Friday, May 25, 2007

China - Fujian

Hello, hello!! Yup, I'm finally back from China. I was away for ten whole days. The trip was ok as a whole. Not what I had expected (I have been spoilt rotten because we went to China VIP-style for the past 2 trips) but it wasn't too bad. Actually our main purpose to China this time was to support our local basketball players in friendly matches with 3 Chinese universities and 2 other Chinese teams. This trip was organized by the Federation of Hokkien Associations as part of the agenda of its 50th anniversary and to strengthen the bonds between the Chinese government and the descendants of its people overseas. Our tour group consists of 50 people, 10 of which are basketball players, 8 are golfers, about 8 basketball team managers and others who went along to visit their relatives in between matches.

Fujian province is about 5 hours flight away from KLIA. Our flight was at 7 p.m. and we only landed in Xiamen at 1145 p.m. The airport closed at 12 a.m. (this is the first time I see an airport close - I used to think that all international airports operate around the clock).

Anyway, Fujian province is where most of the Malaysian Chinese originate. According to one of the tour members, they had a census once and the number of Hokkien in Malaysia is almost equivalent to the number of Malaysian Indians. That's a lot, I'd say. No wonder a lot of people question the reason for Malaysian Chinese to use more Cantonese instead of Hokkien when there are definitely more Hokkiens than Cantonese in Malaysia. And it's funny too how some heavily Hokkien-accented people insist on speaking in Cantonese (me, for example, although my Hokkien is as lousy).

There's not much to see in the places that we went as our main purpose was to watch basketball matches. Our basketball team consists of 10 men from 16 to 30+. The teenagers were mainly there to gain experience only la. Our tallest player was 6'5'' but he was not even the tallest among the Chinese players!

Our team did very well, winning 4 out of the 5 matches that were organised. The opposing teams were rather rough when they were trailing though. Friendly games, my foot! They were using all sorts of foul tricks - clawing, elbowing, I understand why crowds sometimes fight after a game. Hehehe...we had almost wanted to go shout at the biased referees from the VIP seats ourselves. =P

We had the rare opportunity to visit the Chinese universities in this trip (the basketball matches were against Ji Mei University, Hua Qiao University and a few others). Before I went on this trip, I had thought that the Chinese universities will be somewhat like Malaysian universities. How wrong I was!! I can't say much about other Malaysian universities because I have only been to UM and UTM, but the Chinese universities are definitely more presenting than UM. Take a look:

Can really roll on the grass and study here in Jimei University.

The side-view main entrance of Huaqiao University.

One of the walkways towards the gymnasium in Huaqiao University.

View of a pond on our way to the gymnasium.

Outside the gymnasium.

I didn't get to take many pictures of the other universities because we were driven right to the entrance of the gym where the basketball matches were held. Huaqiao University does not allow many cars to enter. The students are ferried in an electricity-powered buggy-like "bus" - very environmental friendly!

So anyway, the accommodation when I was in China was also quite nice. If you do go to China, don't go to 3-star hotels. They are normally very run down. But then again, these 3 star hotels are normally also smack in the middle of the town so that you can do your shopping around the area too. I rarely get to stay in hotels where its rooms get an individual sauna room, so here I go, snapping away:

Individual sauna room...whoa...

Since I took a photo of the toilet, might as well take a photo of the room.

The 5 star hotel that we stayed at for the final 4 days. I got a room all to myself. See this room like normal, normal only right? The price starts from RMB 920 (around RM 460) for it. My room is the cheapest in the hotel. My parents got a room which costs RM 1000++ per night. Compliments from the Chinese government.

We had a huge pig out at a buffet dinner on our final night in the 5 star hotel. I took a few photos of it with my phone - didn't want to look like a "sua gu" (orang ulu). High tea at the Palace of Golden Horses? where compared to the intricately designed desserts made in the hotel! Photos later...need to ask my sweetheart to transfer it for me. Hehe...

Quite a long post already. More in the next post! Take care!!

1 comment:

melwin said...

u r back!
finally i get to read something...was getting bored...
the uni looks nice..'m sure it is better than UM hehehe...update more pic...