La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
June 2003 Newsletter
The long awaited day … I was certified OK!
Greetings from Changjiao. Peace and Joy is within you.
It’s time to write again. If I am not mistaken, our next Newsletter is due soon. Because of a breakdown in communication, my last article did not appear in the last issue. It’s probably still “floating” around somewhere in cyber space!!!
In brief, I returned to Changjiao in early February this year. I picked up where I left off last year and taught for two 4 months before I returned to Hongkong for Holy Week and to celebrate Easter. Then SARS struck. I was SARSed too … not infected but affected nonetheless. I was stuck in Hongkong for more than a month, unable to return to Changjiao because Chinese Health Authorities decided to implement the quarantine procedure as a first line of defense against the spread of the epidemic. I called the political secretary of the village after Easter and was advised to stay away as anyone coming from Guangchou and Hongkong had to be quarantined for two weeks. WHO declared Hongkong and Guandong SARS free on 24th May. I returned to Changjiao five days later on 29th May.
The first piece of news I received when I arrived was that the school was broken into twice while I was away. That confirmed my fears about security in the school. I was strongly advised to set up the computer room in the midst of the hamlet of Baijiang. My nephew who lives in Hebei was in Changjiao. He offered to let me use his house which has been abandoned since 1967. My niece and her husband who lives in Changjiao agreed to take charge of the renovation works. This offer of a house sets in motion the beginnings of a permanent base … the seed of a Lasallian education service mission is “germinating”!
As is the custom here in the village, a geomancer was called in to choose a suitable date for the renovation works to begin. The date chosen for works to begin was 18th June which was also 19th of the 5th Lunar month. For the Chinese, 18 stands for “definitely will succeed” and 19th stands for “definitely forever”. In a word, an auspicious day was chosen.
Strangely enough it was also on this very day that the Authorities in Dabu who are responsible for looking after Overseas Chinese Affairs decided to send two officers to “conduct a routine check” on my presence in the village. They met with the Headmaster to verify the “news” that free English lessons are taught in the school and in the village of Changjiao. They then asked to see my niece. My nephew and my niece’s husband came over to the school to see them. They were shown the village Ancestry Book. My name is listed officially in it. I was teaching English at that time. The Headmaster offered to take them to the class to see me but they declined and left saying that they were “just doing their job”.
I was told about the “visit” during dinner. A few days later, I met the political secretary to ask him about the visit. He was surprised as he was not informed. I then asked him if he should take me to pay a courtesy visit to the Authorities in Dabu. He assured me that it was not necessary. He was sure the visit was purely routine in order to have on record that my presence in the village has been noticed. After all, he said, “Many in Dabu are aware that students in Changjiao have the benefit of free English tuition lessons!”
I had always known that it would happen. I had prepared myself for such a “visit”. Thank God, it came and went without me being involved at all!!!
I have a long summer programme ahead of me. I am looking forward to it as this year I have recruited two of my Chinese students to assist me in teaching this year’s Summer Programme. Keep me in your prayers.
As always with love in DLS in the service of youth and nation,
Take care and God bless. DavidLiao FSC
Changjiao 28th June 2003
All good things must
come to an end...