The writer is Muhammad Shahbaz, master's student of general surgery and recipient of the CSC Scholarship at Shandong University School of Medicine.
Amazing things about China: Bullet train, Maglev train
I had a flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Sydney, and I went from Jinan to Shanghai by train. I arrived at 12:00 noon, and my flight was at 7:45 pm. I was thinking if I took the subway, it might take 40 minutes from the railway station to the airport. I bought the ticket and went inside the Maglev train. Many foreigners were taking photos of the train, and up she comes.
I entered and sat. It started and within two minutes, the speed was shown on the screen: 301 km/h. I was stunned. After 8 minutes it stopped, and there was an announcement: Fei ji chang dao le (we have arrived at the airport). After coming to China, I realized I could shop online. When it comes to online shopping, no one can compete with Taobao. You sit in your room and order something, and then it arrives at your doorstep. The craze is unstoppable. 58.com and Ganji.com are other good examples.
There were tears in my eyes as the young girl told my professor, 'Wo tong guo le' (I passed the exam)
One month ago, Niu Jun told our patient, "You can take the gaokao." The whole team at the general surgery department headed by Professor Niu Jun celebrated the successful operation on a 17-year-old girl with thyroid cancer that had metastasized to her lungs. Even surgeons in some famous hospitals said they could not do the operation, but she wanted to take the exam. The exam was June 7 and she was admitted to our ward on May 15. She had the option to come in after the exam or go into surgery at once. She opted to go for the operation, as the cancer could spread to other parts of the body if she chose a later date. The surgery was successfully finished on May 20. She was able to speak within a few days after the operation. She was discharged on May 27, 10 days before the exam.
'Bu dao chang cheng fei hao han'
"Bu dao chang cheng fei hao han." This sentence means: one who fails to reach the Great Wall cannot be called a man. "Du wan juan shu bu ru xing wan li lu." This means: traveling thousands of miles is better than reading thousands of books. After reading this saying, I planned to travel around the world, especially throughout China, during my spare time.
I cannot forget my 28-hour Beijing trip. On June 22, 2011, I received a call at 3 am, "Wo dao le" (I have arrived). The company bus driver was waiting for me and Misbah (my best friend) at the hotel gate. We were set to see the flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square at exactly 5 am and the Great Wall afterwards. We were there at 7 am with the tickets ready. The company was good. It cost 140 yuan ($22.97) to get from the hotel to Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and one museum, and back to the railway station in the afternoon. We took so many photos and went around the main historical places of Beijing within 14 hours.
OK Airlines and Kunyushan
Almost 90 percent of Chinese people can speak some English, like OK, yes, no, hello, and bye bye. I never imagined that there would be an airline company in the world named OK Airlines. I was surprised when I arrived at Shenyang Airport Terminal 1 and found that there was no airline by this name. I thought I had been cheated, but suddenly I found OK Airlines at Terminal 2, just as it was written on my e-ticket. I breathed a sigh of relief, but had another surprise when I saw the size of the plane: a 28-seat small jet. The plane normally flew from Shenyang via Dalian to Yantai.
Kunyushan was an unforgettable experience. I climbed the mountain with my friend Liu Danhui in the afternoon for four hours, coming down after sunset and finding no bus. The last bus already left at 4pm, so the gatekeeper arranged a taxi.
The first day in Urumqi
On February 12, 2006, I was at Urumqi International Airport. I was wearing a shirt and a normal jacket, but was surprised as I left the airport. White cotton balls were falling from the sky.
I am from Sargodha, a city in Pakistan, Punjab Province. When it is 0 C, the school will have a special holiday. It is a city where the temperature in summer touches 40 C easily. As far as I know, snow hasn't fallen in my city for one century. Coming to China and experiencing weather like this was unbelievable. Quickly, I went in the airport, opened my luggage and took out two jackets. I went to the hotel and went to sleep, but suddenly woke up to fireworks outside. I asked the receptionist what was happening. She replied to me in Chinese, "Xin nian kuai le, chun jie kuai le" (Happy New Year, happy Spring Festival). These were the first words I learned after ni hao.
