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.

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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 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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Chinese Cupping Therapy—Does it work?

June 3, 2015

I have been aware of cupping for some time, because I married into a Chinese family and one of my wife’s sisters used this method of Chinese medicine.

However, I didn’t pay much attention to cupping until I wrote a post about Gwyneth Paltrow being Popular in China.

Researching the Gwyneth Paltrow post, I discovered that she believes in Chinese medicine and has used cupping. She even told Oprah, “It feels amazing and it’s very relaxing, and it feels terrific. It’s just one of the alternative medicines that I do instead of taking antibiotics.”

The history of Chinese cupping dates from 281 AD. It was an ancient Taoist medical practice and was widely used in the courts of Imperial China at the time.  Its administration was first recorded by Ge Hong in an ancient tract called Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies.

In fact, medical education in China was elevated to a higher standard in 443 AD when Qin Cheng-zu petitioned Emperor Wen of the North and South Dynasty period to appoint physicians to teach medical students. Almost a thousand years later the first medical schools appeared in the West.

By 493 AD, the Imperial Academy had expanded to include lectureships and chairs for teaching Chinese medicine. – Shen-nong.com

Chinese medicine from the beginning focused on prevention to avoid illness where Western medicine has always focused on cures for illnesses after a life is threatened by diseases such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

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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 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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A brief history of Chinese Herbalism

February 24, 2015

The use of herbal medicines in China has been traced to the Zhou Dynasty, late Bronze/early Iron Age, about 2500 to 3000 years ago.

In 1596, hundreds of years before the age of modern Western medicine, Li Shizhen spent decades documenting the vast knowledge of herbal lore.

His book, the Ben Cao Gang Mu (1596), has been used as a pharmacopoeia, but it was also a treatise on botany, zoology, mineralogy and metallurgy.

The Ben Cao Gang Mu mentions 1,892 different herbs and is divided into 6 sections, 52 scrolls and 60 different categories.

It has been reported that Darwin had a copy of the Ben Cao Gang Mu with him on his voyage of discovery in 1831.

The World Health Organization says, “Traditional herbal medicines are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices.”

I think that today’s profit-based corporations that produce modern medicine probably don’t want people to be free to use herbal medicine. because it cuts into their profits, but—if given a choice—I’d rather use herbal medicine first and modern medicine as a last resort.

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

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards

Kindle_LR_e-book_cover_MSC_July_25_2013

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

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The Development of Food Safety in China versus the United States

January 7, 2015

A friend sent me a piece about tainted supplements in the United States, and one paragraph grabbed my attention.

The New York Times said, “In recent years, a vast majority of supplement suppliers have located overseas—principally in China. Nearly all of the vitamin C and many other supplements consumed in the United States are made from ingredients made in Chinese plants. Those plants are almost never inspected by the FDA because the agency is not required to do so, has little money to do so and does not view the plants as particularly risky.”

China has an agency that is similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) founded in 2003 as part of an effort in China to improve food safety. Today, there are about ten government departments and ministries under the State Council responsible for food safety in China.

Although China’s CFDA is relatively new compared to America’s FDA (est. 1906), China appears to be taking food safety seriously compared to weaknesses discovered in America’s FDA.

Evidence that China is serious about food safety appeared on July 10, 2007, when Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the CFDA was executed by lethal injection for taking bribes from various firms in exchange for state licenses related to product safety. When has the United States sent a corrupt FDA or corporate official to prison let alone executed someone convicted of corruption?

Until the 1906 Food and Drug Act, America did not have an FDA (FDA Early History), and recently the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed that hundreds of agency scientists had been pressured to approve drugs despite reservations about safety.

For instance, WashingtonBlog.com reported that in the U.S. Giant Food Corporations Work Hand-In-Glove With Corrupt Government Agencies to Dish Up Cheap, Unhealthy Food. “Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday.”

Then there was the New Harvard Study that revealed how we cannot trust the FDA with public safety. The study points out how the FDA, which supposedly must be in charge of public health and safety, is nothing more than a puppet for giant pharmaceutical and drug companies.

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

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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Eating swiftlet bird saliva

June 10, 2014

Just the thought of eating soup made from bird saliva gives me the shivers. However, there is a history behind this Southeast Asian delicacy and there may be health benefits but also some degree of danger for a few people.

