IN THE LAND OF HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH A LAP TOP

by TAN WEE CHENG, Singapore

AUTHOR'S HOMEPAGE

INDEX

FOREWORD
HEAVEN ON EARTH
Origins of a Proud People
Food Culture
CHENGDU I
The Capital
Arrival
Xindu / Wenshu Yuan
LESHAN & EMEI
Leshan
Emei : The Legend & First Impressions
The Ascent & Jinding
Meishan
CHENGDU II
Wuhou Ci
Du Fu
Dujiangyan
Wang Jian & "xiangs"
DAZU
The setting
Grotto art
CHONGQING
The Setting
The Arrival
Red Crag Village
Gele Hill
MAP
SLIDE SHOW
FEATURE
SCRAPBOOK
Shopping
Business entertainment Chinese style
The foreigner
The oldest profession
Law and enforcement
One child policy
Eating in Chengdu
What do they believe in ?
Ethnic Minorities: Discmimated ?
Politics : Is Big Brother watching you ?
Tale of two cities
Is Sichuan a land of opportunity ?
LINKS

Diary : 30 October 1996 

Chengdu City Again : Heroes, poets, kings & governors

Chengdu : A visit to Wuhou Ci 

    - a tribute to Heroes of Shu Han

Together with Du Fuís Thatched Cottage, this is one of Chengduís most famous attractions. The client insisted that we must come here on a visit, even though we had a dateline to meet. And so we went there on a rush, in the late afternoon, beating the traffic jams which were unheard of 5 years ago in Chengdu.  

Wuhou Ci is a tribute to the 3rd century kingdom of Shu Han and its heroes. Shu Hanís struggle with the North (Wei Kingdom) and the East (Wu Kingdom) was a brief (A.D. 220 to 265) but famous part of Chinese history immortalised in the 14th century epic work, Romance of Three Kingdoms This work is one full of tales of chivalry, courage, romance, loyalty, betrayals, etc, and heroes like Liu Bei (founder of the Kingdom of Shu Han) and his military strategist, Zhuge Liang, as well as the formerís sworn brother Zhang Fei, all loom large in Chinese history and collective consciousness. Wuhou Ci is a shrine built to commemorate Zhuge Liang, who was posthumously awarded the title of Marquis of Wu (Wuhou). This is a site with a number of halls, altars and statues devoted to Zhuge Liang and the heroes of Shu Han. A huge mound on the site was supposedly the tomb of Liu Bei, and a museum on the Period of the Three Kingdoms stand on the site. 

Learn more about The Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang in FEATURES. 

Du Fuís Thatched Cottage 

    - another literary pilgrimage

The thatched cottage of Du Fu (712-770), Chinaís greatest poet, lies in the western suburbs of Chengdu. Du Fu lived in the period of the decline of Tang Dynasty, widely regarded by historians as the Golden Age of ancient China. At the age of 47 (759), compelled by poverty, personal hardship (some of his sons died of starvation) and social upheavals largely associated with the rebellion of An Lushan, he moved to Chengdu, where he built the thatched hut and settled down with the help of a relative. During his stay of nearly four years, he composed more than 240 poems reflecting the misery of the people during this chaotic period. After 4 years, he journeyed again, this time downriver on Changjiang. He settled in Guizhou Province but began travelling again in A.D. 768 before dying in A.D. 770 as a result of overindulgence in food and wine after a 10-day fast. 

The former residence of Du Fu had long disappeared. Rebuilt in the Ming and Qing dynasties, it is now a tribute to this great Chinese poet. For those familiar with Chinese poetry, the 44 hectares park cum museum is a romanticised enactment of Du Fuís world. Verses of Du Fuís poetry are displayed in various parts of the park. It is a pity that I, as an ethnic Chinese growing up in Singapore, could only understand and read contemporary Chinese, and thus was unable to appreciate classical Chinese. Perhaps, I should spend some time brushing up my Chinese. In any case, for those who do not know Chinese at all, do not despair. A visit to the Thatched Cottage is a relaxing stroll through a peaceful park. A drawback, however, are the ugly algae in the ponds and the rubbish in parts of this otherwise beautiful park. 

If you have any comments, please email them to TAN WEE CHENG