La Salle Study Centre Changjiao

September 2015 Newsletter






      La Salle Study Centre,  Changjiao,  China.





3rd Quarter Report 2015

Autumn Greetings from LSSC Changjiao. Peace and Joy is within you.

In China, the academic year always begins on the 1st of September and it does not matter which day of the week even if it is a Sunday, so at LSSC we always hold registration on the 2nd weekend after school reopens. Thus registration for this 2015-16 academic year was held on 12th and 13th September. In spite of the fact that we did not post notice for registration, interested students turned up as usual. A total of 130 former students re-registered and we also registered 132 new students. On Saturday 19th Sept LSSC began classes for the Academic Year 2015-16.

Our 3rd Q report always features the activities of our Summer English Reading Programme (20th July to 8
th August). Last summer, we decided to keep the number of students down to around the optimum number of 400 by not accepting local Dabu students who had not been attending weekend lessons since September 2014. In that way, we eliminated the problem of parents who send their children to us just to occupy them for 3 weeks during the long summer holiday – in the local Hakka dialect, “we are not cowherds tending wayward cows so that their owners can relax”. A total of 410 students (regular students 313, out-station students 97) and 45 volunteers (local 30 – Hongkong 15) together with our kitchen staff of 6 were actively involved during the summer.

One of the interesting developments last summer was that a dozen or so parents attended classes with their
children and one who stood out was a teacher from Jiangxi who even stood on our “public speaking” table and gave a speech and the students heartily cheered him on. For almost all of the students, it was the first time they took part in a public speaking activity so speakers going up was slow in the beginning but then after a week, we ran short of time for this activity and often lessons were extended by half an hour.

I want to put on record my thanks to all Lasallians whose spiritual, moral and financial support has enables us at LSSC to continue conducting this very popular summer programme which is not only effective in teaching English but also very much appreciated by parents for the human development content – filial duty and responsibility to family; sharing and caring among friends; civil antiquate and participation in nation building; the value of character and self-worth. I also want to thank the students, volunteers and others whose diverse contributions helped us to have a smooth running and meaningful summer. I want to mention Mr. Leonard Chu, an old boy of La Salle College, Hongkong, who brought his teenage daughter and son and two other LSC boys as junior volunteers for the final week.

We did have a bit of drama two days before we began. The electrical wiring of more than 10 years and wired according to the period where a fan was a luxury and LSSC had the only switched on refrigerator (two other families had refrigerators then as a status symbol and not in use) in Baijiang. Now more than decade later, we are running 10 air-cons, a fridge and two freezers not to mention the dozens of wall fans and stand fans as well as extra large rice cookers. Two days before we began, as we were testing all equipment (including our own electrical generator) and lightings, suddenly there was the smell of burning - a number of wires melted. We had two frantic days to temporary connect by-pass wires and thank God we were able to run the summer programme incident free. We had to rewire the whole house after the programme.

After the summer programme, I returned to Hongkong for two days to meet with Brother Visitor Dodo and to welcome my younger sister’s daughter and son-in-law Josephine and Michael. They followed me back to
Changjiao for a quiet holiday – gardening, weeding and playing scrabble in exchange for board and lodging and visits to places of interest in and around Dabu. Is there anyone else looking for a quiet holiday?

The following story requires you to go back to year 2010 when I requested funding for a project to build a
house for an old man and his son (never attended school) who lived at the fringe of the village in appalling
housing condition. One of the main reasons for the building project was to give the not so young man (40+) a chance to get married and so I even promised to pay for the wedding dinner. Over the years he had been
pestering me to get him a wife saying that I know how to talk and he is tongue-tied but I always said that match-making has never and will never be part of my mission. In early September he sheepishly told me that a divorcee with a daughter was willing to marry him and that he had visited the family and her father , aunties and uncles, sisters and brothers had consented. You should have seen the smile on his face when told me.

A week later he asked to see me again and announced that the wedding date was fixed for the auspicious day on 21st September and so I immediately arranged with a village elder to advice what had to be done. I was completely mystified when conversation turned the number of slaps of pork and so I asked for clarification and discovered that the old custom was to send a whole pig or slices of pork according to the number of close family members on the bride side – to secure their agreement to the wedding. Anyway, we hosted a 5 tables reception lunch for him and I must say it was a very lively lunch gatherings as his work-mates and employer turned up to grace the occasion. I had an appointment that evening and so I arranged for some villagers to visit him that night and it was reported to me that the couple was absolutely delighted to see them.

The other major event was the pomelo harvest. As the main focus of our CD project is the development of
plantation agriculture as an income earner as against the traditional rice planting which is purely a subsistence activity, we are now doing well with every family making a profit from the sale of the pomelos. However, all is not well yet, as inconsiderateness and greed on the part of a very small minority interfered with the selling price and thus most villagers fell victims to cunning collectors – the middle men – who have keen eyes to spot the lowest quality fruit and beat down the price accordingly. Much work has to be done to develop a cohesive spirit so as to command a fair common selling price for all.

On 11th September, I was given the honour to be the 1st Torch Bearer of the 80th Anniversary of the Spirit of the Long March “长征精神,红色旅游火炬传递活动” . It was raining and almost everyone was either holding an umbrella or wearing a raincoat except I. It did not go unnoticed as after the event was televised in the evening news, remarks were made that the right thing to do on such an occasion to commemorate the hardship, sufferings and heroism of the martyrs is to bear up willingly with the inclemency of mother nature – the weather.

Well, we are now into the 4th Quarter and my next report will be from Malaysia where I will spend my
Christmas holidays.

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

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

LSSC Changjiao

30th Sept 2015


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