'To the Most Noble Creature in D.C. . . '|
Following are excerpts from e-mails we've received for Hsing-Hsing:
You came to this country in a very symbolic way: our leaders tried to
build a relationship between your country and ours.
If only you could talk, I know you will tell us how you feel and where
it hurts. My heart aches for you. I wish I could stroke your back and
tell you how many of us are sad to hear about your condition. I would
like to thank your keepers who have taken care of you and Ling-Ling for
so many years. I know that they must be heartbroken.
I give you a big big bear hug in my dream.
When I heard the news about your illness, I was very saddened. I hope that
you are feeling better. As others have said, you are a very important part of
the Nation's Capital and the National Zoo. I remember seeing you and Ling-Ling
many years ago. I know that the "Panda Lady" will take very good care of you
so that you could be around for many years to come. Take care Hsing, Hsing,
God bless you.
Dear Hsing Hsing,
You will never know how much I love you. Even though you are a wild
animal and never would be able to return my affections physically,
emotionally you have brought more joy to me than you will ever know.
Ever since your arrival when I was a little boy in second grade, I have
visited you at least once every year. I hope you get better soon, and if
not, I hope you have a quick and painless death. Shih shih for
everything, Bright Star.
I was born and raised here in D.C. and I can truly say one of the highlights of my child hood was being able to go to the zoo. Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling were brought here before I was born. But as I growing up I always wanted to go the zoo and visit the Panda House, because I love Pandas. I was not always fortunate enough to come visit you, when I did come I loved just standing and watching you, even when all you did was sit and stare at all the people who were staring at you. U are a beautiful sight and I could just watch you for hours at a time. If all else fails, take a deep breath and let it go and let your soul be at rest. From a lover of all creatures, I wish you the best.
God's speed is upon you, hold on to that!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel so bad when animals are sick or hurt, I hope you get well soon and that nothing bad happens to you. We from the Idaho State wish to
send our love and hope that you get back on your feet again,
So glad to hear you are feeling better. You are such an important part of the Nation's Capitol, not to mention the National Zoo; what would be do without you? Listen to the doctor's, get plenty of rest and perhaps some chicken noodle soup might help (just kidding).
You will be in our prayers.
Every time I went to the Zoo, I waited to see you, but you didn't come
out. You were napping most of the time. Imagine how happy I was when I
was there this past spring and you were sitting upright, eating bamboo
and looking out at the huge crowd that gathered outside your window. I
was there. I had to work my way through all those people. Do you have
any idea how popular you are? I'm sorry that you're not feeling well. I
wish you a speedy recovery.
I have grown up in Washington and Hsing-Hsing is only 4 years older then me. So we actually grew up "together" I cried when Ling-Ling passed, and I keep a daily vigil on his prognosis. I pray he will get better. I can't imagine the zoo without the panda. Please God, Take care of your special creature who brings so much joy to the nations capital.
With all my prayers and concerns,
Dear Beautiful Giant Panda
We were so sad to hear that you are not feeling well.
Seeing you makes the world seem like such a nice and peaceful place.
We hope you will get well soon and continue making people happy.
I have written this haiku poem in honor of Hsing-Hsing:
Black and white; white, black;
Dear Hsing Hsing,
I feel so sorry when I heard you are dying. My tear was coming down. This is not because we are from the same land, China, but also we are here for different reason. I came here to pursue my freedom, a freedom over many thing and a control of my life. You are here for the needs of human being, although it is a right thing for you to do.
I don't belive animals in captivities are happy. They loss freedom, the right enviroment and the interaction with wild life, besides entertaining people. I believe they will enjoy more if human can set them free.
This letter is not only for you. It is also for the people who wants to
find another pair to replace you.
Dear Hsing Hsing,
I love you very much. When my kidneys hurt, I drink tons of cranberry juice. This always helps - I do not know why. Tell the zoo keepers that you need several glasses a day.
I hope you feel better soon.
