"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
(From Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and The Carpenter 1872)
“The time has come" the walrus said - a sentiment now echoed by this old elephant and so ... to my final blog.
When I retired from full time employment ten years ago, and people including a number of competent Hong Kong journalists with a reporting style that was more factual than fanciful, were seeking my views on a variety of issues I thought the easiest way to keep them informed without having to deal with them individually was to write a Blog, which I started in 2007. There was much to write about ... and of course there still is if you are not brain dead. But writing has to be a pleasure and not a chore and I have always maintained that if you have the luxury of doing so, you should only do the things you enjoy and when the enjoyment passes, stop! In a similar vein, with regard to the things I still do professionally, I want to be the one who is smart enough to say "time to go", before someone sidles up and whispers in my ear saying "isn't it time to go?"
I was getting frustrated by the lack of time I have had to write the Blog recently, although it was for all the right reasons. Being retired doesn't always mean you do nothing, but it just seems pointless to carry on unless you can maintain a regular commentary. It's also a question not of just what I find interesting, but also what anyone reading it other than family and friends is going to find interesting.
There are many experts around these days whose commentaries are genuinely informative and who make it their business to inform. My Blog is not a business and was never designed to be, so I decided I should quit while at least marginally ahead and turn my spare time thoughts to the weighty concerns of ships, and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.
I do though have a couple of final thoughts - as you might have expected.
I echo the dual sentiments that say firstly it is the duty of every generation to leave it a better place for the next generation, and the second sentiment that reminds us life is not a dress rehearsal. The minute that has just passed is gone forever; no second go at it.
Sadly, I don't think we are on course to leave this world a better place for the next generation. Our world has become one where perspective has gone out of the window, where respect for ones fellow human being has been eroded, where the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen not narrow. A world that is selfish and greedy in some quarters; a "me" generation of perceived entitlement. A world that is rapidly running short of resources, particularly water.
I am getting heartily sick of having my own integrity questioned by people who have no idea what I am like, or what I believe. And I don't get the worst of it; that is reserved for others, but it takes away any pretence of human decency. Others who become used as a "point-scoring headline-seeking" target for people who seem to seek notoriety and to hell with the damage they do in the process. In one particular case very recently not to me, but to decent, honest, colleagues.
Someone said to me the other day that I was in the most pessimistic mood they had ever seen. In my last Blog I wrote that I still maintain an air of optimism because it's generally better than the alternative. So, optimistic yes but also sad. We are choking ourselves by silly things that can be put right, but that's a story for a whole new Blog writer.
I have enjoyed what I have written, and regret nothing in that regard. If I have shared insights that you have found interesting, useful, or thought provoking then I have achieved something. If I have upset you I am sorry for that, but we all have points of view that we should feel free to share as we should be prepared to accept alternative views, though not uninformed intentionally inflammatory comment.
Friends will know where to find me, of course, and just let me say this is not me giving up on life. I will continue to carry out my professional commitments at least for a while longer because despite the irritations I face I still feel my experience has value and, so far, so do others. I would like to try and ensure that organisations like Room to Read and The Global Institute For Tomorrow get a fair hearing and support. I have grandchildren who need to understand about the world around them although I am sure my own children will support that task, as they have all grown up into genuine caring individuals. Decent people I am proud of, and there is nothing stronger than a supportive family.
I may have a significant birthday fast approaching but most of me still works, and I will hope to put what's left to good use.
Thank you for your past readership, and please do your bit for the world.