A captivating story of Shanghai and China set in the early 20th century

April 8, 2014

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones kept me reading late into the night until I finished the book in record time. It’s all there: love, intrigue, suspense, drama, music and history masterly woven through the story.

Thomas Greene is an African American classical pianist who is recruited by Lin Ming—the illegitimate son of the powerful leader of Shanghai’s Green Gang, Du Yue-Sheng—to leave the United States and lead a jazz band of fellow African-Americans in Shanghai. It’s in Shanghai where Thomas discovers a life that isn’t plagued by the poverty and the racial discrimination he knew in America, and he falls in love with the city and people with no intention of going home.

Thomas has a lusty affair with a beautiful Russian refugee and makes friends with Jews fleeing the madness of Hitler’s Germany. Then Thomas meets the woman who will fill his life with passion and love. Her name is Song Yuhua, but she is the property of Du Yeu-Sheng. Song’s father gave her to the gangster to pay off a gambling debt.

In addition, you’ll discover the story of the Chinese Schindler, who risked his life while working in Europe as a Chinese diplomat to save more Jews than the real Schindler did—there should be a film about his courage but at least we now have this novel.

You’ll also discover the efforts by both some Chinese and China’s Japanese invaders to protect the Jews who escaped to China. Hitler pressured both Chiang Kai-shek and Japan’s leaders to kill all the Jews in China, but they refused. Instead, they did something no other country on the earth—even the United States—did. Chinese leaders and Japan’s military leaders in China protected the Jews and offered them a safe haven during the horrors of World War II.

And I learned something new—that Chiang Kai-shek admired Adolf Hitler. This kicked my curiosity into high gear and I did some Google research to discover that Chiang Kai-shek and Hitler were friends who admired each other. The two first met in 1912. In 1913, they even rented a room together in Munich. After Japan invaded China, Chiang asked Hitler’s for help with the Japanese but he didn’t know that Hitler was already forming a military alliance with Japan. In fact, The Nationalist Chinese led by Chiang Kai-shek cooperated with the Nazis from the late 1920s until the late 1930s.

“Night in Shanghai” also makes it clear that the Chinese Communists under Mao were nationalists first and communists second. In my Google research I discovered that the communists proclaimed: “There is the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler.”

The first character we meet in the novel is Song Yuhua. Near the end of the story, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is imminent, she must choose between her loyalty to the Chinese Communists and her love for Thomas Greene. You’ll have to read the book to discover her choice.

I received an advanced reading copy of this novel through Amazon Vine and this review is my own opinion of the novel.

_______________

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


China’s IKEA Sleepover

April 1, 2014

Zach Honig, a former editor at PC Magazine, writes a Blog called Tech, Travel and Tuna.

While in Beijing, Honig remembered a piece he read in the LA Times about Beijing residents loving IKEA but not for shopping. Curious, he visited the IKEA in Beijing and saw how popular IKEA is in a snoozy sort of way.

In fact, I sympathize with the Chinese snoozers.  Have you ever slept on a “hard” Chinese bed?


Love after the first bite.

Honig also mentioned that he ran into China’s Net Nanny since he couldn’t access his WordPress Blog, Twitter or Facebook, which includes anarchists scheming to bring down orderly societies. There is some truth to that.

Meanwhile, the IKEA snoozers have not slowed expansion plans in the Middle Kingdom since IKEA plans to increase the number of stores in China to 18 by 2015. The first store opened in 1977.

The current sixteen IKEA stores in China saw 15 million visitors in fiscal 2012 (or should I saw snoozers). IKEA also owns a 49% share of Inter Ikea Centre Group that builds shopping centers and is planning to spend billions to build more malls in China.


Bargains at IKEA Shanghai store

The BBC ran a piece about IKEA in China: Store or theme park? As one Chinese customer said, “Every time I come here, I stay for the whole day and have lunch here.

And “Products have also been redesigned with Chinese customers in mind – little things, like deepening bowls so they can hold rice,” the BBC reported. “Every store in China features mock-ups of the tiny apartments common in many Chinese cities, kitted out with Ikea products.”

Another factor is the Chinese save then pay cash for most of what they buy. It is estimated that Chinese households have accumulated $16.5 trillion (valued in US dollars) in assets.

Don’t forget to drop by Zach Honig’s Blog and see his photos of snoozing IKEA fans in Beijing. The link is at the top of this post.

_______________

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


Importing Chinese Students to export American lifestyles

March 18, 2014

American Sinophobes—and there are many—probably won’t want to read this but millions of Chinese students from Communist China have attended American universities and colleges and earned degrees. In fact, according to PewGlobal.org, only 37% of Americans see China favorably.

But that hasn’t stopped some of China’s top leaders sending their children to attend universities in the West. For instance, the Daily Mail.co.uk reported that China’s new ‘first daughter’ attends Harvard under a pseudonym and is protected by Chinese officials 24-7.

Next time you visit USC, MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford or UCLA, look around.  How many Chinese do you see?

PBS reported in November 2013, that “Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students are flocking to U.S. colleges and universities, helping drive the number of international students studying in America to record levels.”

This didn’t start recently and it isn’t free. In fact, it’s expensive for a foreign student to attend a college or university in the U.S.

Since the door out of China opened as early as 1980, more than a million Chinese students have graduated from U.S. colleges and returned to China, which may explain China’s Sexual Revolution in the late 1990s.

It might shock Americans to realize that most of the people in China that have the money to send their children to the US belong to the Communist Youth League or the Communist Party and few who earn a university degree in the US stay. The South China Morning Post reported, “For decades, the rate of return to China remained low as students with advanced degrees did not see opportunities for research at home. Last year, more than 272,000 Chinese returned after completing their education abroad, 86,700 more than in 2011; a 46 percent increase, according to the Ministry of Education.”

Many of these students return to mainland China influenced by what they learned in America.

Imagine, when China’s growth to become a modern nation is complete, the country might turn into a republic and/or democracy influenced by America’s “so-called” socialist, liberal institutions of higher education.

_______________

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


Discover the History of Guanxi

March 11, 2014

I first heard of Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which referred to the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the China Law Blog’s post, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is an aspect of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi is based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger—Chinese or foreign—will ever have access to. (Silicon Hutong)

Guanxi evolved over the millennia because China didn’t have a stable and effective legal system. In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was established.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic is developing faster than civil law.

Through the centuries, merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Guanxi developed organically in civil society due to the absence of a uniform, government mandated legal system, and maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog’s had more than twenty comments, and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

_______________

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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,759 other followers