Shengliver’s Note: This entry was penned by an Internet pal called Jack Lin in 2010. I hope that Jack Lin contacts me if or when he comes upon this entry in Shengliver’s Garden. Thanks, Jack. Though we have never met each other in the flesh, our hearts are beating in the same rhythm.


This afternoon when I told Julia, my sweetie, that I was about to activate my blog, I was not saying it on impulse.


At least two hours before that, I had been reading Shengliver’s  blog, which I missed for the past several hectic months, enjoying it and being touched as well. Shengliver is somebody I met first in voice UC. I got to know more about him through the articles he published in his blog. There is a heart of gold between those lines. A senior high school English teacher in some city of Hubei Province, Shengliver has been making solid progress ever since the start of his career. For a long time he lived a very normal life, or somewhat even boring one to those living in metropolises. His passion for the job and his love for English, though, never failed, with his attitude towards life and his way of conducting in society unwavering. It’s hard to figure out where his loyalty and perseverance originate from, considering every temptation modern life has to offer. Anyway, through years of hard work he has found an elegant way of making who he is today both academically and personally.


In addition, he maintains a very intimate relationship with his students, even after their graduation. In years they talk in English, exchange ideas over diversified topics, and improve together. Shengliver is a person of help, particularly when his students are in need. He shows great concern over their life, their mental orientation, their family status, their worries and anxieties about future, etc. In short, he’s like a mentor to his students. What’s more, he sees beyond what he is seeing in the teenagers. Thus, he’s somewhat turned his blog entries into not just a collection of talks between teacher and students, but also first-hand material in a broader sense of societal significance.


Once I read to my students an entry of his titled A Mobile Phone, in which a dropout country girl chose to end her life after she found all the pressures and sufferings too much for her. A story indeed, it silenced the whole class for one minute or two. Coming mostly from well-off urban families, these students of mine had never anticipated in a nation where the achievements of reform and opening-up are extolled every day, a tragedy like this would have happened. Amazed at Shengliver’s skilful writing, my students were impressed with the story itself and what’s behind it. Consciously or unconsciously they were led to ponder why they learn, who they are learning for, and what they must be in the future. A slightest enlightenment resulted in my students’ devotion to what they’re supposed to do in their daily life.


That’s the power of a great teacher, one I have been dreaming of becoming myself for years. But am I anywhere near there?


Over the past few years I’ve had my pages written and rewritten so many times that I can hardly remember where I started and what my original ambition was. I cautioned my students not to be swayed by external forces, not to shed their aggressiveness in a mundane world, not to let their dreams evaporate because of vituperation from negative guys, while at the same time I allowed myself to degenerate in ease and comfort, making one empty promise after another. Jack, it’s a shame, a shame that could never be wiped off your name unless you do it differently this time. 2009 saw lots of occurrences in my life: the birth of my little angel, the frustration of having ambitious wings broken in the teaching competition, and the joy of uncovering secrets that had puzzled me for decades. None of these will mean a thing if I just sit in numbness, seeing them come and go like a bunch of others have done before. I don’t have a samsara to relive all these. I am either to follow the old way or to seek a breakthrough. Only by living in an initiative way can I rise and confront those who are scheming to crumble and crush me. I do not give them a shit because I am fearless deep down.


This time, Jack, it’s going to be anything but an impulse, I promise.

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