I left off nearly a month ago – when the war between Israel and Hamas was in its fifth day – expecting to come back very soon to discuss the position of the United States on Israel. Obviously, I had other priorities.
I have a life. My priorities are to stay healthy, corporeally and mentally, and keep Su happy and interested in keeping me healthy. Heart wrenching no doubt it must be for the average person watching the casualties rising on both sides but mainly on the Palestinians side, I should point out albeit somewhat heartlessly that there is hardly anything anyone or for that matter any country can do to avert the situation unless and until Israel voluntarily stops the offensive and agrees a ceasefire. In the meantime, some friends have become instant experts on Israel and Palestine relations or the lack of it. On the YouTube, there are no shortage of materials on the developing subjects, including interviews from people backing either side such that it is difficult to focus on what the truth is.
For example, I recently heard from a Scott Ritter – an American author, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and weapon inspector – that Israel is actually telling the Americans what to do, including directing all weapons and materials destined for Ukraine to Israel, such that the Ukraine war is effectively over and that Russia is calling the shots. To the question on what America and the West would have to say on their position – entrenched position – to back Ukraine to the very end, Ritter nonchalantly said that it would be simply another “bad habit” just like the war with Iraq, the sudden retreat from Afghanistan after 20 years, and so on. Life would go on. Following the same logic, it might suggest that the war between Israel and Palestine would take its course to a natural conclusion dictated by the ultimate winner as the rest of the world watch civilians and children dying and made homeless day by day.
I was tempted to ask my priest friend his take on the matter, noting that the Holy Father has asked all the faithful to pray and fast for one day last month for peace in the area. Separately, some of my Rotary friends have posted messages on the situation, which I don’t think would make a dent anywhere.
Against such background, Facebook sent me two days ago a picture of Su and me taken 12 years ago at a wedding of a friend’s daughter. I must admit it was a rather nice photo on us two. I mindlessly shared the photo with my friends on Facebook, which attracted more than 50 likes within the first few hours, and which number was now close to 90, with some friends congratulating us thinking that it was our anniversary or something. This is what I think life should be all about.
Indeed, we have been busy entertaining ourselves recently. For example, we watched two shows in the last week by the Hong Kong Ballet in the Cultural Centre, and I managed to get Seniors rate (or half price) on one of them. They were both choreographed by their Artistic Director Septime Webre. The Great Gatsby featured many local artistes aided by prominent outside singers and musicians, while the 2023 International Gala of Stars featured top notched guest artists each and every one of whom are household names. We also went to the newly opened mall Airside at Kai Tak MTR and tried the food at the Chef’s Cut. We ended up having a very long lunch, only cut short because our friend Peter was waiting for us at Mei Foo. We have now made it a point to take the free ferry shuttle between the ABC main club house and the Middle Island every week as long as weather permits and as long as we can make it. Today, we went for the Opening Ceremony of the Duchess of Kent Children Hospital Annual Charity Fair and picked up some goodies before joining our friends for lunch. One of our friends was having his birthday and we ate the obligatory birthday buns, Chinese style, which were very tasty, evil though they must be.
I notice that some of our friends have been doing exactly the same thing. Alexander Wong, for example, has been eating drinking and merry making almost every day and has been sharing his sojourns with his friends on Facebook. This friend is a keen scout and pays much attention to details. He is also very good on filing, which has prompted me to encourage him to start writing his memoir.
Meanwhile, Su and I are working with our respective bodies to wean me away from the medicine prescribed for high blood pressure, which I have had for over 30 years. For example, I am now on my fourth day off alcohol, to test whether the regime would have any effects, if at all, on the readings.
It is getting cooler, but the weather has been unstable. The Observatory has often threatened us with rain, but we have been having a lot of sunshine recently. Next week, for example, we have been promised unstable weather, and let’s see what we get.