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Coffee, Tea

陈砚清 Dolly


When I got the title of this speech, the first thing that came to mind was that I don’t like to drink coffee or tea, so I guess there is not much for me to say about the two drinks themselves.

But, I do feel there is such a contrast here between coffee and tea. As a native of Hangzhou, I’m proud to say that Dragon Well Tea is one reason for the fame of my hometown. A couple of friends, cups of weak green tea ---- that is a pleasant and traditional way to pass time in this beautiful relaxing city. Coffee, by comparison, is kind of a foreign drink and is not merely something to drink. Just think about the cafés here. They try to create an exotic, or romantic, atmosphere for customers to enjoy. In a word, coffee and tea represent local and foreign elements which are quite different from each other.

In the case of “Coffee and Tea”, I’d say, local and foreign cultures get along fairly well. Coffee has its lovers, and there are also many people who keep the habit of drinking tea, that is to say, we’ve got a pretty good balance here. In some other fields, however, things may not be that peaceful. Since I am a devoted fan of cartoons, let me take animation industry for example. Though the quality of Chinese animation is improving, it is still far less popular compared with American or Japanese cartoons. This might be due to our animation techniques and the lack of creative story writers. In 2006, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television of China started to ban all foreign cartoons from 5 pm to 8 pm, which is regarded as prime time, in order to promote domestic products. Now, the ban has been extended to 9 pm. It is natural that people want their domestic products to get better, but I think what the SARFT has done is just not the point. What is more important is to learn from others’ advantages as well as figure out our own style. Communicate, improve, and propagate. So it is with other aspects of culture.

In recent years, I have found that there are some people who grow too sensitive about cultural issues. Once our traditional values conflict with the idea expressed in a foreign movie or novel, those people consider it “Cultural Invasion”. For instance, they strongly criticize a lot of Hollywood movies for encouraging individual heroism out of America’s national interest. Personally, I don’t like some Hollywood movies, but neither do I think it proper to see them as enemies, or as some people even call it, “Brainwashing”. People with different cultural backgrounds believe in different things, and that’s why they advocate different ideas. It is OK if we don’t accept the ideas, but we cannot label all of them “Mind-poisoning” and forbid them from spreading. Instead of criticism, why not tell the world OUR ideas? As for culture, I believe communication always works better than resistance.

Then, let’s get back to coffee and tea. The day before yesterday, I tried a cup of coffee and a cup of tea. Exactly as I had expected, they tasted bitter, and that is the reason I don’t drink them often. But, I must say each of the two is bitter in its unique way. One is a fresh clean kind of bitterness, while the other is strong and aromatic. At that time, it occurred to me that, it’s so wonderful to live in a mixture of cultures with coffee, and tea, and lots of other things to choose from. At last, I want to say that I like a colorful world.


Coffee, Tea

张允宜 Denise


One of my friends used to tell me about a girl he once met on a train tour. She was an art student majoring in traditional Chinese painting. Every day she woke up with the sun, took a bath, poured a cup of tea for herself and then began to paint. She never used computers or mobile phones. My friend’s life back then seemed to be a remarkable contrast. He was a researcher at Microsoft. With instant coffee he began his day and spent the rest of the morning writing code. At that time, he admitted, he was touched by another life style and therefore started to reflect on his own. He categorized the two as tea and coffee. He said when he was all logic about his obligations and had to use caffeine to stay focused, he finally learned another possibility, a possibility that enables you to live artistically, but a possibility that most of us are never able to reach.

Sometimes when walking in the city, seeing white-collar workers with files under their arms and high heels hitting the hard ground, I also find myself pulled in by the image of an idyllic life. There indeed are moments when we stop to look at what we have and become jealous of those who are brave enough to go after the “tea” side of life. Like Henry David Thoreau, by his reclusive living at the Walden he fronted only the essential facts of life, declared of independence and simplicity. We at occasions wish we had the same courage. But we don’t. Because we are at the same time jealous of those who live with a sense of self-fulfillment as their life is so organized that it appears to be flawless as well. We enjoy the “coffee” side too.

The dilemma is that we keep telling ourselves we cannot have them both. But the fact is, for most of the times, we are puzzled by choices that we don’t have to make. There is perhaps no conflict at all. Living deep does not mean giving up realism. Thoreau himself could manage to be an individualist anarchist on his voyage of spiritual discovery, and Adam Smith used to lecture us on how happiness originates from inner peace. Just think of the taste of the Green Tea Latte at Starbucks, mixed with the fragrance of tea and the delightful bitterness of coffee. This is the smell of life.

