At breakfast, a friend from high school days forwarded me a soundtrack of First of May by Bee Gees with video background from the movie Melody. Su located our two vinyl discs by Bee Gees, cleaned them and played First of May there and then, which brought back memories. In the meantime, I learned from Google that Bee Gees recorded the song in 1968 which was first released in January 1969 while Melody was released in 1971 with Bee Gees’ soundtrack. Su said she had just started her primary school in 1969 and asked on FB what others were doing at the time. One responded he was just born, I recall a growing up lesson which left an indelible impact on me, as a few others were still responding. I also recall that first of May was not a public holiday before the return of sovereignty to China, and rather nostalgically, some occasions on which I sang the tune, often without accompaniment. Indeed, memories are made of these, as tidbits become milestones, little things metamorphose, and big and tall tales are dwarfed and forgotten.
I have always held the view that it is better to remember things that are nice, intrinsic or extrinsic, for nasty memories only bring bad or broken dreams. Alas, it is awfully difficult to control one’s memories or memory bank; and one of these days, one would lose a lot of one’s memories anyway. Arising from Su’s innocent call for memory recall on 1969 or First of May, a friend suggested that twenty years down the road, people may recall today as the day the black shirts threatened to renew or rekindle their efforts to block streets, set fires and create riots after a break of a few weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s not a good thought, and I’d rather not crowd out my brain with such stuff.
During home confinement and in between walking the gardens and rope skipping, I completed another two chapters of the book so that I have now written more or less the first 55 years of my life in outlines, in about 35,000 words, without touching yet on my first wife and the two children or the voluntary services I had been involved. Separately, I have gone through some of the blogs on my personal website and hatched plans on how to use parts of it for a few chapters, so that I believe I have materials for a book of 80,000 words so far. However, I cannot deny that I am losing steam, and I need new impetus to move on. I can think of better things to do, such as reading up some of the books I have acquired over the years that I have yet to start reading, and perhaps start writing some book reviews of my own accord, which I can put on my website from time to time anyway. I have also noticed changes in people’s attention span and reading habits. People are now generally more interested in graphics as opposed to written words; and books are certainly losing appeals to social media. I am thinking for example whether I should spend some time each day to write a small piece of the diary type, which over time, can be collated to produce a book too. Once again, it goes back to the fundamental question I often ask myself, “why write at all?”
I knew and I remember how and when I started writing on a regular basis. Time and circumstances have changed since, but I have kept going because I sort of enjoy putting my thoughts down in words sometimes, lest I forget later as I often did and had surprised myself by reading afterwards what I had written sometime before. Now, I had established a convention from the early years not to mention names as far as possible to protect the identities of the characters I mentioned. I thought I would not forget their identities ever, but I was proved wrong. I read some old pieces recently and I could not recall some of these characters, even after some trying and soul searching.
Now, I am actually not worried that very few friends or nobody reads my blogs. I know myself and I know my friends. In the final analysis, I know I have been writing for my own therapy, which is a good enough reason to continue writing. I have already tested out my hypothesis with Su’s help by linking my blogs with some catchy photos that Su had taken or chosen. We have concluded that our friends could be more interested in the photos, but we love them no less.
I wish all of you out there a happy First of May and a happier weekend.