All my love,
Just take it easy, and rest. There are hundreds, nay thousands of people here in the DC area, and around the world, who are praying for your health. You are the most adorable animal in the world, and, may I say, a national treasure.
All the best,
We are sad to hear that you aren't feeling well. You have brought much joy to our lives over many field trips and many other visits to the zoo. There has never been a time when we have missed a trip to the Panda House while at the zoo. It has been wonderful to have you with us all these years as we followed you and Ling-Ling closely as you tried for babies. We pray that God takes care of you whether He chooses to leave you with us or take you home with Him and Ling-Ling. We love you! Thank you to you and your caretakers.
Hsing Hsing you are a Washington monument! You have put so many smiles on faces both young and old. We have loved watching you eat,
lounge, play, court, and just looking at your wonderful furry body. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your keepers. Thanks for
I was born one month before the arrival of America's two giant panda's. I have grown up having them here and being blessed by their presence. As children we got taken to the zoo regularly. Always making sure to stop and see how much Ling- Ling and Hsing- Hsing have changed. They have brought me and my family much joy.
As I got older I then brought a group of children from my day camp
each summer to the zoo. We would come several times a summer and all would
beg to see the panda's. The children, some of them, came on the trip
several times with us. Always enjoying Hsing-Hsing! We were heart broken
when Ling- Ling died and now with Hsing- Hsing being ill, it seems the
heartbreak will come again. People do not realize what a national treasure
we have. Thanking Richard Nixon would be a wonderful thing, because he
brought them here for all of us to learn from and enjoy them. I hope one
day my own children will be able to come to the zoo and enjoy seeing giant
panda's. Our nation will mourn the loss, but even more we have lost a
precious gift and a national treasure!
With prayers and LOTS of Love,
Glad to hear you are doing a bit better, hang in there! I've loved you
for many years. You are a beautiful and amazing creature. From the
time I was a little girl, I would go to the zoo and look at you. So
silent and graceful. You will forever be in my memories and a part of
We are so happy to learn that Hsing Hsing is getting better. It was the first time that my wife, my three year old daughter Jessica, and I saw a panda, Hsing Hsing, on the Memorial Day Weekend of 1999 at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
We all love him very much. When my daughter saw Hsing Hsing on the news the following night, she recognized him right away. She told me to "rewind the news" to watch Hsing Hsing again. Now I collect all the articles related to Hsing Hsing from the Internet for Jessica. She likes all Hsing Hsing's pictures and asks me when we will visit him again.
We all pray for Hsing Hsing for his good health and longevity.
Glad to hear that you are doing better. Keep it up. We love you and have faith in you.
We all hope the best for Hsing-Hsing. We saw both him and Ling-Ling for the first time when my daughter was 3 years old; she will soon be 21. She has been a collector of all types of Panda bears since then. We are planning another trip to the D.C. area in August, and hope that we will still be able to see Hsing-Hsing. All of our best to Hsing-Hsing, and we all hope he will get better soon.
As an avid outdoorsman, I've spent a great deal of time in the woods observing wildlife. But nothing can compare to the beauty and intellegence of Hsing Hsing. Watching him eat carrots and bamboo in his panda house is more exciting than when I see a herd of deer in the summer twilight. I hope he gets well. I would miss the joy my panda-house visits bring me.
Christian Adams, Alexandria VA
Dear Hsing Hsing,
I remember one morning about five years ago walking alone to the National Zoo while my husband attended a conference. The zoo was just a short walk from our hotel. There were lots of school-children and I followed them, which of course led me right to you.
I was silent with awe when I saw you. My feet were rooted to the ground I stood there the whole morning just gazing at you. You looked so sweet and yet lonely because Ling Ling had passed away. I wished I could give you a hug then.
Please get well soon. I hope I can bring my little boy to see you one day.
Iris Teng, Singapore
My heart breaks imagining we may not have this national treasure around very much longer. Like so many of us, I grew up visiting the National Zoo several times a year to see the famed giant pandas. What joy they brought us! It was an extremely sad time when Ling-Ling died. Now, let's take some comfort in knowing that soon Hsing-Hsing will be reunited with his best friend.
