Skip to main content

Aging and Musings

oldladies (Ricoh GX200)

Some years ago, I bookmarked a column article titled "My Guide to Old Age" written by Brian Aldiss for the Guardian back in 2006. It was not that I was or am - but for everyone the time will come one day - old enough to need the consultation myself but that, as an octogenarian, he gave an insight in one spot which human nature is rooted in.

Which is love.

As you read along the article, you may see that threading through his tips is the theme of love. The love of life, of reading, of exploring around, of the awaking hours and, the most important of all, the love shown by and towards his woman.

He wrote in the middle part of the article before turning to the inconveniences of old age, "Many people feel old at 30. I still feel young in spirit. And there is a great abounding reason for that, though she has begged me not to mention her name. She is just the most empathic, intelligent, adorable woman I have had the luck to meet. My winter sunshine."

Wow, winter sunshine. If feeling has a colour, this has to be glowing with warmth in a golden cast.

The notion that we need love is so obviously important and unmistakeably comprehensible that seeing people being unable to be consistently stimulated by the abstract noun "love" is mind-boggling. In most cases, what we let consistently stimulate ourselves is not love but the feeling patronised by our emotions. We love who and what we find lovable, listen to who and what pleases us and react in a likewise fashion. These are the least qualities to be called love, just as crème brulee with salt is not what crème brulee is supposed to be.

Love has a recipe too. While ours are different as we may not share the same taste, there are some universal ingredients, of which one is broad-mindedness. Love is not compatible with egoism, just as we don’t use salt for crème brulee. Regrettably, and metaphorically, for the matter of love, this is the wrong thing we have been doing and we may even have added salt into the cup of expresso that comes with the crème brulee.

It is exactly because adulterating love with egoism is intrinsic to our nature that we need to consciously scale down our ego when going about earthly matters, including love, and especially love. Otherwise, be prepared that at the end of winter there may still be no sunshine heaving into sight, be the sun a person or a personal endeavour.

If I can add an effective tip about clipping the ego, I would say, at least mind your words. Very often we infuriate with and are infuriated by words, the remote control to activate our ego. George Eliot put this point cleverly in her Adam Bede, "Examine your words well, and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false, it is a very hard thing to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings -- much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth." Put it the other way round, show tolerance towards what others are saying. They are probably putting down the words in a way not exactly as what they mean.

Such a flair in intelligently illustrating facts and feelings is what gives me the greatest pleasure of reading. In the same measure, Brian vividly illustrates an inconvenience of aging and his feeling on the prospect of passing away in the ending paragraphs of his guide to old age:

"I require spasms of sleep during the day. I will be sitting in an armchair, perhaps watching television or perhaps reading - at present it is the TLS and John Heilpern's magnificent biography of John Osborne - and I fall asleep. At least, that is what I call it. But, like those unfortunates caught on the wrong side of the Sittang Bridge when it blew, I find myself on the wrong side of consciousness. I have entirely blanked out.
Perhaps I come back to myself after half an hour. I am astonished. And I reflect that a time may come when I blank out for good, there in the armchair, Heilpern's book unfinished on my knee. Be warned, darling! 
This marvellous, unique lifetime will be over. But what an easy way to go ..."


Popular posts from this blog

GXR: External Flash and Viewfinder

We are nearly the end of the GXR field report series.  I wish to talk about the external options for the GXR, namely, the flashgun and the viewfinder.The external flash named, well, GF-1 can do TTL flash on Ricoh cameras with the flash interface as illustrated below, which Ricoh called Type R.  It can also be used on  other Ricoh cameras which have no TTL-flash capability like the GX200.When the TTL-A LED is on after the flash has been mounted and turned on, it is ready to do TTL flash.A few presses on the lower rectangular power level select button will light up the last two LEDs on the far right, activating the manual flash output via adjustment on the GXR.The flashgun can turn upwards up to 90°for doing bounce flash but not sideways.  It can double as a wireless slave flash.  For that matter, it comes with a stand.  I have read through the instruction manual but can't find the clue as to whether in slave mode it will automatically distribute the flash output between the main/ t…

GXR M-mount Field Test: Voigtländer Nokton 35mm F1.2 ASPH II Lens

The M module may better be described as a far-flung cousin to rather than an immediate member of the GXR family. When look closer, you may see that the whole point of the M module is not about a new GXR-system module – fact is, the concept of lens-sensor combination is completely forsaken here. It is more about taking advantage of the wide choice of high quality M mount lenses.

In this post, we will look at the lens on loan to us: the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm F1.2 ASPH II.

Although Leica M-mount lenses are the best choice for optical performance, they are not just everyone’s option pricewise. With a lower price tag and great optical performance, Voigtländer lenses are sensible substitutes. Hong Kong’s sole dealer of Ricoh cameras, Laikok, is also the distributor of Voigtländer lenses (manufactured by Cosina of Japan) in Hong Kong. For information about the Voigtländer lenses available from Laikok, check this out.  You may also check out Cosina’s Voigtländer webpage.

With the Voigtländer …

Property Hegemony

(Ricoh GX200)

Property Hegemony is a hot issue in the city.  It refers to the near or actual cartel comprising the local tycoons in the property market.  A worthy read on the topic is a book titled Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong by Alice Poon, a former assistant to a local property tycoon, who wrote it after she migrated to Canada. The book won the Canadian Book Review Annual a few years ago. 
Property hegemony is not an illusionary thing.  Alice has given her readers lots of data to justify the debate.  For example, in 2010, the six richest local clans who are all property developers controlled 14.7% of the Hong Kong stock market value.  This gives a glimpse into the result of the fact that while from 1991 to 1994, 70% of Hong Kong’s private property were built by seven property developers, 55% out of this amount was developed by four of the seven developers.  Today, most major property sites are owned by the biggest three to four among them.
The adverse impacts are very stron…