My predestined relationship with the Silk Road all began in the mid 90’s. Due to the nature of my job, I had to travel frequently to the mid-west of China, to provinces like Gansu, Qinhai and Ningxia. It wasn’t long till I went further west and explored the land of Xinjiang. And when I realized, I was already in the realms of countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Later it came to my awareness that all these places I went to were in fact, part of the famous ancient Silk Road.
After the year of 1997, I started residing in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, where I call my second home. My footprints had since extended to the Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, and more. My education and career background had always been closely related to the then Soviet Union, Common Independent States, Russia, and of course, the Russian language. It was surprising to find how one’s past seemed to have always cohered with what they now call the “Silk Road Economic Belt”.
Above: Hotel Uzbekistan in Tashkent
As I later moved to Hong Kong, out of coincidence, I was invited to teach members at a listed company Russian by friends from the Russian Cultural Centre.
On the wall of the conference room inside the office, there was a Chapan covered with golden stiches (which is a traditional piece of ethnic clothing known to be warm in winter and cool in summer , and is normally offered as a gift to honorable guest in places like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), and a map of Central Asia. The scene remains vivid in my memory. I was very intrigued that a company located in the far east of Hong Kong has ties with Central Asian countries.
And as I became part of that company later, I found myself in a prolonged relationship with the Silk Road and Central Asia. I went deep into the Pamir Mountains, and had arrived at the origins of the Tajiks – the only Caucasian clan in China’s 56 ethnic minorities – at the Republic of Tajikistan. (to be continued)
Thursday, 20th August, 2015