Waiting

Winch Heung
Life is so impermanent and
so helplessĄCĄCĄC

How much precious time have we wasted waiting in our lives? Waiting for the bus, waiting for the ferry, waiting for the plane, waiting for a seat to dine in a restaurant, queuing up to watch a movie, and registering to see a doctor. If you drive by yourself and encounter traffic jams, you have to wait, and you must wait patiently when you want to go through the undersea tunnel after getting off work. Whether you are in the Hung Ham Tunnel, Eastern Tunnel, or Western Tunnel in Hong Kong, you must wait, and it is also an inevitable wait in the Holland Tunnel or Lincoln Tunnel in New York.

During my life, I don't remember how many times I have waited. I have no patience for waiting. When I go to a restaurant by myself, I walk if I have to wait for a seat. If I have an appointment with a friend who is not on time, I have no choice but to wait patiently. I am a stickler for punctuality and most of my friends are also punctual, so we all don't have to wait too long. As birds of a feather flock together, always-late friends gradually and unintentionally become alienated.

I have not gone to the barber for a long time. No patience for waiting is the reason. I rely on my wife to cut my hair. At first, she was not skilled enough. Gradually she got the knack of it. After she finished cutting my hair, I would tell people, "I just changed to a trendy hairstyle."


What I have to wait for are trivial things, compared with some people who live in tyranny, poverty, war, or suffer from natural and man-made disasters. The changes they wait for are significant. Throughout Chinese history, many people have been lingering in the shadow of war all their lives. What they wait for is the end of war, but things are contrary to their wishes. They can only live their lives without a moment of peace. A Chinese poet profoundly described their situation: "The silk will no longer be made when the spring silkworms die, and tears will dry when wax torch turns into ashes.Ą¨

Some "waiting" has become a classic. In the Hungmei Valley in Shatin, there is a large rock that looks like a woman with a child on her back standing on a hill. It is said that a husband went abroad to earn a living, but he never came back, and there was no news of him. Every day the wife held the baby in her arms and carried the son on her back, climbing the hill and looking at the distant sea, hoping for the return of her husband. One day, when the mother was climbing the hill as usual, sudden thunder, lightning storm rolled through the valley. Suddenly the trio disappeared. The sad and moving fictional myth becomes more memorable as it passes from generation to generation.

Many romantic and mesmerizing stories such as "Madame Butterfly" and "Waterloo Bridge" feature a couple separated in helpless situation. The touching part of the story is actually just the bubble of "waiting", which stimulates people's heart and nerves and produces a painful pleasure. If you experience it personally and feel the endless "waiting", you will know that it is not a good feeling. It is like entering the "infernal hell" and will never be reborn.


Some people get into the habit of "insomnia", sleepless all night, lying in bed, waiting for another day to come. During that time, it is difficult for anyone not involved to understand the pain. A good friend of mine was suffering from terminal cancer. He was in pain for a few months before he passed away. What he was waiting for was death. Life is so impermanent, so helpless. Another friend's wife died in a traffic accident. He engraved the words "wait for me" on the tombstone.

Is the feeling of waiting sweet or bitter? Is it joy or sorrow? Is it hope or hopeless? Is it helpless? Is it decision? There seems to be no conclusion. Different people have different opinions. Everyone, think about it for yourself!
Home | Index