On this New Year's day, as our family were devouring our home lunch and watching the afternoon news about all the fireworks to celebrate the arrival of 2014 around the world the night before, when Dubai was on, my wife softly announced that she suddenly thought of my beloved mum and broke into tears. As our two children were puzzled, I asked her what exactly was it all about.

She recalled that when I was working in Dubai 13 or 14 years ago, she was spending one New Year's Eve at my mum's home. They two were counting down in Hong Kong some four hours ahead of me. I could vividly imagine the nostalgic scene, and could not help but be instantly swamped with emotions that I also broke into tears. All of a very sudden, we were both dearly missing our beloved mum who had left us over 4 years ago.

Nostalgia alone does not account for all the sadness. Once upon a time when I was much younger, I was often craving for brighter career prospects and better times ahead, and perhaps subconsciously and naively expecting more wealth meant more happiness for the family. Sadly, it is only in hindsight the answer is so painfully simple: that happiness at those times past could readily be had by treasuring all the occasions with mum when she was alive and healthy, talking with her, listening to her, and simply staying close to her and be nice to her.

Ignorance hurts most. Though I still crave the sense of accomplishment and success, having lost our beloved mum truly brings one painful but valuable lesson of enlightenment, awakening me to a profound sense of life's priority: I shall not sacrifice my family time for anything meaningless no more.        


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