Sketch… Sunday Service

End of Tunnel?

The government finally relaxed some of the social distancing restrictions this past week, the city seems to have come alive immediately. The public libraries reopened, I rushed through a long overdue Chinese painting book before returning it. Also started dining out again, one time with my family and another time with my Chinese calligraphy class.

The relaxation of the social distancing restrictions, together with the upcoming rollout of vaccines, makes it feel like we’re finally seeing a glimpse of light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel. However, I still feel a little uneasy going out in the crowds, will probably need a little time for me to rehabilitate back into the community once the pandemic is over.

My friend in US received my CNY greeting and was really happy with my brush-and-ink portrait, he even gone into the trouble of framing and hanging it on the wall. Makes me really happy that my friend cherishes my artwork like that. Art (including culinary art) has played an important role in helping me through this crazy pandemic, but I’m not sure what role it will play in the post-pandemic era.

Starting to plan for the post-pandemic era. Some friends are leaving HK for good, need to bid farewell to them before they leave in May, July, and September. There are probably more too. Watched a RTHK interview of prof. Joseph Sung, someone I really admire, he too will be moving to Singapore to head a university medical centre. It’s understandable, but still sad to witness the city declining and so many people leaving.

How will the world change after the pandemic? I’m not too optimistic of seeing a better world. Freedom and justice will likely continue to decline in our city, the recent Myanmar military situation is turning violent and seeing blood shed on civilians, and the world’s biggest threat – Climate Change – is still worsening and yet to be tackled.

Perhaps I’m thinking too far ahead, need to constantly remind myself to just focus on God and try my best to follow Him and live my life to the fullest, one day at a time.

Sketch… Sunday Service

CNY 2021

Was busy with some last minute fai chun writing for my family last week running up to CNY. Had dinner with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law on CNY’s eve. Went into hiding and never left my apartment for the first 4 days of CNY.

This is the first time I didn’t see my parents on the first day of CNY in the past 12 years. Exchanged CNY greetings with my family in our messaging group, and the red pockets from my parents were delivered by my sister. I know it’s going to be hard for my parents, but it’s probably better they didn’t see me unhappy on the festive day. Really not in the mood for celebration this year, besides, it’s still very hard to forget the infuriating episode of my bedroom being occupied without my consent. Forgiveness is easier said than done. May God help me.

My family issue is actually pretty minor when I anticipate and plan for the year ahead. The pandemic seems to be easing off but the suffocating political turmoil in the city just never seems to cease. The whole world is in a worrying state too – earthquake in Japan and military lockdown in Myanmar. It’s really tough to plan ahead in the Year of the Ox, I’ll just continue to learn my lesson of trusting and following God, one day at a time.

Sketch… Sunday Service

Fatigue

Being somewhat of an introvert, I sometimes feel exhausted after social events. I’m more at ease doing things solo. But after months of adhering to social distancing rules, I’m starting to feel exhausted, lacking motivation and patience, and easily irritated. Perhaps I’m finally feeling what many experts are calling pandemic-fighting fatigue (抗疫疲勞).

February also heightened the sense of depression as this is the month when many people would break and give up their new year resolutions. I didn’t set any specific resolutions this year for I really don’t know what to expect after a full surreal year of pandemic. Without any resolutions, I wouldn’t need to worry about inevitably letting myself down. However, I can never seem to rid of the guilt of doing what God deemed wrong and not doing what God deemed right. Sin confession and renewal is a lifelong circular lesson I can never seem to get out of. The conviction I’m feeling is actually a good sign that the Spirit still dwells in me and God hasn’t given up on me yet. “Two steps forward, one step back,” I shall remind myself as I inevitably need to move on.

