Memories of China

By Edem Agblevor


The experiences of a working journalist is enormous; sometimes the stories are told from the chambers of Parliament or from the halls of a law court; some days, from the heart of the most beautiful cities or from the thickest rural areas where life seems to be fading.


 Wherever the location, I am of the view that effort put into telling a good story is always worth it.


My work as a news reporter has led me to China (Beijing) and back, on an eye-opening, fun-filled and learning expedition.


After 35 days, when it was time for us to say goodbye and go our separate ways, it became such an emotional scene; something I don’t think I will ever forget. But I was very grateful for the experience because I was coming back home with lessons and knowledge I know will impact the rest of my life as well as memories of  international friends who am still in touch with.


This life-enhancing experience, as I love to describe it, was made possible through the 2016 training course on Radio Broadcasting Techniques, organized by the China Radio and Television Corporation (CRTV) for International Techno-Economic Cooperation, for professionals, mostly from developing countries across the globe.


The course, generously sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the host country, was aimed at exposing and introducing participants to the digital broadcasting.


I attended this 35-day program with a colleague from Ghana and, in all, we were in the company of 33 other participants from 14 countries, namely  South Africa, Zanzibar, Palestine, Cuba, Panama, Zambia, Malawi, Grenada, Comoros Island, Central Africa Republic, Tonga, and Mauritius Island.


We became a family very quickly, learning to trust one another through knowledge-sharing and fun adventure; we went to class everyday of the week, tutored on antenna foundation and its application In Radio and Television Broadcasting. The Beijing Tongfang Giga Mega Technology Company limited gave us lessons on Digital broadcasting.


Two lessons were learnt. I got to know the typical Antenna used in radio and television broadcasting and channel combiner and I also had the opportunity to visit the antenna site.


The Beijing Tongfang Giga Mega Technology Company limited is ranked first in China transmitter exports and they produce Digital TV (DTV) transmitter High and Medium power and FM Radio Transmitter.


I got a deeper insight into the advantages of Digital Television which included high transmission quality, high image sharpness with good sound effect and strong functions such as digital signal for easy storage. I also understood that the development of DTV would promote radio and television communication and computer integration.


When we were not in the classroom, then, it is fun time. In other words, classroom work is replaced by fun adventure as we explored the streets and recreational facilities China had to offer.


I had my share of that experience in the streets of Dahongmen in Beijing. Standing in a queue with my friends to purchase train tickets, a young Chinese youth approached me and said “Hello, my mum wants a picture with you.”


I was quite astonished, but later I realized it was because in that part of China they hardly saw people of dark skin walking down their street or join them in the trains and in the subways or stand in queues with them to purchase tickets for the train rides.


There was more fun when a number of them finally gathered the courage to also ask to take pictures with us and it was such a joy to see how fulfilled they were from their facial expressions. Certainly, we were also full of appreciation and joy.


During my 35 days in Dahongmen, I never came into contact with a Chinese who looked down on me just because I was a black person; of course, there were a few who had unfriendly facial expressions but I was glad that most of the Chinese men and women we interacted with were lovely people and, in all, I learned that we were all united in one way or another and that no matter our skin colour, unity was very essential for the development of the human race.


In as much as we had different cultures, we were able to appreciate each other and live in harmony throughout the course duration.


Even more, I had an amazing experience with thousands of Chinese people in one of the biggest squares in the world known as the Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen Square is a very large city square in Beijing and is within the top ten largest cities in the world and was a site of several Chinese histories.


The square contains the monuments of the heroes of the revolution, the great hall of the people, the museum history and the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall.


At this square, the Chinese gather there at exactly 7:45pm daily, without fail, to see the Flag of China go down and at 5:00 am to watch it go up.


The most beautiful aspect of this patriotic act is how serious the people of China take the ceremony and pull out their phones to capture the slow motion movement of the flag going up or down and after which they all disperse with fulfillment written on their faces as they leave the square.


In one sentence, the conclusion reached is that the Chinese place a tremendous amount of value on their national flag which unites them and make them stand out as a nation.


The Great Wall of China was another amazing and exciting experience, but tiring just like climbing to the umbrella rock in Ghana at the Boti falls. Climbing to the umbrella rock, however, is nothing compared to it.


The Great Wall is situated at Jinshanling and is made up of a series of fortifications made of stones, bricks, stuffed earth, wood and other materials generally built along the East to West line across the historical Northern borders of China.


This wall was built to protect the Chinese states and Empires against the invasions of various nomadic groups and also to surround the whole of China as a security measure.


Today, it has now become one of China’s biggest tourist sites where a people   from all walks of life visit to experience the climbing of the Great Wall which is not an easy task, albeit exciting.


Another tourist site in the Dalian province is the Oceans Park which mostly dealt with sea animals and birds who displayed to entertain people. Some of these included dolphins, polar bears and different types of fishes and birds. It was beautiful and exciting to witness the Dolphin display in the 2000 seat auditorium which was filled to capacity. This Oceans Park reminds me of the Accra Zoo which has been moved to the Achimota Forest.


I visited the Accra Zoo two years ago and was very disappointed at the place. The Zoo had been reduced to a place for ducks, a few monkeys, a single snake, a camel, and two hyenas.


The question, then,  is why would   rich Ghanaians not pay to visit attractive and interesting tourist sites and  come back fulfilled?


In the same Dalian province is the Khufu Museum which has a display of elements that were used in fighting Khufu in the ancient days— some of which  date back as far as 3,000 years ago.


At the museum is the Khufu auditorium where we had the chance to be treated with a very colorful Khufu display amidst Chinese traditional music which grabbed our whole attention and kept us glued to our seats for the next 30 minutes.


One amazing thing about all these shows is that the Chinese take them very seriously and are always there on time to watch and get entertained. The shows, it is important to note,  mostly take just 30 to 40 minutes so one does not end up getting tired or bored with it.


With the Chinese there is always something interesting and entertaining happening at their various tourist sites and this keeps the places very active and lively while revenue is generated money from these activities.


In Ghana, there are six Museums, namely the National museum which is the largest in the country, Armed Forces Museum, Cape Coast Castle Museum, Geology Museum, Elmina Castle Museum and the Geological  Survey Department Museum— and  the good news is that these tourist sites are well kept and have historical artifacts in them that make visiting of the place very interesting.


What we can do to improve or increase patronage is to organize interesting programmes at these museums so that as visitors tour the sites, they are entertained with some drama, traditional dance and music that tell stories of the things in the museum.


One very interesting thing worth mentioning is how the Chinese take pride in their landmarks and tourist sites. They take every activity in those sites with passion and attend every educative and entertaining activity organized there and are never late to the functions.


The writer is an officer of the Information Services Department.




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