La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
December 2005 Newsletter
LSSC running on its own!
It is unbelievable how the quickly the days go by. This year 2005 is almost over and in a week’s time the year 2006 will be upon us. I guess this a as good a time as any to wish all of you a Blessed and Joyous Christmas 2005 and a Happy and Fulfilling New Year 2006.
The last time I wrote was in September. I was in Changjiao then. Now, I am writing from my hometown, Ipoh. I am spending a few days of my end of year home leave with Br. Vincent C, Br. Matthew Bay and members of the staff at La Salle Centre. Anyone who is looking for a quiet break but would also like to be pampered with warm hospitality and lively conversation, I recommend LSC Ipoh. Don’t get me wrong. This place is a hive of activities when sessions are on. So you will have to make sure that you check in when participants have checked out.
Being in Ipoh, I also took the opportunity of the services of Fatimah Hospital. I had a full medical check-up arranged by Brother Patrick Liew. Thank God, all is well. As I expected, the cholesterol is a bit above normal. No medication is necessary for the moment. I am also told that my heart is a bit enlarged … but then I always know I have a big heart!!!
Now, some of you may wonder. What about La Salle Study Centre, Changjiao? Who is minding the ‘shop’ while David is away for almost two months? The fact of the matter is that at the end of last year 2004, I left the centre in the hands of the students. It was opened ‘for business as usual’ throughout my absence. When I returned in early January 2005, everything was in order. The computers were still functioning, the books were still neatly arranged, and the centre was fully utilized throughout my absence.
Now, this year, I have a resident tutor manning the centre for me. At the beginning of October this year, I took in two resident students. One is a graduate teacher with 5 years of teaching experience. He left after 5 weeks and returned to Hebei in the north. The other is a senior high school student. He is from Sanwei, which is about 260 km to the south-west along the Guangdong coast. He is the son of one of our non-teaching staff at St. Joseph’s College, Hongkong. He did not did not do well in this year’s university entrance examination. He asked to study English with me. After one month of intensive 6 hours a day tutoring, he showed good improvement in reading and speaking English. He is now able to do self study and make good use of the many books and computer programmes that are available in the centre. In the evenings, he helps tutor primary and lower secondary students who come to the centre in mathematics and science. He gets on very well with the children and is a real asset to the centre especially when I am away.
My last activity in the village was to help obtain a contribution of two hundred thousand yuan from a local developer in Meixian for the purpose of enlarging and resurfacing the road into Baijiang, the section of Changjiao where LSSC is. The new road will be 4 meters wide and street lamps will installed. The village head promised me that all will be completed when I return to Changjiao in early January 2006.
La Salle Study Centre in Changjiao has been functioning since April 2004. If all go according to plan, the centre will be officially named in April 2006. LASOBA (La Salle Old Boys’ Association) of Hongkong is organizing an overland trip to visit LSSC during Easter Week 2006. Brother Visitor Peter Foo and Brother Patrick Tierney will be there with them for the occasion.
Whither is LSSC heading? The villagers in general, and the village administration in particular are very proud of the fact that Changjiao is the only village in the whole of Dabu-Huliao that has an English tuition and computer literacy centre. They are proud that relatives and friends ask for their ‘assistance’ to register their children for the summer English programme. LSSC is now very much a part of Changjiao and is well know even in Dabu-Huliao.
It is time to add another dimension to LSSC. When Brother Visitor Peter Foo visited me at the end of March this year, I took him to visit the Bishop of Meizhou in the city of Meixian. We managed to convince him to allow his diocesan Sisters to study English with me so that they can run kindergartens. Kindergartens offering English as key component is very popular in China today. Running successful kindergartens will open a ‘window’ for the church to have contact with non-Catholics.
LSSC will have to add facilities for training English Language Tutors. It is crucial that student tutors be resident at LSSC. The next logical step is to buy land so that additional buildings can be built. Brother Visitor supports this move as it is also a definitive step in laying the foundation for future development of our Lasallian Mission in main land China.
The year 2006 will be a sort of watershed year for Project Mission China. The seed for a Lasallian foundation has been planted. It is time to nurture it and support its growth. I look forward to the support of our District, PARC and the Institute for finances and personnel as this project develops beyond its first objective which has been achieved. So far, I have sourced for funding at a personal level among relatives, friends, former students and old boys of our Lasallian schools in Malaysia, Singapore and Hongkong.
I remember with heartfelt gratitude to the ‘seed money’ provided by the District of California that helped kicked off this foray into main land China in 2002. I want to record our thanks to all Lasallians in Malaysia, Singapore and Hongkong who over these past 4 years have generously support this mission. Some of you have donated ‘ad hoc’ when you meet me at the end of each year. Some of you have generously donated on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Still others have taken the trouble to solicit donations in support of this mission.
On behalf of the students of Changjiao and Dabu-Huliao, I thank everyone for supporting this mission. I thank God for the gift of friendship and good health that has enabled me to embark on this great adventure of our Lasallian Education Mission in China.
As always with love in DLS, in the service of youth and nation.
Take care and God bless. BDLiaoFSC
Teluk Intan 23rd December 2005
All good things must
come to an end...