Last night I realized that my community gathering was today. This was bad because I had to think of one really quickly. For those of you who have a community gathering to do, it takes a LONG time to write one. Anyway, my name is Andrew Miller, and I would like to share with you the experience I had this summer. On June 22, I moved from Atlanta, Ga., to Stanley, Hong Kong. For those of you who hate moving, this would have been Š bad, to say the least. So, we go to Hong Kong with our dog, Annie. My dad, who had been there since April, was going to meet us at the arrivals area. We went through immigration, which was a breeze. Then customs, another easy one. Finally, we see my dad. We get into the van that he rented, and headed home. My dad would return to get the dog. At our new home, we unpacked, and got adjusted to the new home. My mother immediately found 10 things that needed to be done immediately. Two hours later, my dad returned, without the dog. The dog was in quarantine because the veterinarian in Atlanta had said that the dog was from an area where there were cases of rabies. This was bad for the dog, because she would have to remain in quarantine for 2 months. My dad got on the phone to the vet in Atlanta, and said he needed a letter... We got our dog the next day, and life went on. We continued to explore the island, and noticed many things. Specifically, that the public bathrooms weren't that great. On July 1, 1997, The People's Republic of China officially took administrative control of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. Never has so little holding so much been given to so many. The Chinese officials there were extremely happy. Understandable since the return of Hong Kong righted a wrong created at the end of the Opium War, in which Britain confiscated Hong Kong. After the changeover, nothing really changed for me, besides the fact that Stanley Fort and other military installations were occupied by Chinese Troops. We actually saw the troops come marching in. Actually, marching is a bad word, since they were riding on trucks. Anyway, they were waving, and it looked like those cardboard movie theatre actors with the mechanical hand. The Chinese population of Stanley and the surrounding area (as a side note, Hong Kong's population is 94% Chinese) all turned out to watch. It was quite a celebration for 6:30 in the morning. For other people, however, lots changed with the handover. Stricter immigration laws were introduced, and judges without knowledge of Cantonese were asked to step down. Also, the legislature suspended about 10 labor laws, of which most did not become active again. Later that month we had the opportunity to visit Mainland China, and we jumped at that opportunity. We visited the Yangtze River and saw lots of the scenic sights down the river, including the Three Gorges Dam, which will displace about 10 million people, and create 10% of the country's power. It was amazing, we thought, how many historical sights would be flooded. While we were in China, a typhoon struck Hong Kong, killing one person. This person was trying to save the lives of two American College Students who were drinking and watching the typhoon come in. His wife called 999, which is our equivelant of 911, but there was a fault with the software, and the person at the other end couldn't hear her. A man died needlessly because of that.
Later in the summer, we visited Beijing and saw the sights there. From the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace, to the Thousand Li Wall, otherwise known as the Great Wall, we saw it all. Including a nice visit to Tiananmen Square, which was my favorite part, simply because of all the things there. Another amazing thing was the flag raising. I have never seen so much ado about nothing. A gigantic band and a huge crowd were in attendance.
After that, we returned to Hong Kong, and a few days later I came to Mercersburg. I will not forget my experiences that summer, expecially the people I met and the things I saw. I would like to begin to end this by mentioning people who, upon hearing that I was doing a community gathering, immediately exclaimed "Put me in it!" So here goes: Michael Galey, Logan Chace, and John Richard Chapman. I would like us to end this with a moment of silence in which I would like us to think about all of the experiences we had during the summer, and how it affected us. After that, the exalted Mr. Smith will play the organ to lead us out.