Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary Dies...

The man who conquered Mount Everest has died.

According to Associated Press (dateline Welington, New Zealand), Sir Edmund Hillary still insisted on being called just "Ed".
He was 88.
New Zealand's prime minister announced the death today, saying Hillary was "the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived."
Hillary and his Nepalese mountain guide, Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Hillary says they snapped pictures as proof of their achievement before descending the slopes.
Back at base camp, Hillary famously declared: "We knocked the bastard off."
Until Norgay's death in 1986, Hillary refused to confirm that he was first, saying they'd reached the top as a team.
After Everest, Hillary pioneered a new route to the South Pole.
And despite his achievements, he described himself as an ordinary beekeeper.


Mr Bojangles said...

Hillary often referred to himself as "Ed from the Edge." Ever self-effacing, he downplayed his first ascent saying many others might have beaten him and Sherpa Tenzing to The Peak. "I was just an average bloke. It was the media that tried to transform me into a heroic figure. But I've learned through the years, as long as you don't believe all that rubbish about yourself, you can't come to too much harm."

He constructed twenty-seven schools, twelve clinics and two airfields for supplies to more easily reach the region, in the four decades after the trip to the top.

Incidentally, I strongly recommend this book, "Three Cups of Tea" about an American mountaineer who built fifty five schools - especially for girls - in that same part of the world and in the heart of Taliban territory.

It's an extremely inspiring and moving story of the selflessness, kindness and humanity of people like him, and Hillary. Definitely makes one feel really small laboring over the trivialities and tribulations of ordinary lives. Or thumping chests over meaningless achievements.

If nothing else, it will be a pleasant distraction from all the depressing doings and happenings in bolehland.

Rockybru said...

Sir Edmund Hillary was one of my childhood heroes. Another was Neil Armstrong. And Gordon Banks (he was goalkeeper for Stoke City and England in the 60s, when Star Soccer was the tv programme I never missed, although we didn't own a tv ourselves]. And Hang Tuah.

As I grew older, I began to take more interest in Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who helped Hillary (or guided him) to Earth's highest peak.

I started wondering if Man actually landed on the Moon.

I went on to be a goalkeeper, and quite a good one, too, though nowhere near half as good as my idol.

And I ditched Hang Tuah for Hang Jebat, and still wonder today if they weren't Chinese exported by the Shao Lin temple in Peking of the old days.

p.s. I also started to see a lot of Kung Fu movies and Fu Sheng was one of my heroes. Ti Lung was not bad, too. Jackie Chan and Jet Li too Hollywoody for me.