Mr. He In My Eyes

Noted Down By Mr. Jean-Marie

From Tuesday 11th April until Easter Sunday 23rd April ,2000 Mr He Liyi stayed with us, the Schepens, in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, the gate to Europe. A new son was born into our family, one of distant China. It was both relaxing and exciting but certainly a truly rewarding and unique experience for all. Mr He is less a tourist of the sight-seeing type but more of the social type, who likes meeting people and sharing lives. He is also an excellent PR-man for his country and café. His principal interest indeed is 'watering the friendship tree' to put it the Chinglish way. Mr He is indefatigable at constantly nourishing his network of 'special friends'. Modern communication technology can turn this into a round the clock occupation. If we allowed Lao He to do so, he would not mind. He has so many friends around here (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) that meeting all of them in 12 days was impossible. In a way, this friendship business is relaxing to the host: if we left Mr. He alone for some time, he always knew what to do. There was no pressure whatever for socializing or organizing special trips or occasions. He was also mainly on a promotion tour for the Dutch version of his book and had to give many interviews. If you put all these aspects together, the leitmotiv is 'Time is limited', a phrase people will probably remember when Mr. He was doing his slide presentation and hurried us to the 'Next'. I think we should be grateful for meeting someone who does not take things for granted and looks candidly and refreshingly at certain phenomena in our Western society.

Tuesday 11 April 2000 : Arrival : Not so tired!

We get up at 4.30 am to beat the daily traffic jams around Brussels. Chris takes care of a packed breakfast. While waiting at the airport, I wanted to buy a newspaper. To our surprise the bookstall had 'He Liyi, Zoon van China' on display between the latest Stephen King and John Grisham. We meet another special friend of Mr. He's, Diane Dejaeghere. The flight from New York is half an hour early. Soon the long expected son of China appears. Oh, he waves at an imagined acquaintance. We, Diane, Chris and I, hurry to prevent him from saying hello to a stranger. Hugging, reminiscences bubble up, first impression: he looks very fit.

'You must be tired, Mr. He?' 'No, not so tired!'

He had travelled for almost 14 hours. Yet he had no time to take a nap that day. As soon as we had installed him in the guestroom, he started making a booklet of the newspaper clippings from the USA.
He sorted out the e-mails, phone numbers and addresses of all his special friends who live 'in the close and far neighbourhood'. He takes out a number of nice presents for every person he'll meet. Before long Mr. He feels really at home. Proof of this: he displays all his papers and things on the large living-room table and two other small tables. When Chris leaves for shopping, she returns to find her kitchen table full of Mr. He's stuff. Where shall we have dinner now? It's great to have some more guy in the house who acts just the way I do. Still, we have to listen to Chris's orders. Otherwise, no dinner. 'Are you a hen-pecked husband?' Mr. He keeps asking frank questions. Well, everyone has to know his or her duty.
Two friends, who were at his café in Dali, came to see him. Nicole, who lives in our village, brought him a nice Chinese pyjama as an extra protection against the cold weather. The Vancappel family of Saint-Denijs-Westrem came round as they would leave on holiday the next day. They were the first ones to buy a signed copy of the Dutch book.
We were amazed at his being amazed at certain things: two TV-sets, leaving the light on too long (he switched it off), half-open windows, bone dishes attached to the plate. Mr. He is also a pleasure for the cook of the house, whom he will soon call 'the general of the kitchen': he doesn't refrain from eating, taking another go and appreciates all food as long as it is soft. I think mashed potatoes, yoghurt, stewed rhubarb with bananas and raisins, ice cream and soft home baked bread are his favourites.
There is only one thing: when called, he is always busy and wants to continue working: 'You eat first, I'll come later' is a classical quote. Some food cannot be warmed up like the omelette crevette of this evening. So he has to obey the orders of the general of the kitchen. Which he gladly and gentlemanly does. And another thing: when at dinner or lunch, you would ask him something like a picture or a map, he would drop chopsticks and run upstairs to get it, leaving his meal as it is. Chinese habit or typically Mr. He?

