Shengliver’s Note: This is a revision of an entry posted back in 2005. I worked as a moderator on an English language learning BBS back in 2004 – 2005. The website,, is no longer there, but a pal I encountered there still comes back to my mind from time to time. It was he who introduced me to a burgeoning English speaking community online. The very virtual community saw the kickoff of Shengliver’s volunteer speaking, which has lasted up to today. Where are you, Breeze? Are you still in this world?


The first time Breeze appeared on 7117, I noticed this member. What caught my eye was the avatar, a traditional Chinese painting with a line from an ancient Chinese poem. After reading Breeze’s first few posts, I had a hunch that this member was a female, for the language sounded feminine. Also I believed that this member was a little pessimistic while thoughtful and perceptive.


Somewhere in a thread I declared that Breeze was female, which he denied. He fought back, saying that Shengliver is always interested in SEX. Some other members supported him by accusing me of having a huge appetite for females. All the exchanges went like bantering in a pub or at a party.


I was surprised when one day Breeze claimed that he was a migrant worker. His English was not perfect, yet he was learning fast. As time went by, his posts became more and more readable. And he was one of the most active 7117 members. His writing deepened my conviction that he was female, for there was marked femininity between his lines.


Some weeks ago we finally met on the QQ instant messenger. Not because I had intended to trap this lovely female”, though. I learned a lot about Breeze after a long and happy QQ chat in English. In fact his experience educated me. Here I would like to share what I know about Breeze with other pals of this site. The only problem is that I haven’t got his permission. I hope he will not mind it. He knows Shengliver has got a big mouth.


Breeze was born in a village in Xuchang, Henan Province. He attended primary school, junior high school, and part of his senior high in his hometown. Misfortune struck him in his 2nd year of high school. He contracted a disease with the brain. Blood vessels in his brain pressured the part of the nerve system in charge of leg motion. The result was unfortunate, in my eyes. He was crippled, and thus was no longer able to walk in the normal way. Consequently he had to drop out of high school. Some operation afterwards failed to remedy the handicap.


Right now Breeze is based in Dongguan, Guangdong. That is why he identifies himself as a migrant worker. He is working at a small printing firm in the booming manufacturing centre in South China. It is a family business. The boss is his sister-in-law. Breeze is lucky to get such a job. Many other disabled Chinese are less lucky. The firm has five or six workers and they get along quite well. There is no fixed workday, according to Breeze. When orders abound, they work for days on end. When there is no order at hand, they holiday. He likes his work.


When I was told about his malady, I thought about saying something to console him. To my amazement, he was not negative about his condition at all. I dare say, he is much better than many normal guys in attitude towards life, and some of his qualities are what normal guys lack.


Breeze is an autodidact. He learns English all alone. He does not have any more opportunities to attend regular school. I finally understand why in many discussions on the BBS he showed his envy when university students talked about life on campus. Those students think they cannot learn anything in university yet this young man with a disability wishes he could learn their way. Breeze said, “It is a most efficient way.”


Breeze’s experience once again reinforced my belief that self-motivation is the key to learning. An Australian gentleman working in China told me that most good speakers of English in China are self taught. Thinking about the young guys wasting the golden part of their life in school, I realize that they are deficient in what Breeze has got an abundance of—an interest in the language and a passion for learning.


Breeze does not speak English very much at present, because his work sees no necessity of it. I encouraged him to try and speak some. Speaking could add spice to learning English. He listened to some audio books, Crazy English, for example. I suggested that there should be better books for the purpose though CE is good.


Hopefully another surgical operation is coming later on this year. I wish him good luck and may this surgery restore his ability to walk the normal way.


On the website 7117 I have got to know pals from all over the country. And I think this site should grow further and be user-friendlier. Breeze told me how he came to know 7117. He said he was googling something on the net when accidentally 7117 popped up in the search results. A click on the link brought him into this community. Ever since, he has been hooked. I sincerely wish better service from 7117 could do more for e-pals like Breeze.


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