Do you hear the thunder of Chinese Drums?

March 26, 2014

The earliest evidence of the use of drums in China was found in Oracle inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty (1783-1123 BC).

Drums were used to motivate troops, set a marching pace and for sending orders or announcements.

The drum had a purpose in almost all elements of Chinese life. Copper drums come from southern China and date to almost a thousand years before Christ.  The copper drum was also called the war drum.

The Han Dynasty used copper drums for war too.

The Fengyang Drum Dance originated in Anhui Province and was used by traveling musicians and dancers in the streets of villages and towns. In time, it would represent poverty.

Tibetan drums are part of the Sholdon (Yogurt) Festival, which occurs in late August.

Drums are also used for the traditional Chinese New Year’s Lion Dance.

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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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Talent and Compassion from China

March 12, 2014

Back in 2010, I wrote China’s Got Talent Too and mentioned Liu Wei, an armless pianist who plays piano with his toes.

He won that national talent contest and sang, “You Are Beautiful” in English.

Lui Wei’s motto is, “I have two options: I can die as fast as possible, or I can live a brilliant life, and I chose the latter.”

Another one of Liu Wei’s quotes is, “To me, there are three things that cannot be missed in life: air, water and music.”


If you watch his winning performance in the embedded video and don’t speak Chinese, be patient. Eventually you will get to hear Liu Wei perform.

Liu Wei was 10 years old when he lost his arms after touching a high-voltage wire during a game of hide-and seek.

In America, the standard current is 110 V.  In China, the standard electric current is 220 V. If you travel the globe, you might want visit the World Electric Guide and this link at Electric Shock to discover a few tips to help you avoid that voltage shock.

I also read a piece in the People’s Daily Online that asked Do Chinese people lack compassion?

After reading the piece in the People’s Daily, I’m sure most animal lovers in the United States would think the Chinese lack compassion, but I’d disagree. Most Chinese have a lot of compassion but it isn’t the same as showing compassion in the West, which might mean donating money or time to an animal shelter.

In China, compassion helped Liu Wei win China’s Got Talent, and he became a national celebrity and an example to every child in China showing what it means to never give up regardless of the odds.

Liu Wei earned that compassion by not allowing his handicap to get in his way—not because he lost his arms in an accident.

After winning the talent contest, he landed in the Guinness World Record for typing the most letters alphabetically in 1 minute using his feet: 251 letters.


Liu Wei performing on Italian TV
Watch him set a Guinness World Record in the last half of the video

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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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Quyi: one of China’s older performing arts helping preserve ethnic history and culture

March 5, 2014

As one of the older performing arts in China, Quyi—developed during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD) and flourished in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279)—is rooted in China’s history and culture.

Chinese Quyi focuses on how the “Body Talks”, and it’s mostly a spoken performance from one to four people. Don’t confuse it with Chinese opera.

During a performance, the actors pay attention to the use of the hands, eyes, body and step.  The focus of this performing art consists of narrative storytelling using staged monologues and dialogues.

Hand gestures are used to present the story’s plot while the eyes are the most important part of a Quyi performance. The eyes show anger, sorrow and joy. Using the eyes to dramatize the story is an art in itself.

Since there are different schools of Quyi, the hand, eyes, body and steps are used differently from school to school.

There are fifty-six minorities in China and minority produced Quyi is often subtly different from what the Han majority produces.

For instance, Chinese ethnic minorities use mostly their own languages or dialects for the performances often singing the dialogue. In fact, it’s been an important performing art for preserving the history and culture of many ethnic groups. (The Quyi of Ethnic Minority Groups in China)

In fact, since Quyi is a vital part of China’s minority culture, soon after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the Chinese Quyi Association was organized. Today, more than 3,500 members belong to an association that publishes Quyi Magazine.

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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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s fascination for Bamboo

March 4, 2014

Chinese culture considers Bamboo lucky because Bamboo is the Chinese symbol of strength.

Bamboo demonstrates strength by growing fast and adapting to new environments. Because of this, many in China see Bamboo as a symbol of luck, which explains why Bamboo is often given as a gift.


Bamboo Flute Music

In fact, Bamboo is the most popular plant in China.  Most Chinese, even in high-rise apartments, have Bamboo plants around in small pots.

Bamboo represents the spirit of summer, simplicity and humility, and respect for elders among other things.

Painting Bamboo goes back centuries. Musical instruments have been made of Bamboo.

China’s first cannons were made of Bamboo.


Painting Chinese Bamboo

My wife has planted Bamboo in the yards of every house we’ve lived in.  When my father-in-law visits from China, he has his picture taken in front of the healthiest, tallest stand of Bamboo in the yard.

In Feng Shui, Bamboo is a symbol of strength, fortitude, and rapid growth. When given as a gift, Lucky Bamboo is said to be at its luckiest.

Chinese tradition also gives meaning to the number of stalks given as a gift. Two stalks is a symbol for love, three or six represent happiness while five or seven impart health.  The more stalks there are, the more luck there will be. (Living Arts Originals)

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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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: Part 2 of 2

February 5, 2014

Ai Weiwei also infers that it wasn’t the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed 5,335 children (Weiwei’s number because there has been no official death count of how many children died) but corruption in the CCP that led to shoddy construction, and every opinion Weiwei says in the film is reported as if it were a fact.

But the film leaves out many facts of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed 69,195 with 18,392 missing; 374,176 injured; left 5 million people homeless of the 15 million who lived in the area with no mention that many of the schools that collapsed were built in the late 1970s before even the United States had tougher earthquake building codes.

if seventeen percent of China’s population is age 14 or less, then about 2.6 million children must have lived in the area hit by the earthquake—those children who died then represent 0.2% of the total number of children and that was much less than the 0.46% that represents deaths compared to the total population of the area. Why did Weiwei [and the western media] ignore the fact that 99.8% of children under age 14 survived?

China’s government did report that more than 7,000 inadequately engineered schoolrooms collapsed in the earthquake, but China’s critics—including Weiwei—never mention that few buildings survive an 8.0 earthquake without damage, and that this earthquake was rated the 21st deadliest earthquake of all time.

And according to Structure.org, the number of collapsed or seriously damaged structures exceeded 25 million. I think it is safe to say that most of the buildings in that area were not adequately engineered to survive an earthquake of that magnitude, and the schools that collapsed represent 0.028% of the total number of buildings damaged. I wonder if any schools survived and—if so—when were they built?

If you want a better perspective, I suggest reading The Christian Science Monitor that reported, “Earthquake engineers say that constructing a building to resist a quake of magnitude 7 or 8 is possible, but is often considered cost prohibitive” … and “Schools … are particularly vulnerable because they are often mid-sized buildings, smaller projects for contractors that are paid by [local] government bureaucracies. Two recent earthquakes in Indonesia and in Kashmir also resulted in a disproportionate [number of] student deaths.”

“Often school buildings suffer quite a bit,” said Amir Elnashnai, director of the Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition, why is it that China is condemned for the collapse of older concrete and brick buildings during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake when The Los Angeles Times reported in October 2013 that “More than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds more throughout the county may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake, according to a Times analysis. By the most conservative estimate, as many as 50 of these buildings in the city alone would be destroyed, exposing thousands to injury or death.”

You may also be interested in reading what Sweet and Sour Socialism has to say about this controversial artist in “Detained: Ai WeiWei, Con Artist” by Yoichi Shimatsu [the 4th media]”

Simatsu is Japanese and is the former Editor of the Japan Times Weekly. Now, do you think Ai Weiwei is a hero and the documentary offers a balanced perspective of the issues discussed?

Return to Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: Part 1

_______________

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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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