Hearty Episode

Hearty episode with my helper this afternoon.

I was having difficulty in buttoning up a top, so I went to Jen for help.

Jen: That’s a really nice top

Me: Thank you. I love it too.

Jen: When you get married, the buttons will be your husband’s.

When I turned around and looked at her in the eye, they were lit up and she had a wide smile on her face.

This is love. She wants the best for me. And so do I.

Classical Music for Everyone

Classical music has always given me the impression that it is only reserved for well-cultured, rich and most of all, boring old people. However, classical music lovers have long been trying to make the music more accessible to everyone.

The Proms

Promenade concerts had existed in London’s pleasure gardens since the mid 18th century. However, tickets to the concerts were unaffordable to the general public at the time. So in 1895, Robert Newman, a businessman and musical impresario decided to offer low ticket prices and an informal atmosphere where eating, drinking and even smoking were permitted for everyone.

He stated his aim of starting the Proms in 1894 as follows:

I am going to run nightly concerts and train the public by easy stages. Popular at first, gradually raising the standard until I have created a public for classical and modern music.

So there we go, the birth of the Proms which is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts held annually in the Royal Albert Hall, in London, UK.

Nowadays, the Proms tickets can go up to £100 and need to book months in advance. Nonetheless, the practice of ‘Promming’ is an essential part of the Proms, and a unique tradition. For years, promenaders have embraced the experience of queuing for cheap standing tickets for the evening’s concert. They no longer need to physically queue for the 1,350 standing tickets that would be released on the day of the concert, thanks to the internet.

My Experience

During my visit in the UK, my sister and I happened to get tickets to one of the Proms.

Indeed, Newman’s idea of making it accessible was lived out and carried on. As we entered the hall, and up in the gallery, people were camping out, lying on the floor. Some even brought yoga mats and had a mini picnic before the concert started. It really did make classical music more casual and accessible. As the orchestra stroke the chords, music filled the entire grandiose hall.

The beauty of music is that every one in the hall, no matter their age, gender, background, were listening to the same piece, same note, same melody. Music has this strange power of bringing people together.

If you do get a chance to visit London in the summer, do check out the BBC Proms. It’s worth it.

For more information about the Proms

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1sgMxZvFzHQG3Y1HktMfg6w/history-of-the-proms

Cove

cove
[kohv]
noun
1 a small indentation or recess in the shoreline of a sea, lake, or river.
2 a sheltered nook.
(From dictionary.com)

Cove, a safe shelter to rest.
We all need it; physically, mentally and emotionally. Take time to take care of yourself.

Also Mother Nature always has a way to bring us peace. 🙂

Cliff view of Lulworth Cove, Dorset, Summer 2017


Beach view of Lulworth Cove, Dorset, Summer 2017


Salted Caramel Clotted Ice Cream, Lulworth, Dorset, Summer 2017

Thank you for recommending this place. Even though it was so rural I had to wait over 1.5 hours for the bus. It was worth it. If you visit, do try the salted caramel clotted ice cream. I went for back for seconds.

Enjoy!

Efficiency is costly

How are you today? asked Lucas with a big smile on his face. I wasn’t having a particularly great day but his smile was like a radiating sun that warmed and softened my heart. He instantly made my day better so I couldn’t resist but to smile back and say Yes I am! Thank you! 

Lucas is a shop assistant at a chain store in the UK that I have just encountered as I was checking out. Not only as our conversation went on for awhile that I started noticing something different with the way he tilted his shoulder; it was abnormally low, bent towards the desk as he folded the clothes up carefully and neatly. I soon realised that he didn’t have his left forearm. He slowly placed the nicely folded clothes into a shopping bag, piece by piece, as he couldn’t put the whole pile in one go. It touched me. He touched me.

He made my shopping experience. He was compassionate. He cared. His attitude towards life was admirable.

But I am not just talking about being optimistic despite difficult circumstances or preaching about engagement in corporate social responsibilities. Though they are important issues to consider, I’m also talking about culture. A culture where strangers would genuinely ask about your day. Many would say thank you to drivers as they get off the bus. If you accidentally bump into people, they would compete to apologise. This would not happen in a city like Hong Kong.

I used to do those things like second nature.   But the hustle and bustle, the constant strife for efficiency in a city like Hong along has influenced me that I have almost forgotten how awesome it was connecting with people you shouldered pass. I have almost forgotten to make an effort to show gratitude towards others. I have almost forgotten the power of random acts of kindness.

As technology advances, many jobs that are used to be done by humans are now being replaced. Just look at the self check-out services implemented in many supermarkets. Efficiency meant that we sacrificed the time and chances to connect. To have a glimpse of someone else’s life for a brief moment. To remember what it feels like to share ideas momentarily with someone you had absolutely no prior relationship with but found insights and common ground with them. 

Efficiency is costly. The internet had connected us like never before. However, technology has also costed us chances to connect. Physical connection that gives us a sense of belonging or even our sense of identity that we all need as human beings.

Disposable culture

I am guilty of this. I replace my phone before it breaks and I have a whole wardrobe of clothes that I don’t wear.

People used to own only one pair of jeans or drive the same car for years. They would go to a shop for repairing should there be any problems. During the industrial revolution, there was a technology boom and products got into the mass market; consequently, business models have changed. Nowadays, many products have planned obsolescence, meaning things were made to fail so that customers would have a constant need to replace or ‘upgrade’ their current products, even before they were broken. Very often, it is more expensive to repair than to replace your favourite pair of glasses.

I’m not going to get into the issues regarding the environment, waste management, cheap labour, and all that. But I’m going to talk about the attitude of consumerism that has trickled down and changed our attitude towards important but intangible things such as the way we handle relationships. Unlike materialistic goods, we didn’t commit to relationships betting it to fail in the first place. Nonetheless, divorce rates have increased and many opt for staying unmarried as people are less willing to tease out problems and conquer challenges together. 

Of course there are more than just one factor resulting in the phenomenon; urbanisation, change in gender roles, etc. all play a part. However, we can see elements of consumerism in relationships, the way we work in our jobs, or even perception on the way we look.

The picture below is a lamp that was first switched on 115 years ago and is still shining in a fire station in California. Perhaps a great first step is to be able to see and treat things with more respect and love. 

The Centennial Light has shone for 115 years (Credit: Bill Nale/Wikipedia)