In 1958 my parents decided to leave Hong Kong and emigrate to New Zealand. It was a monumental decision given that my father's fledgling trading company of eight years was finally showing signs of prosperity after many years of hardship. The prompt for such a bold move apparently being a desire to keep our young family intact. As the eldest I was due to be sent to boarding school in Scotland and would not have had the opportunity to grow alongside my newly arrived twin brother and sister.
Within three months of deciding Dad had sold his company and we were packed on board a ship headed for the South Pacific.
It was a decision for which I have been eternally grateful as I was privileged then to have the opportunity of living in a country whose outdoor recreations, people and scant population, I have loved.
However marvellous, the new environment wasn't without its challenges.
My British parents decided that I should have my education accelerated on the somewhat doubtful basis that I had already studied long division. So rather than entering Standard 3, as my age would generally have required, the Headmaster acquiesced to my mother's insistence that I start in Standard 4.
In hindsight I came to realise that decision had very little to do with long division, or my academic ability, but everything to do with my parents perception of the relative merits of the Hong Kong and New Zealand education systems.
Certainly there was no regard for what,if any, effects that decision may have upon my personal regard - either in terms of academic achievement or social interaction.
Whatever possible outcomes may have arisen had I remained with my age group can not be determined and the subject only remains a matter of mindless conjecture.
All that can be said with any degree of certainty is that I was always the youngest in my class by at least one year.
The other memorable incident of my introduction to schools in New Zealand came at the end of my first day of class.
Walking out of the school gates two boys, Brian Sexton and Graeme Bright, I have never forgotten their names, took me aside and queried me as to why I had done up the top button on my shirt and why I was wearing shoes and socks? I had no real response other than to say that was what I had been used to in Hong Kong!
My explanations were inadequate, and they were clearly offended because I was promptly beaten up!
The consequences for me were obvious - I had better adapt - and quickly!
I never told my parents of the incident, but the next day I went to school in bare feet with my top shirt button undone. I also clearly remember deciding that I would loose whatever accent I had and for the next 15 years would not acknowledge that I was an immigrant. If asked "where do you come from" I would always respond "from Hamilton".
I am sure that other people would react quite differently to those situations I have described above.
Throughout our lives we are faced with incidents for which we are required to respond as we see fit.
Our choices define who we are.
They are neither right nor wrong - they just are.
Certainly our past experiences will influence our perceptions and we all have differing talents and capabilities but there seems to be no sense in dwelling on the past to contemplate the endless eventualities if circumstances had been different.
We have all described ourselves by our past actions.
If we want to change the pictures of our lives, we can only attend to that now.
Get on with it .