Activating English Summer Camp 2014

Date July 29 – August 06, 2014
Place Mingde School, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
Organizers Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Sponsors Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited
Aim and Objectives
  • Listening ability training
  • Interactive classroom activities to communicate in English
  • Tone and pitch training
  • Grammar and vocabulary learning
  • Presentation skills

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Activating English Summer Camp 2013

Date July 22rd – 27th, 2013
Place Mingde School, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
Organizers Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited (GFF)
Sponsors Mingde School
Green Field Foundation Limited
Aim and Objectives
  • Introducing and describing people
  • Talking about hopes and fears
  • Telling stories; explaining things
  • Making predictions; making suggestions
  • Giving and responding to opinions
  • Presentation skills

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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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