Mahmoud Allam does not only look like a sportsman, but also love
sports, especially outdoor activities like hiking, tennis and, hold
your breath, Chinese Taiji. He feels happy and content after
exercising in open air, says
ambassador to China.
Allam hopes he could carve out more time to practice Taiji, a
Chinese martial art devised by Taoist priest Zhang Sanfeng about
700 years ago. "My Taiji master is a strict disciplinarian and has
told me that I should be more regimented," he says. "I'm supposed
to practice at least half an hour a day, but my tight schedule
sometimes doesn't allow me to enjoy such luxury."
Allam loves practicing Taiji because he likes the idea of
harmony, which is the basic element of Taoism. A Taiji player
should have a peaceful state of mind, feel calm and relaxed and put
aside sundry thoughts so that he can concentrate completely on
"Even if you are faced by force, you don't have to answer by
force. You can let the force consume itself," Allam says, adding
that his elder son also loves Chinese culture and always likes to
visit China to spend time with him.
Allam has always been on the lookout for more medieval links
between Egypt and China because they are among the two of the
oldest civilizations. In fact, he is thinking of organizing a
seminar on Zheng He, the famous Chinese sailor during the Ming
Allam believes there is a strong possibility that Zheng crossed
Egypt and reached the Mediterranean Sea and southern Italy. He says
Zheng is likely to have traveled on the Nile River because a lot of
Chinese porcelain has been found along its banks.
(China Daily July 27, 2007)