Living and Planning

Easter has come and gone; and before I could send emails or electronic messages to friends and acquaintances, as I had planned. Increasingly, I find it unrealistic if not impossible to live through plans, which would make me a liver, as opposed to a planner. This liver – planner thing, I recall, was very much on people’s lip in the Seventies and Eighties and there was a standing joke that those who live could be eaten up alive by those who plan but never live. Looking back, I must have initiated and spurred many plans, and must have also burned and spurned as many all my life, both categories of which are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but the processes had in turn generated many post mortem analyses many of which would not be worth the paper they were written on. Then I would try to rationalize as follows: one does not plan for the sake of planning, but one lives with or without a plan. Indeed, a plan ceases to be what it was planned out to be as soon as it falls on someone tasked for its execution, provided that that someone is not the person who drew up the plan in the first instance.

There was a time when it was fashionable to argue whether God knows when a person would fall into temptation to sin, and if so, why would God allow the person to go in that direction. In short, does God have a plan for each person He created? No, I am not going to follow through those arguments, because I have lived through those times. Suffice it to say that God has decided in His infinite wisdom to allow a person to exercise free will; and very importantly, because “with God, everything is possible,” God can cause good out of a bad situation. The classic case in point lies in the celebration of Easter itself, and which is central to our Faith. Very briefly, nothing could be worse than having to be delivered up by one’s own clan to die on the Cross, but that was exactly what God the Father had chosen His Son Jesus to go through, with the certain belief in a plan to have Him raised from the dead on the third day or at Easter, and through which process all men are saved from eternal damnation once and for all. Still on Easter, the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese recorded over 3,400 baptisms on Easter Vigil, compared with about 1,900 twenty years ago. That cannot be bad for Hong Kong at all; and let us hope that something good would come out of all these baptisms, year after years.

As usual, April is characterized by a series of dinners and cake cutting in celebration of anniversaries and birthdays. The public holidays in between tend to make diary management more trying; but then there must be as many anniversaries and birthdays in other months. It follows that there must be people celebrating something every day, and if one finds oneself in sufficient number of groups, one could be going to parties every day or one could end up having to make appointments with one’s spouse or families for a meal. It is an accepted cliché that everybody in Hong Kong is busy; and many friends are always running between meetings and dinners. Since retirement, I have always tried to live a simpler life, but somehow my diary is full of entries and double entries. It is almost ten days since we returned from our month-long holiday which Su planned a year ahead. In between jet lags, Su has already booked the next two skiing trips, in January and March next year. To her question on whether there were blackout days or weeks, I replied confidently that there shouldn’t be any if the family policy was to ski when could and while we could. I took the liberty to ask her to plan some side trips to America, so that I could visit the children; and she had no problem with that.

What I seem to be saying is that one does not need a plan if one has decided to follow a plan laid out by someone that must be obeyed. This is what I have decided to do; and I am thoroughly happy with that. For example, we have just celebrated our Fifth Wedding Anniversary. My diary had two entries for the evening related to Masonic events; and for which I had sent apologies. A week before the date, Su had a few plans, ranging from a day trip to a three-star Michelin restaurant in Macao to a Japanese meal in Cyber Port, and from home cooking to a very simple meal. In the end, we decided to have fine dining at KCC with two other friends to take advantage of some special offer from the club. It was quite an enjoyable evening. Our friends not only took pictures and had them uploaded on FB, one of them took us home too.

On such a happy note, I wish all of you a happy weekend ahead; and I hope to talk to you again soon.

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