40 Things We Can Give Up During 40 Days of Lent in Hong Kong

We are now in Lenten season and are encouraged to fast and abstain on our daily indulgences to be one with Christ in His way to the Cross.

Lent is not only time to pray and do penance; it is also a time to take a serious look at temptations that can be as simple as an extra serving of rice or super-sized soda. So what can we give up in Hong Kong as part of our Lenten observance? Here’s a list of 40 things we can give up during 40 days of Lent.

  1. McDonald’s, KFC or Burger King. For a moment, bid Big Mac and Whopper meals goodbye.
  2. Staring at our mobile device 357 minutes a day. Okay, that 357 thing was random. Everyone does it but why should you? Instead reading through everyone else’s rants online, we can spend more time on Laudate, Olive Tree Bible Study, Daily Bible or other Holy Scripture apps on mobile phone.
  3. mcdonalds-Quarter-Pounder-with-CheeseMTR escalator. We can take the often empty staircases in and out of MTR carriages.
  4. Caffeine. This means fewer or skipping visits at Pacific Coffee or Starbucks. Arrivederci Caramel Macchiato.
  5. Television.  TFC,  TVB Pearl, Eat! Bulaga and Showtime, until we meet again.
  6. Mobile phone. It’s hard to imagine to part with this device now that our culture’s been complicated with Whatsapp, Wechat and other social applications. Go to work one day without one. Believe me, you’ll still survive.
  7. Cinemas. That means you AMC, Broadway or MCL. Passion of the Christ and other Biblical movies are the exception.
  8. Headphones. We may be used to isolate the world with our favorite music. Maybe we can give it up for now and listen to what the world wants us to pray for.
  9. Swearing.  It is sometimes tempting to express outrage or simple annoyance with words that are not pleasing to hear. It’s not a good habit so we can start eliminating it from our system starting this Lent.
  10. Cigarette. A stress-busting cigar break can be a thing in the past, starting off this Lenten season.
  11. Mark Six. Playing to win eh? Why not offer the bet to buy bread and give it to a hungry beggar?
  12. Buffet dining. Buffet is often associated with gluttonous consumption which doesn’t bode well in our Lenten observation.
  13. Xbox and Playstation. Throw in online games in the mix for good measure. We don’t accept excuses.
  14. Online shopping. From Alibaba to Amazon, it’s so convenient to go shopping online.
  15. Beer. Or wine. Or both.
  16. Excessive make up. Anything in excess isn’t good for you. Ladies, the more you put on your make up the more you hide your natural beauty.
  17. Potato chips. A tempting treat when meeting friends, watching movies in cinemas or home. But if we give up on cinemas..
  18. Candy Crush. It is more ‘Divine’ to seek solitude in fasting and prayer than a crush jackpot.
  19. Taxi. We take taxis for convenience (or when we’re late for work or appointments).
  20. Chocolate. Whether solid or liquid or in between, it’s irresistible. But Jesus Christ barely experienced sweetness in 40 days leading to His death on the cross.
  21. Disneyland and Ocean Park. These two iconic theme parks mean more fun and less solemn, an environment we need to reflect on during Lent.
  22. Lane Crawford and Sogo. Hong Kong is a shopping destination. And shopping is often associated with materialism.
  23. Smartphone in bed. Ever have that habit of extending your relationship with your smartphone even when you’re about to sleep? Break that habit for forty days.
  24. Horse Races. One distinctive attraction in Hong Kong is its horse racing events on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is tied with betting.
  25. candy_crushSeat at the subway. Do you play ‘Trip to Jerusalem’ when boarding the train? Instead of taking a seat, why not take the whole trip standing up and offer to people who deserve them more?
  26. Eating out. Go have dinner home where there’s presumably less temptation than outdoors.
  27. Gossip websites. If we could only advise to give up such stuff for the whole year, but maybe 40 days is more manageable.
  28. Gadgets at midnight. These days it is hard to imagine a day without using our smartphones, laptops or tablet devices. But at least we can minimize using them during Lent.
  29. Parties. Birthdays, anniversaries or victory parties are meant to celebrate and expression of gratitude, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  30. Twitter or Tumbler. If we make fun of people with these microblogging platforms, this is the time to start refraining, and ultimately eliminating the bad habit.
  31. Public transport. If you can walk from one point to another, we can always try even though Hong Kong’s efficient public transport is a very attractive way to manage an efficient day.
  32. Credit cards and EPS. Credit card usage is one of the most ubiquitous in a place synonymous with shopping. But it’s also associated with splurging and buying in excess. We can try to lock our cards and use cash instead.
  33. Lan Kwai Fong. Drinks, music and friends is equal to fun and they come together in Lan Kwai Fong. By
  34. Air travel. Although not all air travels are considered holidays — emergencies and business trips are a few examples — let’s skip air travel if possible.
  35. Concerts. It is easy to fulfill this if our star idols are not making a pit stop in Hong Kong. But it’s hard to resist when they are scheduled for a show — like Bruno Mars on 29 March.
  36. Japanese comics. There will always be time to read Naruto, Dragon Ball or One Piece after Lent.
  37. Instagram. We love it when we share photos and get praises and plenty of likes (or loves). Skipping Instagram for 40 days doesn’t mean people forget us. Maybe they’ll miss us even more.
  38. Milk tea.  It’s a personal favorite which I’ve counted  as softdrink, and will be off limits for a while.
  39. Dinner after six. A tough choice especially with Hong Kong’s plenty of dining choices. But abstaining from dinners after six makes it even more challenging, with hectic schedules making it a hard fit.
  40. A new gift to myself. Once in a while, we’d like to treat ourselves with a new pair of shoes, signature bags or wallets or a treat to the spa. Let’s defer it, shall we?

They say the hardest thing you’re willing to give up is your best bet to abstain on this Lenten season. If you can’t choose from any of the above, pick your most prized possession and detach from it for a while.

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Elmer W. Cagape

Elmer W. Cagape

Proverbs 3:5. From Davao City. Cool Catholic. Seinfeld & Toad the Wet Sprocket. Astronomy and space exploration. Digital marketing. Travel the world.
Elmer W. Cagape

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