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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2011-07-12

Dear Parents,

Sorry about the delay. I got feverish during the day yesterday so I went back and slept until morning. I think I\'ll be better by the end of today.

We went to a Residence for Elders. We performed our songs and little shows such as Lean on Me, Dave did his Martial Arts, the group Martial Arts, Chauncey, Jessica, Sonia, and Shannon sang Beijing Welcomes You, Guang Bo Ti Cao (morning exercise routine), and we sang Peng You (Friend) and Gan En De Xin (Thankful Heart), The performances, although not especially polished, were received warmly by the residents. Then we offered them peaches and small treats as signs of respect and appreciation. I learned that one of the elders fought in the Korean War, so he said to me \"We [China and USA] were enemies, but today, we are friends.\" 

Then we visited the Fa Yuan Temple, which is the oldest Buddhist temple in Beijing and is the home for the National Buddhist Academy. The students followed the carefully written questions in their red field-trip book to explore the six major halls and to learn about 弥勒佛、释迦摩尼、阿弥陀佛、观音、the four 天王 (Heavenly Kings) and 18 罗汉 (Rohan). During their Internet search the day before, they were asked to research on the top five religions practiced in China (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism) to find out the population associated with each of these religions in China.

At noon, we went to a Islamic hot-pot restaurant for lunch since we were in the Niu Jie area where most residents are Muslims.

After lunch, we visited one of the most unique Islamic mosques in the world, the Nie Jie Mosque. It is completely built in Chinese architectural style without the \"dome-structure\" that is typical of mosques. We got there by 1;30 to observe the second of the five prayers of the day. Shannon actually could understand the first half of the chanting as she had studied the verse in her World Religion class last year! We then visited the Sha-Hai tombs and the mosque\'s museum.

The most interesting artifact was the order written by Emperor Kang Xi in 1694 (Qing Dynasty). Some of the bad officials did not like Muslims and reported to the emperor that the Muslims were gathering at night to conspire overthrowing the emperor. Emperor Kang Xi did not believe what he was told and secretly visited the Niu Jie Mosque himself in plain clothes. He found out that the Muslims were celebrating the Ramadan and were praying for the country\'s peace. In order to prevent such kind of things from happening again, he issued the order stating that anyone who dared to lie about the motives of the Muslims because of their own narrow-mindedness shall be executed before being reported to him (如官民因小不忿借端虚报回教谋反者,职司官先斩后奏). Bonnie was very enthusiastic about this story and Emperor Kang Xi when she told the story to the students.

Then we went to the Mai Zi Dian Community Center. In China, groups of apartments are built together to form large closed-gate communities. Mai Zi Dian community is one of the most famous in Beijing. It houses 30,000 residents and allows foreign aliens to rent out or purchase condos. The community center has many rooms for people to gather to hold clubs and activities. In the community center, we interacted with a group of ladies practicing Traditional Chinese Dance choreography, saw a special traffic safety and education room, and many students got free uniquely written calligraphy scrolls from the calligraphy club. Many students had their names or good-will wishes written. It was very nice of the residents to provide those for us. At this point I left to go back to the hotel because of sickness.

Because I missed the martial arts performance, this is what Dave told me about it. The martial artists showed forms that drew their inspiration from animals such as the Lion, Tiger, Crane, Cheetah, Frog, and Snake. He learned that weapons are an extension of the body and they demonstrated how the sword is the most fundamental weapon. Martial arts can be used in painting. Some martial artists can endure intense pain such as smashing a brick to the head, or laying down on many blades without being hurt.

[This was a new show and we were the first group wanted to watch it so we were practically the only group there. We were late by about 10 minutes and they waited us. After the show, the students wanted to meet some of the younger performers so we got on the stage and had photos with two of the young boys (9 and 11 years old). Our Brandon and Darren are also 9 and 11 years old. What a different life! I wonder if they realized how lucky they are! - Bonnie]

Then we went to a restaurant to have the Northeastern style of cuisine. The most popular dish is (again) the pork shoulder (东坡肘子).

We had no group reflections afterwards as we got back to the hotel after 8 p.m.

Robert & Bonnie

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