Written by Herman Lee
Today, we continued our trip in the Shandong province of China. After a buffet of Chinese style breakfast at the hotel, we traveled on the bus to the Lord Meng Chang Mausoleum in the Teng County City (滕州市) in Shandong. On our way to the mausoleum, we were greeted by the government officials of the Shandong province, some of whom we had already met a few days ago at the dinner they hosted for us. We were honoured to be escorted by the government officials’ cars to the mausoleum and there were a total of five cars! Upon arrival at the mausoleum, they even greeted us with fire crackers. Since our trip to China was organized by the Mon Sheong Foundation in Toronto, which was founded on the philosophies of Lord Meng Chang, visiting his mausoleum to learn more about him was a particularly meaningful event on this trip. Lord Meng Chang was a lord in the Qi State in the Warring States period in China. He was known for his hospitality, welcoming everyone regardless of their background. He is highly regarded in the history of China, and according to one of the government officials, everyone in the Shandong province respected him very highly.
After the mausoleum, we were brought to the Mo Zi (墨子) museum. This event was an added bonus to the trip since it wasn’t in the original itinerary. I learned a lot about this very great Chinese master and philosopher in the museum and the many great inventions that he has brought to the world such as the kite, some basic theories for optics that later became the foundation for modern photography, and many inventions for military uses such as the “cloud ladder” (a cart with a foldable ladder to climb up city walls) and the “catapult” (a cart to attack others by throwing rocks). I was also excited to learn that the common Chinese idiom 「墨守成規」actually originated from Mo Zi too.
After the museum, we went to lunch with the government officials. Originally I was asked to sit with the officials in the beginning so I would have the opportunity to practice my Mandarin again, but unfortunately, since there were too many people at that table already, I was seated elsewhere. Nevertheless, it was a great lunch and the food was great.
After lunch, we said farewell to the government officials and spent a few hours on the bus traveling to the Tai’An (太安) city in preparation for climbing up the great Mount Tai tomorrow.
All in all, it was a relatively relaxed day. Besides spending a lot of time on the bus with music, we got to learn more about the history of two great ancient Chinese individuals, both from the Warring States period in China, well over 2000 years ago.