La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
December 2010 Newsletter
Greetings. Peace and Joy is within you.
This year of the Tiger is fast coming to an end. It is time once again to write a few lines to keep in touch.
My last report in September was about our annual summer programme. Thank God the summer programme went off smoothly. This year I decided to take our kitchen staff for a short holiday. We went to Longan ( Fujian ) as guests of my nephew’s family and later to the island of Nan Ao off the coast off Shantao (formerly Swatow ). It was a welcomed break for all of us.
The 2010/11 academic year intake of students was held on 11th and 12th Sept. Based on our previous years of experience we took great care to limit the number of application forms to 90 and recorded the sponsors’ name and telephone number. As usual there were some unhappy villagers as we had to limit the number of forms available to two per family. The unfortunate part was that some who do not have school going children or grandchildren also wanted two forms each as their “entitlement”. I had to put a stop to it and that led to some strained relationships. Que sera sera!
We scheduled to resume classes on 18th Sept but a change to compulsory weekend classes by the education authorities forced us to delay till 2nd October. The long lull between registration days on 11th 12th Sept to resuming classes on 2nd Oct was disastrous for us. We normally do not accept students once classes begin. We were face with numerous “just one more student” requests for two extended weeks … and an unexpected revelation!
One evening we had a gentleman with a child he claimed to be his nephew, a primary 4 student coming by to seek admission. I politely told him that registration was over and closed. He promptly put RMB500 in front of me and said, “I have the RMB500/- to buy a place.” I was taken aback and replied that English tuition at LSSC is free. He then told me that his friend paid for an application form. I was annoyed and upset. A few villagers told me that they knew about that but were reluctant to tell me. Anyway, they comforted me by saying that it just goes to show how popular LSSC is. By the way, I accepted the little boy for free as I did not want him to be the innocent victim of another person’s greed.
On 2nd Oct we resumed lessons. I taught my final lessons for 2010 on 7th Nov. I took the opportunity to remind our students that although tuition is given free yet it costs a substantial amount of money to keep LSSC in operation. Others are paying for it now and it is hoped that in future every student of LSSC will also support the educational needs of at least one student, if not more students, in future. Thank God, now that I have an official teaching assistant, Ms. Nancy Liao, daily classes in our village primary school and weekend tuition classes for primary school students goes on normally even when I am away. Tuition classes for senior secondary students are suspended and will reopen when I return to Changjiao in early January 2011.
Those who have been following my story in Changjiao will remember that I embarked on a house building project for an old man and his son. I want to thank our Hongkong Lasallians who play the major role, not only in helping to fund this project, but actually visited the site and met the old man. I am please to announce that on 5th October, I handed the keys of the house to them. The old man wanted me to name the house but I declined. For your information, houses in the village are not numbered but each has a name. The naming of the house is important in terms of “fengshui” for the owner and his descendants. The old man was in tears and asked me to thank each and every donor. I am sure the life of this old man and his son will be changed forever. I pray that his son (30+) will find a hardworking wife and start a family soon. To all donors, I say thank you for making it possible for me to assist them in a way that will have far reaching effect on attitude of villagers in the years to come.
On the family front, my sister Mimi and brother-in-law Ben Lee came to visit me on 16th Oct. From Dabu, they joined a local tour group to visit Beijing and Tianjin . I did not go with them as I was busy teaching. However I accompanied them to Shenzhen and Guangzhou on 7th Nov thus ending my mission in Changjiao for this year 2010.
I am afraid a few CD projects are still going on and will continue when I am away ... cementing an existing irrigation canal, concreting an existing pathway, building an incinerator, bulldozing a road into the inner valley of Baijiang to open up the farmable land further inside. Ah yes, this year I am very involved in community development projects. Students need to be encouraged to study and financially supported but parents also need to be transformed from subsistent farmers to cash crop farmers. All these require financial investments. Thank God, Lasallians of our District have been very generous and supportive. I just received news that the price of cement has gone up from 19 yuan to 25 yuan per bag. I am afraid prices will continue to go up… hopefully the coming Year of the Rabbit will not see the fleet footed rabbit speeding away drawing in its wake a run-away inflation!
On this note, I end my reporting for this Year of the Tiger. More than a dozen of our first batch of students have graduated from university and are now slowly building their careers. The first of the next generation has arrived – one of them brought her son for me to see during the Moon Cake Festival in September. For me, this Tiger Year 2010 has been a roaring success! On behalf of our students and their parents and the villagers of Changjiao, I say “Thank you” to all of you who have been supporting Mission Project China – LSSC Changjiao.
Take care and God bless. The Peace and Joy of Christmas is within you. The blessings of Good Health and Fulfilling Relationships be with you always.
As always with love in DLS,
La Salle Provincialate,
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
8th Dec 2010
All good things must
come to an end...