Rainbow in the Rainy Sky

23 October 2003

I am very pleased to be here today for the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Jinshan Zhongren Nursing Home. I would first like to extend my warmest congratulations on the completion of the nursing home and to express my highest regard for the nursing home’s officials and everyone who has contributed to the development of this magnificent facility.

Shanghai has experienced spectacular growth under the visionary leadership of the past and present administrations. Shanghai is the most dynamic city in mainland China, and it is a land of opportunity for young entrepreneurs as well as creative talents. Besides focusing on economic growth, Shanghai is also providing excellent medical welfare for its citizens. The Shanghai Charity Foundation is doing an outstanding job, and we are pleased to have had this opportunity to work together on this project. I am deeply impressed by your dedication and enthusiasm.

The younger generation is enjoying the fruits of the older generation’s selfless sacrifice and hard work. Human dignity is derived not only from learning, working and free expression when one is young, but also from the care and attention that one receives later in life. Elderly people are the veterans of society. They fought on yesterday’s frontlines sacrificing their youth and vitality. Building a nursing home for the elderly is not only a sign of charity but also a sign of respect.

Respecting the elderly is a tradition in a Confucian society. However, as Chinese society evolved, so did the traditional family structure. Three generations of family members no longer necessarily live under the same roof. We must not neglect the effect of rapid societal changes on our elderly and allow them to be abandoned by society. Instead, we must ensure that the elderly are blessed with the opportunity to shine in our society.

In Roman mythology, Janus, the God of Beginnings, is usually represented with two faces, one facing forward and one facing backward. A mature society should not only have the vision of youth, but also the tolerance and gentility of the aged. A nursing home should boast excellent facilities, but more importantly, it should be staffed by caring professionals who are dedicated to providing good care to its residents. Schools are built for the young, but the doors of Zhongren Nursing Home are always open to the elderly. It has always been a pleasure to devote my time, energy, and resources to help develop education and medical care. The opening of Zhongren Nursing Home is truly a great joy.

Finally, I take this opportunity to express my highest regard for the staff of the nursing home. It is your continual professional dedication and loving care that give the elderly hope, comfort and dignity.

Thank you.