It's better to be safe than make merry

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 January, 1993, 12:00am

LAST Thursday night I stood on my balcony and listened to the explosion of firecrackers (even though they are illegal), the fog horns of ships in the harbour and the happy noises from many nearby parties.

Then, quite suddenly, one sound took on a new and urgent meaning.

The nearing siren of an approaching ambulance began to displace the shouts of happy holiday makers.

My attention was drawn to the left and I could make out a flashing blue light surging up Cotton Tree Drive. It turned towards Central.

More sirens joined their lone predecessor, and soon a wailing chorus obscured the other New Year's sounds into oblivion.

I retired that night certain that something was very wrong, without knowing quite what it was or how it affected me.

On arriving in the office on Monday morning, I learned that the fourth name in the newspaper's list of dead was a colleague.

He was a young man who had been with our company for six years and, through his diligence and intelligence, had progressed to a supervisory position.

Although we did not share the same office, I had met him on a number of occasions and can recall this happy, handsome young man, working hard to establish his career and his future.

That is why what happened at Lan Kwai Fong is such a tragedy. Those young people who perished that night are now lost to our community, to our industry and to their families.

We all needed them.

The Government is now conducting an inquiry and the experts, in such matters, will make their recommendations.

Whatever must be done to prevent future needless loss of life, we must do.

If the remedy inconveniences us, or restricts our ability to make merry, then so be it. We must accept their recommendations whatever they are and be thankful for the lives that will be saved in the future.