Some Recent Emails from Our Friends
consider this cafe a place to meet our reader-friends and make new friends
rather than a place to make money. We hope our friends and guests
walk out of our cafe with satisfied smiling faces. Many of our customers
dropped in a stranger but when they leave Dali, we are already friends!
From: Paul Ayars
Please allow me to express my great appreciation and admiration for your book, "Mr. China's Son." It was a real privilege to meet you, however briefly, in Dali, where you so graciously inscribed my copy of your life's story to me, "Lao Gao."
After reading the introduction to your book by Ms. Martha Ward, I expected to find a not-unfamiliar story by someone who has experienced, in his own life, all the upheavals, the struggles, the difficulties as well as the ultimately joys and satisfactions in life and career that so many millions of your countrymen have experienced in the Modern China. Having lived even just a few years in China myself, I had come to know firsthand the sufferings of people like you who endured all the shifting, changing winds that blew through China from 1949 on. Some of the friends I made in those years I lived and worked as an English teacher in Shenzhen in the early 1990s were, even then, years after the events, reluctant to talk about their personal sufferings. Others were more willing to share their experiences, so I could grasp at least a little of what they had endured. A few of them have also put down their life stories in books. But none as moving as yours.
Ms. Ward's introduction mentions the enduring importance of education in your life's story and how that is a prevailing theme of "Mr. China's Son." What I also found so moving about your book was the wonderful love story that it encompasses. Or, maybe I should say love stories. There are, first of all, the women who have shared your live. Wu Qiyan, who appears only briefly, and then, of course, Guihua and Cuilian. Then there is the story of your love for your two fine sons. Your students. Your devotion to teaching and education. And finally, the your lifelong love affair with the English language that your writing shows you have truly mastered. Would that many famous Western writers could use the English language so well!
One measure of a person's life is in what impact he has had on others, in what ways he has touched people around him and made a difference in their>lives. By that measure -- which may be far more important than>accumulated wealth or great honors -- your success seems almost>immeasurable! I think of all the many, many people who have benefited from>your life, your experience, your example. Your family, your village>neighbors, your students and fellow teachers. Everyone who picks up your>book. And those who, like me, are lucky enough to have a little time to drop>by your cafe in Dali.
I thank you deeply for sharing with all of us such a moving account of your life story and the lessons to be learned from that life. And like manyother readers of "Mr. China's Son," I am eager to read the sequel!
Just one of your many admirers,
Paul Ayars (Gao Xiang) in Hong Kong
From: Dalton Pat
Thanks so much for the message. You are really clever and smart to be able to negotiate their website. As you can see, they make it impossible to send them a message and they do not give a telephone number. The only way I found to send them a message was on the page about filling in the questionairre as to what each customer thinks would be fair for the new charges for the site.
So, that is how I sent them an email message. It says they read every email, but do not respond to every email. I made it very clear in my message they should contact me by phone or email about me wanting to pay the charges for one year.
I do hope you forwarded my phone and email address to them in your message, so they do contact me. It is quite obvious they don't read every one of these email messages as they promised or they would have contacted me by now.
I am so happy to hear you were successful in reviving the site (your baby) and hopefully they will contact me about the payment. I am honored to do this small favor for your father. I had enjoyed reading his book a few years ago and finally contacted him last year about bringing my tour group to Dali so we could meet him. On previous trips to China I had visited the area of Jinghong and of course Kunming, but I had not been to western Yunnan.
We had the most delicious meal in the cafe, I believe I met your beautiful wife and your son. Both were there to help in the preparation of the food. I enjoyed this meal more than any food I have been served in China. Everything was perfectly seasoned and prepared with much care, the taste of each dish was so delicious. I took many photos of the food and your father. It was such a wonderful time to meet him, have him autograph our books, etc.
I do hope his health continues to improve and he is able to get more rest and to regain some of the weight he has lost. Please check about the pills I mailed to him. I am not sure if he should take the Chinese pills from the doctor and the pills that I mailed at the same time. A double dose might be harmful. Let me assure you the pills I mailed are perfectly safe. They are not prescription. I had read many articles about prostate problems. Many studies has been done and it has been proven that these saw palmetto pills are equally effective in shrinking the size of the prostate gland as prescription pills. I enclosed two articles about prostate problems that you may read if you wish.
