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A Rare Encounter


Guangzhou, July 4, 2013

Guangzhou has never been my city of choice due to previous bad experiences. If there is one thing I love about this city, it is the magnificent Cantonese cuisine setting out to capture even the most critical foodie. The variety of offerings is amazing and the tatses are just heavenly. With that in mind, I return to Guangzhou, hoping to get quickly through the days with frozen-faced business meetings and a few great meals as a bonus.

Loud, noisy, rude, and always on-the-go are the things stuck in my mind after my last Guangzhou visit about the people here. Why does one have to shout across a one-meter distance just to deliver a simple message such as “It’s boarding time”? That I could never comprehend. But then again, it may simply be an ingrained habit that one grows up with in this short-breathed city.

Well-prepared for a typical buzzing Guangzhou day ahead, I calmly step into Mr. Li’s office. Taken aback by the zen-filled posture and attitude of the host, I do start wondering if I am in the wrong Guangzhou. The office is well-arranged with trees, flowers, a beautiful Chinese ink-washed painting and a nice calligraphy piece. I once thought ink-washed painting and calligraphy were dying in this motherland of such historical arts. Underneath the table, there is a beautifully-carved wooden box of weiqi, the ancient game of Chinese chess on warfare, which one can only come across in Chinese movies about ancient dynasties. A humble wooden tea table sits quiety at one corner, looking all set for a tea ceremony. The whole setting together with its host brings about the nostalgic & much-appreciated Greatness of Chinese heritage values, ones that can hardly be found in today’s material world. If one has to fight to get a better graveyard spot, who cares about Greatness in the kingdom of humanitarian values?

Time flies when one enjoys the company. What an unusually calm and peaceful day it is in this buzzing city of trade! Though one rare encounter may not change one’s perception about the whole place, it certainly helps project soothing thoughts on future returns….

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