General

Happy Mother”s Day

My Dear Rotarians and friends, in particular my Action Presidents,

Most of you would probably spend today or at least part of the day with a mother, grandmother, or mother-to-be. Some of us could be scurrying around town for roses or carnations while others, being blamed, chided, scoffed or ridiculed for forgetting or refusing to do so. Whatever the case is, whatever will be will be; and I hope you and your loved ones had a very happy Mother’s Day.

I did some research because I spent most of the day alone, catching up my Rotary work. I found that Mother’s Day actually began as Mother’s Work Day in the United States as early as 1858 when it was an informal holiday. It was formalized in 1903. England on the other hand had observed the fourth Sunday of Lent as Mothering Sunday, for over 300 years. On this day, employers in England were obligated to allow their live-in servants to visit their mothers. Children would present gifts such as baked goods and flowers and would do housework for their mothers.

Like most feast days, Mother’s Day has now been so commercialized. Interesting enough, last Friday, 11 May, was the feast day of St. Gengulf, the patron saint for marital discord. Gengulf had a hard time when he was alive and was eventually murdered by his then ex-wife’s lover. Now, statistics say that every two marriages these days would result in one divorce, and marriage counselors can update us on how many couples would quarrel each day or each night. I wonder why there has yet to be a shrewd businessman to come up with ideas to commercialize this feast day. It sounds business to me. Indeed, I hold the view that each day we spent ought to be meaningful, made more meaningful by how we spent it and with whom. As a start, each day spent is a day gained.

Rosita was in hospital this week for treatment. We were hoping that she could go home towards the evening so that we could have a quiet dinner. The doctor decided yesterday that it would be more prudent to stay for one more night, but offered to let her take a few hours at lunch time. The traffic was rather bad at lunchtime, so I decided to take the MTR. It was people everywhere on the streets, but mostly women and children. I wonder where all the men were. Rosita did not ask me why I did not bring her flowers. I suppose all these years’ training has left her with no illusion. Yesterday, we were recalling what happened four years ago when she stayed in a room in the same wing for her first operation. It was flowers everywhere. There were flowers of every description, baskets, hampers, fruits and even books. For a few days, the entire corridor was lined on both sides with flowers. We said at the time we would open a floral shop. A nurse who has been working on that floor for over ten years said that flowers were more popular those days, at least much more popular than now. The interesting thing was she could not recall us. She actually looked me in the face and said she could not recognize me. So we concluded that she was on leave at the time.

Rosita was reading the modern version of the Bible. She has no problem with the style, unlike some of us. I have often told her that she is blessed and virtuous. In particular, she is merciful. Now, blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy. (Matt. 5:7) One of these days, I might share with you some of her deeds in her younger days. For the record, marrying me was not an act of mercy!

At this point, I must thank Past Governor Raymond Wong publicly. The 1997 paperback version of the New Testament translated by Ronald Knox had arrived and he handed it to me last Monday. I left it in the wrapper until yesterday because I had a rather busy week with the Fortune Global Forum. It was very kind and thoughtful of Raymond, and I am ever so grateful to him.

Past Governor Raymond and a few other past governors were at the District Assembly yesterday. We had, not in any order, Arthur Au, Vincent To, Y K Cheng, Anthony Hung, Joseph Lee and Dipo Sani. These and others have helped build up the District to what we are today, and collectively they must be worth more than their weight in gold. Governor-elect Johnson breezed through the Assembly and the business session in record time as Governor-nominee Gloria gave her first major speech in which she shared with her audience her vision on leadership, and at the same time skillfully put in a free plug for her professional counseling. They have both started well and I wish them well. I am confident that they would take the District to greater heights and between them put a lot more Rotary into the membership.

Last evening, I attended the Drama Competition finals, open division, organized by the Rotary Club of Tolo Harbour. It was the eleventh time they have done it. The standards are high. The performance was enjoyable, entertaining, serious and professional. I had a great time. This and other activities are what I call spin-offs for the office of Governor. One can enjoy oneself to the full and be thanked for being there to enjoy oneself. I thanked President Peter Wan for organizing the event. It provides great opportunities for young artistes and students to experiment and develop their drama talents and acting skills on the one hand as an alternative to rote learning and classroom activities, and it offers great fellowship for the members on the other. Members and friends of the Club had a great time putting up their own homemade drama to fill the time for the judges to decide on the winners. I must also thank Peter for the great fellowship we had afterwards. A number of Action Presidents and District Officials were also there and all had a great time. Congratulations Peter and your team and well done.

On this happy note, I would sign off and wish all of you once again a Happy Mother’s Day. I am going to my daughter’s graduation next week. I would try to write from San Francisco.

Talk to you soon.

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