I attended a Rotaract club meeting

Chan Ka-lok is the Professional Development Director of the Rotaract Club of Kingspark. He told me weeks ago that he had invited Cao Renchao of the Economical Journal to speak at the Club’s August General Meeting and asked me to join the meeting last weekend. Mr. Cao is a household name in town, well known for his daily investment column and for his readiness to speak his mind without fear or favour. He is good news and good value. That he had agreed to talk to a bunch of Rotaractors amidst his busy schedule actually speaks volumes about this man. I am not about to record in very much detail what he said here, except for some observation, not only because I had not taken any notes, but also because I suspect that the Rotaractors would write an article in the next issue of Kingspark Link, as they normally would for any heavyweight speaker at their meetings. Kingspark Link, by the way, is their monthly bulletin. I would like to believe that it was inspired by Kingspark News, but they have certainly done well over the years in their own right and Kingspark Link has established itself as a very readable and reputable monthly, certainly in the Rotaract District.

For over 90 minutes, the seasoned writer, journalist and newspaper co-proprietor spoke ad lib non stop and answered questions. He spoke without any script or notes. He spoke from the heart with conviction, humour and intellectual pride. His message was clear and his words, sobering. The future belongs to the next generations. The young people of today will shape our future. If they believe they can make it, Hong Kong will have a future. Don’t lose heart on hearsay that Hong Kong is finished or has lost to Shanghai or the Mainland. Hong Kong is miles ahead of the Mainland in terms of economic development, human resources, legal framework and infrastructure and will continue to remain so if the people of Hong Kong, in particular the young people, are determined to succeed and if they would endeavour to equip, enhance and improve themselves on a continuing basis. There is no short cut to success.

In response to a question from the floor, Mr. Cao said that he spent on average four and a half hours each day on his diary. I was impressed. That would be half of the time an office worker would normally spend on deskwork each day. It proves the point that nothing good comes easy, and for that matter, nothing easy would be worth doing.

My mind drifted to a favourite pastime – letter writing. People often asked me how much time I spent on each letter. I had never managed to give a definitive reply because it varied widely and wildly. By and large, I spent more time writing my monthly letters and the continuity column in Dipo’s year. That was because I was conscious that the readership of these articles was not homogenous, and that they were official letters. I never sent them off immediately after I had written them. I would read and re-read them a couple of times before sending them to print. On the other hand, I was much more relaxed with my letters. Often I would simply type what comes to the mind and I would press the send button after typing the last phrase, normally without proofreading. A member of the club had said that I wrote those letters at 3 am in the morning. Well, not every one. I wrote when I felt that I had something to say or when I was in the mood to communicate. Last week, I began reading my book as a third party, cover to cover, and I began to pick up the various typo and mistakes. In some area, the flow was odd or disrupted. There could be two reasons at least. I could be called away halfway, or bits of a sentence could be lost during editing. There was also the technical typo generated from transcribing word documents to the Mac format, something that would be very close to Tom Hui’s heart, from the days when he was editor and publisher of Kingspark News.

The point I was trying to make was that I had never spent four and a half hours each day writing an article, and probably won’t. I suppose it was an estimate which included related chores such as reading, research, writing, editing and so on. That is his work and main stay, whereas I am doing it as a pastime. On another front though, he would be doing it for the love of his work, his paper, his reputation, his readers and one hopes, for Hong Kong. The ultimate test of a journalist’s mettle is his readiness to uphold press freedom and defend the rights of the individual, particularly the underprivileged and the oppressed, and his recognition of his social responsibilities. That is probably self actualization in its realization, not unlike the many selfless men and women that would work tirelessly and selflessly on the many community service projects dedicated to making the world a better place in which to live.

Talk to you next week.

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