Column Editor: Anthony (Tony) W. Ferguson (Library Director, University of Hong Kong; Phone: 852 2859 2200; Fax: 852 2858 9420)

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Normally when we speak of “clouds,” the meaning ends up being negative.  Sunlight grows things; sunlight is associated with bright and cheery things.  Clouds, on the other hand, cloud or block out the sunlight.  Cloudy days often mean rain, or in Hong Kong’s case, the air-born mega city muck that we too often have to breath and that we blame on factories in Guangzhou, sandstorms from the Gobi, the container ships coming to our port, or the idling air-conditioned cars, buses, and taxis that enable us to think we are living in Finland instead of south China.  Then there are the phrases uttered by fathers the world over: “get your head out of the clouds” — which cross their lips when their child wants to study drama instead of business, or they want to take a summer job on a cruise ship instead of doing something useful like spending June to August with Goldman Sachs learning useful life skills.

Of course then there are phrases like “every cloud has a silver lining.”  One of my favorites is a quote by someone named Jason Hutchison: “Eagles may soar in the clouds, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines.”

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