Grace Fu kicks off Beijing leg of cultural trip to China

Ms Fu interacting with retiree Ma Xiurong and her infant granddaughter at the "baby gym" in Dongsi Olympic Community Sports Culture Centre.ST VIDEO: TOH WEN LI
National Art Museum of China's director Wu Weishan (sixth from left), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, and representatives from Beijing and Singapore, in front of the National Art Museum of China.
National Art Museum of China's director Wu Weishan (sixth from left), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, and representatives from Beijing and Singapore, in front of the National Art Museum of China.ST PHOTO: TOH WEN LI
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the National Art Museum of China during a guided tour led by the museum's director Wu Weishan.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the National Art Museum of China during a guided tour led by the museum's director Wu Weishan.ST PHOTO: TOH WEN LI
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the National Art Museum of China during a guided tour led by the museum's director Wu Weishan.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the National Art Museum of China during a guided tour led by the museum's director Wu Weishan.ST PHOTO: TOH WEN LI

BEIJING - Retiree Ma Xiurong, 58, is all smiles when she plays with her infant granddaughter Zhou Linmo at a "baby gym" in her local community centre in Dongsi, Beijing.

She takes Linmo, who is one-and-a-half years old, to the play area at the Dongsi Olympic Community Sports Culture Centre every day. The space contains exercise mats and balls for children to play with, and also offers parents advice on how to care for their children.

"It's good for her mental development. The teachers are very good, and the children get to interact with each other," said Madam Ma.

The free "gym" is part of the Dongsi Olympic Community Sports Culture Centre, a venue for social, cultural and sports activities not unlike the community centres found in Singapore.

Even on a weekday morning, the centre is buzzing with activity, with badminton sessions, classes on mental health, and dance practices and well under way.

The five-storey centre in east Beijing opened in 2008, the year the city hosted the Summer Olympics. Its facilities range from table tennis and badminton courts to a library, e-book reading room, and a studio for physical activities such as dance.

The Dongsi Olympic Community Sports Culture Centre was one of several places Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu visited in Beijing on Thursday (June 15), as part of her trip to China to discuss areas for cultural cooperation. The trip, which began in Xi'an on Monday, will end on Friday.

On Thursday, Ms Fu also went on a guided tour of the National Art Museum of China led by museum director Wu Weishan. The art museum, one of the country's largest, has about 110,000 exhibits, most of which are either modern or contemporary artworks. It signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore's National Gallery in April 2015.

On Thursday afternoon, she will also meet the Chinese minister in charge of General Administration of Sports, Mr Gou Zhongwen, for a dialogue session.

This will be followed by an evening concert by about 85 members of the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra (SNYCO) at the China Conservatory of Music Affiliated High School.