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It’s more than consuming price problem

As a woman, a house wife, I am more sensitive with the daily consumption cost. In the last two years when we tried to put the Covid threat behind, we were hoping for the market recovering, but that hope has been hardly splached by the minitary conflicts that matered by America through NATO.

Now…….

Are we facing problem to cope with daily cost?

It would be too naive to say perhaps not yet, because we really start to feel the threat and pains from our daily home budget.

Are we able to see the light before the tunnel?

What are we facing right now? It’s more than just inflation, as matter of fact, it seems we are heading to potential recession. What and how to prevent or revert the situation?

As a baby booming generation, It’s clear as how did we built prosperity and developments after the WWII. It’s because of peace, collaboration, globalism ! But what we encourage directly or indirectly today? I am terrified whenever I switch on TV or computer to watch the news about conflicts and wars that’s driven by Fascism and extreme weather problems because of our too long ignorance!

I normally like to maintain positive thinking and energy, but frankly speaking, can any one in the world can help me to see some signs to boost my optimism?

What is Dao? What is Consistency?

The first sentence from the #DaoDeJing (道德经)that we normally know is:

道 可道 非常道 (dào  dào fēi cháng dào)

Way, one can be named is an extraordinary way.

(the challenge to translate traditional Chinese scripts to other languages, it’s underable that the meaning often can be narrowed by respective interpretation)

1973 many ancient scripts were discovered in the MaWangDui,an archaeological site located in Changsha from West Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD); a Dao De Jing was among discovered ancient scripts. In the MaWangDui DaoDeJing, the first sentence starts differently:

道 可道, 非恒道 (dào kě dào , fēi héng dào)
Way, one can be named, is not consistent way.

The discovery of MaWangDui DaoDeJing enlightens a new window of learning, not only some differences in the Chinese text, but there are also some texts are even against the text from the normal version that we learned before.

Before struggleing to think what is Dao (the way), perhaps we can explore why not-consistency is hard to understand, to comprehend and to accept.

Even though we named two parts as DaoDeJing (道德经)but according to the knowledge, LaoZi first wrote the DeJing (德经, 德 means Morals)before the DaoJing (道经,道 can also means path in life). To those who are interested to learn DaoDeJing, suggest to start from Chapter 38 (the beginning of DeJing 德经).

Tea Learning Journey of Mei Lan Hsiao

Sticky Post

Greeting from Antwerp, Belgium

This is Mei Lan Hsiao from Belgium Chinese Tea Association.

My journey started when I was about 8/9 years old

As the eldest daughter in the family, it was my duty to prepare tea during the weekend when I was home for my parents.

My Mom has very difficult troublesome physical conditions, she could have different chronical problems in different seasons. Also since I was young along the way, I noticed that she needed different kind of attention, from time to time. That’s reason why when I chose tea for her, when I made tea for her, I have to pay extra attention to what kind of tea she could drink and how to brew that tea to make sure the tea did not upset her stomach and sleeping quality. So you can say my Mom was my first inspirator to learn about tea, but my learning point was not about tea itself, as matter of fact, , I started to learn tea with health according to Chinese traditional Yin-Yang wisdom.

Then in 1985 I was nearly burn out, I stood on the cross road in life; I started to question myself who am I ,  what am I doing, what is the future to be; at that moment I have no answer; all I knew was that  I like to drink tea, I wanted to go the nature to enjoy a cup of tea; that’s the voice to me. So I started to learn tea with a tea farmer in MaoKong, the tea region in Taipei. With this tea farmer family, not I enjoyed not only good quality tea, with them I have the pleasure to see how they took care of tea farm, how did they pick tea and how did they make tea. Then all in sudden I realized what attracked me to tea was not just about fine flavors and good tastes, actually I was inspired, moved and touched by those people who I did not know their names, who worked very hard in their life to show respect to the nature, also traditional wisdom, hand picked quality tea manually produced. I was moved and touched by the humane values behind tea leaves, I started to fall in love with tea even more without knowing.

In 1991 because I married to a Belgian, so I moved to Belgium. Left family in Taiwan behind was a very difficult decision but I was very very happy, because it gave me a chance to stand out my comfort zone, and I have chance to see tea and engage tea, to learn and appreciate teas from all over the world, certainly from mainland China, so I could learn tea by drinking tea. Often people asked me who was my teacher, who I learned tea from. I always said, the first person is my Mom and the 2nd is tea.  Tea provides us a lot of freedom to choose and tea provides comfort to the heart.

