English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 29 2015 Sunday
            Memorial service 

I was baptized as a Catholic when I was six. I attended a convent school from 6 to 18. In those school years, I practised my religion fervently praying in the little chapel and attending mass almost every morning. My mother was worried sick that I might want to be a nun. I didn’t but a couple of my classmates did.

After graduation, I was so engrossed in working several jobs to support my family of ten that I virtually stopped going to church. That could be an excuse. There should be other reasons. These years, church visits are limited to celebrations and commemorations. This Tuesday, I attended the mass in memory of a nun, also my Chinese Language teacher who passed away a year ago. The mass was celebrated by a young priest. He gave a brief but thought-provoking sermon. 

He recounted to us how as a novice, he and other novices, men and women, had to do community service in some of the deprived districts all over Hong Kong. That evening, they were in Shamshuipo distributing rice-boxes to the street-sleepers. They arrived at a slum under a footbridge and these homeless people were anxiously awaiting. They were the opposite of refinement. Tattooed and foul-mouthed, they did not restrain themselves even with the young ladies there. One of the male novices believed these street-sleepers had gone overboard and walked up to these men about to reprimand them when one of the lady novices cried out “Don’t! There is no need to stop them because I can see Jesus in them!”  

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, or more fondly Mother Teresa, the recipient of numerous honours including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize had this quote which, to me, should be indelibly imprinted on all teachers’ mind.


I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 28 2015 Saturday 
   Death of a kind man

I didn’t know the fire victim was him. He was the shop assistant of a local pharmacy I frequent. He was bald with face wrinkled putting him in his sixties. That was, however, compensated by his upright and well-built set. His voice was husky but loud and clear. He was always humourous and very nostalgic.

He was one of the three assistants serving at the counter of a popular pharmacy in Lok Fu Plaza. He lived up to his nickname “gweilo” (鬼佬). Each time when he handed me the receipt, he said in perfect English “Thank you. See you again”. When he was idling, he would be humming one of the golden oldies.  


All these would not have impressed me had I not witnessed his kind side. It was his kindness that made me notice him.

One afternoon, I walked in the shop wanting to buy a particular brand of shampoo only available there. There was already a middle-aged Filipino domestic helper at the counter. He was talking to the other assistant who was at the cashier register. From their conversation, I knew that this Filipina had returned to the shop to reclaim the receipt of a purchase she made earlier that morning. He was murmuring to his colleague that the fault was hers for not getting the receipt right after the purchase but still they should help her because otherwise she could not claim the $230. His colleague found him annoying and burst out “shut up”. What followed was a row. He maintained his poise and continued to reason with the angry man. The shop owner had to come out to stop them pulling him outside the shop gently asking him to stop.


He was Yeung Wai-ming, the 61-year-old man who ran into a blazing flat to rescue his 91-year-old mother leading to both of their deaths on March 25.  

"He was found on top of his mother in the kitchen. It is possible he found her there and tried to carry her in his arms but he inhaled smoke, passed out and fell onto her," a police source said

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 27 2015    Friday           

Difficult people

Are you miserably surrounded by difficult people – people who are sulky all the time, who shout and never speak, who think they are always right, who boss you around? They can be really your boss, your siblings, friends or even your spouse! Have you ever tried to change them, reason with them, ignore them, or abandon them in the end? Or are you a difficult person yourself? Let me first assume you are not so that we can focus on how to deal with or even live with difficult people.

I have internalized two principles that are useful to me. I am always at peace with myself and all those difficult people who happen to be in my path!

Rule no. 1: Have mercy on them! Don’t hate them! Hating someone strains your energy and adds horrible lines to your forehead. Back off when they shout. Don’t shout back! You are not being small. You demonstrate you are bigger! Keep your control. Empathize with them. Your calmness might put them head over heels! Wouldn’t that amuse you? When the heat subsides, go and explain yourself. Say what you want to. That’s it. You have done your part.

Rule no. 2: Never try to change them not because old dogs can’t learn new tricks but because many people must have tried. If they haven’t succeeded, why do you think you can? Take them as they are or leave them for good. As to those you can’t leave, say your siblings, distance them but maintain courtesy.

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 26 2015  Thursday              

What was your childhood experience of haircuts? Do you still remember your first visit to the salon? Or has your mother repeatedly teased you about how you tearfully endured the ordeal? I witnessed one such scene when I went for my hair treatment last Saturday afternoon.

