Two ringing moments

An old man walks slowly up the sidewalk in front of me. His steps falter, his shoulders drop and his back hunches over as he struggles on.

"There be the ravages of age!", I think, contemplating my own inevitable aging and mortality.

I stride past the old codger, then look back to make sure he's made it up the hill. But now he's ground down to a full stop -- so that he can devote the fullness of his attention to dialling his mobile phone, which he's clearly been working on ever since I spotted him!


On a tunnel bus. Across the aisle, a little girl of six or so, in a crisp school uniform, sits next to her family's domestic helper. The girl has a lunch box she's supposed to be eating before she goes to school. She picks up a spoonful, drops it back, picks up another . . . then whines "you feed me!" to the domestic helper. With a sigh, she begins spoon-feeding the girl. Throughout the process, the girl regresses to toddlerhood, pulling away from the spoon as it is offered, pouting, glaring. Finally, mercifully, the lunch box is empty.

And then the girl reaches into her school bag, hauls out her mobile phone, speed-dials a number, and hollers "Mommy! I've already eaten my lunch!"

Is this the essence of Hong Kong child-rearing, or what?