Wednesday 12 April : Interviewed by a radio 1 reporter

 While we have a long lie-in, Mr. He is already smoking his pipe and fidgeting away in his room. He seems to love gingerbread. Nicole drops in and there are already a couple of local papers who have announced his coming to Belgium. The first reporter (Didier Martens) and photographer come to see him. It will lead to a eulogy on Mr. He and me, maybe speaking 'too big of me' as he puts it. 'I'm only a country bumpkin and you'll lose face if you speak too big of me.' This quote is almost a Mr. He classic. Too modest.

Mr. He visits Nicole and Paul, 'friends of Dali'. He rates their 'estate' higher than ours. He says so frankly. I enjoy this frankness. It is a cultural difference. Later on he will be visiting many houses: his social stratification leads him to one conclusion, the same as in China: teachers are the poorest social class. In the afternoon we drive to Ghent, one of the famous old Flemish cities. In passing I show him Don Bosco College, where I teach. The headmaster and two vice-heads are there (picture!): Mr. He wonders why they come to work during the Easter holidays. It may be exceptional but not so for our school.

On to the travel café The Mosquito Coast, a kind of old style tavern near the Friday Market Square. Mr. He takes a great interest in the style and organization of the café (e.g. bank notes of all countries pinned up). He Liyi's presentation is beautifully announced there: a pleasant surprise to see people copying his boards of welcome in Dali. Magda Van Den Akker has an interview for the Belgian (Flemish) Radio for two programmes: a literary one (De Wandelgangen) and a touristic one (Lopend Vuur). We were worried about Mr. He's hearing but I have put on his hearing aids and contrary to previous experience, he says, they seem to work.

The interviewer asks relevant questions: English is the key to your life story, it brought you hell and heaven, did it not? How could Movements in such a vast country affect people in mountain corners?; where is the evil that made you suffer so iniquitously, in man or in bureaucracy? How could you find a publisher? (Well, it was a blind cat that found a dead rat!) Could you not speak out against the regime? ('It was trying to kill a fly on a tiger's head! What can an egg do against a stone?). The interviewing lady is very interested as she has written a historic novel of a Portuguese discovering China in the 16th century. 

Next is a visit to Chris's sister, who runs a watch and jewelry shop in Deinze. Lao He wanted to know the prices of the cheapest and the most expensive watch in the shop. Lao He meets Fran, our youngest of three daughters. She had been staying with friends. In the evening Lao He and I compose and check most meticulously the slides presentation. The question of the sequel or the extended second edition of Mr. China's Son is at issue in a lot of mails he wants me to do until quite late in the night. We should be in bed as tomorrow we are meeting the publisher of the Dutch translation for the first time.If he needs any washing done? No, tomorrow, he says. But it is cheaper at night. He flies upstairs and suddenly appears to have shirts and things to be washed.

Thursday 13 April : Meeting the publisher

Lao He had a sound night's sleep accompanied in bed by our cats Tobbe and Squeak, who purringly give one peace of mind. We drive along freeway # E17 to Antwerp, the second largest city of Belgium and the second most important harbour (after Rotterdam) in Europe. On the road Lao He is astonished by two lanes next to us: they are chock-a-block with trucks. He is especially baffled by the trucks that carry 10 to 12 cars. He has been wanting to make a picture of them (but he has not succeeded during his stay; one reason to come back).

