A Harmonious Society

The universe is governed by certain predestined factors. Any mismatches in the process will result in negative feedback and we have to accept the appropriate punishment.

The earth provides us with grains to nourish our body. We have been taught the ‘Five Moralities’ – benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, wisdom, and trust to fit in the society. Before our excessive demand for material possessions, Nature and Human was in harmony. President Hu Jintao’s call for harmonious society is a warning against our exploitation of the Nature.

Our excessive exploitation of natural resources will destroy the delicate balance of the Nature and lead to terrible catastrophes.

To achieve a harmonious relationship with Nature, we should lead a thrifty life. If we cultivate for self-sufficiency and not for commercial purposes, we learn for the sake of obtaining knowledge and not for making money; we do not need to spend so much effort yelling about protecting our environment.

There is a saying from the Buddhist scripture, Huayan Sutra that “Our heart serves as a fine painter who can paint the whole world”. Spare some time at night to review our life, our world, to see how we paint the world with our heart…

Master Sik Chi Wan

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The Sorrow of Departure

Autumn is always perceived as a season of depression and departure. Recently, a teenage boy called me talking about his heart-broken puppy love and complaining that nobody understands him.

We all hope to find true love and hold on to it. However, nothing lasts forever. Buddhism talks about the “Eight Sufferings” – birth, aging, being sick, dying, departure of our loved ones, dealing with our hated ones, failure to acquire what we want, and the suffering resulting from flourishing of the five skandhas (physical sensation and knowledge). We all need to learn from our earthly sufferings to be mature.

Through birth, we experience the joy of life. Through aging, we treasure life. Through sickness, we understand the importance of staying healthy. Through death, we know life is unpredictable. Through departure from our loved ones, we know how to cherish love. Through dealing with the hated ones, we learn how to forgive. Through unattainable longings, we learn to let go. Through sufferings originating from our attachments to physical sensation, we learn not to be controlled by our desire.

The best in our life can disappear in an instance. To lead a meaningful life, we should start with cherishing planet Earth. Autumn may seem a bit depressed; but we can see it in a different perspective. The vivid red leaves symbolise our life burning while the fallen leaves returning to earth represent the formation of new life. This is how Nature works…

Master Sik Chi Wan

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Scrubbing the Floor

The 28th day of December is the date for Year-End cleaning in Chinese tradition and scrubbing the floor is one of the essential cleaning procedures. Scrubbing the floor seems a simple and everyday task, so why am I mentioning it? Actually, there are lessons to be learnt behind this simple act. In the old days, people knelt down to scrub the floor; nowadays, we stand up and use a mop. From a historical point of view, this symbolises the evolution from a slavery society to a democratic society.

From the time of laborious scrubbing with water to using efficient bleach and chemicals nowadays, we have endured centuries of change. Some call it becoming more civilised, some call it becoming modernised; whatever we call it, we have unknowingly begun a war with germs, bacteria and viruses. I will leave you to ponder the cause of this warfare.

Master Shenxiu of Chan School from the Tang Dynasty mused: “The body is the bodhi tree, the mind is a bright mirror stand, at all times we must strive to polish it and not to let dust collect.” If we always keep our environment clean and tidy, we will not need to put in so much effort at the end of the year. We can apply less chemical detergents and reduce the damage to Mother Earth. It is for every body’s benefit to live peacefully with Mother Earth in a clean and tidy environment. Hope we all do our best to protect the environment in the coming year.

Master Sik Chi Wan

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Wei Lu – Gathering Around the Stove

In Northern China, everybody knows the meaning of “Wei Lu” or “Gathering Around the Stove”, a very important festivity at the end of the year. However, few people in the South know the meaning. “Wei Lu” is the New Year’s Eve celebration where the whole family sit together around the stove for a meal.

It is an old custom that as the year draws to an end, all family members who are studying, trading or traveling away from home must return and welcome the New Year together. The whole family gather around the stove eating, chatting and enjoying each other’s company. The elders will take this opportunity to instruct and teach, while the juniors will report on things which happened during the year and ask for advice. The juniors will also present monetary offerings to support the elders.

In the Xian Feng period of the Qing Dynasty, Mr. Wang Yong Bin wrote “Chatting Around the Stove”, a record of conversations with his family. When they are free, Wang’s family liked to sit together and talk about their lives and current affairs. The scenes are so charming and sentimental that the reader cannot help but admire the simple and worthy tradition. Like many of the customs and traditions which stem from the agricultural society of China, “Wei Lu” is one which we should take up and preserve. We should take time to think and talk about the preservation of agricultural environment and traditions, protection of our land and our culture for a greener and better tomorrow.

