Home' Christchurch Mail : January 31st 2013 Contents 5
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, JANUARY 31, 2013
GIVING BACK: Young Chen hopes successful businessmen will help get the city back on its feet.
By ABBIE NAPIER
Maybe some people out
there have had some
success and would like
to give something back.
YOUNG CHEN has experienced
first hand what it s like to be
poor -- really poor.
More than 20 years later, now
a successful businessman and
family man, he is giving back to
the community he loves and
wants other businesses to follow
Young Chen was 29 when he
decided to come to New Zealand
for six months to learn English,
hoping to set up a tailoring busi-
ness back home in China.
China was opening its doors
to the world more and more, and
speaking English was pivotal to
getting ahead in a country pac-
ked with ambition.
I realised that China was
growing and I needed English. I
decided to come to New Zealand
because it s so beautiful. I only
intended to stay about six
months on a student visa.
Young Chen comes from a
long line of tailors.
His parents, grandparents
and great-grandparents were all
in the same trade.
He quickly fell in love with
Christchurch where he was
learning English at a school on
As he was falling in love with
the city, he was also falling for a
girl in his class.
They married and started a
business in their tiny garage.
One machine, two people and
dreams of success.
I still had basically no Eng-
lish. It s not easy to learn a
language, especially one so dif-
ferent from our native tongue,
We were struggling. But I
listened, learned, absorbed, like
you do. I found business for us
and gradually we grew, two peo-
ple, four people, six people.
After two years Bespoke
Tailors was born and the busi-
ness moved to a small space on
Bespoke Tailors now employs
36 people, making uniforms for
Air New Zealand and 70 per
cent of schools in the South
Island. Business is booming.
Despite his success, he has
never forgotten where he began;
with nothing, knowing no-one in
a country where buying milk
was an arduous process.
This is my city, these are my
people now. I am a Kiwi and this
is my country. All my friends
and family ring me all the time
saying we should leave, the ear-
thquakes are too dangerous.
But I put my foot down. We
won t be leaving. But times are
hard. The recession then the
earthquakes. There are people
struggling, really struggling.
I see homeless people, and
people who don t know what
tomorrow will be and make no
plans for the future.
Young Chen is organising a
$3000 donation to the Salvation
Army -- not his first gesture.
Ever since he could afford it, he
has donated to charities around
the city trying to give back some
of his undeniable success.
Now he is hoping other small
businesses will do the same to
help the city get back on its feet.
Not all businesses can do this
and I m not trying to say every-
one should. But maybe some
people out there have had some
success and would like to give
something back. I hope they will
choose to do so.
People definitely need it.
They ve lost hope.
High fire alert
Predicted high temperatures have
the Fire Service worried this week as
a heatwave approaches and some
areas are on high alert. Recent scrub
fires in rural Canterbury have
demonstrated how easily a fire can
start. The east coast of the South
Island was tipped to hit 40 degrees
Celsius this week. The Fire Service is
urging people to avoid lighting fires
and engaging in activities which
could result in flying sparks. Some
areas have had less than 5 per cent
of the usual January rainfall.
Waitangi Day fun
Waitangi Day is on Wednesday this
year and Christchurch has plenty to
offer for a day's entertainment.
Riccarton Bush will be hosting a
special market (10am till 2pm) and
there will be a market at Worcester
Boulevard. The Little River
Campground mudslides are still open
for business only a short drive from
the city ($5 entry) and for the adults,
Flip Grater will be performing at Dux
Live (9pm, door sales only). If you are
looking for something free to do with
the kids, head down to the beaches
city walking tracks (ccc.govt.nz).
Christopher John Francis Kennedy,
43, has admitted a series of
shoplifting offences which included
the theft of underwear and a
schoolgirl uniform from Peaches and
Cream sex shop earlier this month.
Kennedy pleaded guilty and was
remanded in custody to be
sentenced on February 5. The
sentence could include home
detention, but Judge Jane Farish said
she believed short-term
imprisonment was appropriate. He
was refused bail.
Social housing woes
A total of 37 units in three council
social housing blocks will be closed
due to earthquake damage. These
include 17 units in Knightsbridge
Lane, Aranui, seven in the 13-unit
Louisson Courts, Opawa and seven
in the 13-unit Avonheath complex in
Redcliffs. The decision followed
detailed engineering reports that
show the buildings have a seismic
capacity of under 34 per cent of
code. All the remaining units in
Avonheath and Louisson Courts have
already been closed. Community
services general manager Michael
Aitken said staff would help
residents find alternative housing.
Bealey Ave works
Lane closures and turning
restrictions on Bealey Ave between
Colombo and Madras streets were in
place this week at the start of two
months of pipe laying works. SCIRT
contractor Fletchers is relining the
brick barrel stormwater pipe. Crews
would work nights and weekends.
Residents would be given two days
notice before night work and
driveways would be accessible. The
lane either side of the tree-lined strip
along the centre of Bealey Ave will be
closed. Traffic could still flow both
ways east/west, but not be able to
cross the centre of the road at
intersections. The Sherborne St/
Bealey Ave intersection would also
be closed in the centre. Colombo and
Purchas streets are suggested
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