The 1000-hand Guan Yin is about more than Deaf Dancing

January 6, 2016

In the United States, if a public school were to attempt teaching young, deaf and/or disabled students in the art of an intricate dance and required them to drill repeatedly as if they were in the Marine Corps, humanitarians and feminists—due to the attractive young women—would cry foul and soon there would be pressure to cancel it, make it illegal, or hold investigations. There might even be boycotts and protests.

As for autocratic corporate Charter schools that are stealing money from the community-based, democratic public schools in the United States, forget it. Corporations are in it for the higher test scores so they can brag and hijack more children from the public schools to boost profits.

In addition, critics of China infected with the Racist Sinophobia Virus (RSV), a mental illness learned while growing up, might chime in to crucify the Middle Kingdom once again for crimes against humanity reminding us—with more lies and exaggerations—of Tibet, censorship, and more.


From China (Thousand-hand ~ Guan Yin ~ 千手音 )

But when it was established in 1987, the China Disabled People’s Art Troupe (CDPAT) was an amateur performance troupe supported by the government with members recruited from around the country.

In 2002, that all changed, after the troupe’s first commercial performance. The China Daily reported, “After its first commercial performance, in 2004, the troupe made 10 million yuan (US$1.21 million).”

Tai Lihua, the lead dancer and captain of the CDPAT, has visited many countries with her troupe. For instance, they have performed at the John F. Kennedy Centre in New York City and the Teatro alla Scala in Venice, two of the world’s most prestigious theatres.

The dance of the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin is named after the Bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy, who is a compassionate being that watches for and responds to the people in the world who cry out for help such as the deaf and disabled members of the CDPAT.

Being deaf and mute, these disabled performers endured pain and suffering in vigorous training simply to deliver a message of love, and when you watch the embedded videos and see close ups of the performers’ faces, you will see their dedication.

When I first watched this video, I was reminded of Amy Chua, the Tiger Mother, and how she relentlessly drilled her daughters in piano and violin. US critics raged at this after Chua’s memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published.  However, the oldest daughter, Sophia, went to Harvard and enjoys playing the piano.

Often, the rewards of enduring the pain and suffering it takes to achieve near perfection in an art such as playing piano or learning intricate dances comes only after years of challenging and demanding repetition.

What’s amazing about this dance troupe is that all the performers are deaf, making the choreography to the music even more incredible, and the difficulties encountered in training are beyond imagining.

However, four instructors, who can hear and speak, signal the rhythm of the music from four corners of the stage/room, and with repetition and diligent practice, the performance is nearly flawless.

______________________________

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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Skiing Downhill or Cross-country in China

January 5, 2016

Wei Gu writing for The Wall Street Journal reports that skiing is the latest obsession of China’s wealthy. “Skiing is taking off in a big way in China. Beijing sees the sport as part of its China dream.”

Skiing isn’t new to China.  In fact, China View.cn says cliff paintings of hunters in rugged remote northwestern China appear to prove that Chinese (in that area) were adept skiers as early as the Stone Age some 100 to 200 centuries ago. Of course back then skiing wasn’t a sport. It was used to get around and go hunting. But that’s changed. Today “skiing has become a popular pastime for China’s burgeoning new middle class, with several slopes around the capital, Beijing, packed every winter weekend.”

Skiing also isn’t new to me, but I haven’t gone skiing for about 20 years, and if I ever ski again, I will have to buy new boots and maybe new skis, since my old pair of parabolic skis have been gathering dust in the garage for far too long.

Back in my powder days, I often skied two of Southern California’s more popular ski resorts, along with Mammoth Mountain in central California, in addition to Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood (both active volcanoes) in Oregon, and I had my share of days and nights skiing in blizzards at temperatures far below freezing.

I have never snowboarded but a former student told me it is easier than skiing. Maybe one day I will find out, and I might give it a try in China.

Sexy Beijing’s reporter Rachel Dupuy went to Nanshan to see what was up in China’s newly forming snowboarding scene. What we discover from Beijing Beat: Riding China (the embedded video above) is Beijing’s Nanshan ski area the winter of 2008 with a snowboarding competition that included $25,000 in prizes.

It appears that along with fast food, for instance, McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut, China is adopting western sports. In Tiger Woods smiles big while golfing in China, I wrote about China’s growing number of golf courses and mentioned Chinese golfers numbering more than 100,000 and taking to the sport with enthusiasm.