Master Sik Chi Wan

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Nurture Our Earth

The human mind is inherently immeasurable and immense, occupying the whole universe and space, generating limitless thoughts and ideas. The Earth can carry everything, embrace everything, give rise to everything and provide everything to all creatures. It is generous and forgiving, embracing the good and the bad. It treats everything and everybody with fairness, makes no complaint even when being maltreated. The kindness and merits of the Earth are beyond bounds. If our mind possesses the same quality as the Earth, harmony can be achieved among human and the Earth, human and the nature, and also among human beings.

However, as inhabitants of the Earth, what have we done for the Earth? Do we really love it? Have we done anything to protect it? It is quite obvious that we have done neither and even led to sufferings of the Earth.

Like all substance in the universe, the Earth has its cycle of birth, growth, decay and death; it is changing all the time. However, in our time living on it and with it, we should take great care of it, make good use of it and protect it. Then, we can live happily and peacefully on Earth in the present.

Master Sik Chi Wan

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Report on “Activating English Summer Camp” for Mingde School, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China, 2012

Date July 23rd – 27th, 2012
Place Mingde School, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
Organizers Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Sponsors Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited
Aim and Objectives
  • To improve efficiency of spoken English of students;
  • To get the students accustomed to the concept of interactive teaching and learning;
  • To improve reading and writing skills of students.

Report

12 volunteers left Hong Kong on July 22 for a one-week English summer camp in Taiyuen, Shanxi, China. The group was comprised of both veterans and first timers, so we had a good mix of experience and fresh blood.

The GFF Board decided to try a different approach for our annual English summer camp. We plan to return to the same school for several years to see if there would be measurable contributions at that school. The school we selected was Mingde School. It is not a traditional school because it is primarily a weekend and summer school for local student to spend time in a learning environment.

About 60 students attended this year, ranging from Secondary 1 to Secondary 6. With such a wide range of student age groups we divided the morning classes into three major groups of about 20 students. In the afternoon the students worked in smaller groups of 8 to 12 students each.

The weather was pretty hot during the day and the classrooms were not too well ventilated so some of the classes were conducted in the courtyard where it was cooler. Students moved their own benches and desks and we conducted class out in the open. During the day there was some jockeying to get the best spot because we had to move our location once or twice to adjust to the Sun’s movement.

As usual, the last day of class was left for group presentations in English. Students chose different types of activities to present such as fairy tales, story-telling, comedy, and singing. All of us enjoyed the presentations and appreciated the hard work the student put into preparing their presentations. We selected several winning teams for their outstanding performance.

On the last day the school staff and students organized an elaborate closing ceremony with a Chinese drum and dance group which added extra excitement to the atmosphere. In addition, a number of senior students gave some moving and well thought out speeches, the likes of which we had not heard before.

Marcellin Shi

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Reading Program for Ming De Book Corner at the Village Schools in Shanxi

Date 2011-2013
Place Ming De School in Taiyuan, Shanxi
Organizers Ming De School
Sponsors Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA Limited
Green Field Foundation Limited
Aim and Objectives
  • To provide reading facilities to students of the village schools;
  • To set up book corners in classrooms in order to allow students free and unhindered access to books, promote students’ self-management of library, as well as alleviate the administrative burdens of schools and teachers;
  • To cultivate students’ interest in reading through enhancing access to books.

Report

2011 Work Report

From September 2011 onward, Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA Limited has pledged to sponsor the Ming De School’s projects, namely Ming De Library and Ming De Book Corner, under Green Field Foundation Limited for three years. With emphasis on high morality and proper behaviour, the projects are aimed at promoting the traditional education. As community charity activities, the projects encourage young people to study, fulfill and optimise the superior Chinese traditional culture through theories learning and self practicing.

Ming De Library adopts a mixed operation mode of a centre library and book corner in classrooms. With an open and self-managed approach, the centre library can provide a plenty of opportunities and resources for reading but it is still not easy for primary students who are dwelling far away to borrow books from the library. Ming De Book Corner, situated at the radiant zone of the centre library, has established the classroom book corner through collaboration with village schools, enabling students to have free and unhindered access to books. The students’ self-managed library also helps relieve the administrative burdens of schools and teachers, and cultivate students’ interest in reading through a substantially increased access to books.

Currently, four schools have co-operated to set up Ming De book corners among them 21 were established in Dai Jia Bao School, Zhang Hua Yíng Primary School, Dong Pu Primary School (i.e. every class and offices of teaching staff in every school were set up book corners). The first batch of over 1,200 books is already in place for these schools. The books for the Second High School at Beigezhen have also arrived at the centre library and they will be delivered to the school once the book cataloging has been completed.

