Borrowed Place Borrowed Time

I came to know about 1997 when I first read Richard Hughes’s Hong Kong: Borrowed Place Borrowed Time in the secondary school. Hong Kong was not returned to China when World World II ended and therefore we lived in borrowed space and time. (Richard Hughes was an Australian journalist who died in HK in 1984. He was also known to be a British spy, or even a double agent. He was the inspiration for the fictional character Dikko in Ian Fleming’s James Bond’s You Only Live Twice and for ‘Old Craw’ in John Carre’s The Honorable Schoolboy).

We seem to have learnt more about time and life from books, songs and movies than from our  schools.

In 1973, Jim Croce’s album Life & Times gave us the unheard  notion of saving time in a bottle in his song Time in a Bottle. . . . . . .” If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is to save every day“. Jim died in 1974 at the age of 40. Of course, it is impossible to bottle up time.

Earl Grant’s If I Only Have Time embarrassed us with our many excuses for not doing the things we wanted to do . . . . . . . . .” So much to do, if I only have time, only time. Dreams to pursue, if I only have time, only time. . . ‘  then as in his song ” . . . times like a wind, goes hurrying by and the hours just fly. . . . ” and again in the same song ” . . . . life is really too short. One whole century isn’t enough to satisfy me. . . . .”. Earl died at the age of 39.

We know time is our most precious asset, but could we beg, steal and borrow time?

Then in 1975 Paul Anka came along with his jingle for Kodak, Times of Your Life. ” Good morning yesterday, you wake up and time has slipped away” and towards the end of his song . . . . .” Here comes the saddest part, the seasons are passing one by one, so gather moments while you may, collect the dreams you dream today, remember, will you remember the times of your life“.  In 2012, Kodak may even collapse.

Then came Stephen Hawking who inspired us with his cosmological view of the world and time in his Big Bang Theory.

The imagination of films have no end. I am beginning to think that we even live in a borrowed skin after watching the recent Spanish movie “The Skin I Lived In”.

Are we just spacemen travelling in time, living in a borrowed place (the earth) and in a borrowed skin (our body)?????

3 thoughts on “Borrowed Place Borrowed Time

  1. I wonder whether the Person high above can grant us an Extension of time for force majeure?
    If an Extension of time is not possible, can we use fiat currencies (or pehaps Gold)to buy an extension ?

  2. Time and space, body and mind have been the central inquires for many philosophers, scientists, religious people and great people such as Laozi, Aristotle, Socrates to now Stephen Hawking. Nonetheless the more they attempt to find out the answers, the more they show that men (and women of course) have limit in understanding these matters. Perhaps Laozi is correct in his Tao Teh Ching that “The Tao that can be told of is not the Absolute Tao (道可道,非常道)’

  3. Hi James,
    I think we are touching the realm of existentialism.
    The father of extentialism and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom.
    In my view, the philosophies of Aristotle and Socrates may be too philosophical for this modern world. For the same reason, the ideas of existentialism are also a bit too abstract. I like Laozi. His ideas are quite applicable to our Chinese culture. I will read more about his writings in my retirement.

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