The long awaited students from QESOSASS arrived on July 26,
spent two weeks with our members, and returned home with
impressionable experiences that would last a life time. Our guests
were three girls and one boy: Edy Li, Emily Li, Helen Yip and
Bobby Wu. They are up-coming Form 4 students of the school in
Tin Shui Wai and are the top four students in English in their Form.
The sponsor host families were Roger and Daisy Kwan, James
and Linda Tang, Susan Leung, Chan Chi Hung, Alfred Liu, and my
wife Connie and I. Some of the many attractions and events
covered by these hosts were the Niagara Region, CN Tower,
ROM, Casa Loma, Metro Zoo, Science Center, St. Jacob Farmer’
s Market, and a farewell BBQ Party at Roger and Daisy’s home.
Other major participants were Nancy and James H.K. Tang,
Theresa Leung, Selwyn Chow, Mak Kai Sum and Mrs. Mak,
Patrick Leung, Marca Suen and family, and Lee Shiu-Ki. The
students were taken to see the Peterborough Lift Lock, High Park
Outdoor Shakespeare Theatre, Trout fishing, and the Cheltenham
Badlands. Big Brother Lee Shiu-Ki even treated them with his
birthday banquet dinner. The enthusiasm, generosity and sincerity
of all the hosts and participants are simply overwhelming. I must
also mention the fact that Alfred Liu, on the very next morning of his
daughter’s wedding, drove the kids from Toronto to his home in
Fort Erie for a two days tour of the area. Being a Niagara Parks
Commissioner, Alfred offered them the full VIP treatment along the
entire Niagara River that drew tremendous envy from the rest of us.
The four teenagers all have distinctly different personalities. Bobby,
the oldest at 15, is a big boy confessed to have Asperger
Syndrome. In a nut-shell he is “having a dash of Autism”.
Remember the “Rain Man”? He is highly intelligent, highly
apprehensive and rational, and a meteorology-nut. His “syndrome”
was displaying symptoms no more than that of a slightly spoiled,
temperamental average teenager that we may encounter everyday.
I find my contact with him a fascinating and enriching experience.
Helen, the tall girl, is quiet, care-free non-outdoor type who always
carried her umbrella outside. She is artistic and danced at the
BBQ Party. Emily is the tiny, shy, soft-spoken little girl who took
more than one week to start expressing herself, and did quite well
at the Party with her speech and song. She is also quite observant.
Edy is the good sport in both senses, mature, well mannered and
discrete. We all noticed obvious changes in them, in the positive
sense, at the end of the two weeks.
Mak Kai Sum, Tsoi Heung Sang and I had a bit of three way
dialogue during the two weeks on the selection criteria of the trip
sponsorship awards. Mak, and I believe most of us too, did not
realize the extent of the QESOSASS trip award program. Last year
there were trips awarded to top science students to Aerospace
Research Center in Xi Chang, China. Top sports students were
sent to Australia for competition. This summer two other groups
were sent to Greece and Taiwan under other selection criteria. As
a matter of fact, I overheard that Helen was also selected to the
Taiwan trip but opted to come to Canada. Not a difficult decision to
make, right? All these trips are privately funded and all those
interested are welcome to participate.
Some of the sponsors feel that our program this time seems too
heavy on the tourist sight seeing side and light on the educational,
try our way of living aspects. Lunch at Marché and lobster dinners
may be a bit too much, it was suggested. I agree. There is,
however, good reason that we were thrown slightly off-track from
our original plan. We were fully subscribed for up to six students
from member hosts. With four this time and my attempt to keep
them together as much as possible, we had to “allocate” and
shorten each stay. The end result is each host can only fit in the
“best” part of their plan and dropping the “help me buy groceries
and do the dishes” part. The students’ performance at the farewell
BBQ party and their expressed regret that they had to leave “too
soon” was testament of a successful program and for that I am
thankful to all who participated. If nothing else, how many chances
does one have in life to play “fairy god-parent” with a happy ending?
by Henry Lee (61)
|At the school
|Arrival at the airport
|At the Butterfly Conservatory
|Back from the Zoo
|At the Science Centre
|The official group photo (taken at BBQ Party at Roger Kwan's house)
|Sponsorring students from QESOSASS for a stay in Toronto (2004)