On April 11, 2019, students of Peking University HSBC Business School’s (PHBS) China Studies ‘moving- class’ led by Professor Huang Haifeng, enjoyed a cultural event hosted by the famous Shiyi Tea House, in Nanshan, Shenzhen. This event showcased classical Chinese culture, including Chinese tea culture, Chinese medicine, calligraphy, Chinese painting, traditional dance performances. There were over 50 people in attendance, including thirty seven international students and twelve esteemed guests from the Chinese community. The guests included Dr. Ma Yu-Ling (Director: Oxford Chinese Medicine Research Centre), Professor Xia Guangzhi (Vice Dean at Tsinghua University), Ms. Zhang Haiyan, Dr. Yan Chen, Mr. Liu Fenghua, Professor Teng Tsai Tu, Professor Gerhard Stahl, Professor Luan Shengji, Mr. Lin Nan, and Mr. Nathan Faber among others.
To open the event, Professor Huang thanked the Shiyi Tea House staff on everyone’s behalf and gave a lecture about the tea culture in China and its importance in building relationships in business and beyond. This was followed by a tea ceremony which was led by Mrs. Wang Qianqing. She explained the tools used and demonstrated how the tea which is a popular drink in China is drank. She gave a compelling speech on the history of the tea house and how important the tea culture is. She emphasized tea brings fulfillment and peace to the inner soul. The Chinese tea ceremony consisted of 3 steps: pouring the tea in a small glass teapot, pouring it in the small cup, and smelling the fragrance before sipping it elegantly.
Thereafter Dr. Ma Yu-ling, Director of Oxford Chinese Medicine Research Centre, gave a keynote lecture which highlighted the past, present and future of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). She traced how development in TCM research has led to breakthroughs in pharmacological mechanisms for drug creation. Dr. Ma shared her concern on the drug-induced adverse reactions, especially the proarrhythmic effect of the mainstream anti-arrhythmic drugs. Dr. Ma stressed that diseases are often multi-factor, therefore multi-component medicines, like those found in TCM, should be a major research and development direction for new medicine discoveries. TCM has a rich history of over five thousand year. The unique feature of TCM is its multi-component without obvious adverse reactions. Dr. Ma believes that TCM would make an important contribution with multi component medicine to mankind. The research result on TCM pharmacological research of TCM from Dr. Ma’s research group has been published in a world class pharmacology journal.
As the Oolong tea’s fragrance continued to fill the air, the delegates were treated to heartwarming live musical performances at Shiyi Tea House. The staff of the tea house beautifully sang a Chinese song rendition of Amazing grace, and student groups sang the Chinese love song “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin”（Moon represents my heart）, and a newly composed song by exchange student Christian Myklebust about protecting the environment he titled“One World – One Environment”.
The group had a special treatment to watch the famous artist, Mr. Liu Fenghua, lecture on and demonstrate his calligraphy and painting. Mr. Liu began sharing the history of the art and what it means to Chinese culture. He further explained his tools, such as brushes, paint, and fingerprint signature. Mr. Liu showcased his talent by effortlessly completing a beautiful Chinese painting. The painting of “the two shrimps” was generously gifted to Shi Yi tea house for their wonderful hospitality. Mr. Liu’s generosity extended to the students as he happily wrote some students’ names in Chinese calligraphy and gifted it to them.
Another highlight of the day was the food prepared by a chef from Hong Kong in line with the theme of sustainable living. Thereafter, the students enjoyed a special treat by a famous Chinese dancer, Li Xiaohong, who showcased her talent as she danced to soft soothing Chinese music in the front garden of the teahouse. Before the end of the night, the other student groups added to the fun. One group cheerfully danced to the beat of Indian music as everyone else cheered and clapped in encouragement as they invited the audience to join in the fun. The night ended with exchange of gifts and appreciation speeches from the guests.
Our special thanks goes to our teachers, Professor Huang Haifeng, Dr. Ma Yuling and Mr. Liu Fenghua, the distinguished guests, the Shiyi Tea house, our cultural ambassadors, the organizing team and all the participants who dressed up for the occasion in their different cultural wear, participated in all the events, danced and laughed together merrily. Everyone helped create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
Written by Farah M’timet and Sandra Ncube
Photos: Lilia Jungblut and Chistophe Ehrstrom