The meeting with publisher Leo De Haes of the Houtekiet company and his wife Veerle is most jovial. As a translator I had got two free copies of 'Zoon van China', as the author Mr. He gets three copies but more important to him: he also obtains the written permission to photocopy the Dutch version of his book and sell it in his café. The publisher takes us to the Antwerp Chinatown to a combination of lunch and interviews (two national dailies, Het Nieuwsblad and De Gazet van Antwerpen, Veerle, Bea, an author, and local Antwerp TV). Lao He speaks to the Chinese people. It appears they and their kitchen are Cantonese, sweet-sour. Lao He emphasizes the importance of education.
He thinks the secret of our success and wealth is being a small country: China is too big to develop all areas simultaneously. The coastal areas have been brought almost up to Western standards. Gradually the government will stress the development of China's North-West, which has rich natural resources. One big obstacle is corruption. Until China gets rid of it, it won't develop fast.
Back at the publisher's we discover a small mistake in the Dutch book: the website mentioned should be and not lm! Lao He asks the publisher to add a correcting note to each book which has been distributed already. The publisher agrees. Lao He will correct himself every copy he'll sign. And we have counted about 100 copies he has signed altogether during his stay! Worry overwhelms Mr. He when the publisher offers him his free plane tickets back: they only cover the distance to Beijing. A further ticket to Kunming does not suit him at all. Lao He strongly distrusts Beijing airport and would like to fly directly to Kunming, where one of his sons can collect him. Leo will make enquiries about changing the route. Bill and Sue Maule have invited us to travel to Portugal with Mr. He to relax after the Belgian promotion tour. However, with the bookings and requests at loggerheads, hopes are dim.
Macaroni is soft for the teeth and the spirit. Lao He likes his new home and comes to a certain rest after the ticket worry. The copy permission makes him a happy man. Lao He wants us to serve him the crusts he cut from the bread slices in the morning. He wants them warmed up with water. In the evening I take him around the village of Gavere. Lao He notices the yellow posters hanging in every shop of the village announcing his book presentation next week.

Friday 14 April: Sightseeing in Antwerp and at a disco party in Gavere

Another trip to Antwerp is on the programme: a combination of business and pleasure. First an interview for a Dutch newspaper De Stem van Breda. The journalist, Berry Vanderheijden, was a friend of Mr. He. He had visited him in Dali. Then we did a sightseeing tour of Antwerp, which our director (my wife Chris) put on video. We taught Lao He to eat mussels at Chez Léon: a typical Belgian dish for which you don't need cutlery. You can eat one mussel by taking it by the shell of another one. He enjoyed it very much. We also did some shopping and traced his book in the bookstores. Back home, I took Lao He to see some friends. We had a look at the venue where he is going to do a presentation and we ended in the café-restaurant across the street, The Uilenspiegel. There was a great disco and party ambiance and Lao He enjoyed himself and even ventured himself on to the dance floor with my wife. All this can be justified as 'cultural exchange' or when in Rome do as the Romans, an expression Mr. He learned to understand fully. Evidence of this is available on video.


Saturday 15 April : Dinner with professors

Mails pour in from everywhere. The issue 'Sequel or extended second edition' puts our guest into a pensive mood. Mr. He accompanied my wife shopping in the village. We get some rhubarb in the garden and cook it immediately. One thing he enjoys very much: opening and closing the garage doors by the remote control. During the rainy afternoon a journalist, Frank Van Laeken, of De Financieel Economische Tijd (something like the Financial Times) comes to our place and has an interview with Lao He.

 In the evening we are invited to dinner at the home of an associate professor in Asian studies (Karel Depauw). Ten people are present, teachers of Chinese at the university, professor Ruddy Doom of History of Middle and Far East, publisher Leo and free-lance reporters. Mr. He first presented his life and book briefly and over dinner had interesting conversations. Some of them had brought 'Zoon van China' to sign. He also had to explain about the special picture he had brought with him: the one where a procession of people offered rice and grain to Chairman Mao. Many pictures were taken. Claire had phoned while we were out.

