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Making sense of an upside down fruitcake world

You don’t choose Christmas to break off a relationship. Actually there’s no “good time” to break off anything. Things just happen, especially during the past almost three years where the world has been turned upside down and inside out. It’s a fruitcake world.

Of course, changes are nothing new. Some you saw coming months and maybe years earlier and accepted whereas others ambushed you without warning.

One wonders if anything is really a surprise today, or if we’re seeing a “dissolution” of almost everything that’s come before.

In Hong Kong, and as Christmas trees are being put up in hotels and shopping malls, the soundtrack playing in the background is this weird remix of “Last Christmas” by the Whammy boys and Joni Mitchell’s beautiful “River”.

Yes, Christmas is around the corner along with another new year, but what does this really mean anymore?

There’ll be young carollers who have rehearsed for months and should be supported, because I know how much they look forward to performing. Might be a small thing, but it’s a big thing to me and little hearts should not be broken by the selfishness of adults.

These young carollers and their innocence bring about so many different emotions- memories of friends and love and pets and all those things that are indescribable. It’s self-help therapy, it’s free, and we all need it.

Watching “Jerry Maguire” hits those same emotional buttons. It never gets tiring. We need these buttons pushed to get to the heart of the matter. Don Henley sang about this. Cameron Crowe made Jerry Maguire and Dorothy Boyd real.

It’s why we need music, or even just one song like “Moon River” or “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and the entire “Blue” album by Joni Mitchell.

All this music keeps you true to yourself. Well, it does me, anyway, and makes me grateful for so many things that I once took for granted thinking that nothing will change. And once they do, new people enter your life and you’re busy again until many years later when another change takes place, and there are no replacements. Either that or you just give up trying because you’re not twenty anymore and those days are gone forever.

There’s the tradition of “seeing in the New Year” by enjoying a glass of champagne with friends, but how relevant is this tradition today?

Is much of “tradition” suddenly looking like outdated exercises in hypocrisy, or what someone described to me recently as “unhappy happiness”?

Or is this how it’s going to be and we either “fall in line”, act it out and make the best of whatever is available and try to ride out the storm?

There’s always that opportunity to revisit the past, but this could backfire. It’s safer to stay with the illusion of what one thinks it was.

Last week I watched the third and final episode of “The Beatles: Get Back” documentary.

If being absolutely honest with myself, I found the doco to be a bloated exercise in just too much of everything that, as a huge fan of the Beatles, I already knew all about.

Watching Paul write “Get Back” on the spot? Not a big deal. Telegraphing George finally walking out because of Paul getting on his nerves was seen coming twenty minutes before it finally happened.

Not showing the great Billy Preston during his solos and fill-ins was sacrilegious.

Wanting to really really really like something that was filmed in 1969 because of having seen the trailers for it meant that all objectivity went out the door. I so wanted everything to be fab.

What I saw were four individuals who magically came together as teenagers, grew up, found new priorities in life, hooked up with different partners, and maybe, just maybe, at least for three in the group, outgrew making music.

They never “got back”, but this was known long before the documentary was released. It is what it was. It’s like relationships. Were some as wunderbar as we would like to believe they were? Are we often holding onto memories, because there’s nothing else and we love the feeling of being in love?

In Hong Kong today there’s an alarming drop in the standards of everything, especially English.

With longtime friends not really interested in going out, but instead staying in their Deliveroo and programme streaming world, there are the times one decides that it might be a bit of fun to get out there as a bachelor again and mix with other humans.

“She” has moved to Singapore with no plans to return here, and so one goes out alone and comes face to face with a very very birdie num num lah lah world.

Most women met recently have little or no substance and are completely clueless about what you’re saying.

Laughing with cheese or nachos or onions in their mouths, trying to be cute by tilting their heads to the side and saying, “What you mean lah?” is more neurotic than erotic and really not a turn on.

It’s affected flirtations I always expected to see and hear at Joe Bananas or any other Love-you-long-time bar in Soho or Wanchai. But with all the travel restrictions in place today, Hong Hong nightlife has become one long and tedious Joe Banana. There’s no Escape.

It’s probably why until the present semi current relationship, I only dated foreign women, some of whom had me at Hello. They were interesting to be with and they made life interesting and, well, muchos outré.

Like everything else, however, nothing lasted forever. Boredom set in as routines came into play.

It’s like pretending to be having mad passionate sex while thinking about the Ong Lok Yuen Baked Pork Chop With Rice box lunches my mum would bring me on Saturday afternoons after work.

It kinda spoils the moment and so you grunt loudly, exhale even more loudly and describe it as being an 8 on the Richter scale while hoping to hell there’s no need for a repeat performance.

It’s a long way from the days when being Django unchained and exploring the cucumber and aubergine plantations of the world.

What about male friends? There might be a few, but friends you seldom meet and with whom you can have something approaching an intelligent conversation is an endangered species. WhatsApp is a language that’s still alien to me.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, might not be the city it once was, but nowhere is what it once was. It’s now about trying to figure out what it is and what’s next.

At dinner last week with some other Hong Hong Belongers, we played a little game of mental memorabilia where we thought back to things we remember about living here.

Typhoons were high on the list along with school days, the prettiest girls and those who have flitted in and out of our lives and those who perhaps should have stayed, but since they’re no longer here with you, they made room for someone else. It happens.

Jimmy’s Kitchen’s famous Madras Chicken Curry was high on everyone’s list along with a lengthy conversation as to whether crushed papadums and the fried onion ringlets added to the flavour of this remarkable dish.

And after dissertations about this dish, we returned home. It was Friday night and we were home by 10.30pm. My stomach was rumbling for a Jimmy’s Kitchen Madras Chicken Curry.

So, here I am on the edge of a feather expecting to fly.

The question is where to and who with?

It’s rather sparse out there...

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