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To Haiti: Bury Sorrow with Happiness

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I could bet it is the happiest day ever for a tennis lover to watch eight of the world's top-notch players at one time on the same court paying just Australian$10 (about 63 yuan RMB).

While the quake-wrecked Haiti mourns the loss of tens of thousands of people, on the other side of the globe, the star-laden Melbourne Park is entertaining its spectators with joy - all for the sake of those devastated in Caribbean nation.

It's "Hit-for-Haiti," a fundraising exhibition initiated by maestro Roger Federer and backed by seven of his fellow stars on the eve of the Australian Open on Sunday, when the eight title-competitive aces entertained the 170,000 full capacity crowds instead of gunning to fight for tournament victory.

The one-and-half-hour show was laden with lovely moments: Andy Roddick mocked compatriot Serena Williams' over-reaction over a foot fault call at the US Open; Kim Clijsters massaged Rafael Nadal's thigh during a game break; Roger Federer assured partner Serena Williams, after a point loss, by pledging to get opponent Rafael Nadal back.

The crowd responded with deafening hoorays and unstoppable laughter to the wacky performance by their favorite superstars, who were wearing microphones to make their commentary and lunging heard for all.

Boy, it is charismatic of sport to evoke happiness.

"We mean it, to pass pleasure through tennis, to bury sorrow with happiness," said Federer, once a discreet man both on and off court.

I don't know how popular tennis is in the tiny island country on the Caribbean Sea, but I believe a Haitian homeless guy would be able to enter the joyful spirit if he was in the crowd. Or maybe the tennis encounter would change his life at this lowest point.

That reminds me of a feature photo I have once edited: Several homeless Indonesian boys play football on the bare beach where their relatives lost their lives in the 2004 devastating tsunami. There is a story behind it: One of the boys had always dreamed of seeing his idol Cristiano Ronaldo and finally the dream came true - the boy traveled to Portugal.

I don't know what is going on with the Indonesia boy's football dream now, but I can guess he is living much happier life than that without a meeting with Ronaldo.

So from the ruins of Port-au-Prince, I hope the quake-plagued people would, after burying the dead, also bury sorrow with happiness because happiness favors those prepared.

Haiti, Federer is serving the ball to you, come on!

( January 20, 2010)