Life is never a question of coffee or tea. It is an exploration of coffee and tea. The difference is made when you spare a second for introspection and link the two of them. Werner Heisenberg spent a summer in his youths in the Southern German villages and after viewing the picturesque scenery he depicted himself as not willing to look at physics for even another glance. However, later, when he was devoted again to laboratory, he claimed that he had found the unity of science and nature. This is the Eureka moment. Sooner or later it comes into our own lives too to teach us about the harmony of coffee and tea. As Jorges Luis Borges would say, for a genuine poet, every facet of the diamond of life is shining, for art is the heart of it.

That friend of mine has now put his programmer days behind. Although late in the night when I pass his office the light might still be on, I am glad to hear new stories from him about discoveries on a lately opened café or a thought-provoking movie. I guess we have finally learned that life is sometimes like a cup of coffee. It is too hard to live to abstract ideals. And sometimes it is like a cup of tea, inspiring you to suck out the marrow of it. And we know that either coffee or tea needs to be exquisitely brewed. That is, after all, how we live in the world and of the world.


Coffee, Tea

叶简剑 John


Tea and Coffee are different. The most interesting difference is the cultural difference, meaning coffee stands for western culture while tea is the symbol of traditional China or East Asia. But I am not here talking about differences. I am quite confident that all of us in this room are already very acquainted with this kind of cultural discussion. I am here to talk about similarities, the global challenge both coffee and tea growing industries are facing, the common responsibility that, we, as the consumers should take.

Wherever we look in our country, we can see the huge consumption of tea, and coffee. People drink black coffee to start their mornings. People drink green tea all day to keep themselves energetic. People rely on coffee and tea for energy, relaxation, and inspiration. But, while we are enjoying all the merits brought by the production of coffee and tea, how about the life of those farmers?

Let’s take coffee as an example. Everyday in the early hours of the morning, the coffee farmers walk barefoot for miles to arrive at the coffee plantations. They also have to pick coffee beans off high mountains with bare hands in hot weather like today. For one-day tough work, they receive less than 1 dollar as payment. And this is the only source of income of their family. The working conditions of tea farmers are no better. Their work is hard, working hour is long, and payments are often under the average. Furthermore, this problem is not single, it is universal. It does not only exist in China or Ethiopia, but also Brazil, India and other 3rd world countries. And it is hard to think of any other job that is more fundamental, more important to our society than being a farmer. For far too long, these farmers’ work has been under-valued and under-rewarded. And this situation must be changed.

We can see clearly those unfair treatments mostly occur in 3rd world countries like China and Brazil. The lack of supervision to the employers, the lack of check and balance by the labor union, and the lack of consciousness of rights safeguarding all contribute the exploitation to coffee and tea farmers at present. We, as the consumers of coffee and tea, may not have the power to directly change those grim employers and improve the working conditions for the workers. But we do the power to make a choice, support the responsible companies that can assure us: working conditions of the farmers is good, living wages are paid, and no child labor is used and so on. We can also boycott the notorious brands to kick them out of business. Next time when we go to the supermarket to buy the coffee or tea, it is not only a chance for us to buy the commodity, but also a chance for us to make a change on other people living on the other side of our city, our country and our planet. It is a chance that we all should take!


Coffee, Tea

黄启凡 William


Good afternoon, honorable judges and distinguished guests. Today I would like to speak about how we should treat different viewpoints.

People hold various opinions toward one single event. As the old saying goes, there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. Dog and Cat. Coffee and Tea. Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. Which is better? No one can tell.

Before the industrial revolution, people hardly have the chance to share their viewpoint on one incident with others. Nowadays however, with the development of technology and worldwide communication, it is much easier to do so. This had given rise to a problem which is not so severe in the old days: When other people’s opinion on one event contradicts with ours, in what way should we treat them?

This may seem to be relatively a small question, but to tell the truth, such “small” problems may cause catastrophic consequences. I believe that all the students and guests had witnessed the scene of people reviling at someone who disagree with their values whether online and offline. And sometimes the situation is even worse. Followers of Islam and Christians used to take each other as enemies because they have different religious beliefs, and that triggered wars including the Crusades and 9.11. And referring to the aftermath of American priest Terry Jones’ attempt of burning the Islamic “bible” Quran, we can see how one’s hatred can affect the whole world’s harmony.

