Muhammad Sayyar Khan
Time passes very quickly and life was even faster in Beijing. I was very excited when I got the opportunity to work in one of the famous and prestigious organization of China i.e. the State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Beijing, China, under the support of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) President's International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI) program.
Before coming to Beijing, I was quite curious about many things related to everybody's daily life, especially about the culture, living standards, food and general attitude of the common people in the society towards foreigners. I had never experienced living in such a huge city.
As expected, life was very busy and expensive compared to many other places in China and everybody had to work very hard for his/her livelihood. Initially I was a bit skeptical about how I would adjust myself to the challenging environment but due to the support of my supervisor Prof. Ling and supportive nature of my lab mates (who were also there to give me a helping hand whenever I needed one), I was able to quickly adjust myself to the new environment. During my stay in China, I learned many things about the culture and values of the Chinese people.
I find many similar values between Chinese culture and our Pakistani culture. For example, when somebody is in trouble especially if away from home, people in Chinese society, like Pakistani society, are willing to give each other a helping hand. I saw a practical example of it, when unfortunately my daughter got serious health problems during my stay at Beijing, I got a lot of moral as well as financial support not only from lab mates, institutes and maybe also from many other people who I have never seen.
I was truly surprised that like people in Pakistan, people in China have the same feelings towards the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries and their peoples. Apart from an unfortunate serious accident, when I passed through one of the toughest times of my life, I really enjoyed my stay at China and my one-year stay passed very quickly. I have seen many beautiful and historic places in Beijing. The Great Wall and Summer Palace were especially amazing. They tell us a lot about the greatness of Chinese architecture and culture.
I will certainly remember my stay in China for a long, long time. I hope that my stay in China in the research group of Professor Ling was only the beginning of long-lasting and meaningful scientific collaboration. I wish that some people from my host lab in China would visit our Institute, i.e. the Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at the University of Agriculture Peshawar, to see our system and facilities for practical future collaboration. Long live Pak-China friendship.
By Dr. Muhammad Sayyar Khan