the last post... notes, diary

Memories tend to be romanticized and idealized.
It's been a month back in Korea, and in some random moments - in the middle of class, on the street in Seoul -, recollections in Beijing come up to me.

What enabled my stay in Beijing was not my affection to this city.
Friends, Chinese class and historical places that intrigued me or satisfied my curiosity and interest to China were the stone-like strong pillars that supported me and helped me get over many difficulties.

It was my first time to be in Beijing, but I know it is not the last.
I hope I could keep myself updated about Chinese news and keep studying Chinese so that I can absorb more, experience more and understand more about whatever happens there next time I get a chance to go.
I also sincerely hope Beijing will have improved in citizen etiquette, will have solved air pollution problems by the time I visit the city.

My time in Beijing was tough, struggling and bitter as much as it was fun, new, and precious.
With my love and hatred toward Beijing, Ill spare some space in me for small talks with people I was happy to share life values and to listen to his/her decent future plan, and for embarassing moments with those I hope will never meet again, three seconds before having nice food like dimsum, peking duck, xiabuxiabu with friends and lastly peaceful morning and relaxing nite on campus on the bike.

It was obviously another chapter of my life full of many episodes, different in its scale and experience.
I think I almost got to the ending part of this chapter while posting my last several visits to some places in Beijing. 
A new day will begin, and I shall open a new chapter of my life.
We will see what amazing episodes are going to be written.

Thank you..:)

宋慶齡故居 the old residence of Songqingling 365 on Air

Ever since I spotted this place on the map while walking along the 后海houhai last winter, I have thought I have a reason to go.
Hidden from foreign tourists with less accessibility from any public transportations, visiting 宋慶齡故居 was like a short journey to me through endless walking from 西海xihai.

                        a peaceful morning in xihai

My understanding on Soongqingling is that she is a person who was too humble to be called the Mother of a country(or both in China and in Taiwan), who was too unselfish in pursuit of power or authority to be heroized, and who was too open minded and embracing to be called a ideologist. But Soonqingling is the Mother to those who identify themselves as Chinese, is a national heroine, and was a true supporter/leader of a communist party with solid belief.

Before all the high political profile she had until she passed away in 1981, Soongqingling is more well known as the wife of Sun wen(Sun Yat Sen), and as the the middle of Soong sisters, three of those whose power, wealth and influence wrote the modern history of China with. Educated in States in early 20C, she was highly cultured and fluent in western manner, but was determined to serve for her country.

When I got there, I found out that it was just the right time to visit 宋慶齡故居 because it was the second day of special exhibition of 宋慶齡, celebrating her 31st death anniversary in 29th. May. 1981.

                Here is where the exhibition begins..!

♧ 1904 求学立志 Pursuit of knowledge setting her goal life
♧ 1913 风雨同丹 Standing by Dr. Sun Yat Sen
♧ 1925 继承遗志 Carrying on Sun Yat Sen's plan/work
♧ 1931 团结抗战 Unite to resist Japanese Aggression
♧ 1945 迎接曙光 Greeting the Dawn of Victory

The exhibition consists of eleven nine sections including early five above.
One thing that makes people feel amazed about autobiographic work is that you get to know what influenced one person in shaping his/her personality, what cause certain decision to be made which later turn out to bring out tremendously huge effect to a large amount of people. Undoubtedly, one crucial momentum in Soongqingling's life is her marriage to Dr. Sun Yat Sen.

               (down) the original print by Dr. Sun 'Democracy' given to Soongqingling.

                (UP) Soongqingling made a trace of Sun's hand and sent it to one of her acquaintance so that her friend can get the glove of exactly the right size for Dr. Sun.
                (DOWN) My wife is a woman educated in an American University and the daughter of my earliest collaborator and friend. I have begun to lead a new life. It is a true family life I had never enjoyed in the past. How lucky I am to be able to live with my bosom friend and assistant. By Dr. Sun Yat-sen

                'Sleepless Night in July 1927' - In April 1927, Chiang Kai-shek started "the elimination of Communists" in Shanghai. In July, the Wuhan government headed by Wang Jingwei also prepared "to part with the Communists." Refusing to take part at the meeting of "parting with the Communists," Soong Qing Ling drew up the Declaration of Sun Soong Ching Ling on the Current Situation (also known as The July 14th Declaration) on the night of July 14th, protesting Kuomintang's action in violation of Sun Yat-sen's revoluationary principles and policies, and announced her "temporary retirement."

                    In November 1937, Soong Qing Ling issued the Statement on Cooperation Between the Kuomintan and the Communist Party, calling on the two parties to cooperate for the second time to resist Japanese aggression.

          Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China. It was very solemn ceremony. ... This makes me think of the many comrades who have sacrificed their lives in exchange for the glory of today. ... I know this time it will never turn back and never reverse. This time Sun Yat-sen's effort has at least yielded fruit, and the fruit looks so beautiful.                                                                                                         BySoong Qing Ling

The rest sections were showing how contributing her life was in building new China since 1950s.

Getting out of the exhibition hall, I felt like I was dropped in the middle of history for the time being and just got back to 2012.
It was nice to look at the life of one of most admired figure in China, and simultaneously, to get back to history 'lecture' I was away with for a long time. The building behind the garden in the picture is another exhibition place where previous Soong Qing Ling's residence is preserved and open to public.

