Su has always said that she found August in Hong Kong too hot for her constitution such that she won’t venture out of her flat until sundown. Facebook reminded us that we did not spend too much of August in Hong Kong, except for last year perhaps when we had a virtual lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic. Indeed, we have been grounded since mid-March 2020 and it doesn’t look like we would be able to leave Hong Kong comfortably in another six months at least.
But things are happening all around us, and it does seem that the rest of the world, in particular the West, won’t leave us alone. Even as our medal-laden athletes were in quarantine after their return from Japan, Nicol Kidman made news with her appearances in Central, prompting questions from all quarters on all fronts with renewed condemnation on the civil servants in formulation and execution of public policies. Yes, many people will always conclude that civil servants can never do anything right, but then these same people have reacted with lightning speed to the voucher scheme put out by the same government.
Then suddenly, we saw the fall of Kabul happening faster and more dramatic than the fall of Saigon; and this is only the beginning. No measure of words or explanation can justify the costs estimated at US$2 trillion or the human sacrifices estimated at 240,000 involved and incurred in the past 20 years. No doubt historians, novelists, artistes and politicians will henceforth present their stories ad nauseum, so as to guarantee that the average person will never get anywhere near the truth. But I doubt the United States, arguably the primary instigator, perpetrator and funds provider of the operation – and hence the major stakeholder – would ever be interested in the truth. Some would even say, “You can’t handle the truth!” The Joe Biden Administration has already said that the pull out is fully justified and that there is no best time for the operation, even as their Commander in Chief was assuring the world that the 350,000 strong well trained and equipped armed force of the Afghan government would very unlikely succumb quickly to the very much out-numbered band of Taliban fighters. What’s new? Doesn’t history often repeat itself?
Closer to home, despite what the West and media would like us to believe in, we are making progress as the national security police made arrests and gathered evidence to bring offenders before the courts, including most recently four HKU students, and as Jimmy Lai has been named as the person funding operations calculated to conspire with foreign forces to bring sanctions against China and Hong Kong. Sources have indeed predicted that the media tycoon would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, either in Hong Kong or in China. What a change of fortune for someone who once appeared to be so powerful and influential worldwide that even the US vice president and high officials would find time to meet! One wonders what ran across his mind and what sustained his blind faith in a country which has systematically betrayed its allies and lied to their people.
These are exciting times indeed; and inevitably one needs to take stock and position oneself. A friend earlier asked what one can do to prepare for the future in such times. To me, the question is a rhetorical one and one which has been asked time and time again, since we were in our early twenties and even in the teens when many of our friends and classmates were leaving the place or making plans to settle in the West. As always, it is for the individuals to weigh all the relevant factors and keep everything in balance. Except that we now have more facts before us: we have a China, our country, with so much growth potentials, a country which has never tried to invade another country, and one in which we can place our trust. On the other hand, the West looks like a basket case that may not be sustainable or about to fall apart. The choice is obvious, to me at least.
It is true that friends are continuing leaving Hong Kong and are making plans to send their children abroad. As Reverend Robert Ng of Ricci Hall has recently said in his sermon, it wouldn’t matter where people go or stay, as long as they are not leaving God and His Words. I certainly wish they won’t.
In the meantime, we have decided therefore to have plenty of exercises, to keep the body and mind in the best conditions, and above all, to be in company with people we are likely to have a great time. Hot and stormy as it may be, we owe it to ourselves to eat and live well.