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George,a friend from afar

Updated: 2015-01-17 Source:Radio Guangdong's English Service Author:intern
Welcome to Today's Focus. I am Matt Horn. Under the theme of "Friends from Afar," the New Zealand Connections with Old Guangzhou photo exhibition is now underway at the Yuexiu Park station on Guangzhou Metro line 2. The event is co-organized by Guangzhou Metro Corporation and the New Zealand Consulate General in Guangzhou. Guangdong Radio and Television Radio English Service is providing the audio tour. George Mckibbens, host of Guangdong Today's Lingnan Voices program, is the China based person who first discovered the old Guangzhou photos, They are now available for view to the public, but remain kept in the archive of a New Zealand College. George teaches English and history at a high school and university in Guangzhou, while at the same time carrying on his study of history here.

(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)
 

(photo by www.gzmtr.com)
 
(photo by www.gzmtr.com)


(photo by www.gzmtr.com)
 
Standing 1.9 meters, with a shaven head and an ear ring, George breaks the stereotype of a historical researcher. One day, by chance, he found some old Guangzhou photos stored in the New Zealand Knox College archive.
He immediately contacted the curator, and New Zealand's connections with old Guangzhou resumed.
[Recording]


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

Before 2008, George was a tour guide in New York. He earned 2000 USD every month, and could earn even more in the summer. But following the International Financial Crisis in 2008, George decided to leave home for China. He first landed in Jinan city, Shandong Province, and later moved to Zhuhai in Guangdong, before settling down in Guangzhou.
[Recording]

George said, when he first came to China, he felt like he entered a future world. Everywhere seemed brand new. But very soon, he found this related to China's Chai, or demolition.
[Recording]


George said, he was very excited when he found the well protected Chan Clan Academy in Guangzhou. He recommended himself to be a tour guide there. With the strong desire to study the preservation of ancient buildings, George signed up for a distance learning postgraduate course with an American University, focusing on historical and cultural protection. Now he has a masters degree.

(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

It was a period of transition in China. Different reconstruction projects were being carried out across Guangzhou. From Yangji village to Redtory, En'ning road to the old Zhujiang brewery factory, George closely followed such projects in his programs, news column and his blog. He also gradually witnessed the change in the attitude of increasing emphasis being placed on historical buildings' protection by Guangzhou's Government and people.
[Recording]

(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

Guangzhou's historical buildings, the Jinglingtai and Miaogaotai, were forced to be completely demolished in mid-2013. The Guangzhou Government quickly responded by fining the real estate developer and demanding it rebuild the buildings. It also conducted an extensive survey on un-registered historical and cultural buildings. A list of first and second groups of newly-recognized historical buildings was announced by the end of 2014. George is happy to see such changes.

[Recording] China's attitude towards historical buildings protection has undergone dramatic changes. Many people had a fear that the history of China will disappear. So historical research in China began to be popular.
George is now expecting his first child with his Chinese wife.


[Recording] Thank you Guangzhou, thank you my friends. I hope in the future I can be involved in more historical legacy and Sino-American cultural researches. I also hope I can participate in more historical and cultural projects of Guangzhou Metro, and hope I can work in the Guangzhou culture department.

Welcome back to Today's focus. I am Matt Horn. We continue with stories from Guangdong.

There are currently more than 200,000 volunteers working with disabled people in Guangdong province. A woman nicknamed Smurf is one of them. Her services are mostly involved in helping those with mental and education issues. Last month, Smurf and her counterparts from the Guangzhou Disabled Volunteer Service Alliance opened an online shop, the Kangyuan bakery workshop, on Wechat, a mobile text and voice messaging App. The purpose of opening this online shop is to help mentally handicapped people start up their own businesses.
[Recording]

On December 23rd last year, the Kangyuan bakery workshop opened. It mainly sells hand-made cookies, waffles, and egg tarts produced by disabled people. Ms. Li was the first customer and spent 30 yuan on a small bag of cookies.

[Recording] I am hungry anyway, and I feel in this way I can also show my support to the disabled.

It is not an easy task to teach educationally challenged people how to make sweet, crunchy and delicious desserts, according to Smurf.

[Recording] It takes tremendous effort. Take egg whisking for instance, you can image a picture, a little kid messes up the egg with the shell in the bowl. You have to tell him repeatedly, that he needs to peel the cracked egg, so that the egg will drop into the bowl without the shell.

Zhi, one of the students, said,

[Recording] Making desserts successfully gives me a sense of achievement.

Smurf calls students at the workshop "Baby". They are so close to each other. Five years ago, Smurf was a yoga coach. She then joined this volunteer service team. There she taught students lessons in both staying safe and doing physical exercise. Smurf is still doing this for three hours every day at one of the community rehab centers.

[Recording] I have more free time in the day so I began volunteering, and I keep doing so. One time I was hit by a car on my way to the Shiweitang rehab center. Some volunteers told the "babies" there. Some of the "babies" came to visit me and ask, whether I was seriously hurt, was I getting better. I was really touched by their concern. Each of them is challenged but I am very happy with them.

The idea of opening an online bakery shop began to germinate in Smurf's mind. She planned to teach her babies baking skills so that they can live with dignity.

[Recording] I saw them work on the handicraft every day, but with little income. It is better they can learn new skills so that they can find better paid work. We figured out learning to bake was a good option.

They immediately took action. Smurf and her counterparts kept learning and practicing their baking skills. They raised money via charity sales to buy the necessary facilities and materials. They also invited pastry chefs to teach at the workshop.

[Recording] I also bought an oven, and a waffle making machine. I kept making pastries at home. Then I found it is easy to learn how to bake, and it is good for them to try. Therefore, we began to promote learning to bake at the rehab center.

Volunteers arranged the babies to help out at different stages of the pastry making process.

[Recording] Some will wash eggs, some will smash eggs, some will whisk eggs, and the others will do the weighing, and put the materials into the moulds.

Smurf has a wish for 2015, that they can gain more support for the workshop, hoping this charity project can be replicated elsewhere.

[Recording]
There are 166 rehab centers across Guangzhou. We hope every one of them can provide baking courses. Our Kangyuan bakery workshop now has a shop in Wechat, hoping volunteers and friends can promote our products in their moments. If the influence keeps expanding, we plan to open a Taobao online shop that can be accessed by buyers across China.