Thursday, July 31, 2008
Posters are appearing around Beijing guiding the locals how to interact with the foreigners who come for the Summer Games.
The posters instruct residents on the “eight don’t asks” when chatting with foreign guests. Here’s a rough translation:
don’t ask about love life or marriage,
don’t ask about health,
don’t ask about someone’s home or address,
don’t ask about personal experience,
don’t ask about religious beliefs or political views,
don’t ask what someone does.
So what is one to ask? Maybe the relative merits of fencing versus marathon swimming?
Now, for the foreigners out there, here’s the No. 1 dud question to ask a Chinese person. It’s a question that will draw a blank, non-comprehending stare:
“Hey, pal, tell me about your president. Is he doing a good job?”
As many athletes and tourists from around the world arrive in
This affects people like us and those who have business visas to China. The new regulations stipulate that visa applicants should get it in their country of citizenship, and business visas have been cancelled until after the games, so many of us foreigners who live in Macau or Hong Kong have a very difficult time to get an entry permit.
We expect that these restrictions will change and return to normal after a “successful Olympic Games.” We surely support that!
This is my third and final summer at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont, USA (www.smcvt.edu). I came here on June 27 for an intensive summer program, which compresses the regular 16-week term into a 6-week intensive course. MATESOL (MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) come from Greece, Mozambique, Iraq, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Macau, Canada and the US. With such an international group, the summer class is like a yearly reunion of English teachers from all over the world.
Vermont offers a cool summer with clear blue sky, most of the days, yet I cannot enjoy the fine sunny days here since for every credit we are taking, we have to attend class an hour a day and study for the same number of hours after class. Our life, then, becomes a routine of meals, class, study and sleep. Even the place seems to force us to study since public transportation is not readily accessible, and Burlington, the city nearest to St. Michael’s and the capital of Vermont, is more a provincial city, so there is really nothing to distract one’s attention from studying.
I had my final oral exit exam last July 16, our Foundation Day, and I am now finishing my courses in Teaching Oral Skills and Teaching Reading and Writing, which is really a lot of reading and writing for us. We end our summer program on August 1, but I can only go back to Beijing on August 4 since it is difficult to book a flight because of the Olympics. Anyway, it will indeed be good to be back home.
The Society of St. Edmund founded St. Michael’s College in 1904. They came to Canada and Vermont as refugees during the French Revolution, but they number only less than 40 worldwide.
Our good friend, Claretian Fr. Jesús “Tuchu” Centeno accepted our invitation to spend two months sharing his expertise with us: web page and contents design. We invite you to visit our web page often: www.bible.claret.org to see its transfiguration and to profit for its content. Ian Dacayanan who works with us in Macau spends more than half of his day’s work creating and updating our web page, where all its contents are offered for free.
We have recently teamed up with a young Chinese priest, Fr. Joseph Lu, who has created a new web page in Chinese for the use of pastoral agents. Go and visit www.kaleren.com. This Chinese web page is one concrete way our Claretian team is present in searching for unexplored frontiers in our ministry in China.
of the first course the Claretians are offering in Beijing…
It will be like our own “Olympics”
– a huge and challenging task ahead.
Fr. Francisco Carin, the Director,
is still receiving applicants.
The course will start on September 15, 2008.
All the information is available at
Email us for more details:
To all of you who wrote back to us: THANKS!
Coming from Macau (28 square kilometers and a population of 520,000 people), Hong Kong looks like a huge place (1100 square kilometers and a population of close to 7 million people). Hong Kong is also a gateway to China and many priests and pastoral agents in Hong Kong find their way into the Mainland. We have created another web page for our possible partners and customers in Hong Kong:
13 hours of professional recording
to the new Claretian friends in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong group celebrating
Fr. Thomas Peyton, MM (Maryknoll Priest)
50th Anniversary of ordination.
Peyton is the Parish Priest of Christ the Worker Parish,
where Jojo is residing.
spent a great day in Hong Kong in the heat of this summer season.
are some pictures to show it.
Jojo, Tuchu and Alberto with Hong Kong on the background
Hong Kong view
We visited a Book Fair in Hong Kong…
but soon came out because we could not walk inside…
Chinese young people read a lot!
Jojo and Alberto checking some books at the Book Fair
For the second time a group of Chinese priests, 35 priests this year, came to Macau, sponsored by the Diocese and IIUM. Our own Claretian Fr. Peter Chao gave them a day’s conference on pastoral and theological updates.
A young university student from Zhuhai wrote to us recently:
“As you may know, our chapel in Zhuhai is not in use now, and we have not found a new place is yet.
However, I had a timely discovery that RTHK4 (a radio station in HK, about FM 98 in Zhuhai) broadcasts the Mass every Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. It was more like a Christian church last week but definitely a Catholic church this morning :) Of course, all in English. Also you can listen to it online www.rthk.org.hk/index_eng.htm”
There is a group of young Catholic university students whom we have met several times. They are eager to know more about Christianity and ask for formation…
Macau has more than enough priests for this tiny place, but none in Zhuhai! Priests from Macau are not allowed to exercise the pastoral ministry in Zhuhai since that city is in Mainland China.