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DuYuen (7th Sep)
 
  It's a school day. But it's gonna turn into a doomsday.

Lao Yang's idea is if grandpa can't attend foundation stone lying ceremonies of schools he sponsors, it would be nice to have a family member at the scene. Although I had no choice, I negotiated a deal with Lao Yang that I won't have to work and I will be given the opportunity to go into crowds of kids to take PICs.

 
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The familiar road-building. We crawl ahead at turtle speed.
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While the obstructed road is being cleared, I have time to see more of GuiZhou.
 
  The school site is in sight. I see kids cheering on both sides of the road. Good subject for photography.

But then Lao Yang turns to me with this naughty smile on his face.

A 4 letter word flashes at the back of my brain. It starts with SH and ends with a T. I knew it! I knew it!

Lao Yang then says. "Kam, you are the guest of honor today. We (MJ staff) have talked about it and we think that you should give a speech after all". 

Promises, promises .. ..

  
 


  Before I can respond, I am pushed off the car.

And I am on my own.

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Welcome team on both sides of the road. Serious stuff.
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Gosh, how did I get into all this?
  
  I am caught unprepared. They put me  in the middle of the ceremony stand with high officials of QS sitting to the sides. After their opening speech, they hand me the microphone along with the gaze of a few hundred pairs of eyes. That all makes good photo subject but darn I am not the photographer any more!

So with the utmost courage and obvious Cantonese accent, I give my first ever official Mandarin speech.

What happened to lone backpacker Kam?

 
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One of the few PICs I manage to take - elder people of the village (much urbanized).
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Kam gets to take a PIC with the kids.
   
  We then take off for lunch. 3 tables of officials and school staff. 

I am the reprehensive of my grandpa. All the spot lights are pointing at me. I still can't take PICs. What a shame.

Then the most unexpected happens.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  I wake up in the bed of my DuYuen hotel room.

Lao Cheng, co-worker of Lao Yang, is sitting in the room smiling. Take a look at the clock, it's 9pm!

I search my memory for footage of my afternoon activity .. .. ..

 
  At the lunch table, I remember they had this full gasoline tank of liquor to start with. We were using 5 oz plastic cups. The first cup I had was a half cup, and that became the standard per serve volume for the cups to follow. 

With 3 tables of people taking turns to "Jing" ("repsect", means to toss with respect) the one Kam, I remember I tried to hold back.

  In the middle of the footage, a school teacher came up for a toss. With sincere eyes and a hearty voice, she said "on behalf of our teaching staff, please pass on our thankfulness to your grandpa. He is in no way related to GuiZhou and yet he has given kids of GuiZhou such a big hand. It's only with the help of kind people like your grandpa that our kids will have a better tomorrow." I could tell she doesn't drink but out of respect, she finished half a cup.

If a politician spoke the same gratitude, I would have considered it noise. Yet I can sense the overwhelming sincerity when it came of the mouth of a humble teacher of poor GuiZhou. I guessed I knew why grandpa picked GuiZhou but not some richer provinces for his school project.

Moved, and on behalf of grandpa, I toss with whoever that comes up to drink. Cup after cup, cup after cup .. .. .. I guessed I had enough alcohol to get myself drunk 3 times over.

  
  Lao Cheng shows me some PICs of the trashed me he took with my camera. Holy smoke. That's me when alcohol is on the house. Sorry, I am not gonna show you the PICs.

  So I go back to sleep again. Another school day tomorrow.

  What happened to lone backpacker Kam?

 

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