Infamous Angel Island—the Ellis Island of America’s West Coast

October 22, 2014

There is a poem on the Statue of Liberty that ends with “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was America’s west coast Ellis Island, but those famous last lines on the Statue of Liberty Poem did not apply to the Chinese and other Asians.

From 1919 to 1940, mostly Asian immigrants entered the US through Angel Island.

After 1940, the immigration station on Angel Island was forgotten until a California Park Ranger, Alexander Weiss, discovered the stories carved in the walls.

He thought that there were stories here as if there were ghosts waiting to be heard.

Over half of the Angel Island immigrants came from China and Japan and most of the carvings on the walls were poems written in Chinese.

A former detainee, Dale Ching, went through the station in 1937 when he was sixteen.  Even though Dale’s father was born in the United States, he still had to go through the immigration station.

While the East Coast’s Ellis Island welcomed immigrants, Angel Island’s story was one of sadness and suffering.

Most European immigrants who went through Ellis Island stayed a few hours, but immigrants on Angel Island were kept locked up under armed guard with barbed-wire fences surrounding the buildings and some people stayed for days, weeks, months and years.

The park service wanted to tear the Angel Island buildings down but Weiss found supporters and they struggled to preserve this history.  They succeeded and the restoration project was challenging.

Alexander Weiss sums up the video saying we should know both the right and the wrong from U.S. history.

_______________

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.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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


Zheng He’s 15th Century Chinese Armada

September 17, 2014

When the Yongle Emperor died in 1424, China’s Hongxi Emperor stopped the voyages of China’s largest fleet. Source: BBC

A century later, about 1529, another Ming Emperor burned all records of the fleet. This decision to withdraw from the world may have resulted in China not being ready to confront the Western Imperial powers that would arrive in the 19th century starting the Opium Wars, which would devastate China.

The voyages of Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s armada were rediscovered in Fujian province in the 1930s. The story was etched in a pillar. By the final, seventh voyage, the fleet had covered over 50,000 kilometers or 30,000 miles and was comprised of three hundred ships and 28,000 men.

By comparison, Christopher Columbus set sale in 1492 with 3 small ships and 88 men. Erik the Red, a Viking explorer, also crossed the Atlantic in even smaller ships to build a settlement in Greenland around 1,000 AD. Some archeologists suggest that the Phoenicians may have reached the Americas before the Vikings and Columbus around 500 BC. Some even say as early as 1500 to 1200 BC.

A joint Chinese-Kenyan expedition of archaeologists continues to search for a ship from Zheng He’s fleet, which may have sunk during a storm near the Lamu islands. ( Old Salt Blog )

Many layers of myth surround China’s ancient mariner. According to Kenyan lore, some of his shipwrecked sailors survived and married local women.

DNA tests have reportedly shown evidence of Chinese ancestry and a young Kenyan woman, Mwamaka Shirafu, was given a scholarship to study Chinese medicine in China, where she now lives.

In addition, National Geographic.com reports on the discovery of an ancient burial site found in Kenya’s Lamu archipelago: “These burial places, with their half-moon domes and terraced entries, were virtually identical to the classic Ming tombs that dot hillsides above Chinese ports from which shipwrecked Treasure Fleet sailors might have hailed.”


Another invention from ancient China still used in modern ships today.

_______________

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.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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


The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 5 of 5

May 10, 2014

View as Single Page

During one assassination attempt from one of his gangsters, Nicky Louie was shot in the head but managed to run to the police station to save himself.

He agreed to work with the police and the federal prosecutors.

However, to gain the government’s protection, he had to admit to his own crimes and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

This led to the end of the era of New York’s Chinatown Triads.

Today in the U.S., the Chinese Triads consist of an elusive array of constantly changing alliances among many small gangs scattered across the country.

The only bond between the gangs is the desire for making money. These Triads are involved in everything from human trafficking and gambling, to heroin smuggling.

For the first time, the Chinese American Triads are moving beyond the Chinese community and are willing to work with anyone as long as they make money.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says this makes the Triads in the U.S. a more significant threat to the safety of American citizens.

It’s not easy to define Chinese organized crime today. The Triads are difficult to penetrate.

The History Channel produced a documentary on Organized Crime in China. (click the previous link to see the entire video—about an hour)

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

View as Single Page

_______________

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


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

_______________

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


Mao as Poet

December 10, 2013

Many outside China only think of Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976) as a brutal dictator. Yet, he was fifty-six when he became the ruler of China and seventy-two at the beginning of The Cultural Revolution.

In fact, while commanding the Red Army during The Long March (1934-1935), we see a man who respected China’s peasants proving he was more of a nationalist than a Communist.

Then there was the move away from Communist Russia after Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, when Mao said, “Our common old friend, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, doesn’t approve of this.”

In 1935, Mao’s poem, “The Long March”, reveals an awareness of the sacrifice and the willingness to suffer to accomplish great things.

The Red Army fears not the trials of the March,
Holding light ten thousand crags and torrents.
The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples
And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay.
Warm the steep cliffs lapped by the waters of Golden Sand,
Cold the iron chains spanning the Tatu River.
Minshan’s thousand li of snow joyously crossed,
The three Armies march on, each face glowing.

