The sign outside Lai Chi Kok Park registered 30.2 degrees Celsius, bombax blossoms fell all over the pavement outside Ricci Hall, azaleas were in full blossoms, the sky was blue, and it was sunny and warm everywhere. It looks like summer has arrived. What fitting weather for Easter!
We left Whistler when it was beginning to snow and after we had a few days of serious skiing in powder. I had planned to write a piece to wrap up the season, but the hectic schedules waiting for me once back had not make it possible so far. I had seriously thought of adjusting my routines such that I would have one to two hours each day for myself alone with nothing to do so that I could re-invent myself. I understand of course that I have only myself to blame for not being able to organize my schedules, but then I am quick to acknowledge that there are too many things I want to do such that it becomes impractical to invent a new schedule unless I am not in Hong Kong, which was what happened when I was away. It follows that what I have been doing from day to day could simply be following a schedule put together by organizations and institutions of which I have come to be involved over time and from which I could not as yet extricate myself. That does not sound a very interesting life so far.
But what makes a life interesting, or a life worth living? The question can take a number of forms, such as, how would one want to be remembered, what would one like to see on one’s epitaph, or how would one write one’s own obituary. In short, what is the meaning of life? There is no one right answer to the question: it is probably a case of everyone for oneself, or each one goes for one’s own poison. Lee Kuan Yew gave Singapore prosperity and was remembered as the city state’s founding father, but some would hasten to add, at the cost of freedom; Deacon Chiu was remembered as the father of ATV, but could not do anything to prevent its demise; while Sir Run Run Shaw left a legacy as a philanthropist and some questions which few would pursue for various reasons. Still, a professional atheist may wish to build a life to show others that he is in total control of his own life. In the film “the theory of everything”, Stephen Hawking was a self declared atheist and cosmologist attracted to a devotee of the Church of England. The Buddha left a number of questions unanswered, including the question of whether there was a God or a Creator, on grounds that the answer to the question would not throw light on how to perform the most important task for Man which was to reduce inevitable sufferings and to search for happiness.
The search for happiness, in particular sustainable happiness, has indeed become a popular theme amongst believers and non-believers alike, but on balance, the believers tend to be able to find the road to achieving the very object much easier and quicker than the non-believers. Generations of academians, sociologists, theorists, philosophers and theologians have generally agreed on a theory that one should believe in something, and that it doesn’t matter what one believes in as long as the belief is not founded on evils, indecency or maliciousness.
In this respect, I count myself lucky, for I believe in God. In my religion, we are taught that this belief leads to Faith which in turn is a gift from God. Today is Easter which is the single most important feast day on the Christian calendar. It is a day of immense joy, happiness and ecstasy. Christians are to greet each other today to exchange the joy and peace of the risen Christ and to reaffirm our belief that Christ is indeed risen.
For me therefore, the answer to the earlier question on meaning of life is clear and simple. I am on earth to glorify God and follow Christ. I have found that it keeps my mind clear and my life simple. Friends have asked why I had taken on Buddhist studies. My reply is simply that my search for knowledge will not affect my belief and trust in God. Indeed, I have found studies in other religions and religious beliefs have actually reinforced my beliefs in the God I profess to believe in. I would take up studies of other religions too, if I have the time and opportunities to do so.
Back to Hong Kong, we were away for about six weeks in the first three months this year, or about half of the time. Do we miss Hong Kong? Of course we do. We miss the food, the convenience, and above all, our friends. I do not however miss the politics in Hong Kong. My reading about the local scene is that there are no real and passionate politicians around who can make a difference. Real politicians make things happen. They are ready willing and able to trade and compromise for the greater good. Let me quickly add that my faith in Hong Kong has not faltered, notwithstanding my reading of the situation. In life, things will happen when the conditions are conducive to their happening, and not before or after. For that matter, Lee Kuan Yew was in the right place at the right time, doing the right things to the right people. God must have been with him; such that he could not be wrong.
The other more pertinent question is, “Do I miss my children?” Of course I do. But they have their lives and they are far away. I pray for them every day and God willing, I would see them more often someday. On this note, I wish all of you out there a joyous and happy Easter.
Talk to you again soon, I hope.