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David Lin passed away

Photo made at the auction of the late Klak.
The man in the striped blouse is Mr Lin Yun Ta.

Monday morning May 23rd 2005.
I am sitting in my yard, as pissed off as can be.
After a series of races that were completely destroyed I had a bad race.
I can live with that but unfortunately that was not all; I also lost my best birds.
One of them (02-791) was always on top.
It had won 1st prize from 5,794 pigeons 3 weeks ago in hard weather and it had been the fastest of almost 8,000 birds as well.
Another one was just as good and had already given 2 babies that were winners.

‘Why did all those other worthless stupid bunches of feathers make it home but not those brilliant birds?’ I wondered.
Then the phone rang.
This time no fancier with a silly question but a voice that sounded familiar; Maggie’s. ‘David passed away’ she cried.
I froze. ‘David passed away?’
Impossible. Though David (56 years old only) lived far away (Taiwan) he was my best friend.
A man does not have many friends, at least not me, but ‘the impossible thing’ turned out to be true.
Never ever had I been so shocked and when the door bell rang some hours later I staggered to the front door.
There were other Chinese that wanted to buy pigeons.
I felt like shouting ‘get out of here or you will have my dog after your ass. And talking about stupid pigeons, you can have them all for free, stick your money in your ass and I will give you all mine if you bring David back’.
But I pulled myself together, these words were on my mind only, it was not their fault that David had died, and I tried to be nice to them. ‘Tried to.’

I met David about 10 years ago and from the very beginning we were real close.
He was a chemist before but became so pigeon crazy that he started a pigeon magazine (RPSM).
The success was immense and after he had met a man in the mainland with the same ambition and drive with whom he became close friends (Mr Fu) they together started a company there too that published a pigeon magazine (‘Sky winner’).
And David, his friends Mr Fu and Mr Lai went on.
His company (‘Ace Pigeon’) started all kinds of activities such as selling pigeon products, pigeon books and so on.
He built up such a good reputation and fellow fanciers got so much confidence in him that they asked him to buy pigeons for them.
Buying good pigeons became a new challenge and he decided to organise auctions.
Again it took him only a while to be one of the most successful auctioneers in Taiwan.

As for auctions his formula was simple and effective as well; offer birds from some different fanciers at a time.
‘If a guy would want pigeons from ‘John’ he might as well buy them from ‘Peter’ if he is at the auction place’ he thought.
Furthermore it must be said he stuck out his neck financially, as he spent much money to make the auctions a success.
He felt it his duty to give both the suppliers of birds, Europeans mostly, and his potential clients in Taiwan the best service possible.
Personally I have attended some of them and I was stunned.
Throughout the years I was present at many auctions, I have even run them myself but these were far better organised than I had ever experienced before. His whole staff in their typical green outfit were there to assist and I was deeply impressed how smooth and disciplined they were run.
Of course his staff deserve the credits for that as well but it was one of David’s great qualities to find the right people to work for him.
Europeans such as Denijs, v d Merwe, De Rijck and others that attended auctions organised by ‘Ace Pigeon’ were as impressed as I was.

So in a short while ‘chemist’ Lin Yun Ta had worked himself to the top of the sport that he loved and became widely respected by both friends and competitors for his honesty, his charming character and his hard work.
His company became bigger and bigger and his visits to Europe more frequent. And whether business was involved or not, everywhere in Holland and Belgium he was a welcome guest due to his warm personality and his cheerful mood.
Never ever did I hear one bad word about him which means a lot in this world full of jealousy and gossip.
If David wanted a bird he wanted the best.
If people sold to him they were sure about the money.
The word ‘cancel’ was not in his vocabulary. His word was always good enough.
And never ever did he try to get pigeons of poor quality for little money to make money, as he also cared for his clients in Taiwan.
I pretty often accompanied him on his trips, first with Luna Lai and later on Maggie Ku and I often wondered how he could handle all this.
He seldom wrote things down. Band numbers, pedigrees, results, prices, even house numbers were all stored in his memory that was as trustful as a computer.

Sometimes I asked him if he should not relax for a while but then he smiled.
‘No time to relax.’
He had to pay salaries to many employees and he felt it his duty to work hard for his wife and two sons that he loved immensely.
Then, late 2004, something strange happened.
He asked me if I would mind to be with him for about 10 days.
He wanted to come over quite alone, not for business but to relax indeed.
I found him a place in the little town of Ravels and there he cycled and went for long walks in the woods.
This was kind of strange since I did not know him that way.
Normally he exploited every minute to work, work and work and now he walked in the nice nature where he made hundreds of photos (that was his second hobby as it seems).
He burnt them and I got the CD as a present.
‘Adventure in paradise’ he had written on it.
‘I am going to enjoy life more’ he said when he took leave, adding ‘next time I will bring Sofia and my assistant Maggie to enjoy the scenery here.’
But unfortunately ‘next time’ never came.
His next date was not with me but with fate.
Early 2005 I got the first bad news. David had to take it easy for a while because he had had a little brain damage.
But little by little he recovered. First he needed a wheel chair, then crutches and then he began to phone me. He thanked God he had survived but felt sad his recovery went so slowly and he could not handle his passionate things; pigeons.

And now, May 23rd 2005 I am sitting here.
David is gone and I feel lonely, down but most of all ashamed.
I feel ashamed because I worried 2 days of my life about the loss of pigeons, and let it be super pigeons, sooner or later I can breed others.
Sweet, caring Sofia does not have that chance to make up for her loss.
‘790’, the superbird I lost, was also David’s favourite.
I lost ‘790’ on a blue Saturday, I lost David two days later.
To forget about super pigeons that get lost is hard but to forget about such a good man that is your best friend is not only hard but impossible.
When I heard the news tears rolled over my face and I was not able to stop it.
That was a long time ago.
A man should not cry, I know, and if that is true I, for once, prefer not to be a man.
Now I need a break and go outside to have a cigarette.
But I can’t go outside. It is raining cats and dogs.
Even the angels seem to cry.
He used to call Mister Fu and me his best friends.
I feel so proud about that. Far more proud than about any race result or whatever.

Good Bye David.

Never ever will I forget about you my Eastern buddy.

You were a role model as a husband, a father, a business man, an employer and, as for me, as a friend.
I cannot imagine any body’s death ever shocked the pigeon world so much as yours;
so many tears were shed by so many people.
Sofia’s time to be with you was too short, but she had a husband such as very few women in this world have and…
‘Ad never lies’ were the words you used to say to me.

One more hug please.