I did read that severe prostate problems cause damage to the liver. Yesterday, I purchased a little bottle of liquid "milk thistle". It is known to help the liver to recover. I will bring this next month and mail it after I arrive in China. Of course, I will be happy to also mail more of the saw palmetto pills. Then I can bring another supply when I visit him in April. Please don't hesitate to keep me informed about the supply he needs at any time. For sure, he must continue to take them the rest of his life.
I do hope you are successful in your wish to come to my country for study of medicine. I say a little prayer for you and your family each day, hoping God will grant your wish.
Thank you also for the website addresses for Guizhou. I am so anxious to return to China. When I come on November 23, it will be my 15th visit to China. I dearly love this country and the people and your father is a the top of the list for those I admire the most along with my very special friend who is my national guide. I do hope you realize I am totally sincere in my compliments for the food we were served at the cafe. Now, you know I have tasted food all over China on many, many occasions and your wife, her helper, and your father truly did an outstanding job in preparing our wonderful meal and extending so much hospitality to me and my group.
Enough for now, thanks for the message. You must take care and get enough rest. I realize that reviving the website took much of your time. I await for Homestead to contact me.
From: Jaap en Wil Kerpel
Dear Mr. He Liyi,
In July 2000 we visited your internet-cafe at Dali. You helped us to send an e- mail to Holland. We enjoyed our visit very much and you told us a lot of things. ( for us 60 - 65 years old) hardly to believe. Back home we bought your book "Son of China" and we read all about the difficult circumstances, you lived.
One year later- and now owner of a P.C. - I visited your Internet site and want to tell you we had wonderful holiday's in your province Yunnan and I am an admirer of your wonderful site. My wife and I send you greetings and all the best from.
Holland. Jaap en Wil Kerpel
From: Margaret Terr
Dear Mr. He Liyi,
I am writing to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your book, Mr China's Son.I have read several books about China's recent history and it was very interesting to read the life of a man who has lived through these turbulent times. Yours is a most extraordinary story which I found both moving and humbling. I am your age and I live in SE England. My daughter worked in Hong Kong for 6 years and has travelled in SE Asia for some time. When she was in SW China she visited your internet cafe and had the privilege of meeting you. You wrote in a copy of your book for her. I have read in our press that the internet cafes are being closed in China, I hope this is not true. I send you my very best wishes,
From: Ed Jocelyn
Dear Mr. He,
I have just finished reading your autobiography, which you kindly sent me last month. I'd like to tell you how very much I enjoyed it. I felt by the end I had come to know you and your family quite well, and it has been a great pleasure making your acquaintance. I admire your manner of storytelling, by turns amusing and moving, and always engaging.
We actually met briefly some two and a half years ago when I spent a few days in Dali. I ate perhaps twice in your cafe, and while we didn't speak much at the time, I very much enjoyed your hospitality. Some small crispy fish particularly stick in my memory. It remains my hope to visit Yunnan again before too long.
Your story prompts many reflections and questions in my mind. I hope in the future I will be able to enjoy the pleasure of corresponding with you. In the meantime, I trust this finds you and your family in good health.
From: Gail Sirna
Dear Mr. He,
My family and I visited your cafe with Pat Dalton's group in April. We enjoyed meeting you and learning about your life in China. We also enjoyed the dinner immensely; it was one of the best we had in China.
I bought your book, Mr. China's Son and read it when I returned home. What an interesting and often difficult life you have lead. I am pleased that things are better for you now.
I have shipped a box of magazines to you for the cafe. I hope they get there safely, and soon, and that you and your customers will enjoy them. I will send some more later--when I find an appropriate box.
Good luck to you and your family, and especially to your son who hopes to study in the United States.
From: William Wiest
Dear Mr. He Li-Yi,
What a wonderful pleasure and learning experience it was to visit your cultural exchange cafe in Dali last month! I was a member of the tour group accompanying Pat Dalton and we visited your cafe on April 21, 2001.
The tasty meal you so graciously served us was splendid and our conversations following dinner were also deeply valued. I thank you especially for the warm comments you wrote in autographing my copy of your book. That book will always have a special place in my heart and I am passing it around to my friends. You are clearly a very specially talented person and it was a distinct pleasure to be able to meet you. I wish you much success in your work. And having seen what a big and energetic country China is, I join with many other Americans in wishing much success to you, to your family, and to your vast country.
I too hope we can stay in contact.
William Wiest, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus
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