Learning the power of the Talmud in China and South Korea

September 1, 2015

According to Jewish tradition, the Torah was revealed to Moses about the time of China’s Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.), more than three thousand years ago.

In fact, the Talmud is an organic interpretation through discussion and debate of what the Torah means and teaches.

In most of Asia, the perception of Jews as expert moneymakers does not have the religion-based antagonism that often accompanies the same stereotype elsewhere in the world. While both Christians and Muslims have persecuted Jews for religious reasons, China hasn’t done this.

Instead, South Korea and China respect what may be learned from the wisdom of Judaism.

The Muqata says, “Close to 50 million people live in South Korea, and everyone learns Gemara (Talmud) in school. ‘We tried to understand why the Jews are geniuses, and we came to the conclusion that it is because they study Talmud,’ said the Korean ambassador to Israel.”

“In my country we also focus on family values,” The South Korean Ambassador said. “The (Jewish) respect for adults, respect and appreciation for the elderly parallels the high esteem in my country for the elderly.”

Another significant issue is the respect for education. In the Jewish tradition, parents have a duty to teach their children and devote a lot of energy and attention to it.

For South Korean parents, their children’s education is also a top priority. For contrast, in the United States too many ignorant and lazy parents blame teachers when their children are not learning, but not in Asia.

How valuable is education to Jewish tradition? “Maimonides (1135 – 1204 C.E.) in his great code of Jewish law has an entire section devoted to teaching, teachers, students and the concept of knowledge and education. The basic value is that teachers are to be respected and given honor.

“One should rise before one’s teacher, speak respectfully to one’s teacher, and treat one’s teacher with greater probity than even one’s parent.” The Talmud teaches, “parents bring a child into this world but a teacher can bring a child into the World to Come” into a world of spirit, creativity, ideas and self-worth and ultimate immortality.

In fact, “the Talmud itself attributes to God, so to speak, the attribute of being a teacher. “He Who teaches Torah to His people Israel.” Even mortal teachers are viewed in Judaism as being engaged in holy work.

These ancient Jewish values have also found a home in China.

Newsweek reported, “The apparent affection for Jewishness has led to a surprising trend in publishing over the last few years: books purporting to reveal the business secrets of the Talmud that capitalize on the widespread impression among Chinese that attributes of Judaism lead to success in the financial arts.”

Newsweek said, “Titles such as Crack the Talmud: 101 Jewish Business Rules, The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book, and Know All of the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud share the shelves with stories of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.”

“The admiration for Judaism stems from a history that goes beyond business,” Newsweek continues. “About half of the dozen or so Westerners active in Mao Zedong’s China were Jewish, and that also led to increased interest in Jewish culture among Chinese intellectuals,” says Xu Xin, professor of Jewish studies at Nanjing University.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Cultural Glue that Holds China together

August 26, 2015

Under Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, who united China in 221 BC, a standardized written language was mandated for an empire that once resembled Europe with many countries and written languages, and this created a unique cultural identity from the rest of the world.

To understand this, I’m turning to a conversation thread from the Yuan-Xiao Festival. Alessandro, a European with a degree in East Asian studies, who lives in China with his Chinese wife, wrote a comment that helped me understand something I’d read years ago written by Lin Yutang.

Writing of the Chinese Mind on page 81 of the 1938 Holcyon House Edition of My Country and My People, Lin Yutang wrote, “The Chinese language and grammar … in its form, syntax and vocabulary, reveals an extreme simplicity of thinking, concreteness of imagery and economy of syntactical relationships.”

I didn’t clearly understand what Lin Yutan meant until Alessandro’s comment. “The Latin alphabet is a phonetic one,” Alessandro said, “and as such, it simply reproduces the sounds of the spoken language, making it more susceptible of changes whenever the spoken language changes. Chinese Hanzi, on the other hand, conveys almost no ‘phonetic’ information by itself … (and doesn’t change much in its meaning as time passes).”

 
Cultural Competence: Managing Your Prejudices

Alessandro went on to say, “Both Europe and China have had political upheavals and long periods in which they were divided, but (China) having a stable writing system that doesn’t change as much as an alphabetic one helped them not to lose an important element of cultural unity, therefore of ‘national’ identity…

“The Chinese concept of ‘nation’ has nothing to do with the ‘nation state’ concept common in Europe (and North America).

“European nation states are more or less based on ethnicity, while in China it was – and it still somewhat is – based on cultural elements.

“You were Chinese because you shared a common culture, because you acted as a Chinese and assumed Chinese customs.

“Europe never regained the unity that existed during the Roman Empire, while China always strove to regain unity after each period of division. The traditional saying 合久必分,分久必合 — means more or less ‘after unity comes division, after division comes unity’.”

