The peach blossom branch continuing to show life signs notwithstanding, with green leaves sprouting here and there, we decided to dispose of it three days after Lichun. We would see what happens next year. Meanwhile, eating and drinking continued.
Apparently, the opening of the borders had encouraged more people to visit Hong Kong, primarily to renew their Hong Kong Identity Cards and Home Return Permits, thereby making a side trip to China, Shenzhen in particular, to update their China phone and bank accounts which are a must to facilitate more visits to China. Of course, the stated reasons for their visits were to visit their families and friends in Hong Kong. These are long time classmates and friends who have emigrated and are holding foreign passports, but who would not relinquish their Chinese identities and links for various reasons. Naturally, their friends would organize reunion meetings to greet them; and invariably over lunches over which they were all praises on the high efficiency, efficacy and user friendliness of the Immigration Department staff. Quite a change from the usual gripes I heard from them.
Meanwhile, geopolitical issues continued to run their courses, with a hot air balloon taking centre stage, straining US-China relations and providing a physical target for both sides to sling mud on each other, and which got shot down by expensive US fighter jets and missiles. All rather dramatic and theatrical. Then there was Trump making a comeback bid for the job he lost to Biden, which provided neither new ideas or themes, followed by Biden’s State of the Union speech delivered in his signature deadpan tone and aided by some Republican theatrics. It was comical, but what he said about China was not, and in fact rather worrying. Over to the UK side, as more bad news on their economy emerged, reflecting the fragile political framework and an ineffective government, the country continued to bad mouth Hong Kong and China, using drummed up charges and non-facts that were not worth their value on paper or repeating. Closer to home, the long-awaited trial of the 47 former LegCo members in the largest ever national security case had begun and generated more drama, including a hole in a window pane of the court room. Not to be outdone, on the culture or drama side, controversies emerged from a documentary which had taken ten years to make, resulting in the film being withdrawn from public viewing, all boiled down to unnecessary political motives, which was cited by an outspoken columnist as evidence that our society is still fragile from unjust and unfair attacks even with the national security laws in place for nearly three years. It is a pity. I would have loved to see the documentary in full.
Perhaps the only good news one can pick up recently is what CE John Lee has just said to the press wrapping up his visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, amidst depressing news from the disaster in Turkey and Syria. It’s heartrending news indeed.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I am an eternal optimist. It is blatantly clear that the US, having started a proxy war in Ukraine, is bent on creating one in Taiwan in order to contain if not weaken China. Even the blind can see that poorly veiled strategy. The balloon has provided the US a God-sent device and Biden is milking it to no end. It is now up to China to stay calm and composed. I believe President Xi would be able to summon all his wits to withstand provocation from Biden and company thereby avoiding any hot war, but US-China relations will remain difficult, as has been long predicted. There is hardly anything a mortal can do, which is why I am in no hurry to go to other cities or counties, as if the world was coming to an end. Su took me to Kadoorie Farm again, for the third time, two days ago and took more photos. We met a friend on our way out; and both parties were pleasantly surprised.
The wet market in Mei Foo has closed down for renovation that would take at least one year, probably longer. Su has written blogs on the subject and I would say no more for the time being. In the meantime, I would continue my muddling through and live for the present moment.