TELLING stories and anecdotes
This is the story of my first day at Primary school; it was so traumatic that it's amazing that I ever went back again. The day itself was fine, I was a bit nervous but I had a good time, and then it came to the end of the very short day and I knew my Mummy was coming to pick me up, so the teacher in charge told me to go and wait under the big tree. But my Mummy was late, so after what seemed like an eternity, I started to look around for a bigger tree because I assumed my Mummy couldn't find me and the tree actually wasn't very big at all. So I wandered out of the school grounds and along this side road that had lots of trees planted all along it, big chestnut trees they were, comparing them to see which one was the biggest. And of course the biggest one was on the corner of the side road and the big main road. So I was standing under this tree, all of 4 and a half years old, when my Mum comes belting along, along the main road from where we lived, knowing that she was late and in a panic, and what did she see but her little darling leaning out over the main road, waving at her, all alone.
So of course she was very angry with the school and rang them up and told them off for their lack of supervision. I then just dreaded going back there as I knew they would give me a hard time, and so they did. They utterly humiliated me and that just summed up my whole school experience.
One of my hobbies has always been playing football. These days I don't often get to matches in England because I'm not there, I live here in Hong Kong, but when I'm back there I like to try and go to football matches, I went not long ago to see a London team play a team from Manchester and I was very happy to be in this large stadium with maybe 30,000 people. At the beginning of the match there was a minute's silence for a Manchester City player who had died over the summer and that was impressive, there wasn't a sound in the stadium, and then when the match started it looked completely different to the football match you see on T.V. The match seemed to be very much slower; the ball was hit slowly and deliberately and with great precision and you could see how the goals were going to come because you could see the total context of the playing field. You could also see the incredible skill that some of these players have; the way they can dummy and go round defenders for example. But for me the most significant and the most interesting point was the way everything seemed to be hanging in slow motion and you could almost predict when the goals were going to come. In this particular case the London club, the home club lost rather badly and so as the match went on, the noise coming from the away supporters in just one stand increased in this rather large stadium and all of the London fans were going down to get hot dogs or just leaving early and saying "ah, it's another one of those days when nothing goes right, isn’t it?"
I went on an ideal holiday recently ... to Sri Lanka. Now, why it was ideal was because it was some distance from Hong Kong and I had to make an effort to get there. I had to go through a third country, Thailand. It was the actual getting there that made it interesting. When I got to Sri Lanka I found that it was a different experience than what I had expected, my expectations being based on what I had experienced in India…I found the people were very nice; very peaceful people and very accommodating. When I left the airport and went on to Columbo city, I had the good fortune to have a friendly taxi driver who spoke to me about life in Sri Lanka through the years of the civil war and I learnt through him what it was like to live in Sri Lanka and the difficulties they faced, but also their overcoming the adversity of the times. I then took that on board as I travelled around the rest of Sri Lanka, which wasn't many places, but I looked through the eyes of somebody who knew a little bit about their civil strife and I began to see how they made the most of their lives despite not having much. To me that was a learning experience, and again, why it was so exciting and interesting is because I could appreciate new things by putting myself in the context that the people themselves were living every day and getting an idea about what their lives were like. So for me, travelling is a new experience and it helps me to broaden my horizons and understand things about life and living a little bit better, which perhaps I couldn't do from the comfort of my own home.