Joy Jensen, Wilmington, Delaware
I'm Chinese, came from The People's of Republic of China. Now, I'm very sad, not only you are seriously ill but also because you have been here for 25 years as an ambassador of friendship. You are tired now.
I hate it that I can not make decision, otherwise we Chinese would give another pair panda to National Zoo, it would help to recover your health.
Take care Hsing Hsing, we all love you.
May the Force be with you.
Michael Li, Hayward, California
I'd like to thank you for the enormous joy you have brought to us all since your arrival in the U.S. I truly appreciate your helping to educate us about the plight of the giant panda and the effects of the destruction of natural habitats.
I was very saddened to hear about your illness. Two years ago, my beloved cat Samantha Noir, battled kidney disease. After a valiant struggle, at age 15 ½, she died. I understand the strength of character it takes to cope with this disease, and toll it can take on the body and spirit.
My thoughts and best wishes are with you.
Hsing-Hsing, My thoughts and prayers are with you and all your friends at the National Zoo. I know these friends are taking very good care of you and they are doing everything to make these days easy for you. Hsing-Hsing, thank you for your presence at the zoo and for giving everyone who visited your home lots of smiles and joy. You and Ling-Ling have brought many smiles to my heart and I will cherish them forever.
We made a special trip to the Zoo just to visit you and Ling-Ling in the late 1980s. She was in mourning from the loss of a cub, just as we are in mourning for you but wishing you the best. Inspired by its panda symbol, we joined the World Wildlife Fund and its campaign to "Save the Panda." We collect stuffed and figurine pandas, and we call you and Ling-Ling "our" pandas. You have been an historical significance, an inspiration, and our entertainment. Get well soon.
Sandra and Bill Mitchell, Columbia, SC
My favorite Zoo memories will always be of you, sitting like a Buddha and munching on bamboo and carrots. Thanks for all the precious joy and laughter you've given to so many. I will never forget you.
With love and affection,
Dearest Hsing Hsing,
You have been a joy to all those who have met you during your lifetime. We all hope that you have a speedy recovery, so that we will not have to say good-bye to a national treasure. In the words of Dylan Thomas "do not go gently into that cold night. Rage, Rage against the dying of the light." You are a shining star in so many ways and it is my hope that you never fall from the sky, but know that you will never fall from our hearts.
I fell in love with pandas as soon as they arrived (I was almost 7). I referred to Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing as "my" pandas, and every year for Christmas I asked for a baby panda. I had to settle for hand-made pandas (one 3 feet tall) from my mom and my sister, and panda artwork (the collection is still growing). When I began the process to adopt a baby girl, I knew right away I would decorate the nursery in a panda theme. Although I didn't know it when I began decorating, my baby girl will come from China and as I said to the cashier at the fabric store, "She will like pandas, whether she likes it or not!"
I first met you in May of 1972, when I was just a kid. In the spring of 1998 I returned with my son to see you. It was a great rare glimpse of you outside munching on bamboo. As an adolescent, I loved pandas. I idolized them in my artwork, weavings and batik.
And just last month we saw you again, not feeling too well at that time, I'm afraid.
Hang in there, Hsing-Hsing. You're a great treasure to us.
Sincerely, Sheree Hodnett
We feel very very sorry about your health. My daughter Ashley went to zoo last Sept. She loves very much. We took few pictures about you. She talked about you all the time. You will give us very good memory. If anything we can do for you, Please let us know. We will do our best to save your life. We love you forever.
Hsing-Hsing, when we first met in 1983, my daughter Cameron was
just one and my son Steve was five and a half. We were on vacation
and it was a very, very hot and humid day (you probably don't
remember but I remember it like it was yesterday)...somehow, we
forgot about the heat when we saw you and Ling-Ling. You were
and, still are a very majestic creature with, what appears to be, many
human characteristics. You have lived a great life and we hope a
happy one. We also hope you have one more good fight left in you so
that we don't have to say "good-by" just yet.