Sunday 16 April : Every cloud has a silver lining

After Sunday breakfast Lao He started answering several people (among them Claire, Dean etc.) about the sequel. Again he proved a grateful guest as he always ate with a great appetite. He enjoys my wife's cooking. She truly deserved Mr. He's title 'General of the Kitchen'. 
In the afternoon we went to Ghent for the presentation at the travel café The Mosquito Coast. There were not so many people present (15 or 20  among whom the sister of Anny, who visited Mr. He in Dali). When everything was ready for the slide show and the presentation had to start, a lady knocked over the slides projector. It fell on its head and broke. The slides, which Lao He and I had worked on hard to put in good order, were all mixed up. After a frenetic 20 minutes we managed to get a new projector. Amidst the turmoil, Mr. He still managed to get his slides back into their case. Yet he had to say many times 'Wrong order'. In spite of all this, people have really enjoyed the show. Eight books were sold and signed. We had a good dinner at the café, all our six-member family, Chris, Kim, Lynn, Fran, Lao He and I.

Monday 17 April : Brussels stroll with Diane

Today Lao He wants to make a quick inspection of our local market on Monday. He is quite interested but we have to be on our way to Brussels for another interview with a lady, Catherine Vuylsteke, of a national newspaper, De Morgen, for which the publisher also writes a column every week. The meeting takes place in a stylish 'art nouveau' café near the Brussels Stock Exchange, the Falstaff. Bill and Sue will probably know this place. There we also meet Diane, a dear friend of Lao He's. She has already visited him thrice in Dali. She takes us out for a sightseeing tour of Brussels: the Grand Place, the Tscerclaes sculpture (touching it makes you fertile!), Manneken Pis. Lunch in the Brasserie des Chapeliers where we have the Brussels 'Stoemp'.

Drop in on some friends who help organize the presentation: Rik and Ingrid, Katrien and Carlo, and finally we 'land' in my favourite hangout, at Madeleine's, the place of the local football club and brass band. She buys a book and Mr. He charms everyone present. He gets 'the pub mug' and all people want to be on the picture with him. This evening was in fact the forecast of what was to happen in the village a week later. When we come home: 'Are you tired, Lao He?' 'Not so tired!'  He seems to have the power of 2 tigers and 9 buffalo.  And he continues signing until . ? Time is limited, but not so much at night. Off peak hours! There Diane formally promises to try and translate the book into French. The next trip of Lao He is scheduled for Brussels and Paris! Diane takes us to her 'provisional' home and her school. Then we go up the Atomium (a huge atom of ferrum), the symbol of Belgium and the World Exhibition of 1958. Lao He wants his picture taken with both the Atomium and the Mini-Europe. This proves impossible but then he insists on 'half of this and half of that'. The resulting picture shows 'you can't have everything' as we say in Flanders, a phrase Mr. He liked.
Soon it is 'Good-bye, Diane' and on to The Netherlands to see more 'friends of Dali'. Actually we are staying with Camiel and Leontien, whom we got to know in Dali four years ago. We have kept in touch ever since, enshrining the Chinese memories. After some mobile phone directions, we reach the house of Camiel's parents (Wim and Joke) in Hooglanderveen (near Amersfoort) where we'll spend two nights because they made us feel so good 'at home'. They treat us to a marvelous Chinese welcome dinner at Danny's place. Mr. He enjoys the conversation with the Chinese waiters and waitresses.
Lao He enjoys it all. Ronald Wolfers, one more Dali friend, visits us in Hooglanderveen. He has brought wonderful pictures of his trips. One of those pictures appears to be borrowed by our publisher. No copyright involved, only pride.We spend another peaceful night at Camiel's parents. And we sell a lot of books.
Tuesday 18 April : Twinkling eyes and red ears in liberal Amsterdam

When we wake up and have a tour of Wim and Joke's estate, we are slightly dazzled. Mr. He has to put them top in his social ranking: 7 cars (2 oldtimers), 7 computers, sauna, swimming pool, fish pond, a little zoo of peacocks, chickens, ducks, deer, pot-belly pig. It is a real shame that this magnificently restored old farm has to be pulled down soon because the government has disowned them to establish a new housing development in the area.

