Hailed as a modern-day knight with a hand saw, Yeung Chun-sing rides high among the city's tree branches, saving many households from blackouts and electrical hazards. He won the accolade from the four years he has spent as a tree pruner with CLP Power. The power utility launched a 60-strong team in 2001 to conduct regular patrols and ensure that trees and other plant life were kept clear of high-voltage power cables. Mr Yeung is among 15 agile climbers who lead the aerial maintenance work for CLP after graduating from a six-week training course that included electrical safety, pruning techniques and tree-hazard diagnosis. His affection for the job is rooted in a childhood spent in a rural village in Tung Chung on Lantau Island, where his family owns a few orchards. 'Since I was six, I have been climbing trees and picking fruit or bird nests, so I was close to nature,' he says. 'Going to work now is very much like reliving my childhood.' His childhood experiences also gave him 'a sense of duty to serve the public' high above the ground. 'I was a victim, I can relate to them,' Mr Yeung says. 'My village was surrounded by trees. Whenever there was a typhoon, my house would experience a blackout because of trees falling on the power lines. 'Our only source of light was a lamp hung in the living room.' That explains his tight schedule in April and May before the typhoon season approaches. The tanned 27-year-old cuts a trim figure. He says daily outdoor work in mostly deserted countryside in the New Territories has contributed to his physique; walking for hours in hilly terrain and lugging equipment to work sites are par for the course. Physical endurance is not the only requirement of Mr Yeung's job. Meticulous planning is also vital when he has to inspect more than 800km of 11,000-volt live power cables in the New Territories. He has to cope with unexpected weather changes, rotted tree trunks, even hostile creatures. His experiences include working beside a bee hive in Sheung Shui and in the company of agitated monkeys in Kam Shan Country Park. But it's worth all the hassles. 'When you are on top of a tree, the aerial views of the city are just incredible. The air gets fresher as you climb higher.' His favourite 'playground' is in the Taiwan acacia because the pendulous branches make the best natural swings, while the most spectacular views are those overlooking Sai Kung. Mr Yeung says tree pruning is a delicate task; untidy cuts create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that can cause decay and contribute to hidden hazards. 'Bad cuts leave more than just a hideous picture, they can kill the tree,' he explains. He hopes the misfortune surrounding the Wishing Tree will increase residents' awareness of the need to protect trees and the environment. 'Trees are an essential part of the natural environment. Trees also form the habitat of many other organisms,' says the father of one. 'Hong Kong needs to know more and do more to protect them.'