Living in Belgium, from time to time I feel homesick so what I do is to invite friends for Chinese food and, of course, share tea with them. A Belgian friend encouraged me and asked me to teach tea.  With the first group of Belgian ladies, I realized that they did not know about tea, they did not know is tea, what and how to choose tea, how to brew tea and how to appreciate tea. So when I stared the journey, I said to myself it’s not about business, it’s about helping people to appreciate tea.  Because there are so many good people in the world are looking for good teas; and vice versa there are so many good teas are looking for good people to appreciate them.

That’s what I am doing.  That’s my vow to tea. Tea can not speak, tea simply provides. As long as you have an opened mind, as long as you are willing, when you have a cup of tea, tea talks with you.  When you fall in love with tea, what you fall in love with is not tea itself, as matter of fact, it is you in the reflection in tea.

I do hope one day, I can welcome you to visit Belgium Chinese Tea Centre in Antwerp for a cup of tea.

20/4 World Language Day

The world needs us, and we need the world.


20/4/2021

LET’S MAKE IT A
“WORLD LANGUAGE DAY”


Even though we are far apart;

Even though there are lots of differences between us;

Even though we don’t know each other;

But let’s united and sharing fine spirit together.

Let’s not just singing for the Spring;
Let’s not just praying for health and peace;
Let’s not just hoping to return the normal live;
But let’s actually can act together collectively.

For better days,
For better years for everyone.
To make this world a better place for all children regardless age, gender, color, language, religion.

Let’s take collateral actions to make that day, the day for:

PEACE

LOVE

HOPE

登出跳至主要內容

比利時中華茶文化協会

比利時中華茶文化協会

info@chinesetea.be +32 494 50 68 99發佈於 作者: MEI LAN HSIAO

Taiji Qigong in the pandemic

In the pandemic period, Russian doctor taught patients Taiji Qigong in hospital  .

It is not about forms or correctness of Taiji Quan  they practice , it is about how they are willing to relax body and mind, to stimulate energy flow alone meridian, most importantly, willingness in promoting and sharing positive thinking and energy.

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJKcw2yQ/

Healthy diet begins not just with pure and natural ingredients from the off season selections,  it requires a combination of balanced diet + healthy energy under the positive thinking which are easy and free upon your attitude and daily actions.

Here are few critical leanings from pandemic, which are:

(ATTITUDE)

1. Yes, I can

2. Yes, I will

3. Yes, I shall

4. We, Together (One for all, all for one)

(Implementation of ACTIONS)

1. Remain calm without discontent

2. Reach out JUST because we can share

3. Unite knowledge in ACTIONS

4. Implement discipline, demonstrate what self can do first

5. Appreciate & respect others from heart

6. Sharing will receiving more blessing, not from others, but self

7. Liberate freedom by breaking down mental walls

8.Humanity begins with actural respect on equality with an opened mind

9. Reduce expectation on others or beyond what can not be imagined, but ask self what else I can do better

Life is fragile, including family. Live with hopes for future but not on dreams beyond reality, now.

Show appreciation and compassion for love in time, don’t hesitate or wait or hope other would understand, because time is not something we can control on agenda, often it might not be on ourside if we ignored the “Present”.

© Mei Lan Hsiao, Antwerp, Belgium, 25/01/2021

My Journey with Tea

What a coincidence, two days after the self-reflection about my life journey with tea the other day, Marcus in Canada caught me early this morning and asked if he could have an interview with me about my story with tea:

Q: I was born in …..

When I shared my migration story with the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp many years ago, I started the migration and love story of my parents. My father was from Hunan and my mother was from ShanDong where there are more than 1,200km distance, if it wasn’t because my Dad’s troops were sent to Shandong to take over the territory after the surrender of Japan after the War when my Dad’s troops stationed at my Mom’s home property, the sparkle of romance of this couple won’t happened; in their romantic story there are love, laugh, sadness, tears and families. If it wasn’t because my parents followed the Chiang KaiShek to Taiwan in 1949, if it wasn’t because my biological parents gave me away for adoption to General Hsiao, then I don’t know how to ink my story from Taiwan to Europe in 1991 till today.

