Saturday, September 6, 2008

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Awakening of Tree Care in HK)

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at http://isahkchina.blogspot.com , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

Ever since the fatal Tree Failure in Stanley on 27.8.2008, ISA HK/China has received enquiries on Tree Care practically every hour during daylight, from media, estate management, private homes & Station Members. The whole of HK appeared to go into frenzy all in a sudden about our trees. The Station Manager has been in the landscape industry as a profession since 1984 & has never seen the HK public paying so much attention on Tree Care any other time.

The internet news below gave information of the Memorial Service of the lovely angel Kitty on 5.9.08. The Chief Executive His Right Honourable Donald Tsang & Wife, & the Secretary for Home affairs Mr Tsang Tak-sing both attended the ceremony & offered their condolences. Many wept & cried at the service. The whole of HK appeared to grief in sorrow for the departure for such a young talent sent off by a failed mature tree.

This Station has been asked many times after the tragedy on what to do next. How should we weigh tree preservation against safety? How can we prevent future Tree Failure? Who should be liable should future failure happen again?

As mentioned time after time in past, ISA is a research & education organization & we do not get entangled with politics. However, in order to have our trees to become assets instead of liabilities in our community, we would recommend our trees to get special attention from design, selection, installation, maintenance, regular inspection, risk management & construction protection all the way. If mistakes are made at any of these stages, it is unlikely that we shall get good trees at the end. Particular focus should be paid at using quality trees for structure & health, other than just for flowering & scent. This Station has received reports from contractors on some of our 'flowering' species that they twisted like wrangled washings after Typhoon Nuri. Then what's the point of having them 'flowering' if easily failed?

Nursery Stocks Selection is another important area to focus upon because safe planting begins with safe trees. Trees with poor structure & health would require heavy future maintenance, if selected on site. For trees to arrive site in acceptable condition, packing & transport are both important consideration, or else they would become unsafe trees if not done right. This is one area that the Station Manger is trying to teach at the BLS course in CICTA later.

Structural Pruning to a young tree is like education to a young person. If Structural Pruning is not given at the correct time, it would be like youngsters growing up not going to school. The trees would grow in any manner as they please without direction & this would lead to heavy maintenance & perhaps potential hazards later. If incorrect pruning like topping is given to provide short term solution, the tree would usually develop into a long term liability & maybe even a Time Bomb.

When a tree is getting old & not regularly inspected, it may shed parts unexpectedly to become a tangible hazard. Then if hazards are not attended & corrected immediately, the tree or its parts may fail eventually to hit someone or something below.

It can be seen that putting in a tree is like giving birth to a human. We should not do it for pleasure & have to think about the responsibilities & liabilities after. Then if we think trees are so much troublesome & burdensome to be something to completely discard, then do we all want to live in a desert or in a concrete jungle without trees??

The departure of Kitty is sad, but she did not go in vain. She has wakened up HK to take a serious look at our trees to ask questions. In closing, with the same passion like all those with good hearts, we would say:

"Kitty, we all love you. Arborists in HK will remember you & you have wakened up our public on trees. Smile at us from above constantly, & we shall smile back ..."

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."


莊頌賢安息彌撒特首弔唁

(星島)9月6日 星期六 05:30

如天使般善良可愛的莊頌賢,不幸於赤柱塌樹意外中離世,無論是否認識她的人都感到痛心。頌賢的母校聖保祿學校昨為她舉行安息彌撒,近千名死者生前好友及學校師生出席哀悼,儀式上不少人傷心落淚,氣氛莊嚴傷痛,一名參加安息彌撒男子疑傷心過度暈倒。特首曾蔭權及夫人、民政事務局局長曾德成均有出席,慰問死者遺屬。

    赤柱塌樹意外中死亡的莊頌賢離世十天,其母校聖保祿學校昨晨七時許,於基督軍王小堂,為頌賢舉行安息彌撒,近千人出席懷念這名年輕活潑女孩,包括頌賢父母、胞姊、生前好友、學校師生、特首曾蔭權、民政事務局局長曾德成、港大醫學院教授楊紫芝及聖保祿醫院院長方津生等。

  唐英年曾德成送花籃

  彌撒開始前,眾人排隊於入口的悼念冊簽名送上祝福,校方備有一本印上頌賢照片的祈禱文。頌賢父母及胞姊均穿上黑色衣服,他們在女校長黃金蓮及親友陪同下坐在教堂第一行,各人神情哀傷。曾蔭權及夫人進入教堂後,先上前慰問頌賢家屬才就座。

  教堂內外放滿親友致送的花籃,特首曾蔭權、政務司司長唐英年、民政事務局局長曾德成亦有送上花籃慰問。教堂內座無虛設,祭台前放着一幅頌賢遺照,照片中她穿着淺啡色上衣,臉帶微笑,給人溫婉感覺,儼如一名小天使。遺照兩旁放滿高雅的白玫瑰及百合花,祭台亦點燃了蠟燭,教堂內充滿莊嚴及沉痛氣氛。

  昨晨七時四十五分,彌撒正式開始,儀式以全英語進行,全體首先肅立唱聖詩「Amazing grace」,其後神父致詞悼念死者,並祝願她主懷安息。一名六十多歲男親友疑傷心暈倒,在場的方津生醫生即上前協助,將他送往鄰近的聖保祿醫院。

  男親友傷心過度暈倒

  彌撒尾聲時,曾蔭權夫婦領取聖餅後離開。彌撒儀式為時一句鐘,完結時出席者均向死者家屬擁抱慰問,包括民政事務局局長曾德成,其中莊母接受慰問時不禁心情激動,與親友相擁痛哭。

  事發當日與頌賢同往赤柱的男性友人,昨慰問頌賢父母後,在頌賢的遺照前合眼祈禱,離開時他與好友擁抱悲哭,經友人安慰後心情才稍為平復。莊頌賢的父母及胞姊,在親友陪同下離開。頌賢父親莊堅琪為外科醫生,他昨被記者問及政府怎樣做才能給予頌賢及市民一個交代,莊父表示還未想到,他與妻女向記者道謝後離開。

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