Ja, China mark milestone in song, dance

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Thursday, November 16, 2017

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CHINA came to Jamaica in the form of song and dance as the two celebrated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Monday evening.

The Embassy of the People's Rebublic of China partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for a reception featuring a song and dance ensemble from the Sichuan Province in China.

Music is indeed a universal language, as despite the obvious linguistic barrier, the 10-member-strong troupe was able to convey the love, warmth and general goodwill of their country and culture through their performance from the opening acts. The performers presented the white hada to special guests in the front row which included former Prime Ministers Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding; Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Lisa Hanna; and Mrs Glynne Manley, whose late husband Michael Manley spearheaded the move to establish diplomatic relations with China when he became prime minister in 1972.

The white hada is a shawl which represents the best blessings from the snow-covered plateau of Tibet. Presenting a hada is a traditional practice to show respect and hospitality.

The cultural experience on stage was greatly aided by a giant screen in the backdrop with projected beautiful stills and video images from the Sichuan region of China from which the performers came.

The audience was not to be left out.

A traditional Tibetan folk sports item, similar to tug-o-war. This 'game' is traditionally played among the young men, with the prize for the winner being the adoration of the females. On Monday, they called for volunteers from the audience and after two rounds, a winner was declared and he earned himself a 'bride'.

Song and dance aside, the programme also featured a traditional Chinese painting demonstration by Dr Liang Shimin, director of the China Artists Association as well as director of the Sichuan Art Museum. He too asked for audience participation to determine what he should paint. It was decided his painting should reflect the upcoming pact between both countries for China to import seafood from Jamaica. The completed work was titled In Spring the Water Gets Warm.

The evening was indeed well received by attendees.




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