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QingHuan Chinese Tea House

QingHuan Chinese Tea House


Monday, 14 February 2011


Dear readers and visitors,

Today, I write to share with you some great benefits, I have learn from Tea art. I never regret taking it up, despite making some mistakes here and there. In short, it has taught me some significant life values.

After an in-dept thought lately, I must admit that it offered me far more exceeding benefits, than I expected initially. As I pursued the journey, I realized that it not only offered me some medicinal value, but also touches me in other parts of my life, which I like to share with you in this article.

As some of you may already know, that it is very closely associated to human daily activities as some claimed that it as "a way of life" or more inclined to a "relationship" than beverage. Its important role cannot be denied and disregarded. No wonder it was widely recognized in Ancient Chinese as one of seven daily necessities, other than firewood, rice, salt, vinegar, soya sauce and oil.

Through tea drinking, we are taught to be very grateful and are constantly reminded to give "thank to others" who serve us. No wonder that the gesture of bending his fingers to tap on the table, is still practiced since its discovery, couple of centuries ago. This gesture was first invented by the servant, who was being served tea by his master, so called Emperor Qianlong, in a restaurant when the emperor was traveling as an ordinary person in his empire with this servant. In order not to disclose the true identity of his master, the servant express this gesture as bending down his knee and bow down to express his highest honor of thank to The Emperor.
This gesture of thank you is still widely practiced amongst its drinkers today, in line with the proverb  "action speaks louder than words". Moreover, it also reminded us, occasionally if not daily, to be graceful in whatever condition you are in. Alternatively the wedding tea ceremony is also being widely practiced amongst the Chinese communities to recognize this significant value, where the newly wedded couple kneels down and serve tea to in front of their parents, as a gesture of expressing their gratefulness to their parents for bringing them up.

It also symbolized as a mark of respect to elder persons. In the past, tea was always served by the younger to the older generation as a sign of respect. Through tea drinking, they are usually sit in a circle, as a way to reflect equal status and each and everyone is a contributor regardless of their knowledge or educational background. They gather to enjoy the companions and to share their thoughts, views, skill and experience of each brew of tea and other aspects of life. This good value which, expressed our thanks is still practiced amongst its drinkers.

It also reminded us to respect other persons' views, rather than ours, so as to preserve the peace, flow or order -the centre of drinking atmosphere. The fundamental rule is not to exert one views against others without respect of others. If we do that, the question arises as how we learn from others and constantly strike to make progress. As such, the key to this is to stay open minded. Here, again it stressed the importance of having good relationship between its peers, so to speak.

By knowing each participant's preference and liking, through the feedback gathered through their gathering, it will enhance the understanding and relationship. This can be easy achieved through constantly sharing of their experience, through their collections, drinking preference, views and opinions throughout their conversation during their tea drinking. One may noticed their personal characteristics, well reflected through, the way they carry out themselves, if they really wanted to. Trust can be built from there. That's why it is not surprising to see a huge amount of business transactions done through the tea table, in the past to the present.

Through tea drinking, we were also being constantly reminded of humility. That's why it is always wise to adopt good practice. Serving others first and our selves last, has been entrenched in this healthy practice as a good gesture of humility and give honor to your guests. As such, serving from the left to the right is still preserved as a good practice of ensuring the smooth flow and good habit. You are constantly reminded that what you give will finally come back to you. Now, you can see the logic of the saying of giving is receiving in this sense. So, watch out for what you do as it will eventually come back to you.

Pouring tea to others as gesture of asking forgiveness for serious mistakes is still widely practiced in certain regions till today. Through drinking, it always remind us to ask for forgiveness if you had in some way offended others or aggrieved their rights in the modern contexts. Its' wisdom is well reflected in itself, regardless of whether you say it out or not. You cannot fool the people, for even a fool have eyes to see himself.

Always look forward and be a solution provider. This is always welcome in tea drinking session so as to seek the enjoyment of each other companions and perceived as a contributor to enhance and improve its progression and improvements so as to preserve the harmony, flow, order in this context. As such, we are always reminded to assist another to solve the issues at hand.

You would also agree with me that tea drinkers always believe that prosperity is through diversification. That's the reason you find so many variety of utensils, of various sizes, materials and shapes being used. Method of practicing and school of thoughts are also varied. It evolves in every aspect, from its initial processes to end product. Its sustainability is tested and proven through its long history and significant values in human's lives. Today, you can even find it also evolved and used as one of the ingredients in shampoo as well. No wonder that the ancient scholars, artists and officials placed so much value in it.

To preserve its historical role as currency at once time, you still can find people use it as a hedging tool against inflation as an alternative to gold. I also strongly believe of its appreciation in value will be sustained in view of the prosperity achieved by China. As a result, more people have purchasing power to go after luxury items such as tea because of its medical and other values.

Other good attributes such as patience, perseverance, cooperation and paying attention to details are also cultivated through this culture as a way to sustain its continuous growth and progression. In this context, these good values are acknowledged and recognized as universal ingredients of ensuring and keeping peace throughout the world. Moreover, we have enough suffering from the past expensive world wars.

Order (flow) is the main emphasis in this healthy culture. The law of nature has been entrenched into this culture, directly and indirectly, expressly and impliedly or whatsoever one may think appropriate. Broader view is always preferred and practiced here. Problems seekers/ arm chair critics are always discouraged / curtailed so as not to create any disharmony, so that each participant can make progress and betterment.

James Oh

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