July 25, 2011

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

July 20, 2011 Federated States of Micronesia-The Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the FSM hosted a reception at the Cliff Rainbow Hotel on Friday night, July 15. The reception was to celebrate the visit of the Guangdong Friendship Delegation and Guangdong Art Troupe headed by Mr. Fu Lang, the Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Guangdong Province of China touring Pacific islands under the slogan "Ode to Friendship."

In addition to remarks made by Mr. Fu and FSM's Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lorin Robert, PRC Ambassador Zhang Weidung gave a speech utilizing an acrostic based on the word "FRIENDS."

In his speech "F" stood for "far." "However the distance cannot separate us and the seas bring us together," he said quoting from the FSM Constitution.

"R" stood for relative. He quoted from an FSM history book issued by the Department of Education that said that the earliest ancestors of Micronesia and all Pacific Islands were from China. "Blood is always thicker than water," he said.

"I" stood for intimacy. "We respect each other, trust each other, consult with each other and support each other."

"E" stood for Economic Cooperation. "Even if China itself is not rich, it has been providing economical and technical aid to the FSM within its own capacity, based on the principles of equality, accountability, mutual beneficial, pragmatism and efficiency."

"N" stood for Nation Building. Ambassador Zhang said that though China has a history of more than 5000 years the People's Republic of China is only 62 years old. Similarly the FSM is a young nation, 32 years in the making and with 26 years of independence. He said that both countries have arduous tasks in nation building.

"D" stood for Development. "China will develop friendship and cooperation with all countries including the FSM on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, uphold the legitimate demands and common interest of developing countries, and take an active part in multilateral affairs to make the international political and economic order more just and equitable," the Ambassador said.

"S" stood for Success in the Ambassador's speech. "We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved, but we have no reason to be complacent. We must not and shall never rest on our laurels. We will continue to make great efforts in strengthening our friendship. We will be successful and we must be successful since it is beneficial to both our countries and our peoples."

"The visit by the Guangdong Delegation will contribute to the friendship and cooperation between us. Guangdong was among the first Provinces to implement the policy of reform and opening up to the world in China 33 years ago. Today Guangdong has become a model on economic and social development in China. Guangdong Province and Chuuk State have signed a MOU to establish a sister ship. And Guangdong is open-minded to establish (a) good relationship with all the states of the FSM…To sum up, we are relatives from afar and we cooperate successfully with each other in all fields," the Ambassador concluded.

After all of the speeches were done guests were treated to two performances by members of the Guangdong Art Troupe.

The first, a virtuoso musical performance on the four stringed Chinese "Pipa" astounded listeners. The fingers of Sha Jingshan cascaded over the strings in a performance that left non-musicians appreciative and musicians open mouthed.

Ma Lixin showed that she had complete control over her body as she swung multiple aluminum covered hula hoops with complete control both while standing on her feet and on her head.

The translator for the troupe teased the guests by telling them that if they wanted to see more they would have to come to one of the performances on the weekend.

FSM Vice President Alik and his wife were at the July 16, 6:30 performance as were the members of the diplomatic corps and some cabinet members. The stands were nearly full.

The show kicked off in front of an appreciative Pohnpei audience with a dance entitled The Soul of Dance with performers Wu Qiong, Lu Hongyi, Wang Xuexin, Zhang Xuan, Pen Chuqing, Zhao Kan, and Ou Yang.

Performer Ma Zhimin played a Suona Horn Solo, "Harvest Chinese Dates" that featured two differently pitched straight brass horns and a mouth insert that made the performer seem as if she was singing pitches impossible for a human being to sing. The audience went wild. She followed that performance with a Cucurbit Flute Solo entitled "Phoenix Tail Bamboo under the Moonlight," reminiscent of the musical sound track of nearly every Kung Fu movie ever made.

Xu Zhaohua, Xu Damei, Ma Xiahui clowned for the audience as they balanced on a board perched on top of multiple rolling tubes. They invited a young boy from the audience to see if he could balance like they did to the audience's immense pleasure.

Wu Qiong performed a dance entitled "Flowers" in a dress that bloomed as she spun just like the flowers she was imitating.

A group of stick dancers from Nett, Pohnpei were invited to perform and demonstrated their craft more for the benefit of the Guangdong Art Troupe than for the audience.

Champion Kung Fu experts Gan Lei, and Chen Lun did a floor show to demonstrate their ancient martial art.

Ma Lixin followed with a longer version of the performance she had given the evening before at the Cliff Rainbow Hotel. Afterwards she invited a young local girl to try to swing a hula hoop around her hips as the crowd whooped and hollered. She performed admirably with barely a trace of embarrassment.

In a truly remarkable and magical performance Ou Yang, Wu Qiong, Lu Hongyi, Zhang Xuan, and Pen Chuqing displayed the art of Szechuan opera in which the performer changed masks without anyone seeing how or when she did it; in the blink of an eye.

Mrs. Amy Prahar who is from Hong Kong and is the wife of U.S. Ambassador Peter Prahar later said that Szechuan opera artists have been guarding the secret of the magic behind the changing masks for generations and that only the artists know how it is done.

Sha Jingshan demonstrated her instrumental virtuosity on two different four stringed traditional Chinese instruments in her performances of "Playing My Beloved Pipa" and "A Rose for You."

Gan Lei and Chen Lun demonstrated Kung Fu swords in a muscular presentation.

Dancers in a change of costume performed a charming and innocent appearing dance involving straw hats in a number they entitled "The Charm of Cantonese Girls."

Xu Zhaohua, Xu Damei and Ma Xiaohui performed head and hand standing and stacked acrobatics on the floor that should never be attempted by anyone who doesn't have the proper training. Stacked three people high the performers did acrobatic tricks that would reasonably scare a person trying to do them at floor level much less over a dozen feet off the ground.

An ambulance was standing by.

A Bawu and Pipa duet was performed by the musicians of the troupe followed by a surprise and seemingly impromptu saxophone performance of Edelweiss, Auld Land Syne and an encore traditional Chinese musical number by Guangdong head of delegation Fu Lang.

The audience was told by the English and Chinese Speaking Master of Ceremonies and McGarry Miguel who acted as the Pohnpeian language interpreter that in China the color red symbolizes happiness. The Art Troupe closed its performance with a raucous dance entitled "China Red," with dancers clothed entirely in crimson attire.

The Guangdong Art Troupe gave a second performance on the following evening which was delayed for nearly two hours due to a weather related power outage. Apparently the crowd was at capacity and most of them stayed for the performance which didn't begin until after 8:00.

This morning they gave another performance in Chuuk.

Perhaps Ambassador Zhang's spoken wish has come true. "The two-day show here in Pohnpei and one show in Chuuk will not only impress the audience with the wisdom, courage and diligence of the Chinese people but also bring love, peace and happiness to the people of the FSM. I am sure that after you have watched the performances, you will have a better understanding of China, its culture and its people," he said in his concluding remarks at the Cliff Rainbow reception.