A group of 20 IFT students participated during June in a cultural exchange tour to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. The activity was organised by the Law School of the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, and aimed to allow participants to experience the respective cultures of several Chinese ethnic minorities living in Yunnan.
The study tour lasted for 7 days, from 8 to 14 June. It was a manifestation of the “Ten Thousand People’s Scheme” of the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Education, to teach Macao and Hong Kong students more about Mainland China. A similar tour was held last year.
The activity began with an introductory lecture on Yunnan. Students learned about the province’s natural landscape, and the respective lifestyles of the Bai, the Nakhi, the Tibetan and the Dai ethnic minorities residing in the province, as well as the unique festivals that these people celebrate every year.
In order to experience the province’s cultural diversity, the students got to watch a dance performance entitled “Dynamic Yunnan” at the Yunnan Art Theatre. It featured a medley of folk songs and dances, including the elegant “Peacock Dance”, choreographed by prominent Chinese folk dancer Yang Liping.
The programme also included a visit to the Yunnan Ethnic Village, a theme park promoting the culture and architectural heritage of Yunnan’s 25 ethnic minorities. Students additionally visited an ancient village near Kunming inhabited by Hani people, and went to China’s famous Shilin stone park – also known as ‘Stone Forest’ – located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County. On the last day of the tour, students got to taste Shou Zhua Fan, meaning “rice eaten with hands”, a typical meal of the Dai people in Yunnan.
Participating students were impressed not only by Yunnan’s cultural attractions but also by its horticulture. A visit to the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming provided students with a glimpse of one of the largest floral trading centres in China, and enabled them to experience one of the so-called “18 oddities of Yunnan” – flowers sold by weight!
Students also had the opportunity to explore the Alu Ancient Cave. It is considered one of Yunnan’s most beautiful stalactite caves, documented in the “Travel Notes of Xu Xiake”, a Chinese travel writer and geographer from the Ming Dynasty.
Other highlights of the study tour included making cake-shaped rounds of Pu-erh tea at facilities at the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics; learning about the development of that educational institution by visiting its museum; and gaining a well-rounded understanding of the past and present of Yunnan from a trip to the Yunnan Provincial Museum.
All these experiences allowed IFT students to gain a deep understanding of Yunnan’s cultural diversity and inclusiveness, and of its sustainable development, promoting harmony between humanity and nature. Participants also learned about the traditions of a number of ethnic minority groups from Yunnan, and forged cordial ties with students from Yunnan University of Finance and Economics.
“Although the activities have ended, our friendship has only just begun. I wish that our friendship is everlasting as high mountains and long rivers,” commented Priscilla Lam, an IFT student who attended the programme in Yunnan for the second time.
By IFT Lecturer Mr. Fang Xing