Everlasting imprints of China’s culture

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Book review

A guidebook to understand Chinese people, their values

Zubair Qureshi

Group Captain (R) SM Hali has indeed done a service to the people of Pakistan by writing a valuable informatory book on China’s culture and values, Chinese people and their ways of living.
“Cheeni Saqafat kay Tabinda Naqoosh” or “Everlasting imprints of Chinese culture” is SM Hali’s third book on China. Earlier, he has written “China’s Stories: China’s Success” in English and “Cheen ki Kamyabion Ki Kahani” in Urdu. However, his latest book that was launched earlier in January i.e. January 31, 2018 is a unique work that details various aspects of China’s culture, traditions and set of values from ancient times to the present day.
The 260-page book is divided into 13 chapters and each chapter is dedicated to a particular aspect of China’s culture and tradition like the ‘Chinese Art’, ‘Traditional Food’, ‘Festivals’, ‘Chinese Medicine’, ‘Chinese Musical Instruments’, Beijing Opera,’ ‘Jugglers of China,’ ‘Historical sites and tourist points in China,’ ‘China’s Folk Games,’ ‘Traditional Dance’, ‘Ethnic Chinese groups,’ ‘Chinese Etiquettes,’ and ‘China’s popular insect sport: Cricket Noise.’
In the beginning, the author has expressed his gratefulness to the Government of China, Communist Party of China and the Embassy and former Ambassador of China Sun Weidong. Hali has also thanked Beijing Language & Cultural Association for providing DVD “Journey Through China” which enabled him to learn about China’s peculiar civilization and its glimpses.
Noted writer and folklorist Uxi Mufti in the Preface of the book has mentioned that SM Hali has visited China for around 70 times and these visits also helped him and absorb the Chinese culture and values.
“In the wake of China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) cultural exchange and mutual understanding of each other’s values and lifestyle has assumed further importance and must be learnt by the other nation,” says Uxi Mufti. This is the right time that we should try to learn about the time-tested friend of Pakistan and the book by SM Hali will serve the purpose rightly, further says Mufti.
‘Dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of the great nation’s list of etiquette is also given in the book so that first-time visitors may not feel much difficulty or feel embarrassed due to their ignorance of the Chinese culture and etiquettes. Cultural identity of Chinese society is a ‘soft power’ that counts ultimately and stands out distinctly among other cultures on account of its diversity and rich history.
In the book the chapters devoted to Great Wall of China, Palace Museum or The Forbidden City and other tourist points also provide useful information about China’s history. The last chapter devoted to ‘Chinese Etiquette’ is particularly important and very useful for those who are on a visit to China. The list of what to do while sitting at a table and how to meet a Chinese friend and his family can enable a first time visitor to make a good impression on his hosts.

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