Spy Kids, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park and Artificial Intelligence, what have they all got in common? Yes, they are all movie titles, but you cannot be serious if you expect a prize for that. Let me save you the guesswork, for this could be a frustrating experience, and besides, you couldn’t possibly know the answer unless you have been following my life closely recently, I mean really closely. I can’t think of anyone in his right mind that would do that.
Alright, these are four recent movies shown in the UA Cinemas in Pacific Place Queensway that I went to see with Rosita, all on Tuesday evenings. Yes, that is it. It would probably not mean a lot to you, but it does to me.
I used to be a film buff. I saw many films when I was small. These were mainly the Cantonese films, which later became known as Cantonese Oldies on late television. My siblings and I became so familiar with the cinema people that we could sneak in without tickets sometimes. It was a very old cinema and it had spacious windowsills on which we could sit comfortably throughout when the cinema was full and when we did not have tickets. In my secondary school days, it became fashionable to watch western movies. These could be the cowboy westerns or just any English or American movie. Those days I would go to the movies with my classmates. I recall that the good movies would run on for weeks. One classic that I saw at least six or seven times was The Sound of Music. In my university days; that was the roaring late Sixties; movie going was a very popular pastime and people went to the movies for all sorts of reasons. I recall going to a late night show with an English Language major after which we sat in the Hilton coffee shop and drank lots of coffee until breakfast. In those days, the coffee shop operated round the clock. I sat there half awake listening to her exposition and analyses on the film we had just seen. The analyses took twice as long as the movie. Afterwards, we walked back to our different hostels in silence and nothing happened.
As time goes by, I saw fewer, very much fewer movies in cinemas. I suppose this is the trend anyway. First the television, later the VCD and now DVD have taken over; and besides there are so many more other things to do. When the children were small, it would be bad for their health and our spirit to take them along. When they became older, they would not go with us. The result is that I hardly see more than two or three movies in cinemas a year. I saw most movies on television, discs and during long flights.
Rosita finished her second course of chemotherapy late July and became more mobile in August. I would update you on her conditions next week. We decided to take advantage of the mobility and the reduced Tuesday price for admission and see a movie every Tuesday. There are other obvious spin-offs. At first, Rosita was not convinced that I could find the time every week, but I did, or shall I say, we did, and most important, we both enjoyed these sessions, more so than the movies. Initially, there were discussions on the seats. Were they too close or too distant from the screen, or should they be left or right of the aisles. I have since become an expert and I know exactly which are the best seats. Rosita was very pleased with my progress – for someone who had never brought a cinema ticket by himself for some ten years, this was quite an achievement.
At first, we thought that we would need to block off the entire evening every Tuesday. We found out that this won’t be necessary, for Rosita could make her own way to the cinema so that I could attend an evening meeting or even a dinner between work and cinema. For example, in the Jurassic Park week, I managed to attend a Rotary committee meeting at the RIC and a dinner with two of my favourite Rotarians before Rosita joined us for desserts in the Pacific Place before dashing off next door to the Cinema, which reminds me that I need to thank these two Rotarians. One of them must have paid, and I probably know who.
From the four movie, I move on to the Dance Expo. The Hong Kong Dance Expo 2001 was on during the last three days of August in the Sha Tin Town Hall Auditorium. It was organized by the Hong Kong Dance Federation, a non-profit dancing society set up in 1978 by the famed and acclaimed in the dancing community in Hong Kong. This year’s event was sponsored by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the Chinese Dancers’ Association and others. The programme featured the major dance troupes, dance academies and schools of ballet in Hong Kong and the Organizing Committee invited from abroad the Anhui Arts Teen Dance Troup, the Inspired Dance Company from the Shenzhen Arts School and the Bauhinia Dancing Group and Linda Lai’s Studio from Los Angeles, U.S.A. One of our nieces in Los Angeles is on the Bauhinia Group and was performing. So Rosita bought the best tickets a few weeks before and sent flowers to Sha Tin Town Hall on the Opening Performance. I gladly accompanied her. I also took the brave decision to drive to Sha Tin and park in a car park that I had never used before. Normally, I would park in the Town Hall itself, by prior arrangement, but since this is a private function and I am no longer the governor, I decided to take the risk. I am happy to report that nothing untoward happened. It was a pleasant evening. It rained and poured at times, but we were in the car. The performances were funny and entertaining. There were so many little children in flimsy, colourful and fancy ballet dresses. I think almost any child in the dance schools had been offered an opportunity to perform. Little wonder why the house was packed, with eager parents and proud grand parents. There was a number jointly staged by two schools. There must be over a hundred children at curtain call. And very importantly, I managed to spot our niece unaided.
Such is the fun and joy of life after being a governor. It does not mean, however, that Rotary is no longer a priority. No, I would find it hard and impossible to sever Rotary from my life now. But it means that I can play a supportive role, one that I enjoy no less and one which allows me to take up more fully my other roles, of which there are a few, including being an uncle.
But let me quickly share with you that I am still very much active with my own Rotary club. I am now the Club Webmaster. I have picked up a few basic skills from the District Webmaster and I intend to work on them to get a club website going that would not only enhance communication between members, but would also enable the rest of the District and others to know more about our Club. Already, I have re-activated the club mailbox under the district e-mail system and I have announced to the world through the Internet who our Club President is, something that quite a few clubs in the District are still working on. I look forward to receiving your feedback on the new website.
Talk to you again next week.