Here I am, sitting before the keyboard on Christmas Day, pounding out another year ender for what it’s worth, but first I thank God for another year of reasonably good health for me and my wife Su and for the well-being of my children, relatives and friends. These days, it seems that one doesn’t get to know too much on the state of wellness of one’s families and friends who are not around except through the internet. One can therefore only infer that they are well; which makes one appreciate how “No news is good news” really works.
Whoever you are, wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing or wanting to do, I wish you and your loved ones good health and happiness; I wish you long life and prosperity; I wish you lots of merriment and enjoyment with your daily chores and routines; and most important of all, may God be with you.
I am happy to have received greetings and updates from friends. They began to come in ten days or so ago and became more frequent in the last few days, often in pre-cast images or videos that could have circled or been recycled around the globe many times, but some arrived in rather elegant shapes with informative and colorful descriptions of what happened to them and the families in the past year. The latter, particularly when they were sent through group emails, often attracted replies from which one received further updates on friends of friends, which can be rather interesting. I thank all these people, many were and still are good friends, with whom I wish I could get closer and more often.
Back to myself, the year 2017 would be marked as one among recent years in which Su and I did not go skiing in Whistler, but instead had some serious trekking in Nepal. We spent nearly three weeks there with two in the mountains putting the body and mind to extreme and rigorous tests. I wrote six articles afterwards which I uploaded on my website and at the suggestion of Su put out a few photos on Facebook to attract readership. We would never know who amongst our friends and acquaintances read which or what, but at least the photos led to an invitation to speak at my Rotary Club on our experience.
Still on travels, Su and I went to Dalian for a few days and tracked down her birthplace and the flat in Dalian University where she spent her first ten years. It was nostalgic for Su and somewhat eye opening for me. I also visited DPRK aka North Korea in the West. It was a unique experience and very much worth the time. CNN aired a documentary last week under the title of “Secret State” which I watched while I was working out at the gym. It was not a bad production at all and rather factual. Once again, I have uploaded a few articles on the travels to DPRK and Dalian on my website.
Talking of the gym, I tried to work out five times a week for at least an hour each time. Apart from the odd weeks, I have been able to meet the target and I managed to keep my weight rather constant throughout the year. Indeed, I shed 3 to 4 kilos after Nepal. Still on health matters, I had cataract operations on both eyes, first the left then the right, in February and March respectively, before and after my trip to Nepal. It was again quite an experience, details of which could be found on my website. Looking back, I wish I had it earlier.
On other extracurricular activities, I have kept up with my Rotary Club, though not as ardent; my freemasonry meetings and brotherhood activities which Su sometimes complained have taken up a lot of my time; alumni activities including the HKU mentorship programme; and other regular lunches. Su and I continued to go to weekly dance classes and our coach and classmates have been so encouraging that we have recently taken up private lessons with a view to having a better time at social dancing. Watch this space.
Su continued to test and refine her culinary skills, acquiring more literature and equipment of various shapes and sizes and apparently hooked on slow cooking. She continued to compare notes with a friend who was a real sous chef and who now regularly invited us to his place for real food.
In fine, I would say it was an average extraordinary year without too much headaches and heartaches; but with plenty of scopes and agenda to look forward to. Looking forward, in the year that I would be eligible for fruit money and when some friends have already threatened to organize some extraordinary trips to mark the occasion, I am determined to take up more personal agenda and avoid people that have a tendency to upset me. I would continue to learn how to be a better person and a better husband. It’s too late to learn to be a better parent.
The Year of the Dog is round the corner. I wish all of you and your families a mindful Year of the Dog, in addition to good health and prosperity; and that you may be blessed by the known attributes of the Dog, which include being valiant, loyal, responsible, clever, courageous and lively. And may God be with you always.