orange begonia flowers

We live in a world of conflicts with many displaced voluntarily or involuntarily, losing people we love or livelihoods we need to live on meaningfully or survive in body, mind or spirit. For some even though we may have a home but still feel homeless, dislocated even in our homeland, displaced even with a solid job or even creating our own loss through irrational conflicts.

Inspired by the life story of the Chinese poet Su Shih, including his loved ones and friends who loved him so much that they lost their lives. City Hermit would like to explore in this blog how to be free in conflicts, loss and dislocation living with charm everyday like a small and common Begonia flower in our chaotic world today. Begonia is the flower of Su’s homeland that frequently appears in his exile poems, it is the nickname of his mother whose charm is even more inspiring than Su’s. (She nurtured his husband and two sons to become the three out of eight great literati in Sung and Tang Dynasty with her forbearance amidst conflicts and loss.)

Though Su aspired to serve his nation and people or longed for a place called home, he lived in poverty with employment denied and homeless in exile due to conflicts with rivals. Yet he transcended over his failure or loss and led a life of charm doing good, fighting for causes like an activist or living fully in poverty and strifes, leaving legacies of millennium charm in poetry, calligraphy, cuisines and relics.

City Hermit has learnt to live with less, thanks to the popular Japanese concept of “Danshari” (not known in the West except the highly adapted version of Marie Kondo) and would like to share in the blog.One can cope with loss or do without whether it is material things, money or even loved ones if one had learnt to live with less.She has coped and survived loss of her loved ones by death or estrangement due to conflicts in values or interests but there is still more to learn and share, in particular how to do good despite conflicts of values, interests and people.

Though Buddhists aspire to be homeless, owning nothing, City Hermit has yest to learn how to live without worries on personal finance in the global financial uncertainties today.She still has doubts on her voluntary or half-hearted displacement from the job market to pursue her writing dream seven or eight years ago.

City Hermit has felt like a displaced migrant ever since she left Hong Kong where she was born and raised till her teenage years. Yet Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka Shing quoted Su Shih’s “This Heart at Peace is My Homeland” and Bai Chuyi‘s “My body has never had any homeland, the heart at peace is home.”  That was his response to accusations of Chinese people on his moving all his assets to invest in Europe though. With the migrant crisis in Europe, is it ironic or thought-provoking?

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