Slideshow explores China trip

Ron and Shauna Plamondon joined a South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce trip to see the sights of China

Cheryl Thomas

A small but enthusiastic crowd gathered in the multi-purpose room of the Dutch Lake Community Center last Wednesday evening to take in the sights of China.

Recently, local residents Ron and Shauna Plamondon joined a South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce trip to see the sights of China.

Last Wednesday’s event was organized by Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce.

From walking along the Great Wall of China to observing how everyone works, Wednesday’s audience was treated to slides depicting the industrious nature of the Chinese people. This work ethic has always existed, as was evident from the architecture of the past and present day accomplishments.

People, people everywhere. Smog from the coal burning factories made visibility difficult. Cars still are a luxury, with most of the population being satisfied with mopeds and bicycles. Everyone works or they don’t eat, it’s as simple as that. On the streets individuals plied their wares, trying to convince the tourist that theirs is the best and most reasonably priced item of its kind.

People, people everywhere. Indeed, one could fit the populations from 10 cities the size of Vancouver into just one of the cities the Plamondons visited.

The modern culture of the people is steeped in tradition. Respect for each other and the communities they reside in was evident. Safety is a personal challenge.

Rules like: ‘It is strictly prohibited to speak on cell phones during a thunderstorm’, while strange to us, might be to one’s advantage. Another rule is that no one over the age of 70 retains his or her driver’s license. While this might seem strict, on the upside, they are allowed to drive special ‘tin’ cars that are easily recognized as belonging to a senior driver.

Ceremony is highly regarded. Statues depict history’s beliefs – did you realize that a statue of the lion with its paw on the globe is a male, while a lion with its paw on a kitten is a female?

The pouring of tea during a tea ceremony is a special and treasured skill. Incense burnt in special areas will deliver your prayers heavenward. The government maintains ceremonial areas, such as churches or temples, although many present day residents are atheists.

Everyday life hasn’t changed as much as you might think. Few people own a dryer, so outside of every window, clothes are set out on lines to dry. Special drying devices have been developed to make this easier. It seems that everyone eats meals out.

With the recent opening up of restrictions on family planning, some families are able to have two or even three children. Does the family need a pet? How about a cricket, kept in small ornate cage?

With city growth, farmers are gradually giving up their land and getting relocated into the cities.

High speed commuter trains move people quickly. Traffic circles – often three stories high – efficiently move people around. The crime rate is low as rules, such as the death penalty for dealing drugs, keep China a safe place to live and work.

After the slideshow there was talk about how we Canadians are missing a huge opportunity to develop local, made in the North Thompson Valley industries that the Chinese need. Take wood flooring, for example. We could be adding value to every tree that is cut and rather than a few people and companies making a living, hundreds of people could be developing businesses and employing their own family and friends.

This interesting and informative talk, slideshow and display of oriental treasures was a delight to attend. And yes, we did enjoy the green tea and orange flavored candies provided.