Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Love of a Lifetime

'I guess the time was right for us to say,
We'd take our time and live our lives together day by day.
We'll make a wish and send it on a prayer,
We know our dreams can all come true with love that we can share.'

A day before they were to register their marriage at the registrar, Ah Feng asked to meet Ah Shan for lunch. Ah Shan got worried for it must be a problem as it was too sudden apart from that they had arranged to meet for dinner already. He then went to Ah Feng's apartment to pick her up for lunch as both of them had taken leave from their work to prepare for the wedding.

Ah Feng appear normal and still looks her cheerful self which put Ah Shan' worry at ease. As usual, Ah Feng had asked for her favorite fish and chips while Ah Shan had a beef steak set at the Western cafe.

Ah Feng: 'Ah Shan, I have been thinking that we should register our marriage later on when I think the time is right. I still feel unsure as to what would happens later on in our future if we should separated and it would be unnecessary with all the paperwork. I have to be fair to your feelings as you are human and this unfortunate incident might be in your mind as we are bound to have quarrels living together.'

Ah Shan: 'But how do I tell my parents or your parents about it as it would be very strange to them.'

Ah Feng: 'We would still carry on with our custom weddings and we would tell them that I don't feel well on that day and we would register our wedding in London when we have our honeymoon there after the wedding.'

Ah Shan, worried that if he objected further would leads to more problems with the custom wedding ceremony just a day away: 'All right, but you must promise me we would do the registration after three months as I would feel odd without this procedure followed."

Ah Feng: 'All-right.'

On that day, the wedding dinner was held at a famous Cantonese restaurant and Ah Feng had looks radiant and beautiful in her wedding gown for the afternoon photo shoot. Needless to say, Ah Shan felt he was the luckiest man on Earth to be able to marry a girl like Ah Feng. The thought that he is finally starting a new phase in life with Ah Feng gaves him a joyful feeling that he have never felt before and that he is unable to describe. Ah Chong the Feng Shui master had probably picked a correct day as the day was cool and breezy without the sudden rains that is common in Spring in Hong Kong. The wedding dinner that night was also a success with all the relatives and friends enjoying it and as usual, teasing the happy couple. The next day, the married couple left Hong Kong on the afternoon flight for their honeymoon in Europe with both their parents and friends sending them off at the airport.

Two weeks later, they were back with the usual gifts that holiday makers bring back from trips for their loved ones. They had then moved into their new apartment and started their life as a married couple without their parents around. Months passed by and everybody was happy, Ah Shan had even started hoping to have a baby with Ah Feng soon to complete their family. Both parents were also glad and happy to see their only offspring starting their family. Soon it was three months, the Wei month nearing the end of Summer when Ah Shan bought up the subject of getting their marriage registered with Ah Feng. Ah Feng had agreed then as she had observed that Ah Shan was really the type who though stubborn at times, would stick to his principles when he made up his mind. They then arranged to take a day off the next day and also visit Tiger Balms Garden as Ah Feng had wanted to visit the place while they were dating but the place was too packed with crowds on the weekend at that period.

On that morning, Ah Feng had prepared a small basket with snacks at the same time for the visit to the garden. They then proceed to the carpark when suddenly there was a heavy downpour. Ah Feng: 'Oh no, looks like it is going to be a heavy rain.'

Ah Shan: 'I don't think so as I have listened to the radio weather forecast and there was no mention of rain at all. Lets wait and decide later if the heavy rain will to carry on after half an hour, we would then go on another day.'

And strangely true enough, it stopped after half an hour and both of them then set off to the Registrar for Marriage. After all the legal procedure was completed and with Ah Shan now feeling even more at ease and happy, they set off for Tiger Balms Garden. It was then that they saw Xiao Jin outside the Registrar and Ah Shan started feeling guilty as he had not invited him for the wedding.

Xiao Jin after greeting Ah Feng: 'Ah Shan, it is so coincidental to see you here as I had called your office today and they told me you had taken a day off. I wanted to apologise as my company had sent me away on an overseas trip and it was too rush for me to leave a message for you. I had just came back and wanted to let you know as I guess you would not have be able to contact me for your wedding dinner.'

Ah Shan was relieved on hearing that but however with Ah Feng around,  have no wish to prolong the conversation. He then says: 'I will call you another day for lunch in lieu for the wedding dinner that you missed. We had to go off now.'

