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Closer to dream

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By Foo Kai Meng | | Updated: Jan 29, 2022

[Malaysia] Foo Kai Meng, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

Foo Kai Meng [Photo provided to]

I was quite lucky to have indissoluble bond with China since childhood. First of all, born to be a Chinese Malaysian, I grew up in Chinese culture which is relatively well preserved locally. Secondly, I had the opportunity to read Chinese classic literatures such asDizigui(Standards for Being a Good Student and Child)and the analects of Confucius at a very young age. It was a good start. Thirdly, the bond with China was maintained after I came to China to study traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the treasure of China and the dream career for me. In this way, constant edification has gradually deepened my understanding and experience of Chinese civilization.

The ancients viewed the scenery and expressed their feelings and ambitions through poetry. The great landscape is able to shock the heart indeed.

When I was young, the first impression on China was its beautiful scenery. In my Childhood, my family took me to visit China several times. During my trips to Sichuan Province, what impressed me most was the scenery of Jiuzhaigou with green trees, clear lake and cascading waterfalls. Everything was as beautiful as a picture. I had also been to Guilin to enjoy the peerless landscape. I didn’t know the so-called “karst landform” before and always wondered why there was an elephant in the river! I can’t help smiling when I think of it now.

Later, I had witnessed the prosperity of China after travelling around the Pearl River and Shenzhen. Since studying in China, I have also observed the spring willows and winter snow in Beijing. I have been carried away by the majestic five mountains (Mount Taishan in Shandong, Mount Hengshan in Hunan, Mount Huashan in Shaanxi, Mount Hengshan in Shanxi and Mount Songshan in Henan), the surging Yellow River and the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature.

This is my encounter with China.

Hutian Lake, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine [Photo provided by Foo Kai Meng]

Thanks to the accumulation of my childhood, my Chinese was not bad in primary school. At that time, thousands of the ancients lived in my heart. In the fifth or sixth grade, I often stayed in the library and read Chinese stories. What I remembered best was black-and-white cartoon about loyal officials in ancient China. It was unforgettable that Zhang Xun in Tang Dynasty died in Suiyang with broken teeth and split eyes.

Yue Fei in the Southern Song Dynasty devoted all his life to serving the country and yearning for recovery of the lost territory. Wen Tianxiang was the prime minister at the end of the Southern Song Dynasty who resisted aggression and fought to death unflinchingly. I admired their spirit so much that I sketched their pictures from these books.

Later on I had more life experiences and was more moved by these stories.

In recent time I watched China in the Classics, a TV program, and was impressed a lot. It was said books are skins and people in them are bones. Li Shizhen, Sima Qian, Song Yingxing… contribute their lives in their fields through thick and thin for the people’s well being and cultural heritage. Their noble spirit is so admirable.

During thousands years of history, there was no shortage of moral models and benchmarks of science and technology in China.

This is my acquaintance with China.

A small silver needle renewed my understanding on China.

Qihuang Hall, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine [Photo provided by Foo Kai Meng]

I was physically delicate when I was young and often caught a cold. The treatment effect was not satisfactory. When I was in senior high school, a doctor of TCM lived around our neighborhood. My parents took me to see this doctor to have a try. It is magical that half of my symptoms were gone after the treatment. How could a needle, a bag of Argy Wormwood and two hands cure me? In addition, My sports injuries were cured by TCM too.

Therefore, I took a strong interest in TCM. Through serendipity, my dream of learning TCM sprouted in my heart. After graduating from high school, I applied to study TCM in Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It was a turning point for me to study TCM, especially when the epidemic raged last year, we had online classes and got more time for deep thinking. How does TCM cure people? Why is the culture important? Through learning from good teachers and friends and reading ancient records, I gradually have deeper understanding about some questions arising form the first year at college.

Friendship Pavilion, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine [Photo provided by Foo Kai Meng]

TCM is very simple. It is based on the five elements theory to unify things and the six channels to identify the source of diseases. On the other hand, TCM is very complicated. One acupoint has one acupoint’s qi mechanism, and one syndrome is different from another. Only by grasping the fundamental logic and mastering the main contradictions can we calmly deal with various situations.

This is how medical science works, so does the culture and everything in reality. To do this, we must be sincere and honest, as a result we can do things rationally and achieve peace and stability. People and things can take on a new look in this way. “To deal with disease is like to govern a country, the diagnosis is like politics.” It is very true!

Life always gives you something useful. An encounter can change your life. I extend my sincere thanks for this beautiful encounter with China. From the first meeting to read China in the classics, it is a spiritual baptism of the soul.

I am fulfilling my dream in the study of TCM and determined to spread culture of TCM all over the world so as to let more people know the real beauty of China. Thank the teachers of Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine for bringing me closer and closer to my dream. I hope I can be like them and benefit more people with my knowledge of TCM and skills in the future.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).