While the West—North America and Europe—has many written languages, China has had one for more than two millennia and this has been the glue that creates a sense of unity and what it means to be Chinese. Westerns don’t have that sense or cultural identity or unity.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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Long before Romeo and Juliet there was China’s Butterfly Lovers

August 25, 2015

The legend of The Butterfly Lovers first appeared in 618 AD during the Tang Dynasty, and it’s a tragic Chinese love story similar to Romeo and Juliet.

The basic premise is of a young woman in China wanting to go to school. Since boys were the only ones allowed to attend school, this young woman, like Barbara Streisand in the movie Yentl (1983), disguised herself as a boy.

Yentl was based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s (1902 – 1991) short story Yentl the Yeshiva Boy.

When I talked to my wife about this, she found her copy of a popular theme song from The Butterfly Lovers played as a violin solo by Yu Lina. As the house filled with the music, which may also be found on the next embedded YouTube video, my wife started to dance.

She said, “This is one of my favorites. I cannot resist dancing when I hear it.”

In fact, Yentl the Yeshiva Boy and Shakespeare’s (1564 – 1616) Romeo and Juliet must be combined to become The Butterfly Lovers. What starts as a charade becomes a love story ending in the suicide of the two young lovers.

The love story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is one of four Chinese folk legends and one of the most influential and best known in China.

China has traded with the West since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD). There was an overland route in the north and a sea route in the south, which the Roman Empire used around the time of Christ.

Since China traded with the West for more than two thousand years, it is conceivable that The Butterfly Lovers reached the West and was adapted by Shakespeare and then Singer after being exposed to the plot.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

2015 Promotion Image for My Splendid Concubine

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The Return of China’s Concubines or should we call them Independent Escorts?

August 19, 2015

A friend of mine sent me a link to an interesting post of China’s Second Wives (concubines). “A 2008 estimate says that Second Wives account for a third of the country’s consumption of luxury products.”

The area Director of JWT North Asia, Tom Doctoroff, answered questions for the piece. He said, “When I ask people how much it costs to maintain a second wife – a trophy concubine – the average I’m told is 50,000RMB (about $7,600US). This isn’t just a girlfriend, this is someone who is kept. And she is displayed as somebody that’s a result of this guy’s power and influence, and access to funds.

However, it wasn’t like that for several decades.

When the Communist Party won China’s Civil War (1927 – 1949 with a break during WWII) and drove Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists from China, Mao announced that women held up half the sky; the practice of bound feet ended and women were considered equal to men for the first time in China’s history.

For thousands of years, the wealthy and powerful in China often had more than one wife and several concubines. The emperor had thousands of concubines.

Between 1949 and 1976, Mao’s goal was to change China by ending the old ways and building a new China that would be stronger and more capable of defending itself from invasions. Mao denounced Confucianism and literally waged a war against Buddhism (and all religions) in China. Mao ended the practice of having concubines too.

The goal to lead China away from its ancient cultural heritage ended after Mao’s death and recently the party had a statue of Confucius erected in Tiananmen Square in an effort to bring back some of the old ways.

Now that China is a hybrid capitalist nation, powerful and wealthy men are collecting concubines (those second wives) again. In fact, “A survey in the 2000s revealed that 60 percent of respondents said they had an affair at some point during their marriage, compared to 15 percent in the 1980s. Many sociologists believe the number is increasing all the time as rising standards of living make it more feasible economically to have affairs.” – Facts and Details.com

However, there is a difference. The legal system in China sees women as equals so women cannot be legally bought and sold. This time, women have a choice to be a concubine or wife.

In the embedded YouTube video of the Young Turks, it is mentioned that some wealthy and powerful men in America have concubines too, but in the US, those women are called swingers or escorts. To learn more, read this post at The Honest Courtesan-frank commentary from an unretired call girl in the U.S.

In fact, if a Chinese wife doesn’t approve of her husband having concubines, she now has the freedom to divorce him, and divorce is on the rise in China.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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The CIA-KMT Heroin-Cocaine Pipeline to the United States

August 18, 2015

The CIA, in an alliance with the Nationalist Chinese (KMT), addicted millions of Americans on drugs such as heroin and cocaine to finance a covert war against the spread of Communism.

The KMT’s leader was the brutal, authoritarian dictator Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan that the US still supports, and Chiang Kai-shek ruled Taiwan with an iron fist until his death in 1976.

However, it wouldn’t be until the 2000 presidential election in Taiwan that the KMT’s dictatorial hold on power ended.

I first learned of the KMT-CIA drug pipeline into the US in the early 1980s when I read of Congressional hearings leading to the closing of Air America, a covert airline owned by the CIA that was one of the methods used to move illegal drugs out of Southeast Asia and into the hands of US citizens.