On 26 November 2011, Ming De Library organised the first demonstration class for reading at Dai Jia Bao School. The demonstration received enthusiastic responses from the teachers who also exchanged opinions with the demonstration organizer.

Ming De Library and Centre School at Beigezhen have reached a strategic co-operation agreement through which Ming De Library will continue to establish Ming De book corners in schools under Centre School at Beigezhen to launch the reading class together with a series of publicity activities for promotion of reading.

On 22 October 2011, Ming De Library and Centre School at Beigezhen jointly organized “Ming De Cup – Speech Contest for Chinese Souls”. Ming De Library designed the award certificates for and offered the prizes to the contest winners. The contest was very successful.

2012 Work Plan

1. Program for Seed Reading Teachers
In conjunction with Centre School at Beigezhen, Ming De Library will select 1 to 2 teachers from schools with book corners established to participate in the reading program. The selected teachers will be sent out to receive training and exchange with other schools and then they are required to initiate the reading class within schools.

2. Weekend Class at Ming De School
From 2012 onward, Ming De School will launch the weekend classes including Ming De Story Association, Ming De Choir and Ming De Handicraft Class. Through invitation of parent participation, Ming De Story Association will convey the principle of the way one should live in the world though story-telling. Ming De Choir will use the resources of Chun Feng Art Troupe to teach students the music knowledge while Ming De Handicraft Class will enable students to learn how to do embroidery and to cook.

3. Other Regular Activities
Regular activities with festival themes will be organized during seasonal festivals in 2012 to enable students to understand the origins and history of the respective festivals.

4. Ming De Library will co-organize with Centre School at Beigezhen for 1 to 2 activities in 2012 work plan

5. Ming De Library will continue to set up 4 Ming De book corners in 2012

Ming De Library
Director-General : Lu Hai Song
Dec 31, 2011

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Heart of Goodness – Fukushima Before 3.11 Charity Photo Exhibition

Date Nov 15 – Dec 14, 2011 – SR Gallery Cafe
3/F Cubus, 1-3 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
February 2012 – Man Yee Shopping Center
60 -68, Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
March 2012 – Central Plaza
8 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Organizers Friends of Fukushima
Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Sponsors Japan Consulate General in Hong Kong
Canon
SR Gallery Cafe
Man Yee Shopping Center
Central Plaza
Friends of the Earth
Green Field Foundation
Acumen Design Limited
Excellent Colours Limited
Aim and Objectives On March 11, 2011, the world witnessed the catastrophic earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that relentlessly struck Fukushima of Japan, killing more than 20,000 people and making hundreds and thousands homeless. Fukushima, a land of natural beauty, was further hit by breaking down of the nuclear plants that haunted the rest of the world.

The “Heart of Goodness” Fukushima before 3.11 photo exhibition is dedicated to the Japanese workers who are struggling at the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors. They are quiet heroes who have devoted their lives to restore the reactors and prevent further damage done to mankind.

Frances Tong, the photographer, was called to show the world that Fukushima is not only about damaged nuclear reactors. Fukushima is also a paradise where mountains and lakes come together. This exhibit showcases the four seasons of Fukushima that catch our breath. This is in contrast to recent images of Fukushima as being the site of crippled nuclear reactors and nuclear leakage.

The natural beauty that exists in Fukushima also exists in many other places. We hope that the photos awaken each of us to do our part in protecting the natural environment by conserving energy and consuming material things mindfully.

Fund Raising Target We seek to raise a minimum of HKD 300,000 from the photo exhibition. All proceeds from the sales of print will be channeled to promote protection of the environment and to those suffering from the nuclear disaster. We aim to sell the print at HK$3,110 each.

The use of HK$3,110 from the sale of each print:

Revitalization for Farmland by Biodynamic Agriculture Practice

Your HK$3,110 contribution will be used to revitalize the farmland in China, using Biodynamic Agriculture practices. The amount can initiate farmers and sustain the activities of biodynamic farming practice for one year for 5 acres of farmland.

The main achievements of this practice are:-
1) Increase organic matters and bio-activities of soil by 1%;
2) Reduces soil erosion by 80%;
3) Reduce warm house gas emission by 80%;
4) Reduce contamination of waterways by nitrogen and other chemical contents by 95%;
5) Improve biodiversities and reduce environmental impact by 80%;
6) Reuse of organic and other waste materials by 90%;
7) Sustain land productivity and soil fertility by 30%;
8) Eco-friendly and healthier production of products for practitioners; and
9) Saver and better produce for consumers.

Conversion of Farmland from Chemical Fertilizer to Organic Fertilizer

For every HK$3,110 we raised, we can subsidize farmers to convert the use of chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers for 10 acres of farmland in one farming season in China or South East Asia countries.