Pressure has made modern people impetuous. The high pace of life is invisibly making us self-centered. We no longer care about other people’s feelings. The word “respect” had vanished from our brain. So what exactly should we do to stop this trend? The great educator and philosopher, Confucius, had given his answer as early as 2000 years ago: do not do to others what you do not wish them to do to you. Every belief, every culture, every religion is worth respecting, because they are all heritages of our ancestors, and thus they are common property of the entire human race. As stated by Rousseau, no culture or religion is prior to others; hence it cannot overrule them. No one would like to see the values he believe in to be denied or even abused by other people, so what we should do is to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Take the movie Gua Sha Treatment for example, when you see the Americans deny our traditional medical treatment method, don’t you feel angry and depressed? If so, why would so many people still blame the western culture, saying that they’re exporting their concept of living to our country? Culture develops only by accepting the good points and abandoning the bad aspects from other cultures. Since globalization is inevitable and cultural fusion is also a part of it, why not try to respect those different views, because what you treasure may also seem peculiar to others?

On a larger scale, it is not only about culture. We should respect other people, regardless of their cultural background and religious beliefs. Just as the founders of the United States expressed in the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal. They should have the right to pursue what they want, and it is essential for us to always keep this truth in mind

The world had witnessed too many tragedies on the issue of individual, cultural and religious conflicts. No one shall ever forget the disastrous genocide of Jewish by Hitler during the World War II. Such cases indicated how severe it might be if we neglect the tolerance between different opinions. But it gets better, and if we believe in it, eventually we will be able to reach the ultimate goal of mankind—to build a harmonious world.

Coffee or tea, it’s really not a big deal, as long as we have the same dream.

Thank you.


Coffee, Tea



Enjoying high economic value and popularity around the world, both coffee and tea play vital roles in our life. As an important part of their diet, coffee is often consumed alongside breakfast by many Westerners at home. In the late 18th centuries, coffeehouses even became popular meeting places for political and commercial activities. Tea is commonly consumed at social events, and many cultures have created intricate formal ceremonies for these events, among which Japan's complex and serene one is the best known. Throughout the development of civilization, these two beverages have become the medium of cultural diffusion and eventually turn into symbols of culture. You might be a little confused now and ask me, “So what’s so interesting about these drinks?” Well, my speech isn’t introducing the history and culture of coffee and tea, but some thoughts that struck my mind when I think of them.

As a little girl, I would name cafe as the most romantic place in the world. They are the perfect place for artists to discover inspiration and for lovers to make unrealistic promises. Later in my life, through all those difficult and wonderful moments in growing up, I learned an important truth that life is composed half of coffee, and half of tea. The absence of either one will be fatal. And one can only learn the happiness of life when tasting a mixture of both, a mixture of coffee and tea, a mixture of contradiction and unification.

You must have tasted tea and coffee, but have you ever noticed the process of producing them? Let’s take tea plants for example. High-quality tea plants are so particular about height that they only live at elevations of up to 1,500 meters. But this is not to say all of the plant could be put into production. In fact, only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked and become tea at last. Coffee undergoes a similarly long and difficult process of selection. Last summer, attempting to get admissions to universities in UK, I started writing my personal statement. I tried over and over again, crossing out one draft after another. It took me a long time before I finally made one that is satisfying enough to be submitted. Through this effort, I finally got several conditional offers and the opportunity to study abroad. The philosophy of coffee and tea is such that only the best and the most perseverant stand out. Living in this highly competitive world, we ought to improve ourselves to the utmost and always bear the ambition to achieve.

While we say coffee and tea are both important commodities, they do have easily recognized distinctions. Coffee possesses such a strong flavor that it gives us an impression of quick pace of life every so often. On the contrary, the smell of tea can last and fill the room as long as you add water into the pot. A new Brazilian way to produce coffee beans only takes approximately half a year. By contrast, 4 to 12 years is required for a tea plant to bear seeds. To be brief, coffee and tea represent two ways of life. Coffee stands for the faster and tea the slower. If I hadn’t decided to take College Entrance Exam, I wouldn’t ever be able to understand how one can manage to prepare for an English speech just two weeks before it. But if you look at our NCEE takers, you can see how the amazing power of balancing has enabled them to undergo all this long and arduous journey. Our respectable math teacher Mr. Shen believes that sleeping well and eating well is the premise of studying well. Similarly, Confucius once said, “To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.” That is to say, life isn’t all about winning and losing. It also includes the art of living, one important component which we often neglect.

Next time you go to Starbucks or teahouse, I wish it would remind you of my speech today.

There is bitterness behind the fragrance of coffee and tea;

There is sadness hiding in the happiness tree;

There are failures before success and even three;

It’s the same for you, them and me.

