Fri, Jul 16, 2010
China Daily/Asia News Network
Shimmering with hope

By Raymond Zhou

"Meet me by the lake - at 6 am."

If you simply look at the setting of this rendezvous, you might be forgiven for thinking this is going to be a romantic tryst. But Shi Lansong, 45, is talking to a bunch of eight-year-olds, and he says these words every day.

Shi is their teacher. But to reach the two-room school on the other side of a hill, Shi has to ferry his pupils across a lake, or they have to trek more than an hour over the steep hill.

The lake, named Big Dragon Lake, has the same physical features of karst-rich Guilin, but to Shi and his pupils it provides a shorter route - albeit one fraught with dangers.

As a volunteer ferryman, Shi Lansong is responsible for the safety of Wei Yufei and Chen De, two first-graders, both aged 8, and Chen Yanzhi, 7, and Chen Yu, 5, both preschoolers.

He used to carry eight kids - a maximum of 13 at a time - from different villages around the lake, which could take as many as four trips. Shi has done this for 25 years, making a total of some 18,000 trips.

Not only is Shi not paid for this work, he has to shoulder the cost of the canoe. So far, he has used up eight of them, with each one lasting about three years. The first three were made from trees in his backyard. Then, he had to buy the timber, at a cost of 300 yuan ($44) a piece at first - when he was making 120 yuan a month. Later, the price of timber rose to 700 yuan, but he was earning only 200 yuan.

>> Next: Saving lives

Bookmark and Share

  Shimmering with hope
  Migrant children face education divide
  Business world embraces liberal arts in Korea
  Japanese town teaches English to its youngest
  It's not a crime to become pregnant
  Enhance moral education to complement Muis efforts
  Students in China will no longer see smoking teachers
  Hackers in China claim they can edit students' scores
  Three honoured as outstanding educators
  P1 exams to be abolished by 2013
Migrant children face education divide
China plans to grant Nokia permission to begin web mapping service
China, Argentina sign $10 billion railway deals
Hackers in China claim they can edit students' scores
China's wars, rebellions driven by climate: study

Elsewhere in AsiaOne...

Investor Relations: Four Singapore firms invest $127m in Tianjin

Wine,Dine&Unwind: Finding oneself in the shadow of a monk

Health: Rising cases of syphilis a 'severe' health issue

Motoring: Bumpy road ahead for auto firms

Digital: Netizens vent anger over Google

Business: China AgBank's set for massive stock debut

Just Women: Vagrant goes from beggar to prince

Multimedia: Cyntherea Tan