If you are a dedicated powder monkey, for more information about skiing in China, click on the link for Ski Resort.info for a list of all 57 ski resorts in China, and for the to 5, click China Highlights.com.

And if you are into cross country skiing, well, Boston Globe.com reports that every Jan. 2 near Changchun, a provincial city about 600 miles northeast of Beijing with 7.5 million people, is open to both competitive skiers and the general public for a 17.5 kilometer (10.9 miles) race that is an easier version of the 52.5 kilometer (32.6 miles) main event.

______________________________

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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Being Chinese and Buying Made In China in the USA: Part 2 of 2

October 21, 2015

I’ve been in the Number One Shanghai department store off Nanjing road and seen Chinese consumers taking TV’s from the box to insure they work.

Recently, a friend who was visiting us from China was up early in the morning walking to the Apple Store, a thirty-minute walk from our house.

To buy an iPad or iPhone in America, she was willing to get up that early and wait in line for several hours until the store opened to buy this new Apple product. And she didn’t buy just one. Her coworkers and friends in China gave her enough money to buy several Apple products that were all assembled in China but sold in the U.S.

When I asked her why not buy the iPad at one of the official Apple Stores in Beijing or Shanghai, she said if you buy something in the U.S. even if it’s made in China, the buyer can be assured of the quality.

There is some truth to that. My father-in-law’s wife arrived several years ago with a new camera she bought in China, and it stopped working the first week she was here so she bought an expensive Sony at Costco and loved it because it worked just as promised and kept on working.

It would seem that Chinese manufacturers have a long way to go to earn the trust of the Chinese consumer.

Meanwhile, 109 million Chinese tourists left China in 2014 and many bought “Made in China” outside of China and spend more than any other foreign travelers at an average of $7,200 each visit to the U.S. They also buy “Made in the USA” and products made in other countries.

Don’t believe me? Well, Bloomberg.com reported recently that “they (Chinese tourists) are the most prolific spenders in the world.”

Don’t let this blow your mind, but last week I saw a busload of Chinese tourists shopping at the Costco closest to our house. It seems that even Costco is a tourist destination and Chinese tourists buy everything even filling up shopping carts with vitamins.

Next time you hear an ignorant American complaining about China stealing jobs from the U.S., tell them how many jobs they are generating in the U.S. and how much money they are spending here, and that the U.S. is now issuing more visas for Chinese citizens for longer periods of time.

Whitehouse.gov says, “In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the United States, contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs.”  And it is estimated that by 2021, Chinese travelers to the U.S. will be supporting 440,000 U.S. jobs.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Return to or start with Part 1.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition], a historical fiction novel with a unique love story that is set in 19th century China. His latest book, a suspense thriller set in the world that Lloyd worked in as a maitre d’ in the early 1980s, is going on sale for $0.99, a savings of 75% below regular price.

99 cents Promotion Graphic OCT 2015

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Being Chinese and Buying Made In China in the USA: Part 1 of 2

October 20, 2015

Worldwatch Institute reported, “Chinese purchases of high-end items—including designer handbags, perfumes, and watches—will grow by 25 percent annually over the next four years, and that by 2015 China will be the world’s largest luxury brand consumer, with a 29 percent global share.”

In addition, CNN Money says that America is the new destination for rich Chinese shoppers. Why? “Renee Hartmann, of China Luxury Advisors, said luxury merchandise in the U.S. tends to be around 35% cheaper than in China.”

There is another reason why many Chinese tourists buy “Made in China” in other countries.

While my Chinese father-in-law and his wife were visiting in the U.S. I learned why Chinese buy here — quality.

If you read the China Law Blog, you may know that in China there are several levels of quality that do not exist in the U.S.  When buying anything in China, there is always a risk you might end up buying a fake or the real thing but of a lower quality. In fact, there is no way to tell what level of quality you are buying when in China.

That doesn’t mean “Made in China” is always of a poor quality. The language of the contract between the foreign buyer such as Apple and the Chinese manufacturer is important. If the contract between a U.S. corporation and a Chinese manufacturer specifics the quality, that’s what’s usually delivered to be shipped to the U.S. If the product is of a poor quality, then blame it on the contract the CEO of a U.S. corporation signed.

And most of the products Apple sells globally are assembled in China and many are manufactured there too (Apple has manufacturing facilities spread around the world but assembles most of its expensive electronic items such as the iPad in China).