Mao was a complex man, and it wasn’t until after the failure of the The Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1961) that the fatal attraction and power of leadership corrupted him leading to the horrors of The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), which Mao’s critics in the West use to define him.

Anyone who follows Mao’s life instead of relying on his last decade would understand that he cared deeply about the common people while punishing the landowners and wealthy, who abused them.  On the other hand, his foe, Chiang Kai-shek, supported the landowners and wealthy while crushing the peasants and workers.

There is a post on About China.info that says, “Mao’s poetry exhibits a spirit of boldness and power, weaving together history, reality and commitment… Bold transformation of myth and literary quotations are a distinct feature of Mao’s poetry.”

At Mao Zedong Poems, Two Birds” A Dialogue (1965), reveals what Mao may have been thinking about as President Johnson increased America’s involvement in Vietnam. Was Mao also warning us of what he was about to do in 1966, when he launched The Cultural Revolution?

Two Birds: A Dialogue (1965)

The roc wings fanwise,
Soaring ninety thousand li
And rousing a raging cyclone.
The blue sky on his back, he looks down
To survey Man’s world with its towns and cities.
Gunfire licks the heavens,
Shells pit the earth.
A sparrow in his bush is scared stiff..
“This is one hell of a mess!
O I want to flit and fly away.”
“Where, may I ask?”
The sparrow replies,
“To a jewelled palace in elfland’s hills.
Don’t you know a triple pact was signed
Under the bright autumn moon two years ago?
There’ll be plenty to eat,
Potatoes piping hot,
Beef-filled goulash.”
“Stop your windy nonsense!
Look, the world is being turned upside down.”

Through Mao’s poetry, we learn more about the man—not the modern emperor.

Discover China’s Privately Passionate Poetry

_______________

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


The Rise of China’s Romance Film Industry

April 23, 2013

Romance is filling screens in China, and Tom Carter showed us how the Western Romeo and Juliet concept of romance got its start in China in 1995 when Harlequin (US  Romance publisher) received permission “to bring romance to millions of Chinese women”.

That beginning grew to more than a thousand romance novels written by mainland Chinese authors last year.

The growing interest in fictional romance has also spilled seriously into mainland Chinese film.

Cfensi (a source for Chinese entertainment news) says that recently, modern day romance movies in China have taken off. “Cinema goers in China want the choice of light-hearted entertainment from the cinema, and the Chinese film industry is rapidly accommodating that niche in the market.”


Interview with Tony Leung, who often plays the leading man in movies with beautiful actresses.

In fact, one star benefiting from this demand for romance may be “Tony Leung (who) has been called the Clark Gable of Asia, and it’s not hard to see why: he’s handsome, with the enviable frame of a man who can put on anything knowing it will both flatter him and fit him.” Source: The Times.uk

Then Tiger Cinema offers a list of Chinese Romance movies with links to “try now”. The titles for a few of these movies are revealing: If You Are the OneSome Like It HotAll About womenL For Love – L For LiesCall For Love, and My DNA Says I Love You.

The summary for If You Are the One says, “A story about love in comical situations depicts how difficult it often is to find the right person, but also how often we don’t realize it when love hits us at the most unexpected times.”

Cfensi says, “With China’s total box office up 44% in 2009, and 1.65 cinema screens added per day, with no signs of slowly down, this should only be one sign to look forward to of the growing diversification of China’s rapidly rising film industry.”

_______________

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.

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


Exporting Romance

April 22, 2013

When I first read Tom Carter’s guest post about Harlequin Romance Invades China, my first thought was China is doomed.

First, American fast food arrived and now China is having a weight problem leading to poor health and the explosion of China’s Fat Camps.

Then there is America’s car culture, which is catching on fast in a country that doesn’t have the strict environmental pollution laws that have existed in the US for decades, and most of urban China is choked with smog.

Now, I learn that romance American style has arrived in China as another blow to China’s ability to survive as a civilization. Weren’t the 19th century Opium Wars bad enough?

Eating fast food that destroys health, smoking cigarettes, reading Harlequin Romances and driving carbon-spewing cars cannot be a good thing.

Is this how “democracy” is going to make life better for the Chinese?

Since Harlequin romance novels flew into China on collagen-filled lips, attitudes toward love has changed.

“According to Enjoy Reading Era, a Beijing-based cultural company specializing in publishing romantic novels, 1,500 love stories by writers in the mainland were published last year, an all-time high. The same company exported 50 romance novels to Hong Kong and Taiwan, while it only imported three novels from Taiwan.” Source: Show China.org

Reading romance novels may explain the increase in the divorce rate in China and the high divorce rate in the US. After all, how can any real man compare to the ink and paper men on the pages of a Harlequin romance novel?

However, I may be wrong about what the West has exported to China. Thanks to romance novels, China may no longer need the one-child policy since all those wheezing, unhealthy fat people driving cars instead of riding bicycles or walking will be reading trashy romance novels instead of making love.

This may end China’s population challenges.

In fact, GM and Ford are making huge profits in China as is McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Even Hooters is in China along with Wal-Mart.

Think of the profits these American corporations are earning to help make the rich richer.

_______________

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.

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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,662 other followers