Written by Simon Ng
As we pass the half-way point of our life-changing journey, we are all asked to reflect on all the many sites, landmarks and wonders we’ve witnessed thus far in China. From the natural and undisturbed serenity of Daming Lake to the sheer magnificence of the Great Wall of China, I believe I can safely say on behalf of all of the participants that we’re all truly grateful towards the Mon Sheong Foundation for allowing us to really experience China. It’s only fitting then that we pay our respects to the Mon Sheong Foundation’s raison d’être and learn more about its core values and philosophy. That’s precisely how we began Day 9, by setting forth towards the Lord Mengchang (孟嘗君) Mausoleum, located in Teng County.
Upon arrival at the gates of the Mausoleum, we were immediately greeted with bright smiles from the same Shandong Government representatives who graciously hosted us for dinner two nights before. It was great to see some familiar faces, and with the “ice already broken”, many of us were instantly conversing and laughing casually once again. I met with Mr. Zhang again and because we’re the same age (26), I found it amazing how different our lives are and we continued to learn more about each other’s careers and educational background.
Due to the sweltering heat (39°C!), they offered us a bottle of water each. It may just be water and while I already had two bottles, I felt welcomed with open arms, and thought to myself that, truly, they too embody the Mon Sheong philosophy. After a few group pictures outside, we all moved to the actual courtyard where Lord Mengchang’s grave was located alongside his father. The Teng County mayor proceeded to give us all a brief introduction in Mandarin. Although the majority of us didn’t necessarily understand what was spoken, we later on found out we were correct in assuming he gave an overview of Lord Mengchang’s teachings, history, and beliefs, much of which we were already quite versed in. While I’m aware that Lord Mengchang’s teachings reach far beyond Canada, I still found it amazing that his beliefs are widely accepted by so many in places beyond what I can see at the Scarborough Long-Term Care Center.
Led by Eddie Tsang (Vice President of Mon Sheong Foundation) and the government representatives, all of the participants were then invited to bow and pay our respects to Lord Mengchang. I later found out that this was the one and only site in the world devoted to Lord Mengchang, so I felt honored to do so. One of the representatives then approached Jesica with a video camera for a quick video interview, and while she wasn’t aware that she’d have to do one, all of us, including the interviewer felt that she did a great job. It’s a pity that my Mandarin skills aren’t at her level because I would have definitely wanted to say a few words of appreciation and admiration.
To conclude our visit, Eddie was then invited to join the Mausoleum caretaker in Chinese calligraphy. Eddie was given a large poster-sized piece of paper and was asked to sign a message and commemorate our visit. While I wasn’t able to read what the two of them wrote together, I was later told by Eddie that it reflected the core ideals of Lord Mengchang: generosity and kindness – a very, very fitting end. I do have to admit though that I was expecting the Mausoleum to be larger, but I was later shown a design schematic for the planned upgrades, which, when complete, I’d definitely want to return to see one day!
While it may not be an 8,852 km man-made wall or a tranquil lake in the middle of a dense city, I really enjoyed the visit to the Lord Mengchang Mausoleum and definitely found it worthwhile. Its value isn’t in its grandeur or beauty, rather it’s in what the Mausoleum represents.