After I came to Jinan, Shandong Magazine interviewed me. The editor asked me a question which I still remember: "Ali, what is your first impression of China?" My answer was: "Cold."
Prof Liu Zhiyu and I at the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Pakistan is my homeland. The secretary of the Ministry of Education was welcoming the delegate with a bouquet. We stayed at the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and I was searching for Pakistani food in Pakistan. There was Chinese food in the Chinese consulate because it had a Chinese chef. After eating noodles, and after all the delegates had returned to their rooms, I silently went to the kitchen and asked the Chinese chef, "Da ge, ni bang wo zuo ba ji si tan bing hai you ji rou ga li" (Elder brother, please help me make Pakistani paratha/naan and Chicken curry). He took out a packet from the refrigerator, where there were ready-made parathas and chicken curry. I had already made a new Chinese friend.
The next day, we went to the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. We received the guard of honor. It was the best memory of my life. I wrote comments in the mausoleum diary with my professor. I was given the honor in my country because of the Chinese delegation. I will remember that for a long time. My father presented a pagg, a Pakistani turban, to my professor, expressing the eternal friendship between China and Pakistan.
My first speech on September 26, 2007
I always wanted to go into research, but in Pakistan, parents hope that their children can become doctors or engineers. Since there was no shortcut to go directly into research, I pursued an MBBS degree according to my parents' wishes.
During my undergraduate studies, I started going to the lab in my extra time. I published a research paper with the help of my professor in my third year. I was in Shanghai with my professor at the time. On September 26, 2007, the day I was to deliver my first presentation, my heart was pounding and I was nervous. Professor Liu came to me and said, "Ali, there is a long road ahead. Success follows courage." I was confident. I went onto the stage and delivered my presentation.
Two years later in Sydney, Australia, I was more confident. I participated in a competition of young scientist speakers from 27 countries. I won first prize. Sometimes people around the world think that I am a graduate of China. They even say, "Made in China." I want to say that China has given me a strong base for my future. My home country did not give me the education and opportunity to become a doctor and the best young scientist speaker. It depends upon the individual. If you cannot change yourself, no one can change you. We were having dinner last week and my friend said, "Let's toast, seven Shandong people and one foreigner." I said, "Sir, I am not a foreigner but a Shandong person." Everyone laughed. Jinan is my second hometown. I love it, and I am proud to be a graduate of Shandong University.
Muhammad Shahbaz performs Chinese opera at the Inter-University Club show in Shandong University.
Most of my friends who know me and who meet me call me Zhongguo Tong (China expert). My favorite athletes after Inzmam ul Haq (a cricket player) are Yao Ming and Liu Xiang. Although Liu Xiang did not win because of his injury, he is still very famous. I went to see him in the 2009 National Games in Jinan. I cannot forget my opera performance at the Inter-University Club show. I was wearing a red Chinese traditional opera dress and singing opera. It was an amazing experience. I went to visit a village near the Yellow River in winter, and I saw some farmers working on rice threshers. I went there and they took photos with me.
Last summer, I went to Shaolin Temple in Zhengzhou province with my professor Niu Jun. We climbed to the top of the mountain and took many photos. It was the best experience of my life. At the base of the mountain, the children practicing kung fu were amazing. We then visited Lanzhou Lamian, a famous noodle restaurant. We ate and tried cooking. After that, I tried to cook at home. Many of my Pakistani classmates could not cook. We taught Pakistani recipes to a Chinese friend, and she opened a Pakistani-Chinese restaurant named Fatimai Jiejie's Restaurant. She makes samosas, which are similar to dumplings. I found out that there are two words that are identical in Chinese and Urdu: da ye which means elder uncle and da yi which means elder aunt. They have the same meaning and pronunciation in Urdu. If no one wants to listen to you sing, don't worry, you can go to KTV. Here you can sing loudly and have a music party. Over the years, I have visited many places of historic interest and scenic beauty in China. All were unforgettable experiences. I have two best friends, Gao Huijie and Liang Benjia. I cannot stop laughing when I think about our beautiful friendship.
Sometimes people ask me, "Do you like China?" My answer is always the same, "I don't like China, I love China."