My calendars for this new year
A new year is upon us and I sincerely hope that 2023 will be better than 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019. I'm going to wish everyone -- and the world at large! -- a happy new year, as per tradition. But truth be told, I'm not feeling super confident that it will be; especially early on -- this not least because, despite what some people think, the pandemic still very much NOT being over; with fears that what's going on in Mainland China is very bad and that another Covid wave (and possibly even some variants) will spread out of it to the world.
At the same time, hope springs eternal -- and seeing long lines outside a community vaccination center offering BioNTech/Pfizer vaccinations makes me hopeful that many Hong Kongers have learnt lessons from what happened here in early 2022. Still, the question is whether people in many other parts of the world have done the same.
I used to think that the world would look upon Hong Kong as the canary in the coalmine with regards to things emerging from (Mainland) China; be it diseases or political repression. Sadly, the events of recent years has shown me that that doesn't seem to be the case; with people not caring what's happened to/in Hong Kong and not thinking that the lessons of Hong Kong can (also) apply to them.
Still, there's time for people to make amends and learn; this because Hong Kong is not "over" or "dead" (despite what many doom-mongers have been pronouncing... for years, decades even). In fact, even while mass protests no longer take place on the streets, even the resistance and dreams of a free Hong Kong remain alive.
For physical proof, look at two of the calendars in the picture at the top of this blog post. Both of them were distributed freely by members of the Yellow Economic Circle. With regards to the larger one: they once again feature the works of artists who had had a hand in producing calendars for 2022 and 2021, and I'm glad to see are still actively creating.
Of the calendars I paid for, the one from Hong Kong also is a Yellow Economic Circle product. And while the All Things Bright and Beautiful calendar may, at first glance, appear to have a super pessimistic theme, it's worth noting that the January page of their We're All Going to Die One Day(!) calendar has the following upbeat message on it: "Everyday is a miracle. When the moon goes back to bed, we rise from the dead"... of sleep that is!
Finally, we have the Funassyi calendar. And while the unofficial mascot from Funabashi, Japan, is not "yellow" in the Hong Kong way, it is physically predominantly yellow -- a color that I associate with happiness and optimism (even before I came to know of Funassyi's existence)!
It's become a "tradition" of sorts for me to have a Funassyi calendar on my desk. Before 2020, I would buy one on a fall trip to Japan. In recent years, I've had to rely on friends living in Japan to get and send me one. On a different charitable note: I think it's worth pointing out that the big-hearted Pear (Fairy) donates its share of the proceeds from the sales of the calendars to charity.
For a number of years, the recipient of Funassyi's largesse was the Michinoku Mirai Fund that supports children who lost a parent (or two) in the Great Tohoku Earthquake (and Tsunami) of March 11th, 2011. But last year, the Pear (Fairy) announced that it was switching its charitable efforts to Japan's World Food Program Association (that it already has worked with for some years now). In either case, both seem worthy of contributing to; with the bonus for Funassyi fans that one gets a calendar with lots of cute photos of their hero to enjoy viewing through the year!
Will 2023 be the year when the Wuhan coronavirus finally will be enough control that I'll feel and be able to return to Japan for a visit? If so, I'm going to make a beeline for the flagship Funassyiland in Funabashi (which now is in a different location from when I previously visited) -- and, also, the Funassyi Park which may be intended for kids but looks to a great photography spot for Funassyi fans! ;b