I am sorry to hear that you are not well. When I first met you several years ago, I was a first time visitor of the National Zoo and Washington, DC. We established residence in DC over eleven years ago and during that period of time we have had family members and friends come and visit and we always enjoyed bringing to the National Zoo to visit with you and Ling-Ling. We love you and we are praying for you.
To Hsing-Hsing, the panda who has inspired many people around the world, we send our wishes for him to get well soon.
The Staff at Cat Sense Feline Hospital and Boarding, Inc.
Hsing-Hsing was already a fixture in this town before I had the pleasure of meeting him, and as a toddler, I scarcely understood the history and humanity that his presence embodied. Despite all the international semantics and silliness, there was no Wall Great enough to keep the most fundamental spirits of people from linking together.
Quite simply, Hsing-Hsing opened my young eyes to the possibilities of a world outside my own Beltwayed bastion. Years later, I've grown from scribbled notes in crayon to a full-fledged political speechwriter. As powerful as words can be, though, those words are nothing without symbols to inspire them, symbols that make clear the 90% of things we share are far greater than the 10% we don't.
It's amazing what people can learn from a quiet, pudgy panda.
To the most noble creature in D.C. and arguably the best diplomat this city has ever seen....wishing you a speedy recovery.
A.R., Washington, D.C.
I was 10 years old when Hsing Hsing came to the United States as a gift from the people of China. We had to cut out pictures and write essays as part of our current event assignments. Later, my summer camp took a field trip to the National Zoo to see the pandas. It was very exciting.
Thank you Hsing-Hsing for being a part of a happy childhood memory. I hope you get well soon.
When I was about 7 years old, someone gave me a stuffed panda for Christmas. For my next birthday, I got another panda. And another. And another. Soon, my room was overflowing with my panda family - plus panda curtains and matching panda fabric on my toy chest. I learned as much as I could about pandas (for example, they are not bears, but members of the raccoon family.) I was exhilarated each time Ling Ling gave birth, one year on my birthday, and devastated when the babies did not survive. With Ling Ling gone, and Hsing Hsing in ill health, we are soon at the end of an era. The pandas have been members of our Washington family, quiet beltway insiders who have survived through everything from Watergate (they were presents to Nixon from the Republic of China) to Monicagate.
Hsing Hsing, we will miss you. Our prayers (and the prayers of all 36 of my pandas) are with you!
I remember when they arrived from China. I was thirteen years old (I am now 40). My most sincere prayers are with Hsing-Hsing during this very difficult time. I have been in love with him since I was young. Each time I am at the National Zoo, I make a special effort to stop by and say hi. I have grown up with the pandas and I am sure they have become a part of every visitor's heart. I have cried today after I heard the news about the serious illness this morning. I will be praying that God will hold him in the palm of His hand and cure Hsing-Hsing of this illness.
Hsing-Hsing is the oldest panda in the world, yet I wish he would live forever. I was but a tot when Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling were brought to the National Zoo in 1972; I have loved pandas ever since. I visited the pandas regularly as I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland; convinced my family to join Friends of the National Zoo; participated in building the panda play furniture; collected all kinds of panda souvenirs; read extensively about the panda; attended lectures by Dr. Devra Kleiman and George Schaller on the status of the panda; continued to visit the pandas every visit back to the Washington area since my 1992 move to the West Coast. I have also visited the "new" pandas at the San Diego Zoo. In Washington, we underappreciate our National Zoo, which charges no admission (San Diego charges about $15 for adult admission) and has allowed us glimpses into the lives of some amazing animals. I still dream that one day I may visit China and track pandas in the wild; however, I know their numbers are dwindling along with the wilderness which is their habitat. As Hsing-Hsing ails, and we all wish him well, let us also commit ourselves to saving panda habitat in cooperation with the Chinese government. It may not be possible for us to save this panda; but it is possible for humans working together to save pandas for generations to come.
