I have always wanted to write another blog about Hong Kong. My last entry about Hong Kong was written around a year ago when I had an unpleasant conversation with some people who didn’t respect anyone at all.
Over the past 1.5 years, having stuck in Hong Kong, I have been teaching online and face-to-face classes. 65% of my students are working adults. I am offering corporate training as well. These working adults want to improve English for various reasons, mainly for work especially the corporate training ones. Recently, I started taking up private one-on-one classes teaching English to middle school and primary school students with certain learning issues including one with dyslexia. I am happy to teach these kids. They are all very funny and sweet. However, to teach them, I have to do a lot of research. I have even taken an online course to learn how to teach dyslexic students English as a foreign language. Within the first two months, my students started showing progress. That’s very encouraging. They are now motivated to learn English and sometimes even joke with me using simple English words whereas previously, they were so afraid of the language that they didn’t even want to speak it. The dyslexic student’s mother even told me this story, ‘we went out this morning. When we were on our way back home, my son kept bugging me, “I have a class soon! Please hurry up!”’ It was the first time he got so worried about missing an English private class. I was very glad to hear it. 😊
If you ask a teacher why s/he enjoys teaching, the first and the main reason is definitely, ‘the students!’ Even though I am not a teacher in a proper school (not yet), I feel the same.
Other than teaching and writing my ‘memoir’, i.e. my blog, I also go out. 😊
Chinese artists are very different now. In the past, when I looked at their paintings (ink, oil, etc.), I could feel that the artists were somehow restricted by some things. It was as if the artists themselves were confined by certain things emotionally. But now, the artists are free. While indulging in their imagination and emotions, they also freely express them in their paintings.
If you still remember, last year in February, I met up with Thor from Once Upon a Saga (if you have forgotten, you can check out that blog here) and took him out for a hike in Quarry Bay. Back then, it was at the beginning of the pandemic. He was still reluctant to wear a mask and still believed that COVID-19 was just like any other flu and that it’d be gone in summer when it got hotter. And I remember saying, ‘how about Thailand? How about Singapore? It’s hot there but they have COVID-19 too.’ Then he realized, it might not have much to do with the weather. He was a bit stressed back then because he couldn’t continue with his mission. My plan was disrupted too. If it weren’t because of this pandemic, I’d be somewhere else. But things happen. A Buddhist monk used to teach his followers, ‘Face it, accept it, handle it, then let go of it.’ This monk passed away many years ago but I still keep this in mind. It has become a very good reminder for myself. I think I have lived it out – I am helping other people and doing something meaningful by being a part-time tutor while waiting for the borders to re-open. This sounds like the answer to the philosophical question, ‘why are we here?’ We are not here to rule or conquer the world. The world is too big and we are too small and insignificant. We are here to lead a meaningful life.
To date, the Saga is still stuck in Hong Kong. Living with the prolonged ‘stay home’ instruction issued by governments around the world, people are eager to go out. Merchants, once they see a window of opportunity, i.e. when the governments relax the rules, promote their products by offering huge discounts to attract customers. As a wise customer, I, of course, keep track on these deals 😀 and found a very good one at a public golf course. It was a USD22 package that included a 2-hour practice at the driving range, dinner and return ferry! I immediately booked a few spots, enough to include my other potential guests and asked if Thor and his wife, who joined him in Hong Kong recently, would be interested. They said yes! So, there we went, to the public golf course. By the way, it’s very hard to book it. We were so lucky.
I hadn’t played golf for a long time. The first time I played it was here in Kau Sai Chau too. That was in the late 90’s. Thor texted me saying that he didn’t know how to play it and I responded, ‘we can learn anything on Youtube.’
It had been a cloudy and rainy week. The weather forecast even said there’d be rain on our golf day. Thor asked me about it. But since we’d be at the driving range, I wasn’t too worried about it. Poor the staff who had to pick up our golf balls though. She was in a cart so it wasn’t too bad.
When I arrived, everything came back to me. Muscle memory.
I don’t know if it was because of his wife or the fact that he’d accepted his ‘fate’ here in Hong Kong 😄, he was apparently stress free this time. We talked about personal things like how the two of them met, his past travels, the pandemic, the place we were stuck in (how lucky we were) (and then I discovered he was a grammar Nazi. He kept correcting his wife’s grammar), a bit about my background and my future plan. It was nice catching up with him and it was also good to have met his wife. She is very amiable and a very nice person to talk to.
When we left, Thor asked me about the hiking trail we did in 2020. He had hiked up to all the mountains in Hong Kong but none of the trails he did led to the place I took him to. It does connect to some place. It’s just that I don’t know. 😄
It seems I have taken him to places that are unique to him – that hiking trail, this golf course and the next one:
We visited a heritage site in Hong Kong called Little Hong Kong. I inquired about this place in March (yes, you read it right). Back then, they said their tours were full. And all of a sudden, at the end of April, I got an email from them saying that I could bring my guests to join their tour in May. I actually had even forgotten about it. Fortunately, I am still in Hong Kong.
During the Second World War when Japan invaded Hong Kong, this place was used to store ammunition. It was also the last place to fall to the Japanese on 27 December 1941. After the war, this place was used for different purposes until the year 2000 when Chief Secretary Donald Tsang initiated to restore significant military sites which included this one. Crown then took up this project and worked with various government departments to revitalise this place.
This place now is a private club for its members to store and enjoy wine and party.
This wraps up my time in Hong Kong so far. More update soon? We’ll see.
22 May 2021
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