Facebook today invited me to share a picture of me taken 13 years ago to date, which I did. It was one featuring me beside a flowering iron tree or Dracaena fragrans by its botanical name in a friend’s office. I was smiling. When Su saw it, she remarked that I looked very young then, which prompted this blog. I certainly looked younger and I was younger. Su added that I would be just a few years older than he was now.

I listened to a radio interview on YouTube with Venerable Sik Hin Hung recorded on 25 March in which my teacher discussed pain and aging among other things and how to deal with pain and people with pain. The interviewer began by citing some of her aging friends exploring every means to slow down the process. Yes, aging often brings pain, but not always and not necessarily. On the other hand, pain or suffering are everywhere – it’s one of the universal truths – and can strike anyone anytime. My wise teacher then said he was not well recently and acknowledged that a sick or suffering person often feels helpless, which feeling itself would not be helpful or conducive to lessening the pain. It is therefore useful to remember as a care giver or when visiting the sick not to do or say anything that would not help easing the pain of the sufferer. For example, it would not be useful to ask the person one is visiting why and how he caught the illness or became sick, but it is vital to understand how he feels and to show empathy, bearing in mind that no one wants to be sick or unwell.

This brings me to the point that I haven’t been entirely well for nearly the whole month of March. My left thigh muscles have been acting up on and off so that in the worst days I found it painful to put on my socks and pants. I first consulted a brother, then a professional sports physiotherapist, on the premises that I would have acquired the pain through too much exercises. Or it could simply be signs of aging. Nevertheless, and thank God, I have been able to walk reasonably well and painlessly, and I could even go through my gym routines on the treadmills without inflicting further pain. To cut the long story short, my conditions have been improving, through more stretching after exercises and with the assistance of the physiotherapist and Su. Su is a great believer of stretching and she does it very often and rather well.

The muscle pain in March had not inhibited us taking a short trip to Macau last week, our first since 2019. We took the opportunity to join a dinner meeting organized by the Rotary District leadership to visit the clubs and the membership in Macau, the District Governors of the last three years having not had the chance to meet their respective teams in the last three years. I met up a few on my Class of 2000 and had more eating and drinking sessions with a very good friend in particular, which brought back memories of good old times in Macau. Su had posted on the social media excerpts in words and photos with our friend Florence and I would not repeat them here. Suffice it to record that the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf – where we stayed for two nights – is still struggling with low occupancies and patronage, while the Taipa and the Venetian areas are striving and doing much better.  It also appeared that Macau needed more time to find and train more workers as the economy began to pick up.

March is an extremely busy month for Zetland Hall, with at least three meetings a week, mostly installation evenings; and I had other appointments for birthdays and other meetings, which impacted on the constitution. Consciously, I have been staying in bed longer, for more rest. My physiotherapist has also advised that I should rest for one day after two days of gym work.

Back to this morning. I had booked an appointment with Hyundai Services Workshop in Kwai Chung for a regular maintenance on my electric car which I acquired in August 2021, but since when I have not even reached 5000 km. The Workshop recommended services every 10,000 km or six months, but for low mileage users like me, it should be OK to leave it for one year per check, for each service costs HK$1,800 basic. Su accompanied me because I needed her iPhone to operate the GPS in the car; and we arrived on time for the 8:30am slot. Past experiences meant that we would get the car back in about three hours. Su suggested we walked back to Mei Foo along Castle Peak Road. It was a rather pleasant 4km walk which took just over one hour as my phone clocked 7,800 steps. Back home, we showered and had other routines and I was about to lie on my back when the Workshop called. The car was ready for collection. It was 11am. We walked to the bus stop outside Jao Tsung-I Academy, boarded a bus – there are at least four routes available – and were at the Workshop by 11:30am. Such is the convenience and reliability of public transport in Hong Kong. We have simply been spoiled. Indeed, for elderlies like me, we shouldn’t be running a car, if money becomes a problem.

April is tomorrow. It would be a time for birthdays and anniversaries. I need to have my constitution well prepared for those.

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