La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
June 2011 Newsletter
Greetings from LSSC Changjiao. Peace and Joy is within you.
It was at the end of March that I wrote my last report on LSSC Changjiao. Three months have gone by since and naturally much have taken place too.
At the education mission front, we thank God that we successfully conducted our weekend English Tuition classes for this 2010-2011 academic year and held our last lessons on Sunday 5th June. Attendance had been a bit irregular in April and May because many schools, both primary and secondary, held extra Saturday classes and some even half-day Sunday classes. Since our standing regulation is that students can absent themselves if there are school organized events such as extra classes and competitions, we had a few Saturdays with as much as half the students missing for class 3 (junior middle school) and class 4 (senior middle school). On the other hand, there were occasions where senior middle one and two students asked for weekday lessons following extra weekend classes in school. The provision of regular direct public bus services to LSSC during the weekends by the local public transport authorities according to our class timetable has made it very convenient for students to attend lessons. LSSC and parents of our students herein record a word of thanks to the management of our local bus company for their understanding and cooperation.
The final and highlight event of LSSC at the end of each academic year is our Summer English Reading Programme. This year it is scheduled to begin on Monday 18th July and to end on Saturday 13th August. As we do not take in new students for the summer, we can launch the reading activities immediately without going through the process of introducing our Pinphonics Approach to reading to the participants. The present cohort is able to read reasonably well “pinphonically”. We are confident that we can teach them poems and songs from day one. If all goes well as we envisage it, we may even be able to produce a few plays and possibly short musicals drawing on the talents and creativity of some of our student leaders. Of course we still have to make allowance for those from out of state. They will need some extra coaching. We are looking forward to an interesting summer.
As usual, I will be reporting on our summer activities in my next write-up. For the moment, I want to thank all who will be volunteering as “junior tutors” and “assistant instructors” for this summer. We are expecting our local university students, senior high school students, Lasallians from Hongkong, adult volunteers from Malaysia and Singapore and possibly a few university students from England to join our “staff”. To all concerned, we say “Thank you and Welcome to La Salle Study Centre, Changjiao”.
I wrote in my March report that I will elaborate on our pomelo plantation Community Development project in this report. Thank God, I can say at this moment, that the project has successfully taken off and is going on smoothly. As was happening in most parts of China , we had anxious days when the weather got very hot and dry. As the plants are just taking roots, they had to be watered adequately. Fortunately, most had their water pipes system in place. So, watering early in the morning and late in the evening was a necessary time consuming chore. For a few, it was the difficult task of watering by the traditional water bucket method. The more enterprising villagers also planted crops of groundnuts and watermelons in between the pomelo saplings. We expect a good crop of watermelons this summer and groundnuts this winter.
Two weeks ago, the typhoon season started. We had our fair share of rainy days and a few thunder storms. Dry creeks suddenly turned into fast flowing steams. There was considerable damage to our newly cut dirt road as water gushed down the dirt track and cut gullies where drainage had not been adequately done and drainage pipes not laid. Often we had to be out there in the heavy rain to dig temporary drains to let the water flow through. Much work needs to be done on and along the dirt road surface before we can consider cementing the surface.
Work on a rest and retreat facility (R&R hall) at the top of the hill began on Thursday 26th May. Initial work for the pig farm and biogas tanks began on the same day followed by the construction of a fish pond below the pig farm. We bought a sturdy three wheeled motorbike to transport building materials to the worksite.
Our first major mishap happened on Sunday night 12th June. After an evening and night of heavy rain, as a typhoon passed by, a section of the dirt road slipped and diverted the flow of water into our fish pond. The extra inflow of water put unexpected extra pressure on the over-flow unit and burst that section of the retaining wall. We had already put in about 100 fish. Fortunately about 60 fish stayed away for the fast flowing waters and gathered at one end of the fish pond. We managed to retrieve these and temporarily put them into an old pond next to LSSC. It is absolutely clear that in farming, the weather can cause havoc and thus the forces of nature must be dutifully respected.
I cannot end with such a sad note as there is always a silver lining in the worst of weather conditions. Ah well, more than a silver lining I must admit.
First of all, there was the Children’s Day celebration on 1st June. We are proud to say that our former students who are now in primary 3 to 6 in the next village primary school, reported back to celebrate Children’s Day at our primary school. We had a great time. We had a record number of parents attending the function. As usual, we ended with a tea party for all.
1st June was also a sort of red letter day for LSSC. The top official of Dabu County, Political Secretary Mr. Qiu Xiaohong(丘小宏), Deputy County Secretary Mr.Liao Jinxin(廖金鑫),the Political Secretary of Huliao Town, Mr. Zhang Changxian(张长先), the Mayor of Huliao Mr.Liu Liusheng(刘流生) accompanied by the Head of the local education department Mr.Liu Jiantao(刘剑涛) paid a special visit to LSSC. The Political Secretary of Dabu had expressed the wish to visit LSSC since June last year ago. He came to personally thank us for the publicly acknowledged contribution of LSSC to noticeable improvement of English level in Dabu-Huliao. Mr. Qiu ear-marked RMB50,000 from the local government for LSSC development activities and promised to look into extending power lines along the newly opened road into the pomelo plantation. After inspecting the facilities of LSSC he had tea with us. He spent more than an hour at LSSC. The visit was televised on Dabu TV on that evening. (http://www.514200.com/viewnews-50276.html and http://www.514200.com/viewnews-50337.html)
There are always the pros and cons of publicity. I was immediately deluged with numerous requests for admission. On the plus side, the villagers knew instinctively that using the name “Liao Laoshi” can speed things up. Recently, a tree fell over power lines and caused power failure in another part of our village. A call was made that “the power lines to Liao Laoshi’s house snapped”. Instantly the power company’s repair crew was knocking at my door. I was as perplexed as they were as power was normal and I was busy teaching. Then after a call back to the main office it transpired that someone else called using my name so that the repairmen would respond immediately. This is “connections”!!!
Our Lasallian visitors so far this year are: Chong Chin Fan and Valerie (SFI Melaka-Singapore), MaryRose (SMI-Ipoh), Francis Lee and Theresa (LSS Klang), Dato Yong Seng Yeow (SFI Melaka) and Joseph Eu and family (SGI Taiping-Singapore). My uncle 82 years old uncle Leow Chow Shin and his son Leow Yon Meng and a friend also visited us. To all, I thank you for visiting us and for your kind moral and financial support. All are welcomed!
With this I end this report with words of thanks to all Lasallians of Malaysia-Singapore-Hongkong for the generous and consistent financial support that makes it possible for us to fund and develop this out-reach mission of education and community development. Please keep us in your prayers.
As always with love in the service of youth and nation through DLS,
La Salle Study Centre
All good things must
come to an end...