I was 3 years old when we first met 27 years ago. Please get well so my daughter can meet you too. You truly are Washington's "shining star".
I am very sad to learn of Hsing-hsing's being so sick. My prayers are with him and his keepers. I know their hearts must be breaking. They should take some comfort in the long and happy life they have helped provide for him. I hope he gets well soon and is not in any pain. Hsing-hsing is a great ambassador for Washington and we are very proud of him.
Poor Hsing-Hsing, such a brave soul! I hope he gets better and continues to provide so much joy for so many people!!
I remember rather vividly the first I saw Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling at the National Zoo it was during second grade, and the pandas had been at the zoo only a few weeks. The lines were unbearable for a seven-year-old, not to mention for teachers who had to mind twenty of us, but the prize at the end was well worth the wait. Two cute, cuddly black-and-white strangers brought from a foreign land to enchant us.
As I grew up and even into adulthood, every visit to the Zoo required a peek at the pandas. The excitement never seemed to fade.
Dear Hsing Hsing:
I am so sorry to know you are not well. I am from China too, I will pray for you every day now. Thank you for those people care good care of you.
Hsing Hsing, we all love you.
I remember coming to visit the two pandas when they first arrived. I was in 1st grade. The line for the panda house was long and I seem to remember its being uphill the whole way, but that may just be a child's impression. I returned many times to visit first the two pandas and, more recently, Hsing-Hsing alone. As time has passed I have even had the pleasure of introducing my own children to this amazing creature. I hope that Hsing-Hsing's suffering will be brief and I will keep him and his many caretakers in my prayers. His life was a gift to all of us for which we are truly grateful.
Anne Marie Richards
We saw you on a trip to Washington in 1994, and it was a highlight of our visit. You were so cheerful and playful, it really brightened our day. I am sad you don't feel well, and I pray you get well soon.
Don Marion, Minneapolis
It made me very sad to hear that you are sick. I wish you a speedy recovery. I want my son to meet you. You brought me such joy when I was a young child.
Sasha Bennett, Portland, Ore.
Dear Hsing Hsing,
I am very sorry that you aren't feeling well. I have fond memories of visiting you and Ling Ling over the past 25 years. I can't believe you've been with us so long! You have always fascinated me and I look forward to seeing you nibbling your bamboo up on the Panda Hill soon.
P.S. Please thank your caregivers for taking such good care of you over the years. I know that you must have provided them with much insight on the health and behavior of pandas.
Love, The Nicholls family
I hope you feel better soon! Though I have not seen you since the mid-eighties, I knew you and Ling-Ling were there, at the zoo, and safe and that made me happy. When you and Ling-Ling tried to have babies; each time I was sad when they did not make it. And when Ling-Ling passed away I was sad again. But you have been around for some time as well, and that is the way things are, and I do not want to see you suffer anymore.
We, Americans, are lucky to have been given the responsibility to take care of the now oldest giant panda in the world. You have brought great joy, and sadness, to our lives over the years and we are grateful to have been in your presence.
I hope to visit you soon.
We hope you will recover soon and not suffer much pain. We will come to see you soon, and hope to find you enjoying a bamboo snack in the sunshine.
To all the caretakers of Hsing-Hsing, thank you for the wonderful work you do every day. You have looked after Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling so well over many years. We're sorry you never had a chance to be proud grandparents.
The Cleetus family
Our family is very sad to read that you are not well. You might not remember us, but we have visited you a few times and seeing you made us very happy. We are most concerned about you and will keep you and your keepers in our prayers.
Much Love, The Vanderlaan & Post Family
Please let the Zoo folks know how much the dear panda in in my thoughts. I got to see him last October and he was so sweet. It was early in the day, so Hsing Hsing was up and moving around. It would be horrible to lose such a National treasure.
