English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

October 2016

The Wishing Tree
The next stop of the leisurely afternoon was to visit the Wishing Tree at Lam Tsuen, Taipo, first time for the family.

The local Chinese New Year practice of wishing upon this particular banyan tree at Lam Tsuen follows a very colourful tradition – throwing “Bao Die” literally meaning “precious plate” to the tree to get it successfully hung up on the branches for wishes to come true. This “Bao Die” includes an orange tied with a yellow paper on which the name and wishes of the worshipper are written.

However, as years went by, the tree gradually gave way to the heavy load of “Bao Die” and on Feb 12, 2005, the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, one of the branches snapped injuring an elderly man and a young boy. The tree was subsequently diagnosed to be infected and had to be left to heal. The tradition of throwing “Bao Die” was soon banned. Months later, a fake plastic 25-foot small-leaved banyan tree was erected for worshippers to carry on the tradition. This time, even the oranges thrown are also plastic.

Hayley, my grand-daughter said that the original tree standing there near the narrow entrance with its branches supported by various structures looked “extremely sad”. I had to agree. It did resemble an elderly celebrity lady from the last century wearing heavy make-up making her appearance on crutches.

Instead, the plastic tree with its luxuriant foliage and the many red “Bao Die” right in the centre of the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square is one young athlete flexing his muscles before a game!

We had a tour of the square including the temple and the award-winning washrooms. We also enjoyed the local cuisines of the sweet bean curd and the tea cake.

That is how Vincent, my son and wife spend their weekends – going places with Hayley. The difference this Sunday was with me tagging along as the chauffeur! They treasure every moment of it to make up for their not being able to spend much time with Hayley during the week days especially when Vincent has to work across the border. 

Random Thoughts by Pauline

October 2016
A leisurely afternoon

I don’t always see my son’s family. In the first place, we don’t live in the same neighbourhood. And when I am less occupied during the weekend, Hayley, my grand-daughter is. As to the long holidays, either Hayley has to prepare for examinations or the family has travel plans.

I proposed weeks ahead that we go for a ride in the New Territories. Elly, my daughter-in-law came up with the idea of going to Lake Egret Nature Park and the Wishing Tree in Taipo. With destinations decided, we waited for the right Sunday.

Came October 9 with mild sun and gentle breeze, I drove to pick up the family at Middle Road, Tsimshatsui. They were punctual. Hayley was disappointed to find out that she was not sitting in the front with me. Instead Vincent my son took the seat. I had to rely on the Google map for directions and so he functioned as the co-pilot! It worked. We arrived at Lake Egret Nature Park in about 30 minutes.

We dined at the restaurant which was almost full. Then we had a tour of the place as this was the first visit for us all. Next came the feeding time and finally the boat ride.

Hayley enjoyed herself very much paying $10 for a bunch of grass to feed the anxiously awaiting goats. She also pedalled ferociously in the boat. She was the first to spot the egrets, one perching by itself on the rock in the centre of the man-made lake and another flock of four resting on the branches of the trees.

The place, though not really expansive, is a popular venue for corporate training sessions and family activities including birthday, wedding and barbecue parties. Here is a vivid example of what makes Hong Kong – innovation and entrepreneurship!

We left with Hayley nagging why the DIY classes were closed for the day. The next stop was the Wishing Tree in Lam Chuen!

Random Thoughts by Pauline

October 2016

So tired!
It was the Monday following Chung Yeung Festival or the Double Ninth Festival, the day we pay respects to our ancestors. I had arranged with my sisters to visit my parents’ niche in Diamond Hill Columbarium. Actually it was my father’s niche but long before her passing away, my mother had it processed for her urn be placed alongside with my father’s. As the columbarium is conveniently located and we still miss my mother, we go there quite often not only on ancestor-worship days. There is no elaborate practice. We just bring her flowers and stand there in front of the niche. With eyes fixed on the photo, we talk to her.   

I boarded the MTR at Kowloon Tong Station at about 11 in the morning. I was so pleased to find the compartments not crowded at all. As I seated myself, the man at the other end of the bench caught my attention. He was sound asleep. He must be dead tired. I started making up stories around him.

“Can he be a night-shift janitor on his way home?” I know a security guard taking two shifts for three days of the week. Or “has he taken a long homeward-bound journey?” I was almost sure that he was heading home because otherwise, he would not be this relaxed in such deep sleep.

This observation of passengers and exercising my imagination has always been my favorite pastime when commuting until phone games captured me. In recent months, I succeeded to redeem myself and I am now back to this fun-filled mind game.

We are much smarter on our own without the smart-phone.

Random Thoughts by Pauline

October 2016

Love thyself

Have there been moments in life when you feel so negative inside that you actually hate yourself? You are in desperate need of support and yet too private or proud to seek help! Time to switch on the self-rescue mechanism!

One tends to eagerly dive into pleasing experiences to bury unpleasant ones. Fine-dining! Binge drinking! Shopping sprees! Going on a trip! Changing oneself physically! The list can go on. But to one’s dismay, the transient comfort these bring just comes and goes and the negative emotions resurface. One is again drowned in the sea of desperation.

I have a friend who has not been sound asleep for years and another one who sobs all of a sudden and seemingly unprovoked! Both of them have tried all sorts of self-help devices but they are still not able to salvage themselves!     

If my two friends truly do love themselves, they have to take the bull by the horns - rationally analyze the causes of their negativity! But they don’t. And until now, I do not have the courage to frankly talk to them fearing that I might lose them!

Can I tell them that they are but numbing themselves? The vacuum is not filled! The relationship is still sour! They are still swept aside! The gap is not closed! The career is still going nowhere! Observation tells me that they have become so used to the pain that eradicating it might leave them at a loss.

My two friends share one commonality – they love someone or something more than themselves. In one case, it is her man – someone’s husband. For the other friend, it is his job! They spend all their time and energy on these “love affairs” totally ignoring themselves and yet are not “rewarded” as they think they should have.

The first step they should take is to slowly step back to examine their own needs and desires. They should find time for self-care and self-love! Enjoy the me-time pleasure! They might feel guilty at first but once they get past it, salvation is close!