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The trip to know Beijing and ourselves

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The trip to know Beijing and ourselves China News

A collaboration purportedly to bring friendship of Malaysia and China closer, has actually brought us unity.

The collaboration

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (EPRC) in Malaysia, Malaysia-China Friendship Association (PPMC) and the Beijing People’s Association for the Friendship with Foreign Countries (BPAFFC) worked together to bring 36 students from 13 Malaysian universities for a trip to Beijing, China. To begin with, PPMC decided to bring multiracial students instead of the norm of having only Chinese ethnic in student exchange programs.

The educational exchange program was very well-planned, with all aspects of Beijing covered – from sceneries and historical places to cultural and technology walkthroughs. 36 participants, led by Youth Leader, Ms. Siti Nur Farhanah, went through a one-and-a-half-day orientation program with ice breaking, discussion, team building and a dialogue with former Consul General of Malaysia in Guangzhou, Mr. Muzambli Markam.

His Excellency Bai Tian, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia flagged off the program at the EPRC in Malaysia. 36 students, led by Mr. Ng Chin Long and Ms. Chew Hoong Ling embarked on a journey that will never be forgotten.

Beijing trip

A 3°C weather slapped us as we arrived in Beijing at midnight. Yet, BPAFFC welcomed us with smiles and hugs that the night felt as warm as Kuala Lumpur. The first day in Beijing saw us visiting the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Capital Museum – understanding the past, present and the future of Beijing.
Day two was a hands-on cultural day where all participants get to paint their own “Tu Ye” (The Rabbit God) clay sculpture at the Yuetan Inheritance Club. An exhibition of the Impressions of Hutongs also served as an insight to Hutong which we visited via trishaw rides a few days later. We also visited traditional Chinese medicine hall, Tong Ren Tang which was established for over a century. The night ended with a show of cultural performance and night snack at the Lao She Tea House, where one of our students volunteered for a magic show and was left awed with their skills.

A stroll at the Ri Tan Park (Temple of the Sun) gave a good view of how people in China spend their mornings. Then, we paid a courtesy call to the Embassy of Malaysia in China before a trip to Zhong Guan Chun Exhibition Hall and the Qker 3D Creative Center. The advancement of technology and Internet of Things amazed us and students learnt of the speed of how companies like Baidu, JD.com and Taobao were born. We also have the opportunity to visit a world-class car manufacturing plant, Foton, with a guided tour at their engine assembly plant.
The amazements never stopped. The Beijing Changping Vocational School left us with admiration on how vocational trainings in aviation, nursery, car repair, information technology and IT skills were being taught.

The peak was a tour to the Beijing International Studies University. Participants rolled their sleeves to hold brushes and tried their hands on Chinese calligraphy apart from having a student each as partner. Students followed their partners home for a night of homestay, which further strengthen their knowledge and understanding of life in China.

The trip can never be complete without visits to the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and Great Wall. Students also have the opportunity to mingle with Malaysians who are studying in Beijing as the latter led us through our free and easy day.

BPAFFC also hosted a dinner for us where the students graciously performed Indian dances, Chinese songs, Dikir Barat, Sumazau dance and ended with a high note through Malay joget backed by the rhythm of “Malaysia Truly Asia”.

Unity in us

The trip did not just end when we touched down in Kuala Lumpur International airport. We have witnessed how the participants continued to foster relationships and had small gatherings of their own. Ten days may be short but the bond among the participants was strong and will last for a long time to come. More importantly, the understanding and getting to know another ethnic better have made this program more meaningful. As one participant, Sharifah Sakinah said, “We all need to play a role in outsmarting certain parties that are constantly trying to pit us against one another. We have to look beyond our social media chambers and go venture outside our “one-race-only” circle of friends.”

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