The author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and many other books on neurology and psychiatry, Oliver Sacks, M.D., has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He estimates himself having a couple more months. But like living his life, he’s determined to leave the world with a roar, passionately, and savouring every moment.
Every year on the same day in June, tens of thousands of us gather at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to commemorate June 4, 1989. Tiananmen Square. We each light a candle, just like this one, and unite in silence.
Remembering matters. While we should celebrate economic prosperity and societal development, we must not forget events that brought us to where we are today. I can only speak for my own city, or country, I guess. But past atrocities committed everywhere in the world, especially atrocities at the hands the same country’s very own government since those are often the histories suppressed, need to be documented, learned, pondered upon as cautionary tales. Let history not repeat.
When this candle is lit, the crowd usually looks down into the flame, the heaviness of events 25 years prior weighing on its collective psyche. No one speaks. If you were among us, you’d notice the silence, dots of flames forming a sea of light. You might likewise be lost in contemplation of history, and succumb to the serene calm.
Do you feel like your life is sometimes all about waiting? Waiting for that someone, that text message, that phone call, that person to come home. Or for the government cheque to come in, that social worker to respond to your request. Rarely the wait is pleasant. Often it’s painful.
Everyone acts quite differently in private than in public. In private we feel comfortable picking our noses, gargling Listerine, walking around naked, having sex, singing in the shower, relieving ourselves of number one and two. How private we are about these matter depends on our upbringing, culture, and prevailing social norms. Continue reading →