The accident on 6th November showed that cocoon is another kind of predicament.
In the three weeks in HK before that, I saw only the heaviest smog I had ever been in and bore the hammering and drilling of the renovations of our building. I wanted to be out, though. I was pleasantly touched by the increased courtesy on buses and the amount of voluntarism among our old girls.
Then in a half empty MTR train at an hour before midnight, I fell. The number of hands helping to pick me up and offers of balms etc. was amazing. Even when we got off the train, quite a few gathered round with concern to ask whether any help was needed. So did the two or three casual strangers we met as we struggled up the stairs. I did not know I had fractured the left femur until three days later. After that, things happened pretty fast: I had surgery on the 15th and was out of hospital on the 20th. I have not been knocked out. With the help of Dr. David Fang, the kindliest and friendliest doctor you could wish for, and my physiotherapist Miss Li and her assistant, whose amiable professionalism I can only admire, I am up and walking in three weeks.
What have I learnt?
This city which I called home for 35 years is no longer brash, brassy, self-seeking, quick to blame others for misfortune. There is renewal and resilience. Casual strangers readily show concern; people are ready to help and voluntarism is prevalent. The taxi drivers I have met say ‘take you time’ and ‘be careful’. They initiate or join conversations as if they had known you for twenty years. And, under the pall of the smog, the pavements are well-paved and clean, and the young trees and other plants found almost everywhere where space is struggle to overcome the pollution descending on them. Though I still long for the serenity in Tasmania, my faith in this great city restored.
On the personal level, we have learnt what concern our friends (who knew what happened) have for us, not pity, the extent to which they are ready to help; especially the Kams and Davy Chu have no yardstick. And Sarah Loy has taught me that it is as blessed to receive as it is to give. I realize now it is a feeling of undesirable superiority which made me only want to give and reject receiving.
Kenyu is now very, very patient, a difficult thing to do for a diabetic. He has regained his legs he lost to his wheels three and a half decades ago. He is also enjoying friends and relatives on the phone more than ever.
L. M. Wu
12 years after:
In Hong Kong
Air pollution still prevails,
But cleaner the city will soon be.
For low-end sectors are being cleared.
Helpfulness friendliness rare if not extinct.
Your home yonder has also become far from cozy.
Patience declines as your health wanes.
You wish for a little more tolerance,
Knowing less might be next.
But when I call you tomorrow,
I will still wish you a Merry Christmas.
For you taught me to cherish HOPE
Over 50 years ago.