Islam was introduced to China by Arab traders during the Tang Dynasty: which is considered by many to be a golden age in China’s history. The Muslims who settled in China married the local Han Chinese in the area. The Great Mosque was built to honour the founding fathers of Islam in China.
Zhejiang Province is an industrial area populated with factories, businesses and businesspeople that emit copious amounts of smoke. You simply cannot run from the grey fog. Clear skies are rare. Given the poor air quality, I still can’t wrap my head around the number of smokers around here. And they smoke wherever they like. But that’s another story for another day. Anyhow, I’m not sure if this is the right town for me. There just isn’t enough heart or soul to keep me happy – even though materially I lack nothing.
Although I’m not in a megacity like Beijing or Shanghai, the smog that hangs over the city is still there. There are good days and bad days. Somedays I look out and am surprised to see clear skies. And other days it’s so polluted I can barely make out the next building. This is despite the fact that I live in an area that’s full of trees and is pretty far away from any factories.
As a born-and-bred Singaporean, I am no stranger to Chinese culture. But it really is something else to be here and see the vastness of this and to see where Chinese culture was, where it is now – and perhaps where it will one day be.
WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK? It’s a thought that’s probably crossed your mind a million times. But really…Who are these people?
This superficial nonsense that social media encourages is what made me go off Facebook for three years. The amount of utter BS that’s on it is just astounding. Too many people are more concerned about how their lives look to others than the reality of the lives they’re actually living.
I struggled to bridge the gap. Especially as an adolescent. I didn’t feel Indian. I didn’t feel Chinese. I didn’t feel Singaporean. But now as an adult, I feel like I am all three and so much more. I realise that those experiences have made me adaptable, given me perspective and taught me to always see beyond the superficial.
Enter from the Dragon’s mouth and exit from the Tiger’s. Oh, you can even see their behinds on the way out. Later that day head to a Buddha Museum to learn all about his life. You even have a space to sit cross-legged and contemplate your life (or his). Finish your day at the 70 year old Liuhe Night Market. Kaohsiung offers all that in a span of a day. Honestly, a day here feels more like three weeks.