Wuhu Chinese language school: Accommodation

The school housing provided by the Wuhu Chinese language school is unbelievably cheap, costing RMB280 per week only – you have your own room, and share a common room, kitchen, toilet with other people. The school has apartments onsite in the school in the city, and those away from the school in the suburbs. My friend stayed in the apartments in the suburbs, about 10-minute taxi ride from the city, costing RMB7. The apartment is very new and spacious, my friend added.

The School offers free lunch to its teachers. If you are students, you pay RMB3 for the lunch. The School hires a cook to prepare lunch for students and teachers.

If you look for some night life in Wuhu, that will be hard. The whole city probably has only one KTV, one bar and one club. And if you want to experience some cultural things, that is even harder.

Recently the city has built a very modern shopping mall featuring some national famous brands. My friend said he was shocked that the whole shopping mall was almost empty throughout the day. The possible explanation is that the local residents still can’t afford the high price that comes with famous brands and up-scale products. On the other hand, the WalMart nearby draws many of the residents for its wide choice of low price groceries and produce.

Wuhu is not a colorful and rich China city like Shanghai or Beijing, but if you want to have a taste of the life in an average China city that is friendly and has a well-run Chinese language school, then this is it.

The urgent event on 4 June

June 4, the day China’s student democracy movement was suppresed, is a sensitive day for Mainland authority. On this past day, the press organizations in HK received an urgent press invitation from the Liaison Office of the China Central Government in Hong Kong, the highest China authority in the city. This must be something very big and important to cover, the press reckoned, given that it is on June 4 and the invitation is marked urgent. 

The press organizations sent out strong teams to the event venue, only to find that the “big and important” event was China Premier Wen Jiabao had written to a Hong Kong primary school pupil. The premier wrote in clear writing so that the pupil could identify the characters, and he encouraged the pupil to study hard and love her country and Hong Kong, the press was told.

The following day, this urgent event was reported in a small corner of the non pro-China press.

For the China press, anything that the leadership says and does is important, and invariably becomes a headline story. With little knowledge about Hong Kong and its people, the China authority in Hong Kong attempted to apply that principal to Hong Kong’s press, only to see dismal results.

The sad thing is, the China authority in Hong Kong has refused to see the reality and the truth of the world, despite their ten years in Hong Kong, after the city’s handover in 1997. And it is these people who can influence Hong Kong’s future.

The Chinese language school in Wuhu

Wuhu has a Chinese language school called “Aston Language Center”. It has a very familial atmosphere. Most of the students there are English teachers employed by the school to teach in schools in the surrounding area, or Chery Automobile, a fast growing domestic auto company. They are given free Chinese lessons as part of their work package.

There are foreign students going there just to Mandarin, but they are in the minority. When a friend of mine was there, only three such students were there, including one Polish and one American. So there was just one group class for beginners. If you are not at the beginner level and want to join a group class, this school may not suit you.

The teachers are “very nice, clever and ambitious but lack experience”, my friend said. Most of the teachers are very young, 18 or 19, still studying in the university. Some of them come from the countryside, who make a living as a teacher for 1000RMB per month only.

Generally speaking, my friend said, the teaching method and material is far from satisfactory. But he said he was quite happy with the school. He was taking one-on-one lessons and could have say in what and how he wanted to learn. Therefore, teachers’ experience did not matter that much. Since different teachers took turn to give him lessons, some of the teachers were actually quite good, he said. He was unhappy with the first teacher the School assigned, and he made a complaint. The School assigned other teachers to him afterward.

My friend planned to enroll in the school for a week and he ended up studying there for two weeks. He paid 60RMB per hour for one-on-one lessons. The School was wonderful and offered him opportunity to join the beginner group class for free.

The School was run by a female director who speaks excellent English.  It occupies a whole floor on 5/F in a building without an elevator (yeah, can see that Wuhu is not a modern and rich city). You have to climb 100 steps to reach the school. On the same floor, there are classrooms, facilities and reception area at one end, and student apartments at the other.

Near the school, there is a lake and a park. When my friend was there, some teachers lived in the student apartment with students. They went out together for Tai Chi in the park before class.

I will talk more about accommodation and living in Wuhu soon.

Nanjing accommodation

If you stay in Nanjing, a budget hotel is recommended, which is:


It is at a prime site – in the Confucius Temple area. 168RMB per room. The room is clean and with fast internet connection. I chose the hotel for a friend based on hotel users’ positive review. My friend’s comment after using it? Positive, of course.

Opposite this budget hotel is a five-star “Mandarin Garden Hotel” where you can buy train tickets to anywhere in China for a service charge of 5RMB. Very convenient.

Sequel to demolition of Hong Kong Star Ferry Pier

The old Hong Kong Star Ferry Pier in Central was demolished, after the authoritarian HK Government frowned on public protest and anger and went ahead as planned.

I used the new Star Ferry Pier last week, carrying my 3-year-old niece with me. It was a hell. The way from the bus station on the main road of Central to the pier is SO LONG.. With the baby in my arms, it was an uphill battle to walk the minimum 15-min passage to the pier. Anger fired up inside me. What the hell is this demolition for? Not to mention keeping history and collective memory, the simple fact is, the demolition is not in the interest of the residents of the city. The new pier in Central is so hard to reach.

With a nice location, historic value and collective memory, the old pier just disappeared like that, and a fake-Victoria style building as the new pier, stands somewhere, out of touch with people. Just like the government of this city.