Kia ora te whanau o awhi tamariki e rangitahi! Happy Hogmannay! May you have had a reflective Hanukkah! May family times during Hari Riyah give hope for the new year! And as we prepare to celebrate the Chinese New Year, I send both greetings and best wishes to the extended family of Child and Youth Care workers “wherever you are!
Isn't it interesting the way that the world's peoples have different holidays and that many of these cultural celebrations involve going home and spending time with family during the holiday period! When this is not possible, there is often contact by telephone or now e-mail. Even when someone is unable to make contact with other family members, the holiday period is likely to be a time of reflection. The holiday period often rekindles memories of personal relationships that were and may nevermore be, or thoughts of someone special that may be elsewhere this holiday.
Hong Kong Family on Outing during China's National Day
While in Hong Kong, walking around the High Reservoir at the north of the New Territories, I came upon this most amazing sight. As shown in the photo below, I learned that I was looking at the former Refugee Camp for the Vietnamese Boat People. For nearly three decades after the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, the Vietnamese Boat People continued to risk their lives to flee the aftermath of war between the former North and South Vietnams. This centre was said to have housed between two and three thousand Vietnamese refugees. Here, they were processed for re-settlement in Canada, the USA, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. Some families spent years living at this facility. Now it is closed, the site awaiting re-development by the new Chinese administration of Hong Kong. All that remains are the ghosts of what was a heart-throbbing residential group living centre called a refugee camp. The garden of reflection there at the front of the Camp reminded me to invite all readers to remember families and homecomings during this holiday season.
Hong Kong Refugee Centre that housed 2-3000 Vietnamese Boat People now closed
Images of the Hong Kong Refugee Camp left me thinking about family disruption in the world, whether in the aftermath of war, famine, acquired immune deficiency syndrome or sadness. May this holiday season continue for you and yours into the Chinese New Year. May we join warmly with family members and not take them for granted as the year 2001 begins and our own 2001 Space Odyssey continues.
Some great holiday news was to learn about the achievement of our long time mentor and friend, Dr Henry Maier who is to be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Minnesota, the highest scholarly accolade awarded by that university. Hooray for Dr Dr Henry!