Born in Birmingham my parents both came over from Hong Kong in the 1970’s. I have an immense amount of respect from my father who worked so many different jobs, learning the trade eventually running his own Chinese takeaway business.
Studied at King Edwards Camphill then completed History and Politics degree at Leicester University and a masters in International Relations graduating 2005.
While at University I got involved in the university theatre group as stage manager working with a group of 10 stage crew designing and managing sets. We ended up taking a performance of “cows the musical” to the Edinburgh Fringe festival about a herd of cows who believed the “grass is greener on the otherside..”
Past Travels and Experiences:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain
Two periods in Africa in Ghana and Zambia during 2005 working at an aids hospital, orphanage and a local school were two very difficult periods for me but also very touching and moving. The desperate poverty and inequality in these countries and families contrasted very strongly with their joy and innocence.
Working with there volunteers ostensibly to help teach them maths and english, I felt I learnt more from them about humility, being thankful for what we have and the joy of living. The hospital we helped at housed many patients with AIDS-HIV and had a testing centre where people were encouraged to come and get themselves tested. The school alongside this provided care for orphans for parents who have died because of AIDS.
Teaching in Shanghai:
During 2006 I was in Shanghai teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) at a state secondary school. While class sizes were 50 students to a teacher with 8 forms per year, teachers were very well respected and all students were extremely hard working, dedicated and under a lot of pressure to achieve. Through the British Council we fought half a class each sharing British methods of group and discussion learning in English speaking and listening lessons.
Although we were only teaching for a year many of us learnt Mandarin and travelled widely across China and Asia. The pressures of the education system in China and demands on achievement were incredible to witness with these students working incredibly hard for so few university places. Inspiring and impressive while also sad. The memories and experiences I have gained while teaching, traveling, and getting to know these wonderful group of kids will stay with me for a very long time.