A giant passes away

A giant among mankind has just passed away.


Sir Edmund Hillary – the first man to climb  to the top of the highest mountain in the world together with his Nepalese guide Tenzing Norgay –  died at 9 am today in Auckland.

hillary-and-tenzing.jpgHillary & Tenzing

mt-everest.jpgMt Everest ,8848metres high(29029 ft)

I remember  when I was standard 5 (in the sixties) , we read about Hillary and Tenzing in our Geography book, and how we  hero worshipped the pair. Then, staying in Ayer Itam  at the foot of Penang Hill, it took us half a day to climb up the Penang Hill, which is about 2000 over feet high. We could only imagine how difficult it was to climb a mountain that is over 20000 feet high, what more our teacher was telling us that there was no oxygen up there (which is not really true, it was more like very thin air up there). That was also a time when we like to remember all the top achievers in the world and challenge each other on this type of general knowledge.

Now, of course, we know that to climb a mountain like the Everest, you need months of preparation and a dedicated team support. It could not be done just by one or 2 persons.

People remember Hillary and Tenzing. But there were many more, I am sure, in that team of theirs, who have contributed to their success in conquering the Everest. No one , however, cares who was the team leader and so on, we glorify only the achievers.

This is like in politics. IT takes a whole team effort to put someone up there, but once up there, very few remember who are their supporters and who are the contributors.

That is not to belittle Hillary and Tenzing’s efforts. Both deserve their places in history. By their gallant efforts, they showed the whole world that nothing was impossible. Man dreams and yet if he put his heart and soul to it, no dream is impossible to achieve. Hillary and Tenzing, more than Neil Armstrong 16 years later later, proved this point.

Hillary had remained humble all his life .  News report mentioned that  he was humble to the point that he only admitted being the first man atop Everest long after the death of Norgay.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister said it all “”Sir Ed described himself as an average New Zealander with modest abilities. In reality, he was a colossus. He was an heroic figure who not only ‘knocked off’ Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity.”

Persons whom we  hero worshipped when we were young have a special place in our heart. My heroes then were Hillary & Tenzing, Yuet Fei (the Chinese general in Sung Dynasty), Kung Min( the war strategist in the Three kingdom period), Chou En Lai (whom I still revere today), SunYat Sun and Gandhi. They have remianed very special to me.

SO I really feel sad that such a giant has passed away. But that is life, no matter how great and how much you have achieved, ultimately, there is only one certainty – death.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. monsterball
    Jan 11, 2008 @ 17:43:34

    Yes Doc….He was really a great man.
    I remember viewing the whole climb in the movie theatre…more than 50 years ago.
    The sufferings and the near death…to complete the first man…climbing Mount Everest.
    Others followed are simply being inspired by him. There was a discussions..who really reach the peak first..Tenzing or Hilary….Does not matter to me. Both are heroes and they are best of friends….like their sons are today.
    May he rest in peace.


  2. hsudarren
    Jan 11, 2008 @ 22:52:23

    A lesser person would have claimed all the glories by himself, since Tenzing was an employed guide. But not Sir Edmund Hillary. He shared the honour with his guide, which showed us how magnanimous he was. If only leaders could emulate his humbleness and willingness to share glory, the world would be a much better place.

    He would forever be remember as one of the greatest heroes of mankind. With Tenzing , of course.


  3. monsterball
    Jan 12, 2008 @ 05:24:48

    Yes Doc….”Romance of the Three Kingdom”…my father used to warn me….I must read the whole book…as the first half.. teaches one how to be cunning and evil…and the second half…how to be good.
    Kung Min war plans are studied by military forces…all over the world…especially by the American nowadays.
    All the others you mentioned….we have the same respect….but I do admire MaoTzeTung daringness to burnt all Buddhist temples and let religions start all over again….as Buddhism was distorted and guided wrongly by corrupted filthy monks.
    And that phase…..'”why worry if the cat is white or black…as long as they cat rats” by Teng…started the doors open to modernize China.
    Many do not know…Dr.Sun Yat Sun came to Malacca and got so many Chinese to donate money for his revolution. They keep sending money to him..as much as they can ..every year. There is a huge stone tablet …in China…saying all that..and being grateful to Malacca Chinese.


  4. A true Malaysian
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:06:23

    ‘…there is only one certainty – death’. I agree with you fully on this. While all the tangible things one has during one’s lifetime will be left behind upon death, one’s wisdom, good or bad deeds will be there forever in the history of mankind.

    Thus, it is important for all of us to leave wisdom and good deeds behind instead of bad deeds. That is why Gautama Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa are remembered till now.

    If we live on by following the middle path way, then the world will be a peaceful one for sure. We should look at ourselves before blaming on others or God (if He exists) for those unpleasant things we encountered.


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