Since it is Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day this week, I have quite a few friends visiting from out of town. At their requests, we agreed to go to Lamma for the day, to chill and eat seafood. Ironically, the friend who suggested Lamma to begin with dropped out the last minute. But because my mind had been conditioned to go to Lamma today, me and my remaining friend went anyway.

We started off at the Yung Shue Wan end of the island, where we explored the little village there (quite cute!), and slowly made our way to Sok Ku Wan, on the other end of the island where the famous seafood restaurants are. All my friends had assured me that it was an easy hike that can be done with flats. 2 hours of hiking and half heartedly kite flying later, I’m glad I changed into flip flops and saved my flats. By that time it was 6:30pm. The perfect time to have an early seafood dinner at the rows of outdoor restaurants lining the waterfront next to the pier. Apparently everyone else thought so too. We couldn’t find a seat anywhere for the 2 of us!

We decided to head back to civilization for food. Except the line for the ferry going back to Central was endless. We ended up waiting half a hour to get on the ferry going to Aberdeen instead. We were so glad we got there early . Lots of people behind us didn’t manage to get on the boat. The ferry was a bit more ghetto than the one we came in (that one was wifi enabled!), but I was comforted with the fact that Hong Kong is super safe and modern (I’ve never heard of a boating accident in Hong Kong before), and they wouldn’t let it be in operation otherwise. There isn’t even a typhoon! We arrived safely less than half a hour later, and made our way to dinner. I must say, I’m secretly glad there wasn’t any space for us at the restaurants in Lamma. I seriously don’t see how seafood can be much fresher than what I get in the city. There is a humongous power station on the island for heavens sake! The outdoor seating area also did not look appetizing…. I shudder to think what goes on inside the kitchen. I was much more comfortable back in civilization, where my friend and I enjoyed a nice and relaxed dinner indoors.

We called it an early night after that. We were exhausted. And so, I was sitting on my bed surfing the net when my mom came home admonishing me for not picking up the phone while I was out for dinner. At first I was annoyed. Sometimes people just don’t hear the phone (and I don’t even remember seeing a missed call!)! But now I feel guilty and a bit chilled to the bones. Apparently, there was a boat collision off Lamma island tonight. 120 people were thrown overboard, and up until now, 100 people were rescued but at least 8 have died.

My initial thought that my mom was overreacting. I was far away from the island by then. There was nothing to worry about. But then, the more I watched the reports on it, the more chilled I felt. I WAS JUST THERE. The island was overflowing with children . The victims may have been any number of the people I passed by earlier today. In fact, I distinctively remember seeing a Power Asset flag (the company of the boat that sank) at the peripheral of my vision. Through a few twists of fate, IT COULD’VE BEEN ME! I rarely take a boat, and Hong Kong never has such serious boating accidents. Out of all the days and all the boats in Hong Kong, the collision happened less than 2 hours after I was there! There wasn’t even much wind or wave this evening. It just came out of the blue!! If there had been a table, we would’ve been leaving the island at just that time!

Most of the time, I feel like life is what I make it out to be. But on occasions like this, it just strikes me how fragile life is, and how so much of it actually depends on the whims of fate. A chilling and unsettling thought. My heart goes out to the victims and families of this tragic accident.