Memories of famous son live on at home
Seeing is believing. Two things that happened at Qufu East railway station during my recent visit to Qufu, Shandong province, impressed upon me how deeply the city and its people have been influenced by the teachings of Confucius, the city's best-known son and China's most-famous ancient sage.
Qufu is a tourist city thanks to the presence of the Confucius Mansion, a Confucius Temple and the Confucius Family Cemetery. High-speed trains take just 30 minutes to reach the town from Jinan, the provincial capital, and Qufu is two and a half hours from Beijing.
As I got down from the train in the morning, I saw large posters bearing the words, "How happy we are to meet friends from afar. Welcome to the hometown of Confucius."
I turned my ankle as I rushed to the exit. While sitting on the stairs and resting, I was frequently asked by passers-by, "Are you ok? Need any help?" which warmed my heart on that cold winter day, and let me know that I was in the home of Confucius, who advocated love and benevolence.
When I returned to the station in the afternoon, I watched a number of activities in the waiting hall. Dressed in traditional costumes, students from Qufu Normal University were performing the six arts of ancient China - rites, music, archery, chariot driving, calligraphy and mathematics. The railway employees interacted with the passengers by reciting classic maxims from The Analects, a collection of the sage's writings.
Railway stations often give visitors their first impressions of a place, but I didn't need the large statue of Confucius in the waiting hall, the teachings hung in the stations and the friendly approach of the station staff to remind me that Qufu is the home of the country's greatest educator.
(China Daily 02/08/2017 page6)