Monday, October 27, 2014

Remembering the Departed

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures noticeably lower. Along with the earlier dusk and chillier weather, the green foliage of summer, so full and exuberant only a few weeks ago, suddenly looks dull and withered. Here and there the winds playfully swirl about to scatter the falling leaves. Fall has arrived. Nature has its way of reminding us of the seasonal rhythm that it adheres to so religiously. In a very special way, it also reminds us of our loved ones who have departed….

Quite fittingly, the Church chooses to commemorate the departed faithful at this time of the year. Those of us whose heartstrings are pulled by the melancholy of the rhythm of nature to miss their departed ones will find comfort in the gospel reading of the Feast of All Souls, in which Jesus promises resurrection and eternal life for “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him” (Jn 6:40). Our hope, steadfast as it is, is rooted in Jesus’ own resurrection. As St. Paul explains so convincingly in the second reading, if death cannot overpower Christ, the Son of God, we know that it has also lost its jurisdiction over the “sons of God” whose adopted sonship is granted because of their faith in Christ.

The departed ones may look like the fallen leaves that we step on at this time of the year – nothing but decay, destitution, and utter destruction – and yet “they are in peace…they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself” (Wis 3:3, 5).

This Sunday when we celebrate the All Souls Day, our hearts go out to those who are grieving their departed family members and friends; especially to those whose loved ones have recently passed away. Let us pray in one accord for the repose of their souls…

(The above is a reflection on the Mass Readings of the 31st Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A, Feast of All Souls – November 2, 2014: Wis 3:1-9; Rom 6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

香港! 我的香港! 原來我仍愛妳!

剛從大统華出來,在那裡鑽了半天,因為太太有命要在那裡尋找很多減價貨品,和要訂定火雞,以便週末感恩節和朋友在家裡聚餐。每次進出華人活動的地方時,心中很自然地浮現著香港的種種景象,既熟絡,又親切。由於過去數天在香港發生的大事,在人頭湧湧的大统華內,這親切和熟絡的感覺,更形强烈。

關於香港最近的民運事件,我已先後在網誌上發表過四篇拙作。感謝主,今事件暫告一段落,雙方從街上對峙轉移到談判桌上對話,總算如多數人所願,避免了進一步的暴力、血腥和仇恨。在此刻,縱使事態仍未明朗,大家總算能暫時舒一口氣。

這次事件讓我看見自己埋藏心中多年,對生於斯、長於斯的香港的感情仍未泯滅;結婚前一天在维園參加九一八静坐示威的傻氣仍存。這感情就像分手多年的情侶,一旦愛火重燃,便一發不可收拾;也像不和的母子,雙方縱存隔閡,但親情卻不能斬斷。星期日那天,在網上看著青春可愛的學生們被防暴隊用棍打,用胡椒噴霧噴射,用催淚彈襲擊,心裡哀痛莫名,熱淚奪眶而出。

香港! 我的香港! 縱使妳我闊別寒暑數十,縱使妳可能已不再愛我,但原來我仍愛妳!不過,妳為甚麽竟變成這樣?

香港! 我的香港! 妳怎能忘記妳的子女?妳既然對這些青春可愛的臉面,這些留在家中事奉妳的子女一點也不憐惜,難道妳會記起我這個奔走遠方,頭也不回地離妳而去的兒子?然而,我又怎能假裝自己體內流著的血,不是從妳而來?

連續七、八天,香港南華早報成了我每刻鐘瀏灠一次或多次的網頁,內心時時刻刻記掛著香港局勢的演變。

這件事也改變了我對香港青年人的觀感。我已說過我不贊成他們佔中,但過程中,他們的言談和表現卻賺取了我的好感和同情 (同情不等於贊成)。明顯地,他們不是很多人所說的「被縱懷」、「沒頭沒腦」、「只知打機和享樂」的一代。他們願意為理想站出來;一般來說,做事很有組織和條理,自制力強,顧及他人,危難中仍堅守原則,實在很難得。眼見純真的學生們被黑社會份子狂打,被無良攪事者非禮,心裡又是一陣陣的隱痛…。

