Nostalgic Times

Summer Solstice has come and gone, as Hong Kong recorded one that hot in more than four decades. The heat tends to make people sluggish and lazy, but we have been rather active on the festive and social circuits in June, beginning with a weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur to attend a Masonic event – in fact two – complete with official dinners and meetings. In the following three weeks, I had meetings and dinners on most evenings plus a few long lunches, sometimes with Su, so that comparatively we didn’t eat too much at home. Last Saturday, for example, we attended my Rotary Club’s 30th Anniversary in TST East after which we walked next door to another hotel for another club’s anniversary celebration, all rather exciting and festive, meeting friends and indulging ourselves in whiskies and bubblies. Then the next day, which was Father’s Day, my godson’s parents took us all to a great brunch in the Discovery Bay Hotel during which we demolished two bottles of bubblies and one bottle of white, before taking a leisurely ferry trip back to Hong Kong followed by MTR. Eating and drinking continued last week, including a wine dinner Su helped to organize at the American Club for her ex-colleagues, featuring vintage bubblies and good steaks. Still, amidst all the festivities, Su didn’t feel inhibited to bring home from her trusty fishmonger and seafood vendours the occasional live lobsters and sashimi grade fishes and on the occasion of the third anniversary of our local wine shop, a few 1.8-litre bottles of high-grade sake. All these were somewhat tough for the constitution, and at times, I wondered whether the body would object.

In my last blog, I suggested that one ought to listen to the body more than to the doctors; and somehow, I picked up a video sent to me on a Dr. Peter Glidden, who had had more than 35 years of clinical experience practicing, writing, broadcasting and lecturing about naturopathic medicine. In the video, he asserted that Medical Doctors directed treatments accounted for 15,000 deaths a month, making it the third leading cause of death in America, citing the Journal of American Medical Association. He went on to say that the infamous 9-11 incident had caused 3,500 deaths, but over which America went to war, together with her allies. Glidden’s proposition was that the world no longer had a free medical market ever since the emergence of the Flexner Report in 1910. He asserted that the Report was commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefellers who were behind the leading pharmaceutical entreprises. Before the publication of the Flexner Report, homeopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths and naturopaths enjoyed equal social positions and credibility as medical doctors. The 1910 Report however transformed the nature and process of medical education in America, resulting in the elimination of proprietary schools and the establishment of the biomedical model as the gold standard of medical training. This transformation occurred in the aftermath of the Report, which embraced scientific knowledge and its advancement as the defining ethos of a modern physician. Such an orientation had its origins in the enchantment with German medical education that was spurred by the exposure of American educators and physicians at the turn of the century to the university medical schools of Europe. American medicine profited immeasurably from the scientific advances that this system allowed, but the hyper-rational system of German science created an imbalance in the art and science of medicine. And Glidden concluded that the regime had resulted in people having to suffer needlessly. Let me hasten to add that I have yet to find collaborative evidence or support for the statistics or his assertions, but they certainly offer food for thought.

Back to the series of anniversary meetings of Rotary Clubs – and for those unfamiliar with Rotary, all clubs change their leadership on 1st July every year – I have had the privilege of being the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Kingspark Hong Kong which received its charter in May 1994. We began with 33 charter members, and as I looked around last week, six of them were still there, and I was one of them. I was invited to speak on the occasion, which I did, drawing on a bound publication of the weekly club bulletins – Kingspark News – for the first year. It was nostalgic times and I could have spoken forever, of the days when I was the Charter President and the Bulletin Editor, and when I took great pride in having the weeklies issued every week and on time and delivered by fax through a software known as Winfax which nobody use these days. Next week, I would be attending more anniversary meetings of Rotary clubs and I expect they would bring back other and older memories.

Let me touch on two other parties I mentioned earlier. The first was the one on Father’s Day organized by the parents of my godson. Will received his confirmation and had his first Holy Communion on 1st June. Unfortunately, I was in Kuala Lumpur, so that Su deputized me on the occasion. Last week, we started off at Ricci Hall for Sunday Mass. We then took the car back to Mei Foo with everyone in it – two couples and two children – before taking public transport, first by MTR followed by local bus on Lantau Island. It was a very pleasant day and we had taken many typical holiday pictures that suggested that we were outside Hong Kong. We had plenty of food and drinks afterwards. We are happy to have the two kids double as our grandchildren and we hope the feelings are mutual.

The second party was the one Su had helped to organize a few days ago at the American Club for her ex-colleagues and friends of a financial concern which she had left nearly 20 years ago. Quite a few of them were actually at our wedding party 15 years ago. It is amazing that they are still very good friends. As usual, when old friends meet, they dwell mostly on the past which were mainly happy days. Su took some interesting pictures which attracted some pleasant comments. The party finished well before 11pm when a few of us tried to go for a night cap. Alas, every place was closed, so that we headed home early. Such is what night life in Hong Kong is these days.

I hope to talk to you sooner next time.

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