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1 June 2017

1 June 2017
I was alighting a bus a week ago; a gentleman got ready to get off as well.  I kept thinking that I knew him but really couldn’t recall who he was.  The circumstance then did not allow me to ask.  A minute after I was on the street, I realized that he was my secondary schoolmate, whose father was my English and class teacher. Let me say this upfront: they were not popular people on campus.
The father forced us to read English newspaper every day, and he started a club called get-your-tongue-rolling club, which was actually a public speaking club.  During lunch time, students would take turn to stand at a corner of the school square to deliver speeches, very much like Speakers’ Corner.  But of course, the son was a regular host; he didn’t have much choice. He was later made the Chair of the club. Definitely not popular at all.
How I regretted thinking like that when I was younger. Little did we know what would be useful for us in the future, and how important the language would be to us in a civilized world.  Were I given a chance to re-live that life again, I probably would not compete the chairmanship with this boy, but would frequent the talks, armed with the knowledge of my future need of the language and its skills.
So there, advice when most needed is least heeded.  I completely understand now few people want advice. When advice is given, it is not heard. But some time later, perhaps a few weeks, perhaps a few years or decades, we then realize, “Ah, I was told about that before”. I do not expect the younger ones to have an epiphany right away, but it is good that they will remember this passage. Years later, they will say, ah yes, I remember this lesson.
Anson Yang