Xiao Jin then looked weirdly at him and said: 'Did you just registered your wedding here or came to collect the certificate?'

Ah Shan not wanting to explain why they did not registered before the wedding: 'Oh yes, we were here to collect the certificate.'

Xiao Jin: 'Oh okay, I still needs to let you know certain matters that I had told you before and I also need to know whether you have told your father about your ancestral tomb. This needs to be done by the end of Autumn as your father would starts to have some health problems and it might set off a chain of unfavorable events.'

Ah Shan: 'Okay, I will discuss with my father when I get back and I will call you as soon as possible to meet up. I really got to go off with Ah Feng now.'

Xiao Jin on hearing the tone knew that Ah Shan do not want to carry on further the conversation with Ah Feng around. He had wanted to try to let Ah Shan know more at that moment as he knew that his company might anytime relocate him to Singapore for that new project and he do not know when he will be back in Hong Kong. But he also do not wanted Ah Shan to think that he is out to make the latter indebted to him as mentioned before.

Xiao Jin: 'All-right, I will give you my cousin's phone number now just in case you can't contact me again.' He then wrote on a piece of paper he tear from a small notebook and gave it to Ah Shan.

They then parted way with Ah Feng feeling curious as she felt that Xiao Jin had been trying to hint to them to  go for a coffee for a chat. She was thinking why Ah Shan was unwilling as Xiao Jin really looks concerned about the health of Ah Shan's father. But as in that generation, chinese women still do not get involved in man's talk or question their men about their matters. Ah Shan also did not explained his attitude to Ah Feng as they go off and she left it as it is. Anyway, they had a wonderful day at the Tiger Balms Gardens especially Ah Feng as she got to visit it after several failed attempts in the past.

Now, after they had registered for more than a month and Autumn had just started, things began to change in their lives. Ah Feng started growing thinner although she was not sick, both of them thought that it was probably her hectic work at the bank that is affecting her appetite as she started to eat less. Ah Shan jokingly says that it is probably she is trying to slim down as after marriage initially, she had gained weight. The apartment also started having problem with the lights blowing off frequently and even the plumbing pipes were choked for no reason as there were only two of them using the toilet. They had then called a handyman to do the repairs but after a few days, the problems came back. Ah Shan had then thought that this was probably why the previous owner was frustrated and had sold off the place.

Two weeks later, Ah Feng suddenly fainted while working and could not be revived, the bank staff had to sent her to the hospital. Ah Shan on hearing the news, rushed down to the hospital after taking a half day leave from his company. Ah Feng was still unconscious with the parents already there by her side as Ah Shan had informed them including his parents. Half an hour later, the nurse told Ah Shan that the doctor is free to see him. Ah Shan was informed by the doctor that they have not found the reason for her fainting and that she had to be warded for another day for observation. The doctor felt that it could be work stress as she had fainted at the bank and that Ah Feng was probably too tired.

For the moment, they find that she is underweight for her height and asked about her daily diet. Ah Shan then went back to the ward and was glad on seeing Ah Feng awake. The pale looking Ah Feng asked him what the doctor had diagnosed and Ah Shan told her what the doctor had said and agreed that she probably did not have enough rest as she had worked overtime for a period of time prior to this incident. Ah Shan felt bad while saying this as Ah Feng's parent were listening at the side however the parent instead felt that Ah Feng should resign from her work now that she is married and be a housewife.

At that time, Ah Shan' parent also arrived and asked Ah Shan again on the same old question. Ah Shan then noticed that his father do not appeared to be in good health. He had then pulled his mother aside and asked her whereupon the mother told him that the father had caught a cold the other day and there is nothing to worry about. By then, it was already late at night and Ah Feng told them to go back home as they have not taken their dinner. Ah Shan sent both parents off and went to get some takeaway foods for himself and some supper snacks for Ah Feng as he do not want to go home yet. About midnight, he then left telling Ah Feng that he is taking a day off and would be back in the morning with breakfast for her as he do not think highly of the hospital food.

The next day in the afternoon while Ah Shan was reading the newspaper as Ah Feng had fallen asleep, the doctor asked for him.

Ah Shan: 'Have you managed to find out whether there is anything else? My wife appeared to be better now after resting for a day here.'

The doctor: 'Mr. Zhang, I hope you will stay calm as I have bad news for you and your wife will needs your moral support.'

