I have been talking about writing an autobiography for some time; and I think I wrote about this in my blog a couple of times. I have finally done it in ten chapters totaling more than a whopping 150,000 words, to which would be added an introduction and additional pages on acknowledgements and postscript together with forewords from five very good friends, making a total of close to 160K words. Here are excerpts from the Introduction.
“The thought of writing an autobiography crept up when I turned 70. I had unqualified support from many friends, but we all understand what friends are like. I began by looking at my ancestry and with the help of Francis managed to track down literature on a Grand Uncle who was a founding professor in Chinese Philosophy and Literature in the University of Hong Kong. The research ended with an early chapter on my ancestry which I completed in August 2019, by which time Hong Kong was well into street violence and social unrest, which were disruptive to social life and rather upsetting. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck when everyone was kept indoor. I spent the extra time piecing together past memories and began writing the story of my life thus far, not as a literary work, but rather as a record for myself and those near and dear to me.
I began chronologically, searching through my earliest memories, going through my youth and education, and looking at my career in public service and in volunteering. I began to have a story. Inevitably, one’s life is intricately interwoven between stories, some of one’s own making, but more often because one finds oneself in situations outside one’s control.
I am a diehard Hong Kong person. I have never thought of leaving the place to live or settle in any other city or country, even when I had the opportunity and means to do so. Hong Kong is my home. I have held the view from age 20 that the world is not such a big place such that if anything happens to Hong Kong it will happen to the world; and I still hold the view. I have always been politically neutral, looking at the facts rather than at the people. I am a benevolent autocrat by nature and I don’t believe there is a satisfactory definition for democracy, which is why I agree with what Churchill said about democracy being the worst form of government except for all the others. I acknowledge that politics is everywhere, but I won’t allow myself to get embroiled unnecessarily in politics, which I regard as time wasting, energy consuming, inefficient, non-productive and degenerating. In any case, because I do not seek to position myself in politics or to wield power, few people care what my position is.
I enjoy family life. I was married in 1976 the first time to Rosita who gave me two children, who are still both single, meaning that I am not a grandfather yet, even though I have been called a granny in a few circles. Rosita died in 2004 and the children have decided to stay overseas. Notwithstanding that I am not quite an academic, I took up some study courses after Rosita died, ending with the qualification of an accredited mediator awarded by the authorities in UK and Hong Kong, two Master’s degrees, one in Buddhist Studies from HKU and one in Educational Research from Durham University, and might have taken up more had I not met Su who became my present and second wife in 2009, thereby kick-starting my second life.
This is my story. It is the story of an average man striving to be a better man, a better husband and a better father; trying to make the best of every situation he finds himself in; and trying to be kind and be fair to his fellow human beings. It is the story of a man who fears God and who tries to keep his Faith. He pledged to stay with his second wife for forty years shortly after he met her. So far he has done ten; and his quest continues.”
The next step is to have the book published and marketed, which would be an even more interesting project, but I am hopeful my friends such as you would be interested, which is why I am writing now and seriously inviting anyone his or her expression of interest so that I can design a distribution plan. I would not give away the book for free and would try to recover at least the cost and I have tentatively set the mark price at HK$300 per piece, with a discount for readers who choose to collect the books at a convenient spot in Admiralty.
The book would hopefully be available before Christmas 2020. Please send me to my Facebook or WhatsApp account or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested to acquire this my first autobiography.