Minor quibbles

Oh, what a beautiful day in Hong Kong:

Beautiful day

But oh ho, that was a few months ago, on an extraordinarily clear day. Today was actually a particularly hazy one:

Not a beautiful day

I believe I was breathing in a portentous soup of nitrogen dioxide and “respirable suspended particulates”. Anyway, this is just one of the many treacheries of life in urbania. We will go on our way, earn our wages, keep to our lines, weep when we have to, put on happy faces — try not to wonder too much about the big questions in life, in case it drives us out of our minds’ kingdoms.

But in a year of many untoward partings, a recent one has really taken the cake. There was an email announcement in my office that a lady in a neighbouring team had passed away from a severe illness. I thought, OK, probably cancer. She was said to be quite young (in her early thirties, I believe).

Today I found out that she had left behind a two-year-old child — and was six months pregnant. It wasn’t cancer, but something to do with heart failure. She was sent to the hospital too late to save the baby. Of course her colleagues (How to have the heart to mention her family? I heard that her daughter only understands enough to ask where her mum is.) are devastated — and they’re in the midst of a vital project.

This profusion of memento mori is killing me. What we need of course is The Man Born to Be King. Listen in on his story as seen through many eyes. Gushing thanks to EC for the tip-off. We can always do with reminders of sights unseen.


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