My father was a retired General and my mother was a full time Mom, my family basically have nothing to do with tea, but as the eldest daughter I enjoyed to prepare tea for my parents when I was about 8-9 years old. Due to the special health conditions of my Mom, so my first lessons about tea were about:

  • Tea has many health benefits, but must consider the who, what, when and how, otherwise the damages from tea could be worse than benefits
  • Be careful not to drink too much very strong tea
  • Health sustainability actually is not that difficult, the basic principle begins with “eating less, drinking mild”
  • Tea is not just about offering a cup of tea, but appropriate serving manners are very important in Chinese culture

Q: My medicine is …..

Instead of thinking of ‘medicine’, I thought about the what, which and how have supported me to survive from physical pains and psychological stress that I have been through in life.

Even though tea does provide me a lot of nutrient in daily diet with great flavors and tastes, but the medicine to sustain balance in body, mind and energy is more than tea but the combination of :

  • the traditional Confucius moral teachings that my father taught me in my childhood, that gives me a very pragmatic process to reach the inner self through reflection & problem solving
  • The purity, authenticity, honesty and respect to the Nature, respectful social behaviours and collective energy elaborated me when enjoying a complete tea moment
  • The practice of Daoyin Qigong since 1985 has not only helped me to ease physical pains through relaxation and zen philosophy through moving meditation, but also helped me to realise the importance of ‘alignment” in body, Qi and Spirit for health in life.

These three seem all separately, but actually can connect perfectly together to enhance the lifetime learning attitude and practices in actions.

Q: But it was not always this way…….

Well, I can basically divide my journey with tea in different phases:

If you asked me what was my relationship with tea before 1985, I would introduce myself as a “Tea Likers” as my parents:

  • As normal, if it’s not tea, then we drink boiled hot water
  • I liked the fine flavors and tastes when I made tea for my parents
  • I always ended up in tea fields when went for hiking with friends in the student time
  • Always like to have a cup of tea after heavy meal with friends and colleagues

If you asked me this question before 1991 after 1985, I would introduce myself as a ‘Qualified Tea Lover’, because I was truly attracted to tea when I found my ‘healing corner’ in the tea mountain near Taipei where

  • I learn how to brew the ‘Laoren Cha’ (the grandfather style of old traditional Caozhou brewing manner, which laid the base for ‘gongfu cha’ afterwards)
  • Through the brewing and tasting, I discovered more about tea; the more I know about tea, the more I was eager to learn more
  • When enjoy the calm and peaceful moment in the Nature with tea, I was able to set the stress aside, no planning, no desires for achievement, just me with tea while surrounding by the Nature.
  • By knowing more about the tea picking and making processes, I was entreated by those hard working people and priceless values behind each tea leaf in the cup

I moved to Belgium in 1991 because of marriage, it was sad that I left the most important people who truly loved me (my parents) behind. I tried my best to integrate in local society, meanwhile have to find my own inner peace and strength when facing racism and discrimination. The way I cope with home sick was to invite friends for Chinese dinner, afterwards served them a cup of tea. At that time till 1995, tea became my ‘secret lover’ who I knew it wouldn’t hurt or disappoint me as long as long as I stick to the principle of pure and authentic quality.

A Belgian friend, Yves, who regularly came to visit me and enjoyed tea at my home, requested me in 1994 to give Chinese tea workshop when his Taiji Centre was ready at end of 1995.

Living in Belgium allows me to contact China directly. The trust from Yves became my responsibilities and motivations to learn more about tea through tasting. During that time, I spent nearly 14-18 hours a day to taste, to find out more information about tea and Chinese tea culture. That learning process opened the door for me to have better 360 degree learning about tea without commercial interference, and I am freed from any political or relationship constraints。

The first group of ladies who came for the tea workshop helped me to realise: they knew nothing about tea, don’t know what and how to distinguish quality and don’t know how to brew tea. The mission that I need to commit was crystal clear immediately that unless more people know about tea, appreciate pure & authentic quality, then there is no chance for Chinese Speciality teas; European appreciate culture, so the best way is through the promotion of Chinese tea culture. During 1995 to 2001, I did my best to participate all kind of cultural activities in Belgium. I became a ”Crazy Investor” to tea and Chinese tea culture, gradually received recognition as Chinese tea ambassador.

