Friday, 11 January 2008

A tribute to Sir Ed

It's sad to know that Sir Edmund Hillary, the legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist and the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived, has died at the age of 88. As tributes pour in, I learned that he was not one to bask idly in celebrity. He devoted all of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan trust which built schools and hospitals in the mountains.

More importantly, Sir Edmund was an important role model. He was a leader who showed how to set goals and achieve them. Growing up, he was smaller than his peers and very shy so he took refuge in his books and daydreamed of a life filled with adventure. At 16 his interest in climbing was sparked during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand.

He once said 'I discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve. I had the world beneath my clumsy boots and saw the red sun slip over the horizon after the dark Antarctic winter. But for me the most rewarding moments have not always been the great moments, for what can surpass a tear on your departure, joy on your return, and a trusting hand in yours?'

He spoke of his disdain for the attitudes displayed by many modern mountaineers. "I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top, it was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say good morning and pass on by. ...They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die. "

I'm not a mountain climber but I have tremendous respect for sports people. It's often too easy for us to comment and criticise. Some may be in it for the fame but whatever the reason, they suffer from frostbite, hypothermia, high-altitude cerebral and pulmonary edema or death to get there. It takes alot of courage and discipline.

Whenever my kids comment about people flaunting their muscles, I tell them "Nobody is born with a body like that. It takes them tremendous amount of hard work, discipline and sacrifice, so they have every right to show off." Can you do it?


Mike Minzes said...

A great man indeed.

Anonymous said...

Yes i second that...everything...great or small..takes effort, perseverance and dedication..and not all of us have it!

WaterLearner said...

His spirit is indeed truly worth commanding and taken as a model.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what an admirable pioneer and a limitless soul. Its always saddens me a little bit more deeply when we lose such special presences among us.

Amel said...

SUPERB post, Blur!

I LOVE the quotes and the story. I didn't know that he had such a GREAT attitude!!! :-)))

Blur Ting said...

He was know for his modesty, that's why we don't hear very much about him. That only make him more admirable.