Disasters provide timely reminder

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am

A Happy New Year to all of you, and welcome back to school.

First of all, let's give ourselves a big hand for braving the chilly weather and arriving on time at school.

I really cannot believe it is already 2005. Rumours about the 'millennium bug attack' do not seem to be that long ago.

A lot of things can happen in five years.

And we have happy as well as sad memories since the millennium, which was greeted with much fanfare around the world.

Unfortunately, most of the things that come to my mind are only sad events which had claimed many lives. Although the millennium bug hardly caused a ripple, there were many man-made catastrophes and natural disasters over the past five years.

Talking about natural disasters, the Boxing Day tsunami killed about 150,000 people and left millions homeless.

What a devastating piece of news to end 2004 and to start a new year. Compared to this catastrophe, bird flu, dengue fever and Sars seem insignificant.

The man-made disasters I will never forget are the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Bali bombings.

Because of hatred and selfishness, thousands of innocent lives were lost in a minute. Once the dust settled, there were only grieving families and orphaned children.

I guess all these calamities tell us one thing - we must treasure everything around us when we still have them.

Life can be short, so let's live it to the full.