文：許玉蓮 By Hooi Yoke Lien
What are young people doing after school these days? Understandably, most youngsters will be surfing the internet – after all, there is so much to do online: shopping, data mining, banking, catching a show or chatting with friends. Life would be decidedly different if you aren’t internet-savvy. Given the convenience it promises, it is not hard to see why internet is the megatrend now.
However, the longer we stay in the cyberspace, the more we should embrace the world we are in; otherwise, we will be estranging ourselves from where we physically are. Tea brewing is one such activity that helps us rebuild connection with our world – make it a hobby and habit, and you will soon notice how it helps bring you closer to the people and things around you. With every physical interaction in our daily lives, we will be reconnecting with the reality and our world.
Tea brewing is no different than activities such as piano playing, calligraphy, singing and painting, in that they are physical experiences that involve our senses. These experiences are made possible only after we have touched, read, written, spoken, heard, tasted or smelled something. In other words, it is a genuine feeling of being in the here and now. Such experience is very important for us; without this, we will never have our own life stories.
There is technique and skill involved in tea brewing. First, we need to identify the name and properties of the tealeaves; and then, we need to know the usage of the tea ware, the way to hold them and the place to put them; the leaf-to-water ratio, water temperature and infusion time; and the flow of tea brewing, serving and drinking. Besides, we have a chance to meet up with people from all walks of life, such as tea drinkers, at different stages of tea brewing. They may be family members, schoolmates, teachers or neighbours. Regardless of the circumstances, tea brewing and its routine reinforces this physical interaction with other people.
There is abundant information about tealeaves on the internet. However, these remain cold hard data and images remote from us if we don’t brew or drink tea; the aroma of the tea infusion will never become a part of us. Young people could develop an interest in tea brewing. Think about this, you will be able to bring out an aroma all by yourself– one that comes from your own experience of tea brewing. Take this brew, and let the aroma linger and become a collective memory of everyone present. As time goes by, tea will warm our days and keep us company.