imagined.
They say the good dies young and in their case, their demise would be a good example that everyone is important, that we have to take necessary actions so such tragedy would not repeat to others, who i believe are the ones that would carry the beacon of dragonboat tradition for many generations to come.
May their souls rest in peace and may God give their loved ones strength and courage during this difficult time.
I'm not afraid of death
It's the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life
~ Jean Giraudoux, Amphitryon, 1929