Another New Year

A week slipped past beginning with exciting news on the impending opening up of the borders; and today actually saw commuters going up and down, though not without some hiccups, which were not unexpected, but which bode well compared with what was happening a year ago when the place was almost in complete shutdown.

We began the year with a birthday party for my nephew who reached the Big Five on New Year Day, followed a few days later by a sumptuous dinner at a small private eatery in a flat on the second floor of the old town in Aberdeen, featuring seafood and threadfin in particular, inspired by a post on Facebook by Su after she landed a surprise catch at a bargain from the Mei Foo wet market. Both meals were spectacular and I probably had eaten and drunk too much. Then on Friday, we spent a lazy afternoon at ABC’s Middle Island, waiting for Andrew to join us for an impromptu BBQ, consuming more meat and wine. Saturday finally came; and Su and I joined a group for a walk from Mui Wo to Mong Tung Wan which was part of the Chi Ma Wan country trail on South Lantau. We did about 10km or over 20,000 steps. This, coupled with my almost daily workout with an average of 10,000 steps, would probably be a good start for body maintenance. Su had written a bit on the walk yesterday and posted some photos, so I would not dwell further on that. Suffice it to observe that there are enough spots in Hong Kong with sufficient scenic sights and amenities that would make it unnecessary to go to Phuket or Pattaya for a weeklong holiday. We also learnt that there were only 50 blue taxi licenses plying between the well paved roads between north and south of Lantau, so that walking would probably be more reliable. In between, we caught up with our young friend Gigi and learnt more on how some young and aspiring minds worked between the Mainland and the Greater Bay Area.

In the wake of the sudden opening up of Hong Kong, amidst the various attempts by countries to block travelers from China and Hong Kong, we are seeing more people in Hong Kong contracting Covid, which I suppose is inevitable. Still, Su and I are not in a hurry to board a flight to go anywhere. Not yet.

I mentioned in my Year Ender for 2022 that the year 2023 marks the 20th year of my retirement from the only paid job I have ever had and that I would officially turn 75 in April. I recall I threw a small party and had dinner with a group of friends at the main restaurant in Park Lane Hotel the day I went on retirement which was 7 April 2003. Over dinner, Alex Kwan spoke with consummate seriousness that he would take me to Mr Lee – who was the consulting physician and herbalist for both of us – to have my constitutions fixed so that I would be well and fit enough to face the challenges awaiting me in the next twenty years. I did follow Alex to pay daily visits to Mr Lee’s clinic in Western District, but I found it too time consuming after a while and dropped off the regime. Well, 20 years passed in a flash; and Alex passed away too, in May 2020; and interestingly, I now have the same feeling I had 20 years ago when people asked me what I would do after retirement. I can’t help asking myself whether I had moved on or grown in the last 20 years. I suppose I don’t need the answer, for the answer to the rhetorical question would not help lessen any dukkha if they existed, based on the theoretical framework I have gathered from my Buddhist studies.  In any case, I have no wish to make myself unhappy intentionally under any circumstances. I believe Su shares a similar frame of mind; and we have been working hard to live happily and healthily in the last three years, without going places.

Nevertheless, I think I would try to work out a framework to regulate my routines; and I am thinking of adopting a discipline of writing at least a blog a week, which would at least serve to remind myself what I have done or not done in the week before, lest I become more forgetful. I have given up trying to be rich and wealthy, or for that matter, getting a real job. I would not start any new business or hire anyone to run my work or schedules. I don’t see a need for that. I would try to keep writing and reading; and I would wind up the storage in Tai Wo Hau. Let’s see how things pen out.

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