After a Dutch breakfast which Lao He remembered from Dali, with the chocolate pellets we set off to Amsterdam. We have to wait a while before boarding for a canal trip. To kill time, we pay a visit to the Sex Museum just opposite. Well, I guess you have to experience Amsterdam the hard and direct way. At first, Mr. He seems upset but ultimately, he is the last one to emerge from the museum. 
The canal trip is pure bliss in the soft Spring sunshine. We have lunch at a Tibetan restaurant. Due to some misunderstanding in ordering, double portions are served. We cannot eat half of it. Apologies are made to Mr. He. He is particularly aware of 'waste' in Western societies as we have gathered from talking with him. After we take another walk 'on the wild side', the real red light district. Regularly we notice a pair of Chinese eyes popping out of their sockets. Again evidence of these remarkable eye movements (REMs) are available on video.
We have a rendezvous with Bert Zijlstra and Sonja Laanen, more old Dali friends. Bert himself is a writer and globetrotter and is currently producing something staged in southern Africa. Sonja and Bert are struggling to settle down in the West. To them as to Camiel, Leontien and us - the world is much bigger. Who breaks the ties?  
Meanwhile Lao He notices all things we do not and is keen on taking pictures: how bicycles are locked, advertising, teasers' bar, telephone booths. By tram we travel back to the car. Joke has prepared a good old Dutch recipe: meatballs, baked potatoes, cauliflower.Lao He enjoys it all. 
Ronald Wolfers, one more Dali friend, visits us in Hooglanderveen. He has brought wonderful pictures of his trips. One of those pictures appears to be borrowed by our publisher. No copyright involved, only pride. We spend another peaceful night at Camiel's parents. And we sell a lot of books.

Wednesday 19 April : a Walk through old Ghent and missing an appointment

After mailing an Amsterdam picture and the book covers to He Lu-jiang, we hit the road back to Belgium. We have run out of books in Holland and collect the leftovers at the Mosquito Coast. We eat at Kim's (our daughter's) place and walk through Ghent admiring its towers, views, architect students drawing the antique facades, and the world's biggest hanging flower basket. A journalist phones us to postpone an interview until four o'clock. Lao He enjoys an Italian ice cream. When we arrive at home, there's an angry note: the journalist had waited in vain. Everything becomes clear when the photographer turns up. It was he (and not the actual journalist) who rang to postpone the appointment. So we have to make another appointment. Things get complicated. Lao He and I put the slides back into the correct order for the presentation of tomorrow night. Nicole and Paul have invited us to a real Chinese dinner at her place. Lao He enjoys it very much. All of us are getting tired a bit. But Lao He insists: 'Not so tired!' Leo, our publisher, is on the phone almost every night to check if things are all right. He is a caring man.

Thursday 20 April : Every Dog Has Its Day

This Thursday should become the climax of his stay in Belgium. As he put it: every dog has its day. In the morning we had to go to Antwerp again. At the publisher's office, a succession of journalists, photographers and friends queued up to see Lao He: Imediair, Magda De Niel, F.E.T., Knack, Radio 2. While Mr. He was busy, I received the new flight schedule from Leo, the publisher. Mr. He could stay two days longer with us. He would fly back via Frankfurt and Bangkok, 'another two countries', he said. In his thoughts he was already making arrangements to meet his German friends during the 3-hour stop-over at Frankfurt airport. However, I managed to do something stupid in his eyes. I had e-mailed the flight schedule to He Lu-jiang. He mailed back that He Lu-zhong or his wife would come to meet Lao He at Kunming airport. It made our Chinese friend furious as he had told me he wanted to surprise them by arriving unexpectedly. He also feared a complete welcoming party would be organized, which he wanted to avoid: 'This will cost too much money, don't talk too big of me, keep it silent!' I had a hard job to persuade him that collecting was a good thing for his safety. Lao He has been accompanied at any airport and I would always blame myself for not having him safely collected at the very last point. He had to agree it made sense. Leo and Veerle, the publishers, give him three very nice Belgian CD's, a classical one, Wannes Van De Velde (folk) and Toots Thielemans (Jazz). Cultural food, says a thrilled Mr. He. We were back home to have an interview with Iege Van Walle (De Standaard der Letteren). She spoke Chinese very well as she had studied for one year in Beijing. She had also brought literary translations into Dutch from Chinese stories and poetry. More 'food' for the library of the cultural café in Dali.     