After the Chinese Communists under Mao won China’s long Civil War (1927-1949), a large force of KMT troops in southern China fled to the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, which is located in Laos, Thailand and Burma. That’s when the KMT became involved in the drug trade with the CIA, and former KMT Chinese generals operating out of Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle cooperated with the CIA during the Vietnam War to supply American troops in Vietnam and drug addicts in the US with heroin and cocaine in trade for weapons. The drugs were sold to U.S. troops and citizens back home and that money paid for the weapons that were traded for the drugs.

For reminding me of this dark chapter of America’s history (which evidence says is still an open book), I thank 21st Century Marco Polo, a committed and experienced human rights and legal education professional with a history of working internationally throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, Kevin Ryan writing for 911 Blogger.com reviewed American War Machine written by Peter Dale Scott.

Ryan writes, “This book examines a wide-ranging number of covert US operations since World War II, and, among other things, demonstrates that many of these operations were intimately connected with, and dependent on, illicit drug trafficking …”

The Senophobic, American capitalist obsession with everything Communist led the US down this dark path that introduced an expressway of  heroin and cocaine into the US in what may contribute to the eventual failure of the most successful and powerful democracy in the history of humanity.

The following embedded videos are a four part series of an audio transcript of a 60 Minutes broadcast about the CIA controlled drug trade.


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 1


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 2


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 3


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 4

To understand the impact on US society, Drug Rehabs.org says, “The trafficking of illicit drugs burdens various components of domestic financial sectors as individuals and organizations frequently engage in illegal activates to generate income in order to purchase drugs or finance drug trafficking operations. Mortgage fraud (think 2008 financial crises which originated in New York), counterfeiting, shoplifting, insurance fraud, ransom kidnapping, identity theft, home invasion, personal property theft, and many other criminal activates often are undertaken by drug users and distributers to support drug addictions …”

Did you know that Mao, after winning the Chinese Civil War (1926 to 1949) between the Communists and Nationalists, ended drug trafficking and drug use in China in about 24 hours?

Illegal drugs wouldn’t return to China until after Mao’s death when China joined the WTO in 2001, and opened its doors to world trade and capitalism dominated by neoliberal Milton Friedman economics that thinks “Greed is Good!”

Today, there are over 900,000 registered drug addicts in China, but the Government recognizes that the actual number of users is far higher. Some unofficial estimates range as high as 12 million. Of the registered drug addicts, 83.7 percent are male and 73.9 percent are under the age of 35.

But it’s a lot worse in the United States where it is estimated that 23.5-million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to the entire population of Texas, and only 11 percent of those with an addiction receive treatment in the U.S.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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Cupid in China

August 12, 2015

For millennia, Chinese parents and/or matchmakers played cupid and arranged marriages sometimes as early as birth.

However, that is changing. China Daily reports that “Nearly 30 percent of those born after the 1990s admitted that their first ‘puppy love’ happened in primary or junior high school, according to Baihe, a major dating website that recently conducted an Internet survey of more than 50,000 people across the country. Only 3 percent of those born before the 1970s gave the same answer.”

And Sufie, of Sexy Beijing, takes us on a journey to discover what’s happening to matchmaking Cupids in China.

One man Sufie interviews on the street says he was born in the late 70’s, and he has no problem with traditional matchmaking but those born in the 80s and afterwards may not like it.

In this embedded episode of Sexy Beijing, Sufie wants to discover if arranged marriages are still popular in China. To discover what she learned, watch the video


Sexy Beijing: Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Cupid is no stranger to China and may have traveled here on the southern Silk Road when the Roman Empire was trading with the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 219 AD).

Top News, China Through a Lens reports that archaeologists working at the Quren Ruins of Yunyang County, Chongqing Municipality discovered what easily passes as a little bronze cupid.

“The discovery of the naked “cupid” naturally associates the Han Dynasty and ancient Greece and Roman Empire”.

But sometimes Cupid’s arrow misses. Watch the next video to discover a modern Chinse girl who proposed to a guy in public and gets rejected.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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Abortions—are you pro or con, and do you know the difference between a fetus and a child?

August 11, 2015

This post was inspired from Foreign Policy.com’s Meet China’s Pro-Life Christians.  The subtitle of the piece ran with “Can they succeed in a country with the most abortions in the world?”

When I read that question, my first thought was to fact check and discover if this claim was true, because anyone who reads that question might conclude that China has the highest ratio of abortions on the planet—and, as I discovered, they would be wrong.

The result was that the claim in the U.S. media that China had the most abortions in the world spawned a protest from a small number of Christians in Chengdu, China (various statistical analyses have found that between 2% and 4% of the Chinese identify as Christian)—“Their faces downcast, they carried large posters with gruesome photos of aborted fetuses and headlines that read, ‘A fetus is a child too’.”

