Unlike other cities we visited in China, our guided tour didn’t cover Fuzhou. Rather, we were there to visit our long-distance relatives. While some of the elders from our group have met them in the past, it was our first time meeting them.
Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, is one of the world’s fastest growing metropolitan areas in the recent years. During the British rule from early 19th century to the 1930s, many Chinese immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong provinces came to Malaysia (or Malaya back then) to escape poverty and to seek better lives. Most Malaysian Chinese today, including us, are descended of this wave of immigrants, considered the largest influx of immigration to Malaysia.
Although we didn’t have much time for sightseeing, we managed to cover a few well known attractions. Sanfang Qixiang, included in UNESCO’s Tentative List, is largest well-preserved historical heritage site in China. Dubbed as “The Beverly Hills of imperial China”, we visited the Huang Mansion, considered the most impressive building structure in that area. Our relatives were very gracious to drive a few of us to Drum Hill after we expressed our desires to visit that area. They brought us to visit several attractions in this wonderful national park.
It was an incredible way to end our 13-day trip in China. After 10 days of guided tours, most of us were tired of predictable meals, crowded areas and long walks. Our remaining time in Fuzhou was very relaxing. We had plenty of rest. We tried many spectacular Fuzhou dishes. The elders were able to spend quality time with the relatives. Some of us managed to squeeze more shopping opportunities. Most importantly, our relatives from Fuzhou went above and beyond to make all of us feel very welcomed.
A couple of observations…
- With Fuzhou being the closest city to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the possibility of China’s reunification of Taiwan seems to be lingering in my mind. China recently unveiled the plan to build the world’s longest undersea railway tunnel to connect the mainland and Taiwan. With the two country leaders not seeing eye-to-eye at the moment and there are enough chatters about deploying military troops in Fuzhou in case of war, I can’t help to wonder how dire the current situation is.
- Knowing how extensive Fuzhou is under constant surveillance, the local citizens are taking it rather seriously. There was one instance where our relatives tried to coordinate amongst themselves to chauffeur all of us around with multiple vehicles and we told them we didn’t mind squeezing another person at the backseat. We were then told there cannot be more than 3 individuals at the backseat. They won’t even park their vehicles at the parallel parking slots if the vehicle cannot fit nicely in the white box. There are plenty of motion sensor cameras installed above most driving lanes where the strobe light flashes once every time a vehicle passes by. It was rather disorientating and nauseating to see constant flashing strobe lights during high traffic at night.