In the evening there was 'the' presentation in Den Gulzigen Bok, a stylish tavern in our home village of Gavere. My friends of the theatre company had made a lot of publicity about the event, Nicole and Paul had invited many friends, there were colleagues, relatives, friends, politicians, etc. altogether more than 150 people. We had never expected that.The venue was too small so several people could not have a seat and had to stay downstairs. The mayor and aldermen of the village had also come to give 'a coat of arms' of Gavere to Mr. He, who thanked them in English and Chinese. As there were so many people Mr. He had to use a microphone. We could not attach this microphone to his collar. So he had to hold it high before his mouth. 


But his arm always went down so the sound did not always come through loud enough and to make sure the mike worked, Mr. He blew in it, which had a comical effect. Still, most spectators enjoyed his slide presentation very much.
 It was a huge success: all the books we had were sold and signed by Lao He. Moreover, 21 extra books were ordered. We had to go and fetch them at the bookshop the next day (Brussels, Ghent) so that Lao He could sign them, which everyone counted on. Many people wanted to see and speak to Mr. He in person. He was invited in many places. But : time was limited and answering all requests would be impossible even with the two more days in Belgium.

Friday 21 April : Exceedingly busy (The Packing Syndrome)

Finally Mr. He has to admit for the first time: the success of the day before had made him 'a little tired'. Still, we had to take him to one more, the last interview in Belgium. It was the one we had missed earlier in the week due to a misunderstanding between photographer and journalist. We had to buy the books anyway in Brussels. So off we went to the newspaper offices of Het Laatste Nieuws. Mr. He was rather grumpy, so we had to explain we would 'lose face' if we did not turn up and co-operate well for the second time. It proved to be a very nice interview after all and Lao He got interested in seeing a newspaper editorial board  all computers, of course  at work. Coming back, we had lunch at my daughter's place in Ghent, where we bought some more books. Stocks of two bookstores were empty by now.
Then the 'itch of the return' started: Lao He began to be worried about packing all his presents, books etc. We went to the post office to send a parcel of books but this would cost more than its contents: 'the child would eat the mother', so no use. I advised him to take the risk and try to get everything on the plane. Mr. He dreaded to have to pay 50 $ as they had charged in the US and where he had to re-arrange his luggage. Then we had to exchange Belgian money he received from Diane into dollars. We were also invited to tea at one of my friends, Patsy, who saw his performance yesterday. Mr. He had to cook 1,000-year-old Chinese eggs. He received little presents (cigarettes, tobacco, a napkin from Patsy, Geert and Patricia). We had an interesting talk comparing the two countries. Dutch is a weird language according to Mr. He : too long words with strange double vowels aa  oo  uu etc. We learned the China body language for 'shame on you'.  And Mr. He came to the same conclusion again: China is too big to become rich and teachers are the poorest class everywhere.
Before long Mr. He wanted to go home. Packing occupied his mind foremost now. But things came in between: we had to go and see our doctor to get medicine against high blood pressure and chilblain. Our doctor gave it free but about chilblain he said there's no real cure. You have to keep the veins warm so that the blood can circulate better. At three o'clock at night we heard a stumble upstairs. Lao He had not gone to bed yet: he was packing. At 6 o'clock in the morning Chris went to the toilet. Is it a lark or a nightingale that pierces the hollow of our ears? It is Mr. He showering in the bathroom. Sleeping is no priority. He's really Mr. Tough. But as He Lu-jiang put : also Mr. Worried.

