我開口要求支持城大。3 年前，她爽快認捐 500 萬，卻遲遲未能兌現。
年前，我硬著頭皮撥了電話。她説：「我 6 次請你出席我主持的活動，你都因故缺席。」看來是我的不是；但是：「為什麼總是選在我有要事的時候舉辦活動？」
她説：「對不起，我們彼此緣份不夠。」言下之意是：「城大跟她的 500 萬港幣沒有緣份！」
二月六日大年初二，台北早上 11 㸃，我由麟光起步，開始 20 公里的路跑，上了路面凹凸不平、山坡漫長陡峭的小道，目標是後山小廟，繞了一圈。下山，轉個大彎，在寧靜的空曠路上巧遇 50 年前的朋友。
思考中，對面走來兩個男人，一個踱著方步的先生跟我招手，居然是她的先生東尼，身旁還有小舅子陪著。香港有身份的人心思細膩，走的都是方步，舉止穩重緩慢，步步為營，滴水不漏，難怪家財萬貫。兩人各拿著麥當勞的冰淇淋，我吃驚心儀，看看他發呆的模樣，任由冰淇淋順手流下。這時候，大街上就只有我們 3 個人，頂多還有背後水族館的老闆。他説她就在附近。
不久收到簡訊，她要確認我的確與她的先生不期而遇。我聲明彼此打過了照面，心想是否可得 500 萬港幣的慷慨捐助。這次換她啞口無言。
An unexpected meeting at Chinese New Year
Ms Lo is a gifted physics graduate from National Taiwan University (NTU). She got accepted with nearly the top academic score. Such a talented student must have been a highly sought-after figure on campus.
After graduation, Ms Lo got her PhD in the United States. One day, she met a man from Hong Kong at a gathering in San Francisco. He was immediately attracted by her beauty.
Even though the man had a PhD in mathematics, he was not a typical bookworm – he also liked beautiful girls. He was eager to learn if Ms Lo had brains as well as beauty. He pushed through the crowd and introduced himself. He did so by asking her a question about maths.
It was not an easy question. I have since asked several accomplished scholars in the same league as Nobel Prize laureates the same question. It took them some time to come up with the answer but she replied, correctly, without hesitation. It was said he asked for her hand straight away, and so she became his wife.
Some people in Hong Kong are under the mistaken belief that a beauty may not necessarily have brains; a person with brains may not necessarily possess scholarship; and a person that has scholarship may not necessarily be a beauty. So someone like Ms Lo who is beautiful, intelligent, scholarly and wealthy, too, is very rare indeed, people say.
Three years ago, I asked Ms Lo if she would support CityU. She readily pledged to donate HK$5 million, but somehow that promise has never been fulfilled.
Before Chinese New Year, I called her. She said, "I have invited you to six different activities I have organised but you never showed up." It seemed it was my fault. The activities she mentioned happened to fall on days when I had other engagements.
She said, "Pity that our paths were not predestined to cross each other," meaning CityU is unlikely to get her HK$5 million.
"We will discuss the donation when we meet next time," she said.
Later, I received another letter from her. It was an invitation to the last activity she was to organise as chairperson of a society. It sounded like my last chance. But when I checked my calendar, I found Ms Lo's activity fell on the same day as a Council meeting. You can imagine my deep disappointment.
I was speechless.
If our paths weren't meant to cross, how would you explain the following?
During Chinese New Year, I flew to Taiwan. On February 6, the second day of the New Year, I went for a 20km run. Starting from Linguang MRT Station, I ran along the unevenly paved path up the hill, heading for a small temple on the other side, and turned around, heading back down. After a U-turn, I ran along a deserted street where I bumped into a friend I hadn't met for 50 years.
After saying goodbye, I jogged along Heping Road East and Fuxing Road South and entered NTU campus, keeping my eyes open for the ice-cream shop run by NTU's College of Bio-resources and Agriculture. There's nothing like an ice cream after running.
But all the shops on campus were closed because of the holiday. So, I ran two large circuits before I headed back after reaching Roosevelt Road, hoping to find water to wash my face and hands. Exiting campus, I ran along Xinsheng Road South and Xinhai Road and then turning on Fuxing Road South, heading straight for a McDonald's. And ice cream.
Again, there was no one around. No cars on the road. Only a shop for pet fish was open. The owner was cleaning out his tanks. By this time I was really thirsty but I wasn't going to drink from the tap here.
Just then, two men approached me. One man, who was walking with measured steps, waved at me. It was Ms Lo's husband, Tony! Walking beside him was his brother-in-law. In Hong Kong, you are usually an agile thinker if you are somebody, walking with measured steps in an unhurried way, careful not to miss a single step. No wonder such people make fortunes.
Both men were eating ice cream from McDonald's, much to my admiration. Tony didn't seem to know what to do while his ice cream started dripping down the cone. There were only the three of us on the street, plus the owner of the aquarium. Tony mentioned that his wife was nearby, but I didn't see her. Instead, we exchanged new year greetings and chatted briefly before I resumed my run. I went across Heping Road East and then Xinyi Road towards Ren'ai Road, Sogo, Zhongxiao Road East, Liaoning Street and Bade Road. I ran without stopping, thinking of nothing but a McDonald's ice cream and a meeting that afternoon with Mr Wang Bohui, a retired plant manager at the Lungmen nuclear power plant.
Soon after I received a text message from Ms Lo. She asked me to confirm the unexpected meeting with her husband. I did so, and then asked her about her HK$5 million donation.
This time, she was speechless.
So, there is predestination, in Taiwan at least.
11 February, 2019