What make me ping!
In Hong Kong and China, this time is the time of the New Year. I have about 12 days off and I planned to go to Bali by myself for 10 days during the holiday. Then, a couple of days before the New Year (January 29), my ex-girlfriend got an appendicitis and had an operation. It turned out to be more serious than normal because the doctor she went to see diagnosed it as enteritis, and the operation was thus delayed for a couple of days. She ended up staying in the hospital through the New Year.
For this, I had a brief struggle but quickly decided that I probably wouldn't feel comfortable going away while she was in the hospital, particularly during the New Year. So, for the past few days, I was busy going back and forth to the hospital. It turns out going twice a day to see someone in the hospital is quite a taxing matter. I almost got sick myself. On New Year day, I went to see my ex once in the morning, then went to watch the New Year football match in the afternoon. You see, the Hong Kong Football Association runs a New Year football tournament every year during this time. They usually invite three international teams, together with the Hong Kong team, to play a two-day tournament. This year, the three teams coming are Croatia, South Korea and Denmark. They are all much better than the Hong Kong team. The Hong Kong team is really a lousy team, no match at all against the Danish team. I couldn't even bear to watch the game till finish. Do you guys like to watch football games?
I used to be a pretty good football player in secondary school. When I was in college in the States, I was in the college football team as well. For about 15 years or so, football was my life. There's a TV ad in Hong Kong in which a boy with glasses on is so disappointed because he can't play football in a rainy day. That's exactly how I felt when I was in primary and secondary schools. Every day, the cream was the football match after school. I would dream of it every moment of the day, and if it rained and we couldn't play that day, it would be such a devastating disappointment...Then in college, my interest changed to watching NBA games. I still like to watch NBA games now, more so than football games.
I also love listening to classical music. I don't quite understand the technicalities of classical music, but listening to it has the effect of moving me to another realm of experience. A few nights ago, the BBC in Hong Kong TV showed a program on the concert pianist Alfred Brendel. I've never heard of the fellow, but obviously he is very good. There were a couple of close-up shots of his fingers while playing one of Beethoven's piano sonatas--I've never seen such beautiful fingers, caressing the keyboard with deep emotions--just the sight of that could move me to tears. And I was in another realm of reality. Do you guys play piano? Girls playing good piano is one of the most beautiful images I have in life. Imagine the fingers of Alfred Brendel were those of a girl--wow!
Back to the football match. If you have never been to a football match, you should at least go watch it once, just to experience the rowdy atmosphere. Someone once said football games provide a ventable pastime for the lower-class group of a society. It's quite a scene to witness the swearings and groanings of thousands of people exploding in unison during a game. Anyway, in the first day of the tournament, the first game was between South Korea and Croatia. There were lots of Koreans there cheering for their home team. A big drum kept it up with rhythmic beatings, and the Koreans cheered along happily--because the Korean team won. There was a father with a son and a daughter sitting two rows in front of me. They clapped and pointed fingers along with the rhythms of the drum all through the game. The girl's hands and fingers were so innocently beautiful that I ended up watching her more than the game. After the first game, the three left with satisfaction. They didn't care about the second game, played between Hong Kong and Denmark. They probably just went there to cheer for their national team. Sometimes, taking sides in games has this satisfaction, or disappointment if one's team loses...