September 2021

Two important anniversaries marked in July and August 2021: 50 years since I left England to travel around the world, and 20 years since I gave up British nationality to become Chinese. The months brought home just how different life is under COVID, and how we have all become inured to many aspects. For the second year in a row there was no summer break for the Backchat radio show I co-host on Mondays. So I trudged to the studio dutifully every week, the activity and small fee both welcome. The Football Club which I had joined in 1980 provided a welcome opportunity to exercise and swim.

The big missing piece of course was the inability to travel overseas somewhere - anywhere - to get a proper break from the claustrophobia of Hong Kong. Grandchildren in Bangkok - sorry guys, ditto for those in Beijing, and of course the sons and daughters-in-law in both places. Daughter in Los Angeles, no hugs for months, if it weren’t for WhatsApp video I swear I would have gone nuts. Only son Alex at home to fill the gap but he is due to fly to UK shortly and that will be that. It is unreasonable to expect any of them to return to visit while the government maintains its “zero COVID, voluntary vaccination, lengthy quarantine” nonsensical policies. The thought of 21 days (or even 14) incarceration on return is enough to make anyone blanch, it certainly keeps me away from any prospect of travel, even if some places would allow me in.

On this basis, even a short hop across to Macau (if it opens up) to see goddaughter Hedwig is just not on the cards.

Only Netflix is keeping most of the population sane. I am conscious that we are lucky to live in a comparatively large (by HK standards) apartment. How those living in cramped sub-divided flats have survived I do not know.

This could all be the calm before the storm: later this month the Democratic Party will decide whether or not it will nominate any candidates in the forthcoming LegCo election. When the position on possible candidates is clearer I will have to make up my own mind.