Last but not least, I truly hope you will hold on to your dreams and wish you every success. That’s the end of my speech. Thank you for your attention!


Coffee, tea

施文 Winnie


Distinguished judges, my dear teachers and friends,

To start off, I’d like to at first share with you a story. You may have probably heard of the Tea Party in the United States, which is a new conservative force against the current government. However, a bunch of people who also feel their voices are not being heard by the Congress find it very hard to go in tune with those loud shouters in the streets. Those liberalists hold the belief that they are able to address national concerns without tempers flaring and anger erupting. Among them is an ordinary citizen Annabel Park, who wrote a Facebook status saying:” let's start a coffee party, smoothie party, red bull party, anything but tea. Let’s get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.Therefore, two of the world’s most popular drinks, tea and coffee, got their political implications.

However, coffee and tea drinking together, it could happen. In fact, there is no so big a distinction between the Tea Party and the Coffee Party. It is obvious that they are emerging for a similar reason: They don't feel represented by the government, neither the media. But they do feel obliged to help America out of the political dilemma, and care for the rights of the grassroots. For proof, look no further than what a participant said,” I really like the basic principle of the Coffee movement that is to get everybody of all stripes of life to get together.” That is to say, the two parties are simply contrasting with each other in the way of voicing dissatisfaction: One in hot temper, while one in favor of mild reform.

Actually I don't want to go too far into politics in my speech today. I talked about the coffee party and the tea party simply because I feel a connection between the spirit of the two parties and the feature of coffee and tea itself. Although somebody prefer more caffeine and some less, they will both chill out and feel full of guts after drinking it. With a cup of coffee or tea, people get together to share their life experience and views of current issues. The common drinks at hand enable us to express ourselves freely and get acquainted with people of similar perspectives and ideals. Whether you are a member of Tea Party or Coffee Party, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you agree the reality should be changed.

Then no wonder the coffee shops alongside the Seine River, which stemmed from the salons in the 17th century, are so much loved by French people. No wonder the local people in Beijing in the past were so much into the teahouses where they could have a good talk with friends, listen to the story-teller making comments on politics and exchange their views. Coffee and tea do provide an opportunity for people of the same tastes and temperament to gather together and find an outlet to express their ideas and let their ideas be heard by others.

As I'm going to make an end of my speech, I'd like to say that it is human nature that we have the desire to talk and we want ourselves to be understood. I just wish all of you, who will definitely make a great success in the future, will still have the time to have some drinks with friends even when you are terribly occupied with studies and work. No matter what type of drink you prefer, coffee or tea, I hope you still have the patience to listen to others, the courage to speak out what you wanna say, the awareness to ponder whether the society is on the right track and the freedom of speech.

Thank you!


Coffee, Tea

彭一鸣 Eric


In today’s world, different cultures mix with other cultures. But in many aspects, our country has fallen behind. America, the leader of the coffee world, has always been good at spreading its culture and values to other countries, especially in the tea world.

One example is American film industry. It’s hard to believe that the producer of the movie Kung Fu Panda has never been to China once to observe the real panda playing before. But it doesn’t matter. DreamWorks Animation just needs to adopt the three-dimension technology and add some Chinese elements to tell an American-style hero story. And this is what it takes to make millions of RMB.

I’ve been to Washington once and during my visit I stayed with a boy who was learning Chinese. Though he and his parents claimed to be really interested in China and Chinese culture, they failed to locate Hang Zhou on a map of China. They learn Chinese because it is useful and they need to do business with Chinese. Therefore, our culture is useful to them.

When we learn foreign cultures, we need to be cautious of culture invasion. To conquer a nation, they must conquer her people, and to conquer her people, it is necessary to conquer her culture. There are two purposes of culture invasion, one is economic interests, from sales of cultural products to gain huge profits, and the other is the political interests, to promote their own national culture and ideology. And culture invasion can do more far-reaching harm to a country than any other types of invasion.

So how do we deal with foreign cultures? Yet, I’m not able to come up with a perfect answer. But from my perspective, we need to learn about other cultures and absorb their essence. Then we have to combine them with Chinese culture and values and promote it to the whole world. A country’s right to speak largely depends on its cultural influence. It’s like when we think about America, we will think about its top universities, and they have become the symbol of success and high social status to many Chinese. We need to build up our national pride about our own culture, and then will we be able to defend all means of culture invasion.


Coffee, Tea

仉慧俐 Iris


When I got this topic, the first thing I did was to put some words between “coffee” and “tea”. Then I caught a short sentence which will be kind of the theme of my speech. That is “coffee or tea”.

