Christmas 2001

As we move towards another Christmas, marking the end of another eventful year, Rosita and I would like to thank our families and friends for the wonderful things they have done for us and to us all the time, knowingly or unknowingly, and in the manner and fashion they have done them. Our families and friends have been ever supportive in all our endeavours. They have prayed for our health and well being, quietly but unceasingly and would always be there when we need them. It is great to feel being loved and cared for.

On this occasion, we wish all our families and friends a merry and wonderful Christmas. We hope you can eat and drink to your heart’s content and enjoy the process without having to worry about anything. We hope you can sleep well afterwards and wake up feeling great and happy, ready to be of service to your fellow brothers and sisters. We hope you can see your way to give to charities of your choice, in particular the Rotary Foundation, and feel the joy of giving. We hope you can be with those nearest and dearest to you, meet long and forgotten friends and make up with those with whom you had had not so happy encounters before. And most important of all, we wish you love and happiness.

Let me now pause to recall the more significant events in the year, and I would be brief.

I did a fair bit of traveling in 2001, some Rotary related, but mostly because of work. I have covered some of these visits in my letters. Suffice it to say that I have always tried to make the most out of these visits and I am glad that I have enjoyed most if not all of them. Sadly, but unavoidably, Rosita could not be with me on most of the trips because of her physical conditions. Otherwise, things had been perfect.

In 2001, I completed my term as Governor of Rotary International District 3450. The official changeover ceremony or District Installation was postponed to late July due to a severe tropical typhoon. It was a great evening and I hope everyone who was there enjoyed the evening as much as Johnson and I did. Now a past governor or more often referred to as IPDG, I am not expected to be everywhere in the District, but I would attend the district functions to which Rosita and I were invited and in particular the ones that she could accompany me. I have also made it a point to spend more time with Rosita and on my own Rotary club. I have been made the Club Webmaster this year and I have also been offered the job for next year. Our club website is not perfect, but at least it is up and running. Talking of websites, I have put up my personal website this year. It is still early days, and I am open to suggestions. In the meantime, it is mainly a site for my letters.

Rosita has continued to respond well to treatment. Indeed, a latest examination has shown improvements in many areas and we are encouraged, greatly encouraged. However, the doctors said her conditions had yet to be classified as stable, which means that she needs to continue to have tubes attached to the heart, which need to be flushed twice weekly, which makes longer travels inconvenient if not impossible. Otherwise, she is in rather good health. She now operates a rather busy social schedule and she goes out almost every day for lunches and dinners with friends.

The single most significant event this year for both of us must be our Silver Wedding Anniversary that we celebrated with families and friends earlier this month. We had been thinking for some time how to mark the occasion. In the past, we invariably held private and very small parties, normally with the children and sometimes with very close friends. Rosita had earlier on ruled out having a party, on grounds that the children would not be around, that it would be too much work and that it would cost too much. She being the High Command, I had prepared to rest the case and was looking forward to another quiet and private anniversary, particularly when I knew a few months before that I would need to be in Beijing for work on the day.

Fate had it that I was on an outing to Lamma with a group of friends early October. Ko Ying was sitting next to me and we had a serious drinking session. Somehow, somebody mentioned the idea of a party to mark our anniversary and Ko Ying volunteered to be the Organizing Committee Chairman. When I mentioned the idea to Rosita in the afternoon, she dismissed it as a tale of drunken sailors and once more I put the idea to rest. Shortly afterwards, I ran into Ko Ying again in Zetland Hall. He was very serious. One thing led to another, and there and then, we booked Zetland Hall for a party for 120 or slight more. By mid October, we began meeting on Thursday evenings at 10p.m. in Lau Ling Bar of Furama Hotel. We formed a committee and friends volunteered to take up jobs. Stephanie decided to make a special trip back and so did Rosita’s sisters. The rest was history. It was a great party. I would like to thank so many people, including some who were not there or who were not even invited to the party. We thank our friends for being there, their good wishes, their warmth, their thoughtful presents and even more thoughtful pleasantries at the party. Rosita and I felt great and I got tipsy by the time I was to thank the guests formally. In the end, Rosita did it on our behalf and Mike Rowse rounded off the evening’s formal proceedings with a rousing speech.

Turning to Stephanie, she did come back from Berkeley, but only to be admitted to the hospital for emergency appendectomy on landing. The operation took place the morning we had the anniversary party. She was obviously and understandably upset, but she has since been looking on the bright side. She would return to work in her animal hospital shortly and spend Christmas with her Berkeley friends.

Still on Stephanie, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Cell Biology in May this year, her first, and has since been working on her application for admission to the veterinary school. This is waiting time for her, and a time of uncertainty and anxiety. She would need to do a lot of soul searching whatever the outcome of her application. Let us pray for the wisdom and enlightenment she would need to enable her to take the best decisions for her next stage in life.

It only remains to account for Lawrence. Well, he has been studying hard and getting good grades. I am however not at liberty to say how good they are. He has applied for transfer to the UC system in California and we are all hopeful that his grades would be looked upon with favour by the admission authorities. Lawrence is coming back to spend Christmas here and we are looking forward to that.

Against this background, 2002 looks likely to be a year of changes for the Wan family, and I would like to believe that we are ready for the changes, and at the same time, hopeful that the changes would be for the better. With your continuing love, support and encouragement and God willing, we are confident that 2002 will bring peace and progress to the family. Once again, Merry Christmas to all of you.

Talk to you again soon.

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