La Salle Study Centre Changjiao

March 2012 Newsletter






Greetings to all from LSSC Changjiao.  Peace and Joy is within you. 

Wow… how time flies by.  This is my first report for year 2012 and it is already the end of March.  It is more that 10 weeks since I returned to Changjiao on 14th January 2012 the day after the Hongkong community canonical visits.  As usual, I traveled by express bus from Hongkong to Meixian and from Meixian, I took a taxi directly back to LSSC Changjiao.

On Monday 16th January our Winter Programme started.  My team of regular assistant tutors was on hand to assist me.  The Winter Programme is mainly for regular weekend students as it is a short one week programme and only a few outstation students will return to join the programme.  Thank God, everything went off smoothly.  We had a few cold days when temperatures dropped to 4 degrees Celsius in the early morning.  On the whole it has been a mild winter.

On the 27th day of the lunar month, villagers of Baijiang gathered at LSSC to witness the slaughter of two pigs for the Spring Festival Celebration.  We had a very able team of volunteers this year to kill, clean and portion out the meat and bones in a very satisfactory manner.  Almost two thirds of the population of Baijiang gathered at noon for the simple but absolutely delicious rice porridge made from the best parts of the freshly slaughtered pigs.  The main attraction of the day was the drawing of lots for the individual family portion of the pig.  I had the family list with me to ensure fair distribution.  That evening, my “eating round” began.  Thankfully, the villagers now accept my excuse for drinking just two small glasses of wine per meal.  I told them that my doctors back in Malaysia had given me a good telling off!  I have to “look after my mother’s son” so as to keep fit and healthy.  Needless to say, as much as I tried to, I could not help but put on weight.  It is now a hard battle to trim the few inches off my waist.

Taking advantage of the presence of most villagers during the Spring Festival period, we discussed the building of a new road to gain vehicular access to the pomelo plantation and pig farms in the hills.  Most villagers who have to surrender land for the purpose are agreeable.  However we ran into some problems from a few individuals.  Farmers started to plough their land in preparation for the next rice planting season on the 21st day of the lunar month.  The window of opportunity to acquire land closed.  We have to put the plan on hold.

All schools reopened on Monday 13th February.  A certain sense of normality returned.  Farming activities could be seen in and around Changjiao.  LSSC resumed teaching activities Saturday 25th February.  At LSSC, we have a “learning community” of 6 live-in adult students, a middle aged couple for Yueyang (Hunan), a young couple from Changjiajie (also Hunan) and two local girls, one of which is also my teaching assistant Lucy Liao who joined me at the end of last year.  We are thus a community of 7.  Of the 4 village mothers who started to attend night classes last year, two have given up and the remaining two are doing well.  For the present, I do not have any off day but I always manage to take about 2 hours to relax by walking into the hills to keep an eye on the farming project or go to town to visit friends.

On 19th February I traveled to Meixian to meet a volunteer from Canada, Ms Eva Shum.  I took the occasion to visit the local Meizhou Bishop.  I am afraid he is unable to release the two local Sisters to continue studying with us.  I made the offer to host anyone he wants to send to learn and then serve in his diocese.  The ball is at his feet.  I am afraid I cannot do more.

We thank Eva for her time and companionship.  She spent a month with us and would have stayed longer but was prevented from doing so as she did not have sufficient medication with her.  Her patience and commitment in handling individual reading lessons was admirable.  Her students benefited from the individual attention.  We thank her for sacrificing part of her holiday time with us.

I was featured as one of 8 examples of the Spirit of Lei Feng in this year’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of Lei Feng Day.  I was honored with the title “Yang Lei Feng” and the acknowledgement is from the Education Ministry in Beijing by a special committee headed by Li Chang Chun 李长春, a member of the powerful Central Politburo.  LSSC was featured nationwide in connection with National Lei Feng Day on 5th March 2012.  Almost every major newspaper in China carried the news early in March.  I was informed by the Kwang Ming Ri Bao when they sent me copies of the newspaper.

In all honest truth, I never expected this to happen.  I thought the award given to me in Guangzhou last year as one of 10 notable persons in South China was the limit of recognition I can get in China.  I thank God for this wonderful surprise.  Only God knows how our Lasallian Education Mission will be in the future in China.

I started this article saying “Wow… how time flies by.”  Well, I completed 10 full years of mission here in Changjiao on 10th March 2012.  It’s so hard to believe that I have spent 10 years of my life here.  This is the longest assignment that I ever had.  My previous long assignment was as Visitor for 9 years.  Where will this lead to I do not have the faintest idea. 

On 12th March we had a surprised visit from the Editor-in-Chief of the Nanfang Media Group accompanied by Meizhou State and Dabu County officers.  The event was immediately on TV in the Dabu evening news.  The following week, on Saturday 24th March two reporters and a cameraman was “embedded” in LSSC.  They stayed with us for a whole week, interviewing villagers, students and parents and filming and photographing us.  I was told LSSC will hit the news once again.

Here I end this first quarter report.  I thank all who have been so supportive of this outreach mission.  It is said, “many hands make light work”.  I thank the Good Lord for the many hands of friendship from relatives, friends and fellow Lasallians who accompany and support me on this journey taken in a spirit of faith.

Take care and God bless.  Please keep us in your prayers.

As always with love in the service of youth and nation through DLS,



Palm Sunday 1st April 2012
LSSC Changjiao, China.



All good things must come to an end... that better things may begin!!!
Fraser's Hill -1976 - BDLiao