Ringing the bells that still can ring as a third life chapter begins

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in –
Leonard Cohen, Anthem

As I write it is (just) the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century. Well at least in my former home of the UK it is. Here in Hong Kong, the 22nd day of the year has broken and an early morning haze hangs over a mirror-like Victoria Harbour as a warm January sun waits to make its welcome entrance.

Of course it was the 20th day of the year that will be most remembered by mankind, the day a different kind of haze lifted, the day a new President took office in the White House and an age (or at least that’s what it seemed like) of darkness, derision and division was brought to an end. Or at least the leadership and championing of those attributes was.

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it – As written and read by Amanda Gorman, the USA’s first youth poet laureate, during the inauguration of President Joe Biden on 20 January 2020.

I’m moving into a new house too, though it’s kind of off-white. In fact, it’s not a house but an apartment. After five very pleasant months overlooking Victoria Harbour from my Interim Hung Hom Bureau, I’ve taken up residence in Discovery Bay, a 30-minute ferry journey from Central and a short bus-ride to Hong Kong International Airport.

Night and day at Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Home will also, initially at least, be headquarters for our newly formed Moodie Davitt Asia Ltd operation. I feel like I was destined to find this place. My home office boasts a giant wall map, which feeds my love of travel and makes me more eager than ever to start flying again. I’m by the sea, natural abode for a Pisces, and I also have the unexpected joy of being able to watch aircraft flying over the hills in the distance in and out of Hong Kong International Airport. There’s not so many in the sky these days, of course, and so I take particular pleasure in each and every sighting.

Look hard and you will see a Cathay Pacific aircraft rising steeply from Hong Kong International Airport, every bit as beautiful as a bird in flight

My life has been split roughly into two parts and two geographies to date – my New Zealand and UK chapters. Now a third, Asian, one officially begins and I am excited to be embarking on that journey. There are many difficult days ahead for our industry in the months ahead, which even the optimism delivered by the vaccines and the sector hotspots such as Hainan and Jeju cannot obscure. But there is light and the haze over our sector, like that over Victoria Harbour and the United States of America, is lifting.

The late, much-lamented master Leonard Cohen’s words seem so apposite, don’t they? We as individuals are all battered, sometimes exhausted, and most of our various companies are badly damaged, but we must still strive to ‘Ring the bells that still can ring’. Don’t expect things to return to the way they were (‘Forget your perfect offering’). But… there is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

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  • Martin,
    You have landed in a beautiful location, a new home with a renewed mission. Thank you for sharing.

    Best wishes for this new chapter in your life. It will be a difficult but dynamic next couple of years for our industry. I look forward to reading your insights, bringing us the news from around the globe as the world regains confidence to travel again.

    Keep up the great work, but kick back and enjoy that view occasionally, with a glass of New Zealand wine in hand. The rebound is about to begin.