The phrase “In heaven, paradise; on Earth, Suzhou and Hangzhou” let travellers be filled with limitless imagination when the ancient city of Suzhou comes to mind. In amidst the haze, rain and fog, the Young Bakers approach this ancient city, feeling its history and natural scent. On the 6th of May, with the support of the Chi Heng Foundation, the 10th cohort of the Shanghai Young Bakers started their journey towards the Southern Canal Towns of the Yangtze River, Suzhou.
The students arrived at the (New) Suzhou Museum by morning. The museum was designed by the famous architect Leoh Ming Pei and is also closely related to Prince Zhong’s Mansion of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Most of the students are from the North. This trip being their first visit to a city in the south, to one full of rich history and culture gives them a wonderful and pleasant surprise. The museum’s abundant calligraphic artworks, Twin Tower Treasures, Porcelain from Ming & Qing dynasties and Suzhou artefacts captivate the students, and stop them in their tracks. They also went to Prince Zhong’s Mansion of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom before they finish their visit to the museum. The air was filled with heat and humidity. The Young Bakers walked all around this greater-than-hundred-year-old wooden structure, seeking to find traces of the recent and spectacular peasant rebellion in modern history, though, there remained only the artefacts from the past, and the floating mayflies in the air.
After a midday break, they arrived at a 700 year old ancient historical Suzhou destination: the Lion Grove Garden. “The city’s beauty is the Lion Grove; The fine rain and clear wind, here first it seeks”. The author of this poetic sentence, The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, came down to the south 6 times; 6 times to visit the Lion Grove Garden to showcase it’s unique beauty to the common people. In the garden, one step, is one scene. The students shuffled back and forth between the rockery, ancient corridors, bamboo groves and flowing streams, feeling the pleasant surprises of this garden’s scenic spots. The thing that made everyone stay around the most was the rockery, as no one could resist the urge to touch. To forever remember this beautiful moment, everyone started hastily bought out their phones to take photos left right and centre. The rockery’s outer appearance is cool as a Lion’s. It is made from Taihu stone, and is piled around every corner inside the garden.
After visiting the Lion Grove Garden, it was nearly close to evening, theYoung Bakers had an opportunity to explore Zhongjiang Road, walking across the narrow streets, specialty snacks and street food becomes within reach; looking at the boats that stop by the riverside and basking in the sunset glow amidst the fine rain. Each and every moment was enjoyed by everyone. At tense and nervous times outside of work and study, the Young Bakers were able to take a rare opportunity to go out and travel, everyone had loads of fun.
Of course, we absolutely want to thank the staff at Chi Heng Foundation for organising and also attending this event in Suzhou. A personal thank you goes towards Cong Du, the Chair of the Chi Heng Foundation who cared a lot for theYoung Bakers. Everyone nicknamed him Papa Du, for specifically going the extra mile to visit everyone. Everyone was very happy since the staff at the Chi Heng Foundation put a lot of dedication and effort into organising this event. On the return journey, we vaguely very heard that some students wished to bring their friends to travel as well!
Student Life Management Assistant