I have always tried to post the first blog of a year in the first few days of January, to give myself a feeling that I have started the year well. Not this year, but I don’t intend to feel bad for myself. After all, everything happened for a reason.

Indeed, I had a rather unusual morning. We were heading for Ricci Hall from Mei Foo for Sunday Mass, a trip which now takes 15 minutes and HK$25, except that we were not mindful that the authorities had diverted all tunnel traffic for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. To cut the long story short, we soon found ourselves on the way to Yuen Long or the Airport so that we detoured back to Mei Foo half an hour later. Noting that St Lawrence Catholic Church at Li Cheng Uk Estate operates a regular service at 10:30 am, we decided to go there by taxi, in good time for Su to meet up her friends after Mass for lunch at noon in her favourite restaurant near Prince Edward MTR Station. The plan worked well. The priests who were non-Chinese spoke perfect Cantonese; I took a bus back to Mei Foo, had a quick bite, took a shower and went for a nap. Su had said she would go to our new storage in Kwai Fong to look for her sunglass after lunch; and I thought I would take stock on what has happened this year so far.

One of the first things I did was that I paid my tax. I had organized two events for the first two days. The first was a family lunch on my nephew’s birthday which ended up in Ap Li Chau. I had meant to catch up with my elder sister Margaret who had not been well, but she couldn’t come. The second was a lunch-cum-mahjong-cum-dinner at Peter’s restaurant near Jordan which went rather well, so much so that Peter would organize another gathering to start the Year of the Dragon. More interestingly, Peter brought along a friend who was the daughter of a long-lost friend Kingsley whom I first met in my Tuen Mun days, circa early 90s or more than 30 years ago when the daughter was a small kid, which brought back old memories.

It does seem old memories have marked the start of the New Year. Let me try to be brief.

I left off last year talking about packing up our storage at Tai Wo Hau for a new one in Kwai Fong. Jacky had tried to impress on us that the new place would be almost the same size as the old one and that it could double as a private office or reading room, with a window and air conditioning. We had kept an open mind on size and utility value; and we soon found out that it was at most two-thirds the size if not smaller. We met Jacky at Kwai Fong yesterday when Su asked him to take out one desk and use the space for another book shelf. In the few visits we had been to Kwai Fong, Su had re-shelved most of her books, while between us, more on my part, we had disposed of more stuff – books, documents and photos – that we had brought here, often emotionlessly. For example, I thrashed stacks and cartons of past newspapers dated 1 July 1997 and other publications and artefacts related to the reunification, as well as most of the lecture notes, papers, essay submissions and books related to my two Masters read before I met Su who had effectively stopped my further progress in those fields. I also committed to the landfill all the books on law and accounting together with more lecture notes that I had collected on the courses that I had signed up as part time studies, rather innocently in my young days. And I forgot to mention the papers and documents related to the Mediation course, which were all kept in ring binders.

Nevertheless, I have retrieved some 300 copies of comic books, many photo albums and childhood memorabilia which I have dusted and cleaned and I will be shipping them to my children in batches, having obtained carte blanche agreement from them that I could decide on what I would or would not send over. I have already sent an advanced batch of photos and books by SF Express to my daughter and I am glad that it was well received. It took less than four days for the parcel to reach her.

Rosita had filed many photos in albums very careful and rather systematically. I have placed these albums in metal cabinets, ready for retrieval and examination at leisure. In time, I would cull more photos to send over to the children. These are processes of the heart, and would bring back so much memories.

Separately, Su and I went for a few performances by the National Ballet of China organized by the CAEG – China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd – featuring the Red Detachment of Women and the Swan Lake. Somehow, Su saw Swan Lake twice, by different artistes. We were very impressed by the performances, the choreography and the artistic and technical skills of the young artistes. After one of the performances, we learnt that a very good friend in the Rotary community passed away in Macau on 12 January and decided to be at his funeral service that would take place on 17 January in Macau. We were thus in Macau for a day and overnight. As we left the service, we learned that another member of the same Rotary Club of Macau passed away that day, so that the friends who had planned to have dinner with us could not join us. We ended up drinking to absent friends back in the hotel.

Su found her glasses, lest she would need to have a replacement for her trip to Kuala Lumpur next week. I am happy of the outcome, for it means that I can expect some decent dinner tonight.

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