La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
December 2011 Newsletter
Greetings. Peace and Joy is within you.
On Friday 25th November I returned to my community at St. Joseph ’s College, Kennedy Road , Hongkong. It marked the end of my work at LSSC Changjiao for this year 2011. Thank God, it had been a wonderful year. We ended the year on a very high note as LSSC was selected as one of 10 Distinguished Charity activities contributing to the development of South China for year 2011.
In my September report, I wrote about our summer programme. I reported that for the academic year 2011-12, LSSC granted university subsidies to a record of 11 students from the village of Changjiao and one special case from the Kopi. On behalf of the students and their parents, I want to thank the PTA of La Salle College, Kowloon , for their spontaneous response in providing the funding for this university subsidy component of LSSC Changjiao. Personally, I want to express my gratitude too as your generous action enabled me to redirect funds to our long term farming project that has taken off smoothly. The CD farming project will benefit all families, albeit in varying degrees depending on the extent of individual participation, of villagers in Baijiang.
After our summer programme, I helped my teaching assistant of 3 years, Ms Nancy Liao, to set up her own private tuition centre in the town of Dabu-Huliao . We put up a notice informing the public that LSSC Changjiao will continue to function as a gratuitous English Tuition Centre for secondary school students. LSSC will only take in new primary students from our village of Changjiao , the nearby village of Jicun and students from the surrounding hill villages. The purpose of the change in policy is to enable poorer village primary students to gain entry to LSSC and to enable Ms Nancy recruit students for her fee paying tuition centre thus launching her career as an English Language teacher.
I was away from Dabu-Huliao for most of September when regular schools reopened. I returned to LSSC Changjiao on 27th September to resume our weekend English tuition classes on Saturday 1st October. I accepted a new teaching assistant, Ms Lucy Liao, a 19 years old Vocational School graduate. She was one of my first primary students in 2002 and has been studying with me throughout except for the 2 years she studied at a vocational school in Meixian after completing her Junior Middle School exam. Her home is just 80 meters from LSSC.
She decided to be a resident student at LSSC after the summer programme. I sent her for computer lessons in August so that she can handle the secretarial work at LSSC. She learns fast and is showing very positive signs of becoming another effective and efficient teaching assistant. She is now running the weekend primary tuition classes at LSSC while I am away for my end of year home leave in Malaysia . She is also teaching at the local Changjiao Primary school twice a week and is in charge of the Night Tuition Class for 4 adults in our village. All four are mothers, one with a secondary school son, and the other three with nursery school sons.
I decided to run the adult class because I expect my young teaching assistants (Nancy and now Lucy) to carve out a career of their own away from LSSC. Of these four mothers, I am already employing one as our kindergarten teacher. I can foresee two of the four mothers acquiring the ability and skills to run our Pinphonics programme for primary school students at LSSC. It is interesting to note that their progress so far is generating interests among mothers in Dabu-Huliao. A few have made enquiries about the class. I will pursue this line when I return to Changjiao in early January 2012.
I returned to Hongkong on 8th Nov so as to accompany Brother Visitor Dodo to make is visit of LSSC Changjiao (9th to 13th Nov). In LEAD Story 26 he wrote:
“The Center is in a village that’s nestled in a valley and surrounded by mountains and is about 4 – 5 degrees cooler than Kowloon . There is a lot of space especially for farming and there are several ancestral houses many of which are abandoned.
LSSC is an English language center and caters mostly to primary and secondary students. Thus classes during the school year are conducted on weekends, from 730 to 1130 in the morning. On weekdays there are English classes in the evening but only for adults. David does the teaching on weekends and is assisted by a group of committed volunteer LSSC alumni who arrive on Friday night and stay in until Sunday morning. There is also a summer and a winter program where students stay in for 4 – 6 weeks and have intensive English classes.
On weekdays David is kept busy doing community work and developing the village. He is also putting together a farm in a tract of land about 1.2 kms further up in the mountains (see pic). Hopefully whatever income his produce generates will help run LSSC. Already he has a piggery with about 60 heads and will be ready in time for Chinese New Year.
I stayed for two full days, the 11th and 12th, and saw David at work. I met his core group of committed volunteers. Many of the LSSC alumni have gone on to universities but come back to help in some way.”
During the visit of Br Visitor, a group of 10 visitors mainly from Melaka turn up on Saturday 12th November. They were lead by Mrs. Frank Tan ( nee Yoong Chew Hing) a retired teacher of St. John ’s K. Lumpur (1972 till I990) who served under four Directors, Bro. Joseph Yeoh, Bro. Lawrence, Bro. Cassian and Bro. Michael Wong. We thank them for their gifts of books, teaching materials, and donations.
The big day for LSSC in 2011 was the invitation to participate in the 2011 南方华人慈善盛典(2011 South China Chinese Charity People Grand Ceremony) at the invitation of the Guangdong Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau and the Guangzhou TVS2 on 18th November in Guangzhou, as one of ten distinguished awardees. The ceremony was held at the Zhongshan (Dr. Sun Yat Sun) Memorial Hall and was telecasted live via TVS2. After receiving the award, I returned to Dabu and was invited to have lunch with the deputy mayor by the local government. I presented with congratulatory letters from the Meizhou state government and Dabu district government.
Our farming project is going on smoothly. After a year, the enthusiasm is still very evident. Most of the pomelo saplings have taken root and are growing well. The villagers are still looking after their own plot or plots of re-opened farmland and some are opening up more land. On Wednesday 23rd Nov the villagers were happily surprised to see a small second hand excavator being unloaded in Baijiang. Yes, we are now mechanizing our farming activities. I am looking forward to an interesting new year of the Dragon 2012.
I thank all, volunteers and donors, who are my companions in this mission, for your material, moral and spiritual support. This has indeed been “An adventure begun, supported and sustained by a spirit of Faith, a culture of Service and a sense of Community to the Glory of God in the service of youth for the development of people and nation – The Lasallian Way.”
The Peace and Joy of Christmas is within you.
As always with love in DLS,
St. Joseph’s College
28th Nov 2011
All good things must
come to an end...