Myth has it that The Chinese have been eating this saliva for 1,500 years since the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). But another myth says China’s most famous eunuch, Admiral Zheng Hi, brought these nests made from bird saliva back to China in the 15th century.

What we do know for sure is that the Chinese have been making soup from imported swiftlet nests from Southeast Asia for centuries.

A Review of Scientific Research on Edible Bird’s Nest from the 1990s of a few comprehensive scientific studies in Asia and China revealed that this particular bird saliva appears to play a crucial role in major normal cellular processes and may help resist the effects of aging.

However, the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology reported that for a few people there is a major risk of an allergic reaction after eating Bird’s Nest Soup and death could occur.

To be fair to the birds and their saliva, eating peanuts and getting flu shots may also end in allergic reactions with severe symptoms that may lead to death—for a few.

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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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The Power of Ginseng

November 13, 2013

My wife often cooks with ginseng. She slices the ginseng thin and it goes into the wok with what she is cooking—tofu, cabbage, edamame, Bok Choy, etc.  Ginseng is a dried root that the Chinese believed possesses magical powers because it’s shaped sort of like a little person.

The Chinese also use Ginseng as a powerful herbal medicine.

At one time, modern scientists rejected these claims, but recent research shows it does help the body resist illness and heal damage caused by stress by stimulating the immune system.

Because I only eat ginseng with food my wife cooks, I’ve never taken the herb for its healing properties but I love what it does for flavor.

Records in China show that ginseng was used as an herbal medicine over 3,000 years ago and in cooking as far back as 5,000 years. Chinese emperors valued ginseng enough to pay for the herb with its weight in gold.  In America, ginseng was also used by several North American Indian nations. Source: Ancient Ginseng History

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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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Interracial love in China during World War II, a book review of “Shanghai Love”

August 13, 2013

From the title, we already know the story is about love in Shanghai, and it doesn’t take long to discover who the two main characters are that are destined to meet.

It is 1938, and in chapter one, we are introduced to Peilin in China. In chapter two we meet Henri in Nazi Germany.

But the love story isn’t what made this novel worth reading. It was the journey the two characters must take to find each other. They are both doctors. Henri is Jewish and trained in western medicine. He has to leave his family behind in Germany and flee to China to avoid Hitler’s Nazis who are hunting for him because he dared to love a woman who was not Jewish.

Peilin was trained by her grandfather in Chinese herbal medicine, and by the time Henri meets her, she has already been married to a ghost for some time.

As a young girl, a marriage was arranged to a boy almost twice Peilin’s age, but when he was a young man—before the marriage—he was killed in combat fighting the Japanese who invaded China in July of 1937. By the time Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese in December 1941, China has already been fighting Japan for more than four years. To give you an idea of how horrible it was, by the end of World War II, China lost ten to twenty million people to the war compared to 418,500 for the United States.

One would think with her fiancé dead, Peilin would be free to move on with her life, but no—because in China it is expected that Peilin must still marry the man’s ghost, stay a virgin for life and live with her in-laws who will buy a baby for her to raise as if she were its biological mother and the dead man its father.

Shanghai-Love-front-cover-194x300

The story is set in an era when both the Chinese and Europeans disapproved of interracial relationships. In Germany, there was racism against the Jews. But in China, there is prejudice from some Chinese because Henri is white. In addition, many of the Jewish refugees look down on the Chinese culture and disapprove of Henri spending time with Peilin. It seems that these two are fated to be star-crossed lovers.

I recommend reading this story because it offers a reminder of the horrors of war and racism. During World War II, 20,000 European Jews fled to Shanghai, one of the few places in the world that put no limits on the number of Jews it would accept.

Another plot thread that runs through the novel is the focus on Chinese herbal medicine and how different it is from the western concept of medical care. The Chinese were studying advanced medical care long before the West. In fact, Chinese medical tradition is more than 5,000 years old including herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and dietary therapy—concepts that the West didn’t pay serious attention to until near the end of the 20th century.

I’m not going to tell you how the love story turns out between Henri and Peilin. You will have to buy and read the novel to discover that.

Layne Wong, the author of Shanghai Love

Layne Wong, the author of Shanghai Love

I bought my copy of “Shanghai Love” by Layne Wong at an author event held at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley, California earlier in 2013.

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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 Holistic Historical Timeline


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