An Ode to my Favourite Drink

I love to drink tea. Be it English tea, Chinese tea, or Japanese tea. Be it green tea, white tea, red tea, black tea. Or fruit tea, herbal tea, non-caffeinated tea. Simple tea like Teh-si siu dai, or ‘atas’ tea like TWG, or NTUC-can-buy Lipton. So I was chaffed when I read an ode to tea written in such a beautiful and lyrical manner. Here it is:

“So, let us drink a cup of tea.

Kakuzo Okakura, the author of the Book of Tea, laments the rebellion of the Mongolian tribes in the thirteenth century not because it brought death and desolation, but because it destroyed one of the creations of the Song dynasty, the most precious among them, the art of tea. Like Okakura, I know that tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to be nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?

The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license granted to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea.”

(Taken from “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery)

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~ by irwin on September 14, 2011.

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