雍和宫 the Lama Temple 365 on Air

雍和宫 Beijing subway station(in line 2,5) is one of my favorite stations where it takes 5-minute-walk to 金鼎軒 jindingxuan, the dimsum franchise restaurant, where it leads to cute, fancy cafe street connecting to Hutong. To most of the tourists, however, 雍和宫 is, as the subway station tells you, where you meet the biggest lama temple in Beijing, the Tibetan temple.

Just like how I had been doing to other must-hit places in Beijing, I was on the subway heading to 雍和宫 solely for visiting 雍和宫, Tibetan temple in the last week of May

                        These are 'sublime' sceneries on the way to 雍和宫 from the station. Shops selling incense are standing in a row, endlessly. I actually couldn't draw a picture of people buying, and using this huge incense for celebrations, praying, etc. It just looks a bit intimidating because of its size..

                    雍和宫到了! It was very refreshing and new to see the staff check the ticket using electric censor machine.

          A path to the temple after the entrance :) Doesn't it look cool, relaxing and peaceful?

                                I found this trash can so cute! It's both practical and artistic!

雍和宫, the biggest lamasery in Beijing, was built as the residence of Prince Yong during Kangxi period in Qing dynasty. After prince Yong took the throne, the emperor Yongzheng promoted his old residence into temporary dwelling palace called Yonghegong, meaning harmony and peace in 1725. Following the rule that any emperial places can only serve for royal purpose, not for secular one, half of yonghegong was designated as the temple for Tibetan.

In China, yellow symbolizes the authority of the emperor, thus only emperor can use yellow.
After the emperor Yongzheng was temporarily lied in state in Yonghegong following his death, the temple was promoted to the emperial palace, thus the roof of the whole temple was replaced from green to yellow. In 1744, the half of the palace was burnt by accident, and the rest half was rebuilt for the purpose of winning ethnic minorities over including Mongolian and Tibetan in Qianlong period.

             The explanation for Falundian in simplied Chinese, English, Mongolian and Tibetan.

Yonghegong is the very place where it shows how the emperors at that time did try to embrace the ethnic groups, and how the current government still stay consistent in dealing with multi-ethnic issues.

Visitors and those who pray in lamasery are not always Tibetans. It seems to be an implicitly fixed norm that whichever temples you go in China, it's an unwritten rule or manner to give a bow in Buddhism way.

A treasure spotted in the forbidden city - Pottery from Qing dynasty 365 on Air

The forbidden city, 故宫, is located in the center of the Beijing. It's easily seen from the Beijing subway map and Beijing transportation system; the 1st Ring, the 2nd Ring, etc that the capital Beijing was newly designed in its modern appearance based on the city planning in which Tian'anmen square takes the central axis.

My personal feeling about Chinese visiting Tian'anmen square and the forbidden city is this; their visit is not just for touristic purpose, but rather historical and sometimes even patriotic. It's hardly impossible to take photos of pathways to the forbidden city or the entrance to the forbidden city without random tourists in; Tourists from south, from north, from everywhere in China come to see Tian'anmen square and most of them never leave to enter the forbidden city without taking a photo in front of the portrait of Mao zuxi. I went into the forbidden city only once, but have been to the Tian'anmen square more than ten times somehow..(^^;;) Whenever I stood by myself in the middle of Tian'anmen square and see the crowd even during weekdays busy taking photos at that spot, I thought I had better not do that. WHY? I just felt like it's the previlige of Chinese those who have been exposed all the eulogy to Mao Zedong, and thus sincerely admire and respect Mao zuxi. After all, to me, the image about Tian'anmen and the forbidden city always came with a bunch of people from all over China who seems to take photo-taking with the portrait of Mao zuxi as a must-do in their journey to Tian'anmen square.

In the last week of May, three weeks before my departure to Korea, I finally got a chance to visit the old palace, which has been hidden from my reach for so long. On that day, to experience how magnificent the old palace is where the emperor from Ming dynasty to the last tragic emperor used to rule the 'world' wasn't the only 'earnings' I got from this historical place. In one of the museums inside the palace, I ran into the new world of porcelain that I wasn't allowed to get interested in. The porcelains during the Qing dynasty, especially during emperer Yongzheng and Qianlong were such an 'amazing grace'.

These two above are what snatched my attention at a glance in the museum ♥.♥

粉彩 ( 珐琅彩 ), famille rose ceramics, are Chinese porcelain in its enamel colour. The production started in late Kangxi period, and soared in its production during the emperor Yongzheng and hit the peak in Qianlong period. Some of them still sell at action with tremendous amount of money on the price tag.

The photos below are my selections of 粉彩 among random photos of them in random websites...

I was told many times how Yongzheng and Qianlong, especially Qianlong took care of and paid distinguised attention to the art of that time. The casuality between the political prosperity and cultural prosperity hasn't given clear answer to the question of what caused what, but I stronly believe that the emperor with a sense of sophicated taste and ability of appreciation to art must be the one who has a sense of political strategy and wisdom in one's ruling over a country. The exhibition of these gorgeous porcelain from Yongzheng and Qianlong period just added another reason to get more interested in these two emperors and, one step further, in Qing dynasty as whole :)

so true, but not 120% agree notes, diary

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
 that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language,
 that goes to his heart.

 by Nelson Mandela

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