Reading is food for the mind and heart. If what you read is contaminated
they you will get sick. As you are careful about eating clean food so you must be careful of what you read. It is as simple as all that.
To start with I must say that I read few books a year! I have much to read in terms of a teacher and a priest. For a priest, there is the Scripture reading every day, together with the Priest’s Breviary, which takes about an hour a day. For a teacher, there are many things that come to hand, besides preparation work and homework to deal with.
I never buy books, nor have I done so from being a teenager. At school and university, I never bought books. I relied on teacher’s notes and libraries. And I still keep that custom. I do not like to have books in my room. We Jesuits have a private library which I use, and there is the resources of the School Library which are vast.
I keep away from magazines and other printed matter, but I do spend four of five years a week with a London Catholic weekly publication, called the Tablet. It contains Catholic articles and opinions, Catholic news and comments, together with Catholic documentation, news and book reviews, which I consider important. I have been doing this for the past forty years.
As with the press, I grudgingly give twenty minutes a day to the South China Morning Post, which has been my habit for the past decades. I know that it forms many of my opinions and attitudes. It keeps my concerns to those of Hong Kong and China, but somehow I might be better off with it!
Finally I have to warn about reading books which are too difficult. I have made myself miserable and unhappy by reading many books, which were too difficult for me! As students need gradated reading, they also need guidance in what they read. As adults, we need to read what is of our level and what can help us grow and also recreate us.
I have often been advised to read novels and light literature for relaxation and also to broaden my interests. Here I have not followed advice, and so I am what I am today. Further, I have been advised to read Chinese books and light reading which I have failed to do, so I am like a foreigner to Chinese! And I must confess that I feel reading books and the mass media tend to take me away from helping people and doing more important activities!
Then as for watching, I avoid television as much a possible. I never watch TV News or features, but I do spend three or four hours a week on programmes like Newsline, Pearl Report and those on the environment.
I realise that young people are formed by the comics and films they see, but they are not what I watch.
More important than television and videos is the Internet and Web, which has opened up such a vast universe of knowledge. Viewing TV has decreased with the greater access that the computer brings. It has entered into my life as I use the Internet for about an hour a day. But I try to restrict myself. Students spend much time on computer games and the Web. That is not for me, nor I think any serious student!
What of listening? Here the radio has played an important part in my life since I was very young. While at primary school, I listened to the BBC. Even these days, I have to discipline myself with listening to its many programmes. I restrict myself to an hour a day, listening to religious programmes and those that deal with the environment. It is enriching but also tempting away from serious reading and work!
You know a person by his friends. Tell me about your friends and I know you. Well, I consider books as silent friends. Perhaps I should add films and videos and the on line avenues in the list of friends that most people have. I caution the use of time on them and warn of their influences.
If you choose well what you read and watch and listen to, then indeed you are blessed. As I have trusted friends, so I also have a few “trusted friends” in the books I read, items I watch and progammes I listen to. (757)
有一位年老的博神父(Fr. E. Bourke)，他七十二歲還自己駕車，打網球，他令我信服，我是要多做運動的，由一九六六年至二零零零年，我放棄緩步跑，我應該練太極，但我精神又不夠集中。