Christmas 2002

It was some ten weeks since I last wrote to you in this series. I thank the friends and readers who took the trouble of asking me what had been happening, what I had been doing or why I had seemingly stopped writing. Well, I did not write for the sake of writing. I thought I had been writing because I had something to say. I have been increasingly writing sporadically probably because I have been doing some thinking – an occupation I do not always engage in or have the luxury of so doing. I had actually started writing a few letters in between, but events and work set in and they remained whispers in the wind.

Let me first wish you a Merry Christmas. May the spirit of Christmas liven up yours, rekindle the sparks within, give you the passion to love and hate, make your life more beautiful each day, make you love those you loved to hate, and above all bring you peace each day and peace of mind always.

As I left the office last night after an ad hoc and improvised drinks party and being the last to leave, I realized that this would be the last Christmas I spent in the first job after I left school. I joined the Civil Service immediately after I graduated from the University of Hong Kong, which makes it my first and only full time job. My arrangement with the Government is that I would proceed on my retirement in April next year. I have been telling my friends and business contacts about my impending retirement for the past six months, but most of them did not register. Indeed, quite a few thought that I was joking and simply refused to take in what I told them. Those who did would ask me what my plans were, but very few believed my reply that I had none.

Leaving an organization that one has worked for after 33 years would invariably kick in a bit of memory and nostalgia, but this is not yet the time for it. I still have a few more months; so let me update you on my life over the last year.

First, Rosita has been enjoying reasonably good health. The cancerous cells apparently had gone to bed and our prayers are: may they sleep forever. She sees the consultant about once a month only and she has also been consulting a herbalist, which means that she can plan longer travels, of up to a month. She now leads a rather active social life and seems to be quite busy all the time.

Stephanie has revised her application for admission to her choice veterinary school and in the meantime has taken up a more permanent temporary job in an animal hospital. Her brother Lawrence has moved in UC Berkeley last year, taking up third year Psychology, but brother and sister hardly meet each other, mainly because of the hectic schedules they choose to follow. They have both come back for Christmas, which makes our already small flat even smaller.

As for me, I have been doing quite a bit of job related traveling and I am visiting a lot more Mainland cities than before, all rather exciting. In the meantime, I have sketched a plan for taking up golf, involving a morning of each week with Rosita following a coach, but it has so far remained as a sketch.

The year 2003 would definitely bring changes to each member of the family. One thing Rosita and I would almost certainly do together is to travel extensively. The other thing is I could probably have more time for Rotary. Personally, I believe in positively doing nothing mentally except exercising the body so as to allow room for ideas to gel and sink in. One of my objectives is to learn to enjoy the quieter moments of life, learn to live with and find peace with oneself.

I would probably continue with these letters, but I cannot be sure now. Until then, I wish you well and I wish you happiness and peace.

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