But a fetus is not a child. To compare a child to a fetus is deliberately misleading to cause an emotional reaction from ignorant people who are easily fooled. More on this later.

There is also a BIG difference between the number of abortions and the ratio of abortions. After all China has the largest population in the world. The country with the largest ratio of abortions in the world has a population of 56,483 compared to China’s almost 1.4 billion people.

The Foreign Policy piece started by mentioning the anti-abortion movement against Planned Parenthood in the United States, and then in the second paragraph said, “The news quickly reached China, and within days the video had been posted to Chinese video streaming site iQiyi, where it received more than 170,000 views (0.012% of total population). China has the highest number of abortions in the world, with an estimated 13 million performed annually.”

I’m curious what the other 99.988% of China’s people think about this issue. I mean, are they allowed to have an opinion or do only the Christians in China count—you know, the 2% – 4%?

But in countries where abortion is not available and/or is illegal, women who don’t want a child get an abortion anyway regardless of the pro-life, anti-abortion mob and their lies about fetuses being children. In fact, “Globally, approximately three births occur for every abortion performed, and half of all abortions are unsafe.” – Abortion Ratios Worldwide in 2008 and Abortion Laws Worldwide

How does China compare to other countries with the percent of known pregnancies ending in a legal abortion?

Greenland was #1 in 2012 at 49.9%. China was ranked #12 at 29.2%, and the United States was ranked #32 at 20.2%. – Johnston Archive.net (You might be interested in looking at the list to discover what country had the lowest number of legal abortions).

And according to Nation Master.com, “It is estimated that there are 44 million induced abortions annually, half of them in countries where abortion is illegal.”

In addition, the US National Library of Medicine reports that “Every year, worldwide, about 42 million women with unintended pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly half of these procedures, 20 million, are unsafe. Some 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion annually, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality (13%). Of the women who survive unsafe abortion, 5 million will suffer long-term health complications.”

Now, back to the Christian claim that “a fetus is a child too”

“The just-conceived prenatal life form is called a zygote (not a child). While migrating down the woman’s Fallopian tube to her uterus, it is named a morula (not a child), and from days five to 12 post-conception, a blastocyst (not a child). The blastocyst implants in the nutrient-rich lining of the mother’s uterus. From day 12 through week six, this being is termed an embryo (not a child or even a fetus).”

The rest of the description of the fetal development timeline may be found at baby center.com. For instance, during the first 3 weeks, “Your baby-in-the making is a ball of cells called a blastocyst (still not a fetus or a child).” … It isn’t until week ten that the embryo becomes the famous fetus that is still not a child.

In conclusion, back to that protest sign in Chingdu, China that said, “A fetus is a child too”.  It‘s obvious from the facts that this cannot be true. It also helps to know the reasons why most women make the choice to have an abortion, and according to WebMD on Women’s Health, the most common reasons women consider abortion are:

  1. Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. (This means these women were not planning to get pregnant.)
  2. Inability to support or care for a child. (often caused by poverty, and did you know that 1 of every 4 children the United States lives in poverty?)
  3. To end an unwanted pregnancy
  4. To prevent the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problem
  5. Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest
  6. Physical or mental conditions that endanger the woman’s health if the pregnancy is continued.

In addition, in the United States 9 out of 10 abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy while most are done within the first 9 weeks and technically the embryo isn’t even a fetus yet. In fact, very few abortions are done after 16 weeks of pregnancy when the fetus is a long way from becoming a baby or even a child.

Did you know that fetuses spend most of their time sleeping. At 32 weeks, the fetus sleeps 90% to 95% of the day and this is the result of an immature brain. To learn more about the development of the brain, I suggest you read this piece from Harvard.edu. For instance, “at 9 months (after birth), the human brain is too immature to firmly register experiences, while at 17-21 months it has developed enough to record and retrieve memories of single distinctive experiences,” Kagan says.

To the pro-life, anti-abortion people, how does a fetus become a child when 90% of abortions take place before the embryo becomes a fetus and a fetus is never a child?

And last but not least, why pick on China when there are eleven other countries with higher ratios of abortions?

By the way, I learned something in the last few weeks. While talking to a few members of pro-life, anti-abortion crowd outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic, I learned that Christians in the United States are just as ignorant as Christians in China when it comes to knowing the difference between a fetus, a baby and a child. Do you know the difference? If not, watch the first video in this post.

I think every woman should have the legal choice to a safe abortion as long as it is still an embryo or an early fetus and not a baby or child, but truth be told, you can’t abort a baby or child from a womb because a baby or child has already been born and has left the womb.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A 130th 5-Star Review

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