General

A Sort of Anniversary

It was almost exactly to the day one year ago I returned Hong Kong from YVR by myself on a one-way ticket, leaving Su with an unused ticket under my name, so that I could make a medical appointment. I made the uneventful appointment alright – the nurses gave me a chit to collect medicines from the Pharmacy, and rescheduled my appointment by 100 days, telling me that the medical doctors were required to do other things – and I attended a masonic meeting that evening followed by dinner in Causeway Bay as well. It all seemed rather distant now, yet so near. And, since then, like almost everybody, I haven’t left Hong Kong. Indeed, we were glued to our flat in Mei Foo most of the time. Zetland Hall issued the first directive later that week following the Authority’s advisory banning entry to ZH anyone who had travelled outside Hong Kong within 14 days. Life has never been the same since.

A year later, the world has logged 120 million coronavirus cases, with over 2.6 million deaths, including over 500,000 from the United States alone, as nations after nations, cities after cities, and governments after governments, try any means, moral or amoral, legal or questionable, well-considered or expedient, to devise and implement plans to contain the spread of the virus on the one hand and to vaccinate the people as expeditiously as possible on the other.

In Hong Kong, the Government has tried every means to contain the damage on the one hand and to keep the economy going on the other hand, which cannot be an easy task. Nevertheless, there will always be people who think they are smarter and that they know best or at least better than governments. In short, in their mind, the government always does the wrong thing and does things wrongly; and the officials are either too slow or are reacting by knee-jerk, and are always dumb. Indeed, one hardly sees any positive reporting in the media on successes or good stories, but any unfavorable news, no matter how temporary or slight, will be blown out of proportion to make headlines, always under the guise of press freedom, of course.

Amidst such miserable atmosphere, the best one can do is to look on the bright side, keep safe, stay happy, and keep the body and mind healthy, the last being the most important of all. Which was why after an early morning workout in the park on Sunday and before we tucked into the food, we decided to attire ourselves to please each other and uncork a bottle of champagne. Su uploaded some selfies taken with her SLR camera, which attracted likes and comments in record time, in increasing numbers and still counting. We’d like to believe that we were providing a community service to lighten up people’s moods. Friends seemed pleased with what they saw we were doing; and some asked why I was in a dress shirt and bow tie for breakfast or brunch at home. I don’t have an immediate answer to that, except to say that my wardrobe is filled with such stuff which were hardly used during the pandemic so that it is not a bad idea to air them sometimes, lest they gather dust or get mouldy. A friend asked whether we were celebrating White Day or White Valentine Day which the Japanese invented in 1978, falling on March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day, to enable people to reciprocate gifts to those who had given them gifts on Valentine’s Day, which is a clever plan to keep the economy going. I have since learnt that the Koreans had invented yet a third and unofficial marketing or commercial day on April 14, observed mainly in South Korea by singles to enable them to send or receive gifts from their significant others from whom they had not received or to whom they had yet to send gifts on either Valentine’s Day or the White Day. What ingenious and elaborate plans. It certainly is great to be young and in love! But why not; as Bernard Shaw had been quoted, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” Well, Shaw had also said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Or, as my Professor Peter Kwan would use it to muse on himself, “He who can, does, he who cannot, teaches.” But that would be another story. In response, or in an effort to humour my friends, I told them it was actually the 142nd anniversary of the birth of that great if not the greatest theoretical physicist Albert Einstein who is best known for his theory of relativity and contributions on quantum mechanics. I then went on to say that it was also the international Pi Day, ∏ being a mathematical constant, defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, is a transcendental number approximately equals to 3.14159 26535 89793 and is also referred to as Archimedes’ constant, and so on. That should drive some people nuts.

In the meantime, life goes on. Su and I had our first doses of Sinovac vaccines; and we both felt great afterwards. March is the birthday month of many good friends. It is also Lent and the first time we cannot attend Mass for real. Let’s hope the situation would ease up somewhat by the Holy Week and Easter.

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