We began to stay away from crowds and not eating in public restaurants the day after Government announced no dining out after 6pm last week. Meetings at Zetland Hall were cancelled one after another because it wouldn’t make sense to gather a crowd for a meeting and have them sent away empty stomached afterwards. I counted that more than ten such meetings were or would be cancelled, including lunches and dinners, by the end of next week. But with the social distancing arrangements further extended by two weeks, I expect more meeting cancellations. Today, for example, Mark had begun organizing a lunch for six as early as the last Winter Solstice. And we don’t know when we six could meet again.
My son in New York told me that he had Covid, but assured me that it wasn’t serious. He wasn’t hospitalized and had apparently got over it after staying home for a few days. I do hope so. In the meantime, Government cancelled the year end flower markets, but with Carrie Lam assuring us that the borders with the Mainland could be re-opened soon. Then Gabriel Leung urged that the 6pm red line could be extended a bit to allow the F & B industry more breathing space. The only good news appeared to be that the daily new cases had come down to single digit and still falling.
Facebook reminded me that this week last year we had the launch of my first memoir The Middle Child with book signing sessions organized at the floral shop at Admiralty run by my niece. It was a happy week indeed. We met up with many friends and well-wishers. The social distancing rules were then tough so that we couldn’t organize any serious book launch as such, but which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for not only had we saved some costs, the cozy atmosphere had been conducive to catching up with old friends in small groups.
Back in Mei Foo, Su continued to feed me with good food and wine on the one hand, and appeared to be highly motivated with her new found skills in real picture taking on the other. Yesterday for example, we began to make for the Lai Chi Kok Park at 1330 hrs. I stayed on the roof of my usual spot rope skipping, with interruptions from a few couples coming up for pictures, and I finished in just over one hour, by which time Su had gone off my view and was lost in the Park. I went back to the flat, took a bath and had a nap. Su didn’t return until 1630 hrs., loaded with goodies from the market and feeling satisfied with her photographic works.
Another casualty was the daily morning Mass at Ricci Hall. No public Mass could be held from 10 January under the tightened social distancing arrangements and no Sunday Mass from 15 January. It meant that we won’t get up till late in the morning, sometimes as late as close to 11am; and we would try to catch up more sunshine with exercising in the Park.
The daily reminders this week from Facebook of my book signing last year, coupled with more idle time at home, had actually set me thinking about the first sequel to my memoir. At least a brother had suggested I could dwell more on the subject of democracy and governance, while another had suggested that I could use the photos taken by Su in the new book. I would think over the ideas carefully and over time.
In the video made by Paul Wan and which he had loaded on his YouTube account, I had addressed the questions of why I had written the first memoir and what I would write in the second. I had already sort of replied to the first question in the Introduction of the book. As to the second, I said at the time, may be more about my first wife Rosita, or things I would like to do, but hadn’t yet begun, of which they are so many.
Turning to Su again, she found a hawker store in Apliu Street Flea Market which sold really old vinyl records, made as early as the 50s and the 60s, such as the original sound tracks of The King and I, Love is a Many Splendored Thing and Golden Oldies of the Sixties by the Bee Gees or even Elvis. She had them as cheap as HK$50 for three discs. In the past, she would take up some rather good quality discs of ancient singers at various prices, ranging from HK$150 to $450. Recently, she had found another shop in Sham Shui Po operated by a South East Asian who sold her two Nat King Cole discs for HK$360, which I paid for and hence I recall. The next day she asked me to accompany her to the flea market again and spent an hour running through boxes of old records. The guy said these were newer ones which cost more, at HK$20 per disc. Well, she carried away something like 25 discs, all for HK$400; and she spent the evening and the next day cleaning them and repackaging some of them. We did find some gems among them. I reckon that the hawker had acquired most of the stock dirt cheap or for free, unbeknown of their intrinsic values. He was selling records by local or Taiwan singers for HK$40 each, apparently because they had greater demand from some, or possibly because he didn’t understand English.
Before I go, and for those who remember that I lost my sun-glass with prescription on New Year Eve, I found it in the pocket of a down feather jacket nearly two weeks later, when it turned cool in the morning and I had to use it. I was pleased.