La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
March 2012 Newsletter
Greetings to all from LSSC Changjiao. Peace and Joy is within you.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
All good things must
come to an end...