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Rich Dee’s Trip to China

August 1, 2012

One of the great aspects of my job is traveling to visit supplier’s manufacturing sites located around the world.  In August, I visited our liquid silane coupling agent partner, Jingzhou Jianghan Fine Chemical Co. Ltd. located near Jingzhou, Hubei, China.  We feel it is very important to know more about the local culture of our suppliers.  In many cases, it helps explain why or how a product or chemical is manufactured in a certain area versus another part of the world.   Expertise in any given area is often times shaped by history.

As part of this trip, I enjoyed a visit to the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuchang District of Wuhan.  The museum featured a number of items including bronze vessels, lacquered items, pottery, tools and other items covering thousands of years of human development.  (See picture left.)  But the most amazing site to me was a complete set of bronze bells unearthed from the tomb of Emperor Yi from about 450 BC.  Not only did I see the actual 2,500 year old musical instrument (see picture right), but I also attended a recital featuring a replica of the bells performed by musicians in authentic costume.  I heard several original Chinese compositions and the concert ended with a rendition of chorale “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  It was amazing to realize that when an emperor died, then all of his court including soldiers, servants and musicians are buried with him along with their armaments, instruments and equipment.  Imagine being a member of the court and coming to work and hearing the words, “the emperor is not feeling well today.”

While in the city of Jingzhou, I was able to visit the famous fortress called the “brick city” rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (see photo left).  Believe it or not but the mortar for the bricks was actually made from a sticky rice that has withstood the test of time.  Another great experience in Jingzhou was waking up and hearing all the morning sounds rising up from a local park.  People flock to the parks at sunrise to greet the day.  All kinds of music, exercising, dancing, Thai Chi, meditation, flag twirling, even couples dancing can be seen on a casual morning stroll.  But the most amazing site to me was a place where people actually bring their songbirds to one particular spot in the park and hang their birdcages on trees.  The birds are fully engaged in singing to one another.  What a glorious sound!  It will remain one of the most amazing sounds I have ever heard.

I really enjoyed this trip and the opportunity to experience more of China’s people, culture and history.

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