 The victim was one cute-looking little boy of around 5. Flanked by his mom and dad, he was not facing this battle alone. They came prepared. The moment he was seated, the mom took out the tablet computer and ran a cartoon for him to enjoy.  The father was not idle either. He unwrapped a chocolate nugget and put it in the boy’s mouth mumbling at the same time about a visit to the Disneyland the next day.

 Then came the hairdresser, a young man. While he was draping the boy, the parents were busily tugging the cape to make sure it fitted properly. The 15-minute haircut was one melodrama of 6 hands working on the boy’s head. After combing the boy’s hair, the hairdresser parted it and began to move his blades from the back to the front, around the perimeter and at angles. Meanwhile the parents were dancing round the poor young man, sometimes straightening the drape, other times removing the hair that happened to land on the boy’s face or coaxing him to fix his eyes on the display. In fact, the boy was quite at ease with his eyes glued to the monitor and his teeth working hard on the chocolate.

 I checked with my son asking about Hayley’s salon visits. He said they were uneventful!

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 25 2015 Wednesday    
          My muse is back!

Remember how lately I complained that I seemed to have lost all ideas and was not writing. But my fate has changed. My muse is with me again and I have written several pieces this month. In other words, my eyes that see, ears that hear and brain that ferments are all back as though my muse had never left me.



In Greek mythology, muses were goddesses each assigned a specific artistic sphere: Kalliope, epic poetry; Kleio, history; Ourania, astronomy; Thaleia, comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Polyhymnia, religious hymns; Erato, erotic poetry; Euterpe, lyric poetry; and Terpsikhore, choral song and dance. 



I don’t know which one of them has been taking care of my writing but I know for sure when she is or is not around. When she is there, thoughts are like torrents rushing out to be managed but when she is away, I can hardly squeeze a line! I don’t know what makes her stay and what drives her away! Maybe my drowsy eyes and dried-up complexion caused by sleep deficit are too unsightly! Or my senses are too numb to feel her presence! Experience tells me if I have enough sleep and am in a peaceful state of mind, she will pamper me and ideas just flow!


Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 24 2015 Tuesday
The ticket

My husband and I both drive to work not because we are not environmentally-friendly but because by public transport, it would mean a green mini-bus ride, then MTR followed by a red mini-bus ride. That takes about one hour for me and even longer for my hubby.  By car, the journey is 20 minutes for me and 30 for him! As our working hours are different, we need two cars and two parking spaces of course!  


We live in a 45-year old block and each apartment is entitled to one parking lot. In other words, we need one extra space.  For quite some time, we rented one from a landlord who does not drive but lately his son is back and he drives. That started my nightmare. There are five spaces with parking meters a street away but with many families in the same boat like ours – owning two cars, these spaces are almost like raffle prizes!

That night all spaces were taken up by the time I arrived home. It was already 11. I waited hoping that those with metres expired would come and drive away their cars but that did not happen. I gave up after half an hour and parked my car near to our exit without blocking it!

The next morning, I left home at 7:35, half an hour earlier than usual. My helper was just coming up the stairs after cleaning our cars. She said cheerfully, “no ticket!” I was so relieved.

I was happy far too soon! As I was walking near my car, I saw a policeman in the action of sliding the fine ticket under the left windscreen wiper. He was unexpectedly courteous and sympathetic.

“I waited for a while knowing you must live here! There are too many complaints from residents about illegal parking blocking their driveways! Don’t park here anymore. We will surely ticket you!” He has the gentlest voice. 

I could only say “I understand. Have a good day!”

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 23 2015   Monday

It takes two

It was one of those chain cafes with heavily-cushioned long couches fostering a lazy, cosy ambiance. But unfortunately just as I was into the mood of feeling relaxed, the quietness was completely shattered when a woman in her 50s walked in. As though to announce her grand entrance, she was bragging at the top of her voice to a younger female companion. They sank into the same sofa I was sitting on creating quite a depression on it. They quickly placed their orders. All the while, the woman did not, for one second, lower her voice.

The conversation or rather the public speech about her travels by that braggart was so loud that I was forced into hearing every single word. That was how I was able to make the conclusion that she was bragging! Her gestures were exaggerated with hands stretched out so far that I had to distance myself from her claws! Her speech was intermittently punctuated by quite a lot of “anyway”s and “you know”s in English as well as “you understand”s in Cantonese!

They two must be very good friends, otherwise how could an afternoon coffee break be so dominated by one with the other responding heartily. This responsive friend was actually doing very well her role as a “reflective listener”. 


I had to cut short my coffee time!