The arriving of CNY on coming Friday doesn’t seem to help ease my mood. The government announced early last week that the social distancing restrictions would extend for two more weeks and well into the CNY holidays. Their inhuman and unscientific ambush-style compulsory COVID19 testing that’s happening every night in isolated small areas throughout the city also garnered much hatred and anger at a time when people should be happily preparing for the arrival of a new year. I don’t think I can lie and force myself to feel festive in the coming CNY holidays, instead, I’ll likely go into hiding this year to avoid my negativity from spreading and killing whatever positivity that’s left in our dying city.

On a slightly positive note, I finally tried the air fryer a friend handed down to me a few weeks ago and it worked like a charm! The all-day breakfast in my fictitious cafe menu now feels more complete with hash browns. =)

Sketch… Sunday Service

Future?

CNY is a couple of weeks away, I started designing some ink greetings early in order to make it in time to be mailed to a couple of friends in North America. Apparently, air mail was no longer available in Canada due to the pandemic, so only my US friend could receive it in time for the new year of the Ox.

Honestly not in a celebration mood with everything that’s happening in the city. After the sudden high-profile lockdown last weekend, our crazy government carried out a couple more deceitful overnight lockdowns last week, a third one was just reported on the radio while I’m writing this post. My resident flat is not included in the lockdowns and I’m not at all affected (yet). Nonetheless, the sly operations reflect just how apathetic and inhuman our government is towards the people. They would suddenly lockdown small districts at night and force all the residents within to submit covid19 test samples by 2am, the whole operation would end at 7am so that the residents can go back to work. It’s almost as though people are being treated like lab rats and their only purpose is to work and pay taxes for the high paying government officials. Besides, the effectiveness of the lockdowns are very questionable in the first place. How can you control an infectious virus by sudden small scale lockdowns when people are highly mobile and free to travel in and out of the affected zones after 12 hours of lockdown? You can be tested negative during the lockdown and be infected the next day! There’s also the problem of false-negatives on the tests. It frustrates me every time I think about our stupid and inhuman government.

It’s not difficult to see why many people are planning or have already moved out of this city for good. Talks have been circulating about the government planning to follow Mainland China and ban dual citizenships. I myself have also been exchanging messages with my circle of friends, most of my HK-Canadian friends will choose Canadian citizenship over HK if the future forbids them to hold both.

I feel lost thinking and planning for the future. I would never have thought our city would deteriorate this rapidly in just half a year since the national security law was imposed in July. I also never would have thought that my family would suddenly and unapologetically take over my room without my consent. I can’t see how the future will unfold, I can only rest my faith in the God who holds the future and to try my best to follow Him, day by day.

Sketch… Sunday Service

Isolation

Our insane government issued the first ever surprise weekend lockdown in one of the more covid19-affected areas, I was angry even though it didn’t affect me. The problem is not the lockdown itself, it’s the way it was suddenly executed without people’s consent. One of the government advisers said openly the operation wasn’t secret enough and allowed some residents to escape the affected area prior to the lockdown. Seriously, am I the only one who see this as a violation of human rights? I hate to be pessimistic, but I’m thinking the government is only testing the waters with this small-scale operation, grander and sneakier plans are likely in the works.

I can totally relate to the anger of the affected residents because my weekend room at my parents’ place was slyly taken over by my nephew not long ago. Again, the problem is not letting others use my room while I’m away, it’s about doing it without my consent and didn’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Anger still rushes up my head when I go back to have dinner with my parents on Sundays. Thinking this is God’s plan only seem to lessen my anger slightly.

The pandemic has ravaged our city for about a full year now, but this is the first time I’m feeling isolated and having no one to depend on, not even my parents. This isolation could very well be God’s plan of making me focus and follow Him solely. I also seemed to be more productive working on my personal projects at the studio during this self-made Sabbatical. While doing my daily devotions using Our Daily Bread, two days of the week were about the rich young man being asked to sell his riches in order to follow Jesus. The second passage, which happens to be today, titled Surrendering All, particularly hit me:

“…no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

Oh Lord, please help me stand firm and not lose faith and hope in You during these difficult times, and please take care of my family, especially my parents while I try my best to follow You, day by day. 🙏🏻