The main achievements of this practice are:-
1) Eco-friendly and healthier production of products for practitioners;
2) Saver and better produce for consumers.

Exhibit Preview

Opening Reception

Donations Form

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Reading Room at Youxian Secondary School, Mianyang City, Sichuan

Date 1 September, 2010
Place Youxian Secondary School, Mianyang City, Sichuan Province)
Organizers Youxian Secondary School, Mianyang City
Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Sponsors Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Aim and Objectives To provide reading and recreational facilities for the rebuilt School after the earthquake;
To help establishing sustainable educational program for the afflicted students of the earthquake.

Report

Youxian Secondary School is an integrated school with 40% local students, 60% migrant children of workers and peasants from the rural area. The School charges no tuition, but only 20 yuan for workbook fee. Before the earthquake, the School was granted the first class prize of Quality Teaching School in Youxian district for three consecutive years, and even a top award this year and become a window school for the integrated urban and rural schools in Youxian district.

Construction fund of the new school is donated by the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan. According to the construction plan, the primary and secondary sectors will be located in the same zone. There will be 73 teaching staff and 1,037 secondary junior students, the number of the juniors will see a net increase of more than 300 each year reaching 2,000 students. Including the primary school, the total student number will reach 3500-4000 after 5 years.

Green Field Foundation organized an “English Summer Camp” in the temporary Youxian Secondary School in 2009. The Foundation has decided to allocate RMB 170,000 from the “Care for Tomorrow” program for buying books and other facilities for the Reading Room at Youxian Secondary School.

The volunteer in Sichuan, Mu Guang Yao is responsible for managing and purchasing the books and facilities for the School. Construction of the Reading Room was completed on 1 September 2010 and has been opened since then.

Items worth 171,720 yuan including bookshelves, desk, chairs, and books were bought for the Reading Room.

The Reading Room with an area of over 300 sq. m. is located at the third floor of the Academic Building. The School has requested for additional desk and chairs, bookshelves and other facilities in consideration of long-term development. This time, 10,000 new books are added and the Reading Room can accommodate 200 students.

As representative of the GFF, Mu attended the ceremony of donation of Reading Room held at Youxian Secondary School on 22 December 2010.

Volunteer in Sichuan, Mu Guang Yao

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Report on “Better English for A Greener China Summer Camp” for English Teachers of Fuyuan County, Yunnan, China, 2010

Date July 26th – 30th, 2010
Place Shengjing Middle School, Fuyuan, Yunnan, China
Organizers Fuyuan Education Board

Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)

Sponsors Fuyuan Shengjing Middle School

Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA Limited

Green Field Foundation Limited

Aim and Objectives
  • To improve teaching skill and techniques of local English teachers through linguistic techniques and creative learning activities;
  • To bring the concept of better use of natural resources and environmental protection to local teachers so that they can influence their students.

Report

The GFF English Summer Camp was held again this year. The target students were the secondary English teachers of Fuyuan County, Yunnan. A training section was given to all volunteer members on July 17 to ensure the activity would be held fruitfully and effectively.

July 24 was a sunny Saturday. A total of 16 volunteers were divided into 2 groups and traveled to Kunming from Hong Kong & Shenzhen. We had dinner in Kunming and took a bus organized by local Education Bureau to Fuyuan. We arrived the hotel quite late. The overall conditions of the hotel were pretty good.

On Sunday, we had a meeting in the morning to make sure everything is in order, and had a sight seeing trip to the old “Tea Route” in the afternoon. As it was the first time for some of the volunteers visiting Kunming, the scenery was very impressive. Yet our trip was cut short by pouring rain.

The camp started from July 26, Monday to July 30, Friday. The morning sections were lessons given by tutors and the afternoons sections were group discussions leading and monitoring by the volunteers. There were brief exchange and sharing for us each evening after school.

At the last day of the camp, a group performance were presented by each group to demonstrate the skills they learnt during the past 4 days and show their passion to perform in English. The performances included dramas, singings and charade. The shows were creative and full of fun. All volunteers were impressed by their passion and creativity. It was agreed that teachers are born actors.

The local English teachers, i.e. our students, were friendly and enthusiastic. They tried very hard to communicate with us in English. Some of them were a bit shy at the beginning but became quite talkative after warming up. In the afternoon classes, besides doing the assigned exercises, they also shared their culture and stories with us. Their English standard was quite high, although the pronunciation was with strong accent in general. Their vocabulary is good as well. The local educational department paid high attention to this activity. The officers were also very considerate and hospitable.

It was to our surprise that Fuyuan is so rich. The mining industry there generates wealth for them. Next time, we are looking forward to visit a more remote and less established county.

Last but not the least, Kunming is a very beautiful place.

Edith Kung

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