Unexpectedly I was forced into family drama situation started in 2001, when the Pandora box was opened in 2002, I have to make every adjustment that I could do to take care two young children meanwhile handled the legal fights against my ex-. Even though I lost my company to my ex- that I couldn’t make any financial investment on tea, but it did not stop me to invest my time and passion to tea. As matter of fact, promoting Chinese tea culture and speaking for tea gave me a lot of strength to cope with the stress & pain from physical violence threats, unspeakable psychological and emotional stress during 2002-2005. Devotion to tea and Chinese tea culture became my rescuer, and we need each others.

Later, with supports and encouragement from my husband, Ivo, Belgium Chinese Tea Association was born.

The tea market was growing since 1995, but the pure tea growing was still facing the bottleneck due to the following reasons:

  • The priority for many tea shop owners is $$$ but not quality of tea
  • The market growing has actually enlarged the knowledge gap because most consumers still did not have sufficient knowledge about tea to health, tea selection and tea brewing
  • Numbers of tea sommeliers were (still are) increasing, but knowledge level was (still is) not increasing as the way the market was growing. Reasons? Simple, egoism, profit gaining and lack of collectivism are more important than the commitment to tea learning.
  • Conclusion: Those who would like to become more qualified tea sommelier require more serious education program and coaching for tea.

Mei Lan received the recognition from China Teaman Friendship Association as the ‘best tea teacher and promoter’ award in 2018 and the Association is being appointed as China Teaman Friendship Association Belgium Center.

The mission to promote correct and authentic knowledge about tea and to stimulate the growth of tea culture in Europe, it requires collective efforts from European tea seeds, therefore in the last few years, Mei Lan is devoting more efforts in Tea Sommelier Certification Programs to those who would like to upgrade their capability to provide better quality tea, services and coaching.

Belgium Chinese Tea Academy provides the following training programs:

  1. Tea Sommelier Certification Program
  2. Tea to health workshops for health coach
  3. Chinese tea ceremony – basic
  4. Tea meditation
  5. Cha Jing Study
  6. Chinese Cha Dao

Life Learning

Today I though about my conversations with my sons Cedric (萧光義) and Alexander (萧光仁) when they were teens. As mother, it is my duty to pass on my family values to my children based on what my father taught me to examine own actions based on morals, respect, obligations and duties since I have memories in life.

My father always reminds me even after he passed away for long time but he and his teaching are forever fresh in my heart:

Don’t ask what others do to you, but examine own deeds and actions to others, everyday!

My father taught me about respect, meantime emphasis law and order. He taught me the essence of tolerance, understanding and pragmatism, but he never taught me to surrender without moral and legal reason.

GuangYi 光義(Cedric) and GuangRen 光仁(Alexander)never have the chance to meet their grandfather, I do, however, hope they will remember the meaning of their Chinese names. and do their best to live based on moral teachings of Hsiao (Xiao 萧)family, Being able to be named by Hsiao family tree tradition is an exceptional recognition and explicits the family duty expectation that my father had on me before he passed away. It is more than moral duty but honor to me.

The world is facing a serious problem because lack of moral education for respect in our schooling system and social education in our society. Religion lessons =/= morals lessons because God can only help those who help themselves. Everyone like to talk about freedom and think they can claim unlimited rights to act whatever they like. They are wrong, there are Law and Order #lawandorder they have to follow. It is not like they could forgiven by confessing to priest in the church, even that, as a Buddhist I truly believe we all will be judged and received rightful punishment when we face God one day, In real life people who intentionally violate rights of others should be punished according to laws.

Laws and regulations set the legal boundary to build the peace and order in our society; only when being able to build can think and talk about growing. In life the #oposite of #freedom is #obligations; from #rights are #duties . One only has rights to claim freedom if s/he can first show respect to others and can act based on morals, obligations & duties.

When I read nonsense insults to Dr. Marc Van Ranst on twitter today, I sighed.  I do hope the Belgian schooling system can emphasis more moral and good social behaviors, but not emphasis on rights by ignore obligations and duties in education, which should start from the early as possible.

I do hope Belgian police can catch those who abusive their preconceived freedom and rights by insulting others on social media and let them receive the rightful punishments, regardless their age or social status.