Ah Shan now started to look worried: 'Never mind if it is bad news as I still have to face it.'

The doctor : 'It is confirmed that your wife have liver cancer and normally for cases like this, her life expectancy is at the most between three to six months.'

Ah Shan started to feel dizzy and almost fainted on hearing this, but he remember what the doctor had told him beforehand that Ah Feng needs his moral support.

Ah Shan: 'Can you get another doctor to check again, just to be sure that you have the correct diagnosis as you know sometimes.....'

The doctor interrupted him before he could carried on further: 'Mr. Zhang, my fellow doctors and I had a meeting this morning and had spent 2 hours analysing the test samples we took and confirming it before I had let you know the diagnosis as this is a serious case.'

The doctor anticipating Ah Shan next question: 'This is a new disease that we have no cures at the moment though there have been rumours that some have recovered mysteriously. But they have never come back and we don't really knows.'

Ah Shan: 'But there were no signs or symptons at all and suddenly you tell me it is liver cancer.'

The doctor: 'Yes, as this cancer is normally at stage 4 when it is discovered and therefore we have been unable to do anything about it.'

The doctor having been through several similar cases and Ah Shan looks like a new couple to him
which had drawn his sympathy, then said: 'I have a suggestion if you do not mind though it is not medical.'

Ah Shan: 'I do not mind any suggestions that can give me any hope at this moment. I would not even spare any expenses if there is any cures for it abroad.'

The doctor: 'No, what I meant was maybe both of you can go for a holiday and at the same time, she can rest and recuperate. Somewhere that she wanted to go and where the air there is fresh and she would regains her appetite and maybe a miracle could happens.'

Ah Shan: 'All right, I would ask her about it and I have a request that you do not let her or our parents know.'

The doctor: 'I agreed as this would helps pyschologically as she might give up her will to live if she knows. There is nothing much the hospital can do now, I suggest that you can get ready for her discharge today.'

Ah Feng was awaked when Ah Shan came back to the ward and Ah Shan then told her that the doctor says she can be discharged. He then told her the doctor said that she was overworked and needs a lot of rest. Her health might get worse if she still go back to work and suggest that she resigned from her work. Ah Feng then readily agreed as she had felt nauseous and weak for the past two weeks and had no appeitite. She had also disliked the new manager that the bank had employed who appears to pick on her as a scrapegoat everytime when things go wrong.

The next day while at work, Ah Shan spent his time thinking of how to tell his immediate superior that he wants to take a long leave from work. It had appeared that the parent company, a British company had been giving his boss some pressure as his boss appears to be in a bad mood. He had not dared put his request to his boss as he also like the job and do not want to have any future problem with the boss in a bad mood. He had tried asking the managing director for lunch together that day but the latter had brushed him off and had hurriedly left for a meeting with a personnel from the parent company who had visit Hong Kong. While thinking of what to do, his cousin Ah Chong the Feng Shui master called him, he was about to tell his secretary that he do not want to take the call when he remember about the divination from the temple. He then thought maybe Ah Chong could explained to him as the Gods can't be wrong if the divination is auspicous. Ah Chong told him over the phone that he needs a loan from him as he had wanted to buy a property but did not have enough money. Though the loan amount was substantial, Ah Shan was willing to lend him the money hoping that maybe Ah Chong could help him as he had heard that Feng Shui can helps when all other means of orthodox methods failed.

However, he did not know that Ah Chong needed the money to flee as the latter had offended an underword boss after he had done a Feng Shui audit for his mistress. The mistress of that notorious gangster had wanted Ah Chong to activate the so called Peach Blossom star (Romance Star) for her as the boss had fallen for a young film starlet and had spent less time with her. Instead she had fallen for a giggolo and absconded with the boss's ill-gotten gains entrusted in her account for safekeeping from the laws. The infuriated boss had found out that she had engaged a feng shui master before absconding and had sent his own Feng Shui master to look at that love nest to check. He was then accordingly told that the Flower of Bath star was activated  instead which had caused his mistress to 'easily be attracted to the opposite sex, and became flirtatious, immoral and sexually obsessed.' The incensed boss then put out a reward to find out the identity of that Feng Shui master which was fortunate for Ah Chong as the nickname he had used Divine dragon, was not well-known in the Feng Shui circle. Ah Chong decided to flee first whether that underworld boss can managed to find out his identity or not.