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Occupy Central - Where This Blog Stands

The news coming out of Hong Kong this morning (Saturday morning, Oct 4 Toronto time; Saturday night, Oct 4, Hong Kong time) was not good: C. Y. Leung, the Chief Executive of the government of Hong Kong, allegedly threatened to clear all protest sites by Sunday so that all government and business offices could return to normal operation. At this crucial moment, it’s important to pray for peace and reason to prevail. We also wish to outline once more where this blog stands on this difficult crisis after posting three articles and publishing numerous comments from the blog viewers whose views are not necessarily in agreement with, and certainly do not reflect in any way, the position of this blog.

1. We support the pro-democracy camp’s objective of striving for democracy and freedom for the people of Hong Kong. We believe the objective in and of itself is noble and admirable.

2. While the end is noble, the means employed to achieve it is wrong-headed. Occupy Central is a “lose-lose scenario” for all parties concerned, with strong potential for violence and bloodshed. We, therefore, disagree with it.

3. We condemn the government of Hong Kong’s brutality in suppressing the pro-democracy protests on Sunday, September 28, 2014.

4. We commend the government of Hong Kong for quickly realizing its over-reaction and for reverting to more restrained strategies in handling the protesters following Sunday.

5. As this unfortunate crisis continues to unfold, our appeal is for both parties to continue to exercise restraint and to begin some form of dialogue.

6. When violent confrontations and fights erupted starting from Friday, October 3, with triad gangsters and local residents fed up with the disruptions of the protests getting involved, we call for the Hong Kong police to carry out its legislated duty of protecting the citizens, particularly the innocent student protesters, against any deceitful instigators and criminals whose goal is simply to intimidate and injure. We also call again for the leaders of the pro-democracy camp and the government to immediately stop all confrontations and begin negotiation.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Keep Safe, Hong Kong!

It always warms my heart to read messages from Hong Kong, especially in this difficult time of political turmoil. As usual, my friend, Peter (not the real name) is able to provide first-handed and objective insights that I usually can't find in the media, whether Hong Kong or local.

I agree with Peter completely. The Chinese government and its puppet, CY Leung, will not back down. At the same time, they will not order an outright crackdown. Unlike 25 years ago, China is now a rich man, a "somebody", a "big shot" on the world stage. They need to look good in conducting themselves. The "immerse and destroy from within" tactic that Peter outlined is the most effective way to solve the current crisis. People might be hired, if not already hired, to disguise as protesters and create troubles, giving the government justification to take more forceful actions to clamp down on the protesters. I think that's exactly what they've resolved to do. Not good for the pro-democracy camp if this is how it plays out. It’s a scenario that smells blood.

Unfortunately the students themselves, who are getting more and more restless and aggressive, may quicken their own demise and make the bloodshed even worse. They are threatening to take over government offices. I think the move could be disastrous. Let's hope cooler heads would prevail.

Like I said in my previous post, their message has been sent; it's loud and clear; it's been heard by the other camp and by the whole world. Now it's time for the pro-democracy camp to build on the momentum that they have gained; it's time for the two parties to sit down and engage in some kind of dialogue. Let's face it, under the rule of a repressive regime, the freedom enjoyed by Hong Kong can only be moderated at best. Hong Kongers can always try to push the envelope and gain as much freedom as possible; but do so in a peaceful and tactful way without forcing China to impose a complete crackdown; do so in a way that allows China to save face. As we know, saving face has always been a big deal to the governing officials of China. After all, they are the parent, the authority; Hong Kong is only one of their many children, albeit a little special because of its historical background and economic strength. I don't like what I see from the protesters at the moment. Let's hope somehow their aggression will stop or at least mellow.

I’d like to thank Peter for sharing so honestly. It's easier for Chinese people who live under the protection of real democracy here in Canada to be honest about their opinion; but not so much for people like Peter. God bless you, Peter! God bless the people of Hong Kong! Keep safe!