Tropical Storm Chaba
I had lined up a breakfast and a lunch today and possibly a dinner, but as Chaba developed into a severe tropical storm last night, necessitating the Observatory to hoist the No. 8 Typhoon Signal, the first for the year, I turned to the keyboard to recall and record some thoughts since my last blog was posted, almost two weeks ago. I kept reminding myself I need to be more disciplined, as far as blogging is concerned. I recall the days when I was holding a full time job and at the same time was a club president and editor of the club bulletin, when I would force myself to prepare often single-handedly two A4 pages of material with typically, a President’s Column and a summary of the weekly meeting together with the highlight of the following week’s programme. And I would send out my Kingspark News by Winfax on my computer on Sundays, very often in the small hours of Mondays, so that my readers would catch the fax first thing in the week. I still recall that those midnight or past midnight faxes had caused consternation among a few readers whose addresses I removed from my computer on request. Those were the days.
We had a very good dinner last night in Central. Su had booked the place and the guests a week before, and we double-confirmed the dinner when it appeared that Typhoon Signal No. 8 was about to be hoisted. We did a couple of things to indulge our constitutions earlier in the week. First, we consumed 50 gm of caviar each day for two consecutive days, accompanied by bubblies. Second, we opened the 18-year old Ka Va Lan – Solist – matured in sherry oak cask, which we took to the dinner last night. Third, Su bought a more than six catties king crab at half price (because it had just died, poor thing) and we finished the body with plenty of sake I had acquired with my government vouchers. Fourth, Su found a bottle of 1 litre Johnnie Walker “Black Label” Limited Edition, created to celebrate its headline sponsorship of Team McLaren Mercedes for the 2006 Formula 1 season. It was hidden behind some other bottles of malt whiskey and the metal casing was beginning to be oxidized. So, I poured most of the contents into a decanter we had bought recently while staycationing in Mandarin, finishing the rest on rocks, ostensibly to celebrate the finding of my lost car key. The decanter was to go with four cut glasses, each with different designs. Su had kept the set in the original packing, but found colonies of silver fish in the glasses while she was house cleaning. She had no choice but to do away with the paper packing and had them displayed in a rattan basket, which was why I had to fill up the decanter. We had some young friends coming next week, and I am sure the decanter would be emptied afterwards.
Lest I had sent out the message that I was simply eating and drinking all week, let me quickly add that I had morning Mass in Ricci Monday through Friday, having rostered myself for the week to do scripture reading. We had some special feasts during the week, including the Feast Day of St Peter and St Paul on Friday. And I went to the gym every day. I had two extraordinary episodes in the week, arising from my desire to acquire a replacement screen protector for my Samsung Galaxy Note 9. First, when I bought it in 2019 from 1010, I was told that I would have unlimited replacements for life, but after less than two years they ran out of stock of these protectors so that I had to go the street stores near Lee Gardens for replacements at $40 to $50 each, which I had done more than a couple of times. After my gym session on Monday, I was planning to walk from CCC to Lee Gardens, but a No. 28 GMB was just outside and I needed to go to Zetland Hall. I presently got on and, in the process, I took off my prescription Ray Ban shade and left it on the seat while I organized my gym bag. I forgot about it when I got off the bus. Su gave me a piece of her mind afterwards. Second, I deliberately make a trip to Lee Gardens from CCC on Wednesday after my gym session, but I was too early, the street stores weren’t there, so I walked back to CCC – where I would have lunch later – and past some real shops one of which was just opening for business. The guy convinced me to have the holder replaced at $80. It was tatty and dirty looking anyway. What I didn’t realize was that he charged me $120 for the screen protector. Then, as his helpful wife was cleaning or polishing the phone, she persuaded me to acquire a protector for the lens, adding that not many people knew of the product, for another $50. It meant that I ended up spending $250 to smart up the old equipment which I had intended to upgrade later in the year.
In between all these, we followed the TV coverage of the visit of President Xi Jinping. I like the small talk he made at West Kowloon Station on arrival on 30 June. It was brief, sincere and impromptu; and I am very impressed by the more than 30 minutes address after the swearing in ceremony which also marked the 25th Anniversary of the Handover. It was not only statesmanlike, but was also full of pointers, advice and guidance for the new Chief Executive and his government. It was a statement not only for Hong Kong, but also for the rest of the world, on how One Country, Two Systems work and an affirmation that it has been working well and will continue to operate. The key message is that there will be no change to One Country, Two Systems; the assurance is that Hong Kong would retain the common law system and her unique status; and the advice is that Hong Kong needs to improve on its governance and handle livelihood issues head on. People like Boris Johnson, Antony Blinken and Chris Patten are deliberately missing the point and trying hard to confuse the audience and blur the subject. Hong Kong must stand firm and continue to be resilient as it has been all these years.
Typhoon No. 8 has just been lowered, and I would get some fresh air outside.