We all attended a secondary accounting school in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang, which had later changed its name and then been upgraded to be part of the University of Jiamusi. In other words, the school has long ceased to exist and only our shared memory makes the school still alive.
12 years has passed since graduation. I hadn’t since seen any of the boys and girls until the end of last year, when I met again our youngest boy in Beijing.
In Chaoyang Park (June 20, 2009)
I haven’t done research into all of them. But from the few I have met again or heard talking about other boys and girls, I know that most of them now live and work in Heilongjiang or maybe other two Dongbei (Northeast) provinces and others in Beijing or southern cities.
So far, I’ve met again with four boys. We owe these reunions to the Age of Information. And talking about this, I owe my marriage to it, too.
ChinaRen.com is one of the most popular online alumni communities in China, where I belong to a junior secondary school class (my wife belongs there, too) and the accounting school class.
In ancient China, candidates for civil or military service examinations had to travel for months and even years from their home provinces to the Empire’s capital for the examinations. Information flows then were like snail-crawling compared with today.
Now, a plane trip, a train ride, a mobile phone call, an email, or a Web search can do all the jobs. This is an example of science and technology making our life better, easier, and full of joyful surprises, which I think many of us have started to take for granted.
As a tradition in most Chinese school dormitories (at least this is what I know of), the roommates have new names given based how old they are. The names start with Laoda (Oldest) and end with Laogada or Laogeda (Youngest) and there are the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, … … in between. It depends on how many people a dormitory has. In a country with a population of more than a billion people, you can bet the list can run really long. In the case of our dormitory (No. 104, North Dormitory Building), the roster ran from the Oldest to the Youngest, and then continued to J (Hook), Q (Circle), K (the letter K), and A (Point) and then to only nicknames when more joined us because the names based on numbers and pokers soon ran out.
Let me begin with two of the four boys I’ve managed to meet again in Beijing.
At a hot pot restaraunt (May 8, 2009)
Me (Seventh), the Eighth, and the Youngest (from left to right)
As I said, we all attended an accounting school. The Youngest and the Eighth are now the best of those who still do what they have been taught. They are now Certified Public Accounts of China. One works at a large accounting firm and the other at the Chinese mainland’s largest. They spend most of their time outside of Beijing.
The Eighth has been a model for the Youngest to learn from and follow. He is very ambitious and truly knows what he’s doing.
To be continued…