Facing the challenge of the Pandemic, Life goes on, fun still possible

By now we are into the dreaded “Second Wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and if we have learned anything in the past six months it is that we are a resourceful and resilient bunch.

Life goes on, pandemic or no pandemic.

Old boys from the Class of ’69 and their former schoolmates have been anything but dormant, despite physical distancing measures and varying degrees of lockdowns to tame the rate of infections.

Yes, we have been cautious and responsible, but our regular “Yum Cha” sessions did resume in real life in the summer months in Toronto, when the pandemic had somewhat abated.

Mostly, the guys enjoyed their weekly dim sum gatherings in a convivial outdoor setting at their favourite banquet-hall-style restaurant. Very pleasant and relaxing indeed!

Yum Cha on Sept. 2, 2020. (Photo posted by Leo Lau)

Alas, September had come and gone, and the number of new COVID-19 cases began to shoot up again in North America. We had to pay close attention to the rapidly changing public-health rules once more.

WhatsApp chat on social gathering rules.

The City of Toronto limited gatherings to six people. For a few weeks, though, the adjacent York Region where our restaurant is located, allowed up to 10 people to dine together.

So, we have the defiant picture below of six determined Yum Cha fans, taken from Oct. 14, 2020:

Refusing to let COVID hijack our weekly dim sum get together.

Would the situation hold out much longer?

Unfortunately, not that long. The news was getting worse day by day. Public gathering rules kept getting tighter. Indoor dining at Toronto-area restaurants stopped, and it was becoming too cold to sit outside.

By late October, the real-life Yum Cha gatherings in Toronto had to be suspended again.

It is true that in-person meetings have not been as easily available as before the pandemic, but we have made maximum use of online alternatives like Zoom and WhatsApp groups.

The online Zoom version of “Yum Cha” continued without interruption every Wednesday evening in North America (Thursday morning in Hong Kong). It has evolved into an informative forum where Raimondians from around the world can enjoy the company of one another in casual chit chats.

Participants have also benefited from more structured presentations.

The list of topics is long and varied, and all very well received by participants. To mention just a few examples, we had Richard Yuan talking about working in the Hong Kong Prisons system, Albert Li and Leo Lau discussing the pros and cons of owning a Tesla electric vehicle, and Leo Leung introducing us to the health benefits of Tai Chi.

Yum Cha Zoom session Sept. 20, 2020 (Photo by Joseph Lynn)

For the more outdoors type, there was golf which became possible in the summer and early fall in Toronto. Our golfers made the best use of the short-lived respite during the warmer season.

Golfing Oct. 1, 2020. Steve Yeung (right) : “Taking advantage of nice fall weather.”
Golfing again … Oct. 6, 2020

In Canada, though, the phrase “Winter is Coming” brings on the blues. The golfing season ends when the leaves come down. Our golfers will be missing their 18 holes and putting greens until next spring.

What to do in the meantime?

We could still order take-out food, and longingly remember the great deals we had just a few weeks ago!

Peter See Ping Wu: Halibut House Monday Special for $9.00. Where to find?

Back when it was still possible to sit down for a restaurant meal, Peter’s WhatsApp post immediately attracted a flood of responses, including comments from those who went to check out the tasty deal.

Stanley Law: I tried today!

Physical distancing aside, we still have our anniversaries and birthdays to celebrate. And each one got plenty of well wishes from fellow Raimondians.

In September, Steve Yeung and his wife Rosanna marked their anniversary in style.

A few weeks later, Steve celebrated his 70th birthday. The congratulations poured in from all corners of the world.

Around the same time, James Wong and his wife Teresa were celebrating their anniversary.

James and Teresa celebrating 46th anniversary in October.

Other big days on the calendar also get a lot of attention from our old boys everywhere. Take the Mid-Autumn Festival, for instance.

Mid-Autumn Festival post from Leo Leung.
Post from Eddie Chiu,

Then there was Thanksgiving Day in Canada, which prompted Raimondians to show off their photographs of fall colours.

Photo: Paul Loong
Photo: Tom Wong
Photo: James Wong
Photo: Paul Loong