Saturday 22 April : The Belgian Seaside and Beaches: Postponed until the next visit

'I will do as in Washington, spend all day packing and continue at night and sleep only a couple of hours.' We have tried everything : help to pack, calm him down, run errands. Nothing helped. We were formally invited to do some last sightseeing : beautiful medieval Bruges, the 'Venice of the North' and the seaside and beaches of the North Sea. We had to decline the offer and apologize. Mr. He could not be forced into something he did not want. Yet, the effect of a stroll on the beach would have been healthy and relaxing. Well, never mind. One can't have everything, as we say. Nicole came to say good-bye but Mr. He had hardly time to wave: too busy packing. Two more important things had to be done : we had to call the mayor for an extra picture with the Belgian flag on the background and Mr. He getting the Coat of Arms of Gavere. Getting flag and mayor out was one hell of a trick. We were simply lucky it fitted in his schedule. It made Lao He exceedingly happy: he now had all the ingredients for a beautiful frame he had been thinking of to hang up in the Dali café.
This picture, signing some more books, sending some 'furious' e-mails strongly opposing the welcome committee coming out, being helped by such secretaries as my daughters whose 'knowledge-box of the computer' proved to be 'heavier' than mine,  put Mr. He at ease. He could laugh again and enjoy smoking his pipe. At one point we had forgotten to put our names under an e-mail. My daughter wanted to send it again but Lao He replied: 'When you want to break a wind, there's no need to take off your trousers!' 
We had a lot of fun. Still, nothing could keep him from packing all night. He could afford one hour sleep because we had not been to the seaside. Had we been there, it would have meant: no sleep at all.

Easter Sunday 23 April 2000: Mr. He leaves

On this very day 4 years ago, we had breakfast at the Cultural Exchange Café in Dali. Who would have thought that 4 years later Mr. He would be taking leave from Belgium? Last filming had to be done. All the corners of the house where he had stayed for twelve days. It had to be done according to his well-known directions : 10 seconds here, zzz and 10 seconds there, zzz. SST: Save some tape.
Flight schedule said: Boarding the plane at 10.45 am. We, especially Mr. He, wanted to be very sure and left at 7.45 am for Brussels airport. One hour later we arrived. Mr. He's heart was 'jumping up and down' because of possible luggage trouble. We were the very first to check in and the hostess at the desk was very friendly. Not a single question was asked and all cases and bags passed smoothly. If they had not, we were prepared for the worst. Chris had brought books and posters of Mr. He's long trip and we would have tried to persuade them by stressing the uniqueness of this event. But no need to. Chris made sure Lao He had a comfortable seat near the window. For the last time, Mr. He gave his classical instructions to a lady to make one more picture : push until you see a red light, then push through. A last stroll down the departure hall made him laugh: one couple had been kissing for at least ten minutes. Soon we were hugging as well. Then Lao He had to proceed to the passengers' only area. He asked us to wait for another five minutes to see if anything might happen. He did not come back.
In the car, back home, we already sensed an emptiness. We had grown used to his calling : Jean-Marie, come -  Chris, come - his steps on the stairs, the smoke of his pipe, his looking for his glasses, his not wanting to come down to eat for he had to continue 'working'. We feel as if he is still around. We will miss him.
This is the end of Mr. He's adventures in the States, Belgium and Holland. Yes, just as Professor Jean-Marie said, "Every dog has its day", Mr. He is enjoying his own day now. However, without so much kind-hearted cares from all over this world, how can he, the old country-bumpkin can has this day?! Therefore, on behalf of our whole family, let me say: Thank you! We bear all your kindness in our hearts for ever and ever!

Here, I have prepared a piece of music for all friends, just trying to express our love and best wishes to you. The name of the music is: "Wish You Safe And Sound All Your Way In Life". Let's click to water our friendship-tree!    

 Sorry, your computer does not support this format!

  He Lu-jiang

Mean while, the publication of the Dutch version of Mr. China's Son indicating a new era. Here we write a song, entitled "Walk Into New Era". Please click HERE to enjoy this special song!                        Back to Top

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