Tears fell like neglected stones at his fare-thee-well ceremony promptly organised by President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mutharika said it himself, that he felt it upon himself to honour one of the country's foreign 'best friends' with a State bounquet.
The president, who is also African Union Chairperson, told the lucky 'many' who gathered to bid bye to this great son of Mainland China that it was only the previous day he was reminded that the then Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Lin Songtian, would be leaving Malawi- a land came to love and adore- within two days. His tour of duty of over.
"I, therefore, ordered that a State Banquet be organised for him. I am happy that, today, we are here to bid farewell to Ambassador Songtian," Mutharika said.
And Songtian, the International diplomat so eloquent at it, stood up and gave a tear-calling speech, remembering his first experiences in Malawi- the Warm Heart of Africa-, ending by offering possible highways to economic development.
Songtian said, in particular, that there was a market for Malawi tea in Mainland China, so long as some things were modified to suit Chinese taste.
Songtian took his body with him, through Kamuzu International Airport. His heart went wityh him, too- but only half of it.
The other heart lives in Malawi.
When he arrived in China- home at last, from a successful tour of duty- he learned that Mainland China would be holding the world's largest symposium and fair for the tea industry.
He promptly remembered where his other heart was (Malawi), and directed Chinese Embassy staff in Malawi to promptly organise two people from Malawi to go and attend the meeting in China.
The meeting started on October12, 2010 and is slated to end on November, 2 next month.
Two people from Malawi's tea industry were quickly found and, as at now, are in China. They are from the Tea Association of Malawi and a representative of smallholder tea growers in Mulanje. From the Tea Association, Mr. Njikho made it to China, to represent the country for the first time ever.
Zachimalawi was previleged to get the news on the Friday before the two's departure the following Tuesday, but felt it wise not to feature the story because we wanted to 'taste' the 'nose' of mainline media. And Zachimalawi is disappointed to discover that, either their nose is too small, it doesn't pick any smell whatsoever. And Zachimalawi lovingly advises them to seek medical attention at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) since most of them are in Blantyre, and QECH is the main hospital.
If all the reporters cannot go at once, atleast the Editors should be dispatched there immediately; they need immediate medical treatment on the nose!
With our people in China, Malawi stands a chance of making more in roads into the international market.
But, more importantly, it is a story that reminds us that we have a friend, even a faithful friend, in China: Lin Songtian.
A man, in case we have forgotten, who promised to launch a book on Malawi and kept his words.
A man who did so much for China ion Malawi; but more importantly, did so much for us.
Lin Songtian: probably the best Ambassador (not only Chinese) Malawi has ever had.
He came to Malawi two years earlier and found the British Ambassador to Malawi blubbing aid conditionarities; the American Ambassador shouting the song of transparency, or else, no funding; the Irish Ambassador threatening to pull out of the fertiliser subsidy programme; and the World Bank busy forcing Malawi to sign an agreement on the Electricity Interconnection Project which will benefit nobody but Mozambique. As usual, it is the taxpayer in Malawi who should shoulder the burden of the loan.
Fortunately, Malawi has a wise leader in Mutharika, who has said 'No, I want no nonsense here!'
Songtian saw his chance in all this, and came with development projects that had no conditionaries at all. His most favourite piece of advice was that 'a real friend does not ask to have sex with your wife in order to construct a bathroom for you'.
Malawi will remember him. As he remembers us.
Long live Songtian. Long live Mainland China.