Bursary, and Idea Worth Spreading
Chinese Word of the Day: 圣诞节
(Shèng dàn jié literally "holy" + "birth" + "festival") = Christmas
Origins of a Tradition
Christmas in China and a Bursary Offer
originally posted December 18, 2007
Last night we put up our little fake tree
and strung our lights. I was flooded with memories of
Christmases past; classic Dickensian childhood Christmas
with my mother mixing the Christmas pudding, gifts from
grandparents now long departed, Christmas with my own children,
Christmas lights, midnight services, white Christmases
and rainy Christmases, all coming to mind like a movie montage of
Ah, the sweet pain of nostalgia. Then we settled back with some
Harvey's Sherry for me, some Bailey's for Ruth, and some
shortbread cookies for both of us to contemplate the fast approach
of our fourth Christmas together in China. A comfortable
contentment settled over us both.
Ruth suggested some days ago that we have
enough "stuff" and don't really need anything. This year
rather than exchange gifts we should do something different.
Between us we came up with the idea of offering a bursary to
Jiangnan University students. So we have each kicked in 2000
yuan and it's up for grabs.
lead up to Christmas, 2007
Update to the Current
Year and the Christmas Bursary 2010
So here we go again. It's hard to believe but this will be the fourth
year of our Christmas Bursary, and now our seventh Christmas in
China. Yes, it has taken our time to administer our Annual Christmas
Bursary, but it has turned out to be very emotionally rewarding.
Until we started doing this, I didn't see the truth in the old saying:
It is better to give than to receive.
Here Comes Santa
I'm not much of a believer in true altruism. I
don't really do this for my students, but for myself. It's a very
Neither of us needs more "stuff" or material expression of our feelings
for each other, and I can't think of many things I have done which have
given me this kind of a kick. The Christmas Bursary has brought us
great joy and real thrills as we learned more about the living
conditions of our students and could feel we were making a meaningful
difference, however small, in at least a few lives.
Our tiny amounts of money have gone to such diverse purposes as a
bicycle for one student's father, a blood pressure monitor, a warm coat
for a student's mother, and a pair of warm winter boots for another.
Small amounts of money, but a huge bang for our buck.
I intend to say it early, and say it often: Have a Merry Christmas Everybody.
originally posted December 04, 2010
We know that
many of the students here have families that are not wealthy,
and parents who are sacrificing to give their son or daughter a
If you are a
Jiangnan University student, and know of somebody who really could
use some money right now, send an email to David@themaninChina.com
with "Christmas bursary" in the subject line and tell us (in 200
words or less) why you, or someone you know, needs some help.
Let us know the amount you are requesting and what a little bit of
money will do. The smaller the amount requested, the more
likely we will be able to grant the request. (Please don't
forget to put your name in both Chinese characters and pinyin and
your student number in your email.)
application - Sunday, December 19, 2010
Successful applicants will be notified December 25, 2010,
Sorry. The Deadline for Applications Has
No More Applications Accepted.
explanation is in order here. A bursary is different from a
scholarship. The latter is awarded to the student with the
highest marks, the former to a student who has a
demonstrated need or record of exceptional service, although that
student's marks may be just average.
Once again it is time to express our gratitude and thanks to China,
to this university, and to the wonderful students here.
So, please, feel free to apply if you are a Jiangnan
University student. If there are a lot of applicants, five
thousand yuan won't go very far. But last year we had very few
applicants, and managed to grant every request. You never know.
Applications will be kept confidential and successful applicants will
not be publicly identified, so don't worry about embarrassing
yourself or your family.
Also, in the past we've had contributions from the
wealthier students and other teachers to add to this bursary. So
if you like the idea, but don't want to spend your own time
administering it, feel free to contribute. We'll announce new
totals should the amount increase.
Also, check out my posts on Christmas in
China. Always and adventure.
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