Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Do I remember him?

It is over two years since I left China after my last tour of duty at Shaoxing, so it was quite surprising to find an email in my inbox.

"Do you remember me? I am one of your students"  The name was not familiar, but I knew it was not Chinese - more middle eastern, which suggested he might have been in the school at Keqiao where I taught one night a week.

I replied, asking him  to give me more information.   He replied with the name of the school, in Keqiao.  So I was right.

There were not many non Chinese students in the school, but Keqiao is a big textile city - I recall the huge piles of bolts of fabric in the streets each night as I was drive past on my way to class.

There was one student I remember well.  Who could forget a student with 27 brothers and sisters? His father had several wives - some remained in Pakistan, but he had one or two with him.  He was a wealthy man in the rag trade, and his son was learning English to further the business.

I replied to him.  "Do you have 27 brothers and sisters?"

His reply "Yes, you do remember me."

My reply "I certainly do."

His next reply "I am in Dubai on bissniss"

My reply "English lesson - we spell it business"

Once  a teacher, always a teacher.

I wonder if I will hear from him again, and why, after two years he has chosen to correspond with me.