Anyone who has been the guest in foreign families must find this sentence familiar. You might have been asked “coffee or tea” for several times, but how do you usually answer? “Both ok” or “the same as her” pointing at the person next to you? And for how many times have you thought about which drink your stomach truly wants?

Of course, I’m not going to talk about how to choose your favorite drink, but about the numerous choices in our life and how to face them.

The choices around us can be as trivial as “what to have for lunch” or more crucial like “who to marry”. In the mean time, the way to make a choice differs from man to man. Take clothes-choosing as an example. Some people will simply ask shop assistants to select for them. Some will buy fashion magazines and refer to the ranking lists. Putting aside these people, how many remained to be the ones who believe in their own sense of fashion?

Speaking of fashion, the most controversial fashion leader at present must be the famous Lady Gaga. Purple jeweled shades, dress of real meat…Her fashion sense is so unique that it can never be accepted by all the people and is denied by critics time and again. In spite of those opinions, she insists on her road of fashion as well as music, which brings her thousands of fans and makes her stand straight in this performing circle.

Well if I only focus on fashion field, my opinion will not be convincing enough. So since time permits, I’d like to mention another young celebrity who is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. There is not much information in his profile about how his family reacted when he decided to quit Harvard University. But I can easily imagine that if I were him, how my parents would knock my head and say “Be awake, girl!” But Mark did it. He ignored the enviable degree of Harvard, other people’s doubt and potential bad results. He followed his heart and made his choice. So he deserved a huge success.

Then what about us? We do not have such fabulous talent. And we don’t often make such surprising choices. But can we be as successful as them? Of course, we can. But how? My answer is to make every choice with our hearts. As we become adults, we are more and more aware of the importance of other factors besides our own thoughts. While we are making a choice, we may care about what others advise us to do, which choice is favored by the majority and what result the choice will bring us. However, when we are stuffed with all these concerns, our own feelings are neglected. Why not forget the outside world for a moment, go straight into our hearts and listen carefully to what they say. That is what we really want. And it’s the exact choice that we ought to make. Maybe our choice cannot be supported by everybody. Maybe the result will not be as perfect as we thought. But we will not have regrets, because it is the right choice which is made by our hearts. We are successful.

So whatever the next choice you face will be, “to be or not to be”, or just “coffee or tea”, remember to hear the voice of your heart and make your own choice.


Coffee, Tea



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. After listening to so many speeches, are you feeling a little thirsty?  So would you fancy a drink?  I know some of you prefer coffee. However, I like tea better. So we have different preferences. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that we are enemies.

Just like some of you, one of my friends likes coffee very much. He’s a columnist who writes articles for newspaper. Because of his occupation, he always has to work at midnight. Thus, coffee becomes his close “soul mate”. He gradually gets addicted to it while I still love drinking tea.

Why do people have different preferences and tastes? I think that’s because everyone is unique.

Different people are born in different families, accept different education and experience different things in life. In other words, every subtle difference makes a person unique. That’s why the world is so colorful. That’s why life is so wonderful. That’s why we love to travel, to make friends. Imagine a world where everybody has the same face and shares the same habits. Every time you looked at your friends, it would feel like looking into a mirror. People would just be like machines, doing the same thing and the same time.

Just as I said, every subtle difference makes a person unique. So we have thousands of standards to divide people into groups. But one group should not be against another. For example, men and women. In Holy Bible, Adam said, “this is now the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of a man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife ,and they will become one flesh.

From the word “united” we can see that God created men and women not to separate them. On the contrary, God intended to make closer to each other.

However, there are still some differences which can cause conflicts, nationality, for example. There are countless wars in history. Most of them were because that countries fought for their own benefits. Millions of people died for nothing but their nationalities. I believe many of you have watched the movie English Patient. Count Almasy could not save Katherine’s life just because he had a German name. He was taken as a German spy. The story was completely a tragedy, but think about it, how ridiculous it is that people have to kill each other for their nationalities.

You might say that it can only happen in the old times, the war time, but nowadays the conflicts can be more fierce and the causes can be more ridiculous. People throw stones and glass bottles at each other because they support different football teams.

Yesterday people fought for nationalities, today people fight for football teams, who knows what people will fight for tomorrow? Maybe coffee and tea.

The most amazing thing in the world is difference. It makes world beautiful but it also makes the world bloody and nasty. I hope in the future, there will be no prejudice and hatred. You love your coffee, I love my tea, and we are forever friends, never enemies.

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