PLA enjoys taste of student life

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am

The Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army carried its charm offensive to a new level yesterday with the troops' first visit to a local university, and they came away impressed with its hi-tech projects and the students' colourful lifestyle.

Eighty soldiers and officers, including 10 women, from the city's five barracks toured Polytechnic University's Hung Hom campus.

Led by Major General Wang Yuren, the delegation visited the library, clinics, innovation centre, and institute of textiles and clothing, where they were briefed on research projects. Self-cleaning fabrics developed by the university drew the curiosity of the visitors.

'This fabric would be terrific if it's applied in our army. Our soldiers could wear it for outdoor training,' said General Wang.

To get a flavour of university life, soldiers toured a students' hostel and had lunch in the canteen. Students and soldiers talked about the big differences between the campus and barracks lifestyles.

Soldier Liu Hansi, 19, questioned the student next to her about life on the campus.

'I'd never been to university before. I am very curious about her study experience and daily life,' she said.

For the young soldier, the most impressive part of the visit was of a students' dormitory, which though a bit messy, seemed very cosy to her.

'It's interesting that each dorm boasts a nickname hung on the door. I can feel that the students are enjoying a very free and rich life here,' Ms Liu said.

In the afternoon, the soldiers joined a class of students learning the history of pinyin characters. Then a PLA basketball team took on a university team. 'Our soldiers rarely get a chance to go out. Though they look quite serious, you would not know how happy and excited they are at heart,' said an army officer.