Liu-Chiu students take a boat tour for book fair
【人間社記者 Xiao Huizhu Kaohsiung報導】 2017-11-14
  • 圖說:Students sharing the newly bought books. 人間社記者Yang Shu Hui攝

  • 圖說:Countless books satisfy the students' desire to learn. 人間社記者Xiao Hui Zhu攝

  • 圖說:Students treasuring the experience of a physical bookstore for the first time in their lives. 人間社記者Xiao Hui Zhu攝

  • 圖說:Student holding a Chinese calligraphy pen, attempting to imitate Venerable Master's one stroke calligraphy. 人間社記者Yang Shu Hui攝

  • 圖說:Liu-Chiu Junior High School students enjoying their visit to the Buddha Museum. 人間社記者Zhuang Mei Zhao攝

  • 圖說:On Nov 7th, over 300 students and staff from Liu-Chiu Junior High School left at early dawn to travel by boat and bus, and arrived at the Buddha Museum. 人間社記者Zhuang Mei Zhao攝

  • 圖說:Principal Chai said that she decided to bring the students here as soon as she heard about the Book Fair. This is the students' first time coming to FGS for this type of event. 人間社記者Zhuang Mei Zhao攝

  • 圖說:Students filled with joy at Book Fair. 人間社記者Yang Shu Hui攝

  • 圖說:Purchasing different books, and preparing to share the books once they are back in school. 人間社記者Xiao Hui Zhu攝

  • 圖說:Students of Liu-Chiu Junior High School taking pictures with the dolls from "Pony across the River." 人間社記者Zhuang Mei Zhao攝

On November 7, students and staff from Pingtung County Liu-Chiu Junior High School travelled across the sea to the Buddha Museum, and visited the International Book Fair and Vegetarian Food Expo. Students enjoyed the visit. They watched shows, and for their first time in their lives, selected books from a physical bookstore. Principal Chai Miao-Mei stated that the focuses of this trip were: cultural arts, an encouragement to students, and satisfying the desire to learn.

FGS International Book Fair and Vegetarian Food Expo is a charitable event that promotes good books and food. Every year, a school from a rural area is invited to enjoy this precious cultural feast. Over the past five years, Liu-Chiu Junior High School was the first school that needed to travel across the sea and arrive by boat. The entire school, with more than 300 people, gathered at Liu-Chiu dock before dawn, travelled by boat and then bus, and then finally arrived at the Buddha Museum. Although the trip was long, everyone was very excited to attend their first book fair.

“For the first time ever, I had such delicious vegetarian spaghetti.” “Venerable Master Hsing Yun waved to us; we were so fortunate.” “So Buddha was a man and not God, but this shows his greatness.” “All of the volunteers here are so friendly.” These are some of the phrases that the students shared during their discussion.

Chai Miao-Mei said that there is no bookstore on Xiao Liu Qiu island, and this museum is a rare Buddhist sacred place that students were able to see. We are grateful to FGS and the Pingtung government for making it possible for the students to expand their horizons, read good books, and learn about Buddhist culture. This trip is more meaningful than routine off-campus teaching. Students have great memories of the place. They responded very positively, and we are looking forward to coming back.

Grade 7 teacher Huang Huakai said the children at Xiao Liu Qiu are innocent and carefree, with a relatively limited view of the world and lack of competitiveness. Off-campus teaching is a valuable opportunity for students to “go global” and expand their vision.

“I do not want the students to lack worldly wisdom because we have limited educational resources,” said Huang Huakai, who grew up in Xiao Liu Qiu. As someone with experience, FGS has long promoted the “three goods” ethical teaching. The International Book Fair focuses on culture, education, and public welfare. I believe what the students saw could touch their body and mind, and plant good seeds.

Given that Xiao Liu Qiu is small and has no physical bookstore, the organizers tailored the trip especially, in order to allow students to have enough time to stroll through the bookstalls, and satisfy their wish to select books and stationery by hand. Many teachers also bought books for students out of their own pocket, hoping to improve the students' reading habits.

“I finally have my first Posey Jackson,” says a seventh-grade student, Chen Yu-An, who is a loyal fan of the Posey Jackson. In the past, he had borrowed five books and knew all the details of the story. He said that he prefers text-only fictions, as he doesn’t want the images to undermine his imagination. The Greek God of Poseidon is cool; everyone has a superpower, and he couldn’t put the book down.

After traveling through the forest of books, students were vying to join the “Happy Read Club” in hopes of gaining instant access to the latest releases. In the past, ninth grade students Chen Xuanjun and Cai Shuhan could only buy books through a convenience store and through an online bookstore. Now, for the first time in their lives, they selected books in a physical bookstore. Pleased with this experience, they each bought 3 to 4 books.

In the eighth grade, five friends decided on a "group buy" strategy; each bought a different book to maximize the discount they could receive. When they return to school, they can rotate the books. They commented that their first ever experience with buying books was unforgettable and exciting.

After watching the “Pony across the River” anime puppet fairy tale, Grade 7 student Guo Jinci was impressed with the combination of animation, figures, and musical dances. Grade 9 student Chen Yizhen admired the pony, as pony practiced “Do Good Deeds, Say Good Words and Think Good Thoughts.” She said that in accordance with her parents' wishes, she also tries her best to practice “three goods,” and this has improved her social relationships.

“At the Avalokitesvara Shrine in the Main Hall, I gained self-esteem,” said 8th grader Hong Jing Hao. Hong Wei-Zhe of the same class said that within the museum, he began to feel that this is the place to practice and purify the mind.

(Translated by Hillary Chen)