Tea learning in COVID-19 Pandemic period

The spike of COVID-19 pandemic rage the world by surprise; the announcement for lock-down took us by surprise; we have been hoping for reopening, but the announcement for gradually reopening gave us some joyful news, in the meantime, start to question ourselves “What and How should I do to cope with the new way of living”.

When we are in the process of preparing ourselves for the reopening, we probably also need to prepare ourselves to accept that most people are facing a same challenge that we will not able to have old life back so easily, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to change our social behaviors and the way of living for an unknow period of time ahead.

Actually the more I practice the Chinese tea ceremony, it is more clear why it’s helpful for everyone to manage the isolation and stress in the lock down period:

  • With tea, we learn to engage with ourselves through silence and simple focus
  • With the simple way of tea serving and sharing, we connect with other person who share the tea with in much calmer and peaceful manners.
  • With the practice of simple Chinese tea ceremony, even as short as one minute is a complete 60 seconds
  • When enjoy a cup of tea, there is no desire, no fear, no judgement, but simply pure concentration and appreciation

The nasty COVID-19 Coronavirus urged us to rethink what and how we should take actions for our future starting from today: Environment, Disinfection, and Unity. Public Health is no longer a government’s responsibility, but we have to take our part of responsibilities seriously.

Priceless values in tea

How do you judge tea before making decision for your selection? What are you fancy desires from tea?

The foundation for fine flavours and tastes from authentic fine quality tea requires basic 3 factors 

  • Healthy balance in the #Nature ,
  • Hardworking people who we don’t know their names
  • Accumulated of wisdom from the inherited tea culture

When buying tea next time, perhaps can ask yourself a question, especially if you think you deserve better quality but on the other hand still hunt tea based on cheap price :

How can anyone judge the authentic quality from these basic 3 factors, the balance of Heaven, Earth and People, based on price and think it should be cheap?

The most critical 3 poles for the foundation, Heaven, Earth and People, never judge anyone, but simply growing, offering and sharing.

Masks War Update

International political driven pressure to China has never seized even with the worsen situation of #COVID19 #Coronavirus worldwide pandemic. Recent unfaired and racist attacks from #mouthmasks eventually have touched the bottom line and are now facing counter reactions from China government.

China strictens the quality standards fir export

Starting from 1/4/2020 not only #mouthmasks but all medical supplies and equipments must have the quality testing certificate/report that product quality have been tested and approved according to China standards in order to receive a quality testing certificate/report issued by any from 48 approved quality verification organizations. Right now there are 48 companies are verified and approved by #CNAS can provide the quality checking and approval certificate; such testing report is issued in Chinese and CNAS logo should be appeared on the testing report. Cargoes will only be allowed for export shipment with such testing certificate/report and requires an written acceptance agreement from oversea buyers.

International quality testing community should work with CNAS to establish an universal quality testing standards in terms of testing methods and acceptance of the testing result. Otherwise no medical supplies can be shipped out. Also transhipment is not allowed.

The international quality testing community shouldn’t downgrade the CNAS quality standards without consulting. Also back fight to deny quality testing report issued by other European countries won’t help the problem situation that we are facing collaterally.

The China government point of view is very clear “

Those recent unfair accusations and complaints about the mask quality forced the China government to set stricter guidelines for the mouth masks export.  I hope the linked information are useful for you.

The point of view from China government is clear : “We do care about the quality of medical supplies for live saving; they don’t have to buy if they don’t accept our standards and testing certificate/report we approved.

China has suffered a lot from the outbreak of #COVID19 #Coronavirus in #WuHan. They have established very strict quality standards that shouldn’t missed up the international business tractions if importers or buyers did mot pay attention to make clear with specifications and required quality standards.

That’s why for weeks I tried to urge your attention that customers should know what they are buying and should give very clear specifications and quality standards before hands.

Complaints and put the blames to China is not fair to handle the situation, certainly it is not able to ease the pandemic situations that our medical personnel are facing right now.

When virus outbreak happened in WuHan, there were many international donated masks did not meet the surgical masks (N95, FFP3)standards, so they sent medical quality experts from hospitals and Red Cross to classify masks. Those unqualified masks were distributed to community for civilian protection masks use.China and Chinese people did not make any complaints, even though many masks did not meet the medical mask standards, China and Chinese people still showed gratitude to the humanitarian generosity and friendship.

copyrighted by Mei Lan Hsiao, 2/4/2020

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