Life can be slow and life can change in a flash.


This week’s entry features a boy called Lin Jinhua. I read the story from a journal kept by one of my teenage students, Mr. Yi Shiqian. Here I will recount it.


During the Spring Festival, I met one of my former classmates, Li Jinhua. When we were in the same class in middle school, he was no worse than me in studies. In fact most of the teachers and the classmates expected him to shine in the high school entrance exams. He was quite certain that he could get himself admitted to the best high school of the area.


Lin Jinhua lost his father in a traffic accident in 2005. Since his father’s death, his mother had been struggling to support him and keep him in school. The family’s misfortune urged Jinhua to work hard at school. And he was really good.


Then we took the high school entrance exams in the summer of 2007. Unluckily his score was not high enough to put him in the high school that we thought was the best in the area. Instead, he was enrolled at the county high school.


In order to support him, Lin’s mother moved to the county town from their village. The mother did odd jobs for a living. Sometimes she sold vegetables on the street market. Sometimes she worked as a housemaid. She earned about 600 yuan a month usually.


Mother and son were struggling along when the son, Li Jinhua started to change. He started to visit net bars. He got addicted to computer games. The money his mother gave him for meals was spent on games. Worse still, his studies got worse and worse. His teachers thought that if he continued to get on this way, it would be impossible for him to enter a second-class college at the end of high school.


The mother was heart-broken. During the holiday, an important decision was made. The son should drop out of school and go and work in a factory in Guangdong when the Spring Festival was over.


Life changes so fast. Everything runs like a dream. The days we were classmates are still fresh in my mind and yet Mr. Lin has taken a totally differing life course from mine.

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