Good Luck, Kathy Nicholson
My prayers go out for Hsing-Hsing. I know he must be lonely as he has no companion, in addition to experiencing the discomfort that he is going through with his illness. Tears came to my eyes as I was reading the article. I cried when Ling-Ling lost her new born cubs. And of course I cried when she passed a few years ago. I have shed more tears over the life of Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling then I've shed over family members. As all animals are God's creatures, Hsing-Hsing too is in His hands. My prayers also go out to those employees who are responsible for his daily well-being. I know his illness is having a profound affect on them also.
I am very sorry to learn that you are seriously ill. I'd like to give my best concerns and wishes to you from your hometown - China.
We all hope that wonder would fall on you and you could get well completely. May God be with you.
Great thanks to your and our American friends who have been taking care of you during your illness.
My husband and I have taken great pleasure in visiting Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling through the years, I am sorry that Hsing-Hsing is ill. I hope he recovers and is better so that thousands of people can continue to visit him and hear about the plight of the giant pandas.
Sandy and Page Garrett, Nashville, TN
Hi Hsing-Hsing, this is the Watsons.
We hope you get better soon. We are going to come to see you as soon as we can at the Washington Zoo.
Get well soon.
Matt, Mark, Katharine, Stephen, Paul, and Mom and Dad
I do hope that all that the world has to offer in the treatment of pandas is being made available to treat Hsing Hsing. Why is this not on the news more, it would help if people new and could send money to pay for what is probably a very expensive treatment. Hsing Hsing is more than a Panda, he is a symbol of freindship beetween China and the USA. Besides, I grew up believing in that symbol.
Even though you're a wild animal, you still look like a lovey little stuffed toy! You've been a good friend of the zoo, and the Washington area, and all I can do is wish you a quick and painless end. Maybe your handlers will be able to break protocol and baby you a little now and then; if they can, I hope they give you a nuzzle from me. It's amazing how we don't blink an eye at the slaughter of thousands of people in Kosovo or Somalia or Sudan, but the impending death of one panda can touch peoples' hearts. To the extent that you engender compassion in the children who come to visit you, you've lived a very constructive life, and I wish you all the recovery possible, and if not, then a painless end.
I was captivated when I first saw Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling in their marvellous facility in 1983 and I try to visit whenever I'm in town. Despite having seen them many times, when I last saw Hsing-Hsing, in 1997, his beauty quite took my breath away. I watched for hours while hoards of schoolchildren enjoyed him too. The pandas are unforgettable and I sincerely hope Hsing-Hsing recovers speedily.
Adam Smith, Oxford, England
My warmest thoughts and prayers go out to Hsing-Hsing, who has brought delight and a sense of the world's wild wonders to so many people through the years. However long or short it may be, may the remainder of his life be filled with comfort and peace.
Joy H., an Arlington resident
We are very sad that you are not feeling well. We will keep you in our prayers and hope for a miracle for you. How sad it would be without you.
Mike and Ann Randolph
I'm very sorry to learn that Hsing-Hsing is seriously ill. I hope that you will try your best to cure him, as he is the symbol of friendship between the people of China and America.
I went to see Hsing-Hsing in the Zoological Park last month and took a picture of him. I can't expect that he is so ill now. So I do beg you that try your best to save Hsing Hsing. Wish to learn the good news about him soon.
I am Haruyo Kawai, sending this message from Tokyo, Japan. I heard that you are seriously ill. I am so sad to hear that.
I visited you about 6 years ago and you were so well back then. Please hang in there!! All of the Panda fans in the whole world are very worried about you. We love you so much!!
Please take care. I would like to see you again sometime soon!!
Haruyo Panda Kawai
We hope you'll be feeling better soon. We know you're getting old for a panda, but we still enjoy visiting you and watching you eat bamboo.
Thanks for brightening our lives.
Laura, Norm, Dom & Kimi
i remember the pandas coming to the national zoo. it seem like such a great loss ... trying to open up relations with china in 1971 at that time ling ling and hsing hsing were wonderful additions to the national zoo. it was too bad they could not have baby pandas live long enough to adulthood.
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