A Fount to Remember

This is my account on why I decided to become a student at UQ. Going back to study Engineering as a mature aged student requires dedication and commitment, as well as resilience to failure and preparation for success. Before I decided to accept my enrolment in UQ, I was travelling in Japan.

What resonated with me and the pivotal point of my decision was my encounter with the water fountain inside the Hall of Remembrance in Hiroshima. I vividly recall that day, it was raining heavily so museums would be the ideal attraction for culture and shelter from terrible weather. As I walk through the Hall to pay my respect to the many lives lost due to the horrific infamous Hiroshima bombing, I ended up drawn to this water fountain as though mesmerised by its trickling which resounded throughout the Hall. I did not know its meaning until serendipity played a role, I overheard a tour guide mentioning to a small group that this fountain has a profound tribute in its design.

There were two components in the design of the water fountain. Firstly, the foundation is a representation of a clock set at 8:15am. This is the specific recorded time of the bombing. Secondly, the constant flowing of water is to pay tribute to all the victims who looked up to the sky and prayed that it would rain to quench their thirst. When I heard this, I was so overwhelmed with compassion that I could not contain my tears as it trickled down my face. The symbolism of such a design in commemoration of the horrors of war shocked me into an epiphany.

I can only express how I imagined the pain and suffering of the victims in a Haiku form:

Explosions! Burning!

Where is my Son?! My Daughter?!

Wailing! Despairing!


Heaven! Please pour down!

No water?! Just smoke, can’t breathe

Have mercy on us!


This was a dramatic affirmation of the path I was discerning to commit to. It made me realise how important water is at the point of death and it is also life giving.  It fuelled my goal to pursue a lifelong career in water resource management. With the ultimate objective to bore “wells of mercy” per se in underdeveloped countries so that many villages may benefit from access to water. So that when people cry out in thirst, they shall receive water. When they have infections and burns, they will have clean water to soothe their pain and prolong their life.

With confidence in this chosen path, I accepted the offer to study at UQ. The first time I stepped foot on St Lucia campus, it was a beautiful sunny day. I envisioned a bright future, as though a door opened to a world of many different possibilities. From experience, I know it would be a tough road ahead and there will be times of disillusionment but my intuition tells me it will be well worth it in the end. After all, I am but a traveller here with one destination in mind and this journey will be fruitful entailing many adventures.

Ann Tran