The annual Book Fair is not only a book exhibition but also a major cultural event, boasting a variety of forums and seminars. Last week, I was invited to attend one hosted by health-nurturing expert and qigong master Gao Yun.
Aged over 80, Gao made a graceful and impressive entrance in a black unitard and three-inch stilettos. She told us she has been wearing the same-size outfit for 30 years, and there are photographs as proof.
She said while her physique has not changed in the past 50 years, she didn't always have robust health.
As a child, she was weak and sickly. One time, a Chinese medical practitioner made a prescription for her congenital arthritis according to the method of "fighting poison with poison" but it almost killed her.
As she was lingering on the brink of death, she felt she was high in the sky, deep in the clouds, so she later adopted the name "Gao Yun" - literally high clouds.
Her physical condition remained poor for some time. At one stage, she weighted 140 catties (84 kg) and her waist was swollen.
Determined to find ways to improve her health, she acquired knowledge from different sources and eventually distilled what she has learned to create her own school of health maintenance methods.
Gao said she had never felt young when she was young. But after receiving training, she found that youthfulness can actually be regained, like grafting can give plants a new lease on life.
She cited legendary Taoist guru Zhang Sanfeng's Wu Gen Shu - rootless tree. A part of this ci poetry talks about how a tree with no roots and scanty flowers is rejuvenated by grafting on it new branches from another tree, which shows that aging is "healable." As such, a person who is in the 70s can be young.
Labor and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong once said the sixties is the new middle age. If everyone can reverse the process of aging, I would say Law's saying is actually overly conservative!
Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily