Saturday, 5 July 2014

Managing Changes

I never take the horoscope, Chinese or Western, seriously, but it is always funny to find some truth, though in retrospect, in their predictions about what one may come across. To my amusement, the highly condensed and apparently over-simplified characteristics of each sign of the zodiac often shed some light on human personalities. It is even more so if you take a closer look at your family and friends.

At the turn of every year, a few friends will circulate horoscopes of the new year for casual reading. I seldom pay attention unless I spot something noteworthy, such as a greater chance of health risks and unforeseen changes. Only God knows what will actually happen to me, but receiving kind reminders like these to get better prepared, and thus to be less panicky or astonished when something does happen, is by all means welcome.

Over the past five months since the Year of the Horse began, I have been surprised every now and then at how accurate the astrological predictions were: It was said that "change" is my keyword of the year. Changes on all aspects of life are abound. Even the internal peace of mind will be disrupted.

How true! Now I can't really recall how many times over the last couple of months did I find myself almost drowned in anxiety, frustration, and a great sense of loss and being disoriented. I know the causes well, which include both external and personal ones, but there is little I can do to alleviate, let alone eradicate, them. As a result, these emotions linger on, because their causes persist. Only when the causes are removed can these emotions disperse. I refrain from pretending that the perplexities do not exist. If put aside, they will only strike back harder and stronger, and become even more difficult to resolve. All I can do is to face them upfront, let them fight with reason, burn them out, let them fade away and then move on.

Now it seems a bromide to discuss the ongoing tensions and confrontations in Hong Kong. There have been too many people talking and too few listening. The voices are deafening indeed, and perhaps this is why so many words have fallen into deaf ears and gone unnoticed. All I can say is that the developments are by all means suffocating and worrisome. For the first time in more than forty years, I found myself completely disoriented in this Asia's world city, where I was born and bred, and which I have been calling home in great pride. Now I am not quite sure, coming to realise that it is not as good and deserving as I used to believe.

If there is little I can do to reverse the tides of change in Hong Kong society, so is the case in the workplace. Corporate culture is an aggregation of the attitudes, beliefs and qualities of the people in an organisation, which takes a long time, often years and even decades, to build and shape. Once formed, quite understandably, it is very difficult to change. Most people seek to adapt themselves to it, rather than changing it, because it takes a lot of time and effort to change, and the outcome is too often hardly rewarding. To make change happen, and, more importantly, work in an organisation, it takes extraordinary courage and resolution to overcome all the obstacles and resistances. Unfortunately these attributes are always short, if rare, in supply.

Even more difficult to change is people's attitude and how they think. It has to do with how they were brought up and educated, their values and personalities. There is no such as right or wrong when it comes to how people see the world, unless they violate the universal principles of humanity (although some people question whether such principles exist). Life is short and time is precious. Once gone, both are irrecoverable. So rather than trying to drill a drop of blood from the rocks, I'd prefer to get a life and move on. There are plenty of worthy causes to work for in one's life, instead of wasting time to win over someone who is different from yourself inside out.

To my surprise, opportunities of some possible imminent changes have emerged over the past few weeks. Although I have been looking around, I didn't search for those consciously but ran into them by coincidence. As someone who always believes in God, the life programmer or whatever you name it, I can't help wondering if there is any hidden message in those: Does it mean it is about time to make a change? But why are there so many options in different directions all of a sudden? Which one is the right choice? Or is it simply a dosage from God to boost courage and confidence in me when soaked in confusion, doubt and helplessness?

After all, these disturbances to the mind are manageable. There are many variables out of my control in these circumstances, and thus adopting a reactive approach will suffice. I can even choose to step away and seek refuge in my hobbies and commitments that I truly enjoy and treasure. What bothers me most now is something that I have never come across in my life. I have no clue how to deal with it or get rid of it. There is nothing wrong with it, and I'm pretty sure I can live with it, but bringing it along doesn't seem a very pleasant thing to do. The problem is that it takes up too much space in the heart and mind, always calling for my attention. It is like a naughty cat making a fuss around me when I have to focus on something really important. Every now and then it will pinch me, urging me to take some sort of action that I firmly believe to be inappropriate. While there is a chance that I can get rid of it by doing so, there is no guarantee of success. More importantly, I am wary of its consequences, which are likely to be detrimental and even devastating. I keep telling myself to be grateful and treasure what is in hand, rather than asking for more. But I really don't know how much longer I can keep the wild thought at bay, because this ridiculous battle of the left and right brains is indeed annoying and exhausting.


  1. Anonymous11:35 am

    I heard what you are saying. Changes are inevitable and the only thing remains unchanged is the change itself. If you look at the world in this perspective, perhaps you will feel better.
    The recent developments in HK are worrisome but not a surprise to me. Beijing follows the Tibet Model in their governance of HK. I do not quite see any way out.
    It is almost impossible to change the mindset of people until they see the reason for the change. In a work place it is often not about being “right” or “wrong”, politics, authority, egoism and emotions all come into play. You had better understand this is a fact of life. I am fortunate that I can afford not taking any work home. It is a necessity to separate “home” and “work place”.
    I hope that you manage well the changes that are facing you. Ask for help when you cannot handle them by yourself. Life is too short. Move on and pay yourself first.
    Ontario, Canada

    1. Thanks Samson. Given the nature of my work and the current situation in Hong Kong, essentially there is no time-off from work for me. I have to stand by and respond very soon if needed. This is why it is both a stretch for the mind and body.

  2. Anonymous1:50 am



Thank you for your comment. It will be published after moderation by the blogger to avoid spam messages. Thank you in advance for your understanding.