Br, Joche-Albert Ly

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9-In rough seas.
Beginning with rumours about the fall of the capital, there was a general demoralized feeling in Ming Teh, which initiated the flight of very many students and their families to provinces and ports judged to be safe. The Brothers, with their professional sensibility and the lived experience of similar events foresaw the closing of the school, and little by little the Provincial decided that the Brothers of both communities should prepare to evacuate and proceed to Shanghai. Consequently they formed several groups; the last one was made up by Brothers Anthony, Ignatius and Albert Ly.
Risks had to be evaded and great difficulties to be faced in order to manage an escape from the chaos, which was already seething in the port; and for such conjuncture no one was better qualified than our protagonist. All land roads had been closed by the harsh manoeuvring of the Communists, and only the way by sea was left to them. But because of the proximity of the enemy, even this possibility vanished, as the steamers and the sampans had fled with countless fugitives. Only one Nationalist steamer was left anchored, the Ly Hung Kwo, neither large, nor in excellent condition; and trying the impossible, with decision, they attempted a disillusion. Providence so arranged circumstances that among the officers who had to weigh anchor, there was a certain Ming Teh ex-student. He spoke to the Captain who, without any difficulty, got a cabin for the Brothers. (18 February 1949).
This was not a luxurious cabin, and a Marist even had to sleep on the floor, and although they were not travelling like princes, they were spoilt by divine Providence, since only 24 hours after the frigate had weighed anchor, jammed with troops, the Communist guerrillas were occupying the town and the harbour without a fight as this fortified town had been abandoned. And without any misfortune, on 21st of February 1949, the Brothers entered Shanghai, the largest city of the continental Asia.
With memories from Tsingtao, Brother Joseph Ricardo, alias Jesús Fernández, speaks of several letters, sent to him by his former student of Chala in Peking. These letters were always full of his proverbial optimism and dynamism and of the invigorating breezes from the magnificent Tsingtao Bay. Between them both, the far off years of adolescence had already been recalled, at time overcast with sadness and some lack of understanding which the Chala sub-director tactfully dissipated. Through 1947, although residing in different communities in Shanghai, they relived in fraternal causeries the sorrows and consolations of the days of the youth.
And John Mary sums up the years during which he had Brother Joche-Albert under his charge: “Yes, he demonstrated excellent judgement and had an occasional word in excess. With me he always worked with dedication, and his relations as subordinate were irreproachable. He handled his mother tongue superbly, artfully, and he possessed a voice of gold.”

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