between the fortunes of Taiwanese and Hong Kong people today couldn’t be
clearer, as reviewed by the TV news today.
report on the momentous election campaigns of the upcoming presidential
election in Taiwan is the one on the farcical scenes of two clowns from the
camp of Hong Kong pan democrats campaigning for being “elected” as the
representative to participate in the “election” of the next Chief Executive. While
the Taiwanese are proudly contemplating how best to make use of their votes to
choose a president of their choice, we are condemned to fooling ourselves that
the hallucination or downright lie that we have a say in who will be given Hong
Kong’s top job next. (Not that it would make any difference, of course!)
report was equally revealing about the pitiable state of Hong Kong people. Some
vendors of pork complained about the two supermarket chains recently making a
huge slash of pork prices by 30 percent, saying that this was an attempt to
drive the small vendors out of business so that the chains can monopolise the
market. Such aggressive moves of the supermarket chains are nothing new. Not so
long ago, it was reported that they bullied wholesalers to stop supplying
products to small retailers who were selling those products more cheaply than
they did. Hong Kong people are cursed with the cruel reality of being exploited
by, and at the mercy of, the tycoons who own those mega multi-billion dollar
Taiwan for being the own region (or country, depending how you look at it)
populated by Chinese which provides its people with the right to choose their
own leader and government. While I won’t feel sorry for ourselves, the
difference in fortune between the two peoples is a pill which is not easy to
What the priest
said about New Year celebration at the mass today echoes what the Pope said at
about Christmas a week ago.
talked about how people take part in mass activities, such as the countdown
last night, without pondering the meaning of the occasions. This is much like
what the Pope said about how the increasingly commercial celebration of
Christmas has obscured the message of Christ’s birth.
The fact that
so many people take part in these celebrations, I believe, is a sign of their
boredom, loss or fear. People are not used to or are even afraid of quiet time
and actively seek to fill the emptiness by looking for instant, sensual
gratification. So when they travel on buses or trains, they bury themselves in
whatever engagement or entertainment their smart phones offer, be it to
chit-chat with friend, play video games, listen to music or watch films. When
they get home, the first thing to do is to switch on the television. Quietness
is to be purged at all cost.
actually very valuable. As Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am
God.” We need to create space to see God’s presence, but, sadly, we typically
leave very little inner space for God. Didn’t the Bible tell us that when Jesus
came to the world, “there was no room” (Luke 2:7) for Him?
Maybe we should
learn a lesson from Mary. As the Gospel today tells us, when all who heard the
message about the birth of Jesus wondered at what happened, Mary “kept all
these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
At the turn of the year, it
is better for us to find some quiet time to reflect on what lessons to learn
from the last year that would help us improve in the next one than to be part
of the raucous countdown party at the Time Square.