Continued in Part 2 on October 21, 2015.

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Diving Deep into China with Isham Cook “At The Teahouse Café”

September 8, 2015

At The Teahouse Cafe, 15 essays by Isham Cook, delves into East Asian Culture and a number of related issues and topics.

Isham Cook has been based in China since 1994, more than twenty years. Writing with the perspective of an American expatriate who has lived in East Asia that long offers readers a view from someone on the ground, and I think that Cook does not disappoint.

The topics of his 15 essay range, for instance, from China’s Great Firewall, the complexity and meaning of Chinese “face”, music, China’s education system to the aversive racism of the term “yellow fever”—something that I’ve also been accused of. Cook goes into detail of why men are attracted to specific women of any race, and I think he is right.

And for his essay on The Chinese University, I Hi-Lited: “The problem with the Chinese university is not the people, it is the system in control, which paralyzes, demotivates and demoralizes.”

The reason why I Hi-Lited that one phrase while reading the book was because it described what is happening in the United States. Since 2001 and President G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, and then President Obama’s attempt to seize control of America’s public schools with the so-called Common Core State Standards and the high stakes test meant to rank teachers, fire them and close public schools, that quote describes what is happening in the U.S.

Isham Cook At The Teahouse Cafe

You have been gone too long, Isham. The U.S is under attack by a flock of oligarchs and autocrats that might even shock or impress the Chinese Communist Party because of their tactics to mislead and fool as many people as possible in the U.S. In fact, while China is struggling to lift as many of its people out of poverty as possible, what’s going on in the U.S. is increasing poverty at a frightening pace, especially among children.

Anyway, Isham Cook delves deep into many topics about China, it’s culture and people based on his own experiences living there and interacting with the Chinese. He discusses the bad and the good and doesn’t spare the United States either, and I think that is a good thing because far too many ignorant Americans think the U.S. can do no wrong.

My own interaction with the Chinese pales in comparison. My wife is Chinese, her family is Chinese—mostly born and raised in China during the Mao era—and I’ve been to China nine or 10 times but never lived or worked there, and my last trip was in 2008 when the air pollution in Shanghai contributed to a sinus and respiratory infection that sent me flying home several weeks earlier than planned to recover.

I recommend At The Teahouse Cafe for anyone who wants to get a serious, intellectual dose of the real China from an American who has lived and worked there as long as Isham Cook has. This book should open your eyes as long as your thinking isn’t a closed, dead-end street.

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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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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Harbin, China’s Northeastern Winter Wonderland

June 16, 2015

Casey Chan of Gizmodo posted A Winter Wonderland in China with two photos of The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival located in Northeast China where the average winter temperature is a (minus) – 16.8 degrees Celsius (1.76 Fahrenheit). The Festival is held in January.

It is June, and you might wonder why I’m posting this now instead of December or January. The simple answer is for travelers who might want to visit China and think Harbin would be a good place to include in the trip—next winter.

Wikipedia says the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival was first held in 1963, but it was interrupted for a few years during the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Mao died in 1976, and it took time for China’s economic engine to recover. The fact that the festival resumed in 1985 is a sign of the changes taking place in China.

In the comment section of Chan’s Gizmodo post, Adam wrote, “China is awesome when it comes to giant decorations and celebrations (just remember the Olympics!), but the people there still have an extremely low quality of life. Why, if they can do some things so well, do they fail at others?”

Sega8800 asked Adam, “How do you know their life is low quality?”

Adam’s answer was a Wikipedia link to a post of a 1994 book, China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power. The couple who wrote the book spent five years in China (1988 to 1993) as journalists for the New York Times—not the best unbiased source about China by a long shot.

I laughed.

The content for that book was based on material that was more than 22-years old, and time in China did not freeze. During those years, China transformed itself by rebuilding the old cities while building more than a hundred new ones in addition to the explosion of a middle class that equals or surpasses the entire population of the United States. China has also crisscrossed the country with new highways, railroads that include high speed rail that doesn’t even exist in the United States yet, and it has built more than 500 new airports while America’s airports are way overdue for an upgrade.

In fact, as the standard of living for China’s still growing middle class expands, the Chinese are now buying more new cars than Americans, traveling the world as tourists (about 100 million annually), and the most popular car that’s a status symbol in China is GM’s Buick (别克).

The embedded videos with this post are of Harbin and previous festivals.

map_china_showing_Harbin

______________________________

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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