Anyway, back to Ah Shan who then met Ah Chong at a cafe during lunch to pass him the money as he had also wanted to asked him about the divination. Ah Chong then told him to go back to that temple to seek redress from the Gods as he also felt that the divination is an auspicious one and that the Gods can't be wrong, right? To us, it might sound illogical but when a person is desperate and had no orthodox ways to solve a problem like Ah Shan, he turns to spiritual means. Thinking that it makes sense, he took the other half of the day off as after all the boss was too busy for him to sound out on his request for a month's leave from work.

He then went to the temple and burnt paper offerings after what he had felt sincerely, asks the Gods to intervene in his prayers as things had not gone the way the divination had implied on his mariage. He then went home and strangely, he felt serene as it could be probably be the peaceful surroundings of the temple which was desolate and quiet on the weekdays. He had then bought some of Ah Feng's favorite foods for dinner as well as for his mother who had went over to prepare lunch for her and take care of her. He then told his mother and Ah Feng that he is thinking of taking a long holidays for both of them as before marriage, he had also been working very hard without taking long leave. He is also worried that he might fall sick especially now that Ah Feng is not working. Ah Feng then asked Ah Shan that whether they could go to somewhere that have snow in Winter as it is one of her childhood dreams. Ah Shan readily agreed with tears almost coming to his eyes when he thought of her illness and excused himself that he wanted to take a bath.

The next day while he was thinking of how to approach his boss on this matter as he was the manager and the boss might have to take over some of his works while he is on leave, the Boss suddenly called him for a meeting. He then went to the Boss's room and hoped that it is some good news and that at the same time, he could put forward his request to take long leave.

His boss was called Mr. Tang, an amicable person when he is not under duress from the parent company and leaves everything in the company to Ah Shan to run freely.

Mr. Tang: 'Ah Shan, you know I have been very supportive of you when you first came to the company and your present position as a manager is from my recommendations to the head office in Britain. In another few years, I would be retiring and I would recommend you to take over my position as long as things goes smoothly.'

Ah Shan familiar with the office protocol and hoping to put the boss in a good mood: 'Yes sir, I am aware and thankful for your patronage in the company as it is the reason why I have stayed for so many years despite being given higher offers elsewhere.'

Mr.Tang: 'All right, we would cut short all the formalities and get straight down to the point. To be frank, the head office had wanted me to go over to our branch office in Canada as the managing director over there had suddenly resigned without ample notification. I am reluctant to go over as they are unable to give me a definite period when I can be back to Hong Kong and you know I am retiring in another few years time.'

As Ah Shan had kept quiet, the boss carried on: 'I was thinking of recommending you to go over as deputy managing director and hope that you can accept this position. If after two years, you are not happy over there, I would put a request to the company to place you back here as by then I would be retired and they would need a person familiar to take over my position, what do you think?'

Ah Shan was thinking that he would have to accept the proposal as he have no other choices from the way his boss had put it even if he don't like it. But in his heart, he was glad as Canada have snow in Winter which was what Ah Feng had wanted. However, he was thinking of whether he would have the time to accompany Ah Feng on outings when his boss said: 'I had told the company that once you have put the branch office in order, to let you have two weeks of leave to look for a permanent residence to stay as you might not like the present property that the company had rented over there.'

When Ah Shan heard that, he immediately reply without trying to sound anxious or happy: 'Sir, to be frank even if I do not like the idea of relocating to Canada temporary, I would still do it for you as in my eyes, I looked upon you like my father after what you have done for me all the years I was here.'

The boss sounding relieved and happy replied: 'All-right, I am glad to hear that and I would asked the head office to give you the same salary though you are designated as deputy managing director and the view they might have of your young age. However, I will convince the company that you have the experience to handle and I hope you would not let me down. Ah Shan was then told to take the next few days off to prepare the immigration paperworks for his family to go over.

Ah Shan then happily went home to inform Ah Feng the good news as he would be fulfilling her wish of seeing snow at least for the moment. Interestingly, in Zi Wei astrology, we normally believed that when the Life palace is not favorable, it would be logical to go over to the opposite travel palace by emigrating as it would helps in diluting the effect of the unfavorable formations. It looks like the Gods are convinced by Ah Shan's love for Ah Feng and his destiny could be changed.

To be continued next week, cheers.