I visited the Dr. Sun Yat Sen public park and found nothing more than a big pond with blooming lotuses and beautiful willow trees. But the real gem, which I found out on a second visit, was the Classical Garden which requires a paid ticket.
When I arrived at the Classical Garden, I was 20 minutes late for the guided tour, so I decided to take some pictures and join the next tour. Tours are scheduled at the hour (in the summer) and are conducted by extremely knowledgeable park interpreters.
The park interpreter began with a short introduction of the construction of the Classical Garden and the naming of the park. She then proceeded to introduce the different features on the garden and their relevance to the Chinese traditions. For example, in the olden days, a Chinese scholar was considered a consultant to the King/Emperor, hence it was a highly respectable position in the government. Carvings of the Chinese character “longevity” is seen on table tops as well as carvings of bats, because in Chinese, the word “bat” is pronounced exactly the same as “good tidings.”
The park interpreter would continue to provide insights into the life of a Chinese scholar, from the yin and yang perspective to the roof tiles to the significance of a moon gate.
I am glad I visited the Classical Garden because I had learned so much about “being Chinese” than I had in the past 30 years of my life! :)