Lin Yutang’s “My Country and My People”

March 19, 2013

If you haven’t spent time in China, your opinions about that country are probably wrong. I’ve traveled there often, and I’m married to a woman who was born and lived in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

That’s why I found it interesting to read “The Non-Existence Of A Chinese World View” at Two Fish’s Blog, where Lin YuTang was quoted.

My-Country-and-My-People-Lin-Yutang-9781849026642

While writing “My Splendid Concubine and the sequel, “Our Hart”, about Robert Hart in China, I read “My Country and My People“. Hart is mentioned on page eleven of the 1938 edition. Pearl S. Buck, who wrote the introduction to Lin’s book, felt that someone who knows the Chinese should write a book about the people and culture. She urged Lin YuTang to be that author. Even though YuTang’s book was published years before the Communist Revolution, this book is still relevant in all things Chinese.

YuTang’s style is a mixture of history, philosophy, psychology, sociology with wit and wisdom.

Lin Yu Tang

I smiled when he pointed out contradictions about the Chinese way of thinking and helped me discover what motivates many Chinese to act the way they do—even the Chinese in a government often blamed for what they do because they are Communists when in fact, they act that way because they are Chinese.

To learn more of China, discover Tom Carter’s “China: Portrait of a People”

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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.

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From Mao to the Met

March 12, 2013

Arriving early at the local library to attend a lecture called the Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, I stopped by the library’s used bookstore first and found a three-dollar DVD of Hao Jiang Tian’s From Mao to the Met. Later that evening, my wife said she had been looking for that DVD, and she invited her sister and father to join us when we watched it.

Funded by the Committee of 100, this one-man show features Metropolitan Opera basso Hao Jiang Tian weaving song and story into a compelling tale of growing up in China under Chairman Mao, based on his autobiography (with co-author Lois B. Morris) “Along the Roaring River: My Wild Ride from Mao to the Met“.

What I enjoyed most about the one-man show was that Tian never condemned Mao, the CCP or China for his bitter-sweet journey.

 

Instead, this fantastic opera singer says it was fate that led him from Mao to the Met. When you stop to think about it, fate is the river-of-life known later as history—the current that carries all of us through life often without much say in that history.

As a child, Tian hated his piano lessons. Then with the arrival of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Tian said, “So one happiest day came when I heard an announcement from the loudspeakers: My piano teacher was arrested as a counterrevolutionary. And then I was so happy. And so immediately I ran to the courtyard, screaming and jumping with joy.”

Thirty years later, Tian returned to Beijing and visited his piano teacher, who said, “Well, that was a crazy period, and it was so hard to figure out who was right and who was wrong.”

In his one man show, Tian performs songs of the Cultural Revolution, American standards such as “Some Enchanted Evening”, Irish song “Danny Boy” and operatic arias from his favorite roles; Tian tells the story of the music-and the woman- that changed his life.

NPR says, “For more than 20 years, the basso voice of Hao Jiang Tian has filled major American opera houses. As one of the few Chinese stars in opera, his life story is as remarkable as his work. … Tian is one of the few opera singers to emerge from China.” Source: NPR.org

Discover China’s Invisible Man – Liu Bolin

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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.

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Mao and Snow

December 3, 2012

During one of our trips to Shanghai, China, my wife and I went to see a film called Mao Zedong and Edgar Snow.

Edgar Snow (1905 – 1972) was an American journalist known for his books and articles on Communism in China and the Chinese Communist revolution. He is believed to be the first Western journalist to interview Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, and is best known for Red Star Over China (1937) an account of the Chinese Communist movement from its foundation until the late 1930s.

The film was in Mandarin and wasn’t subtitled, so I had to watch carefully to understand what was going on. I Googled the move and found little about it on the Internet.

However, I discovered that Edgar Snow’s wife threatened to sue China if the movie was released but that didn’t stop the Chinese.

There’s no doubt that Mao had to have charisma to lead so many men in battle for so many years to win the civil war.


Edgar Snow and Mao

However, Mao changed after he became a modern emperor, and the power corrupted him. The evidence—the results of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the purges that killed so many.

There was a positive side too.  Mao’s success in the CCP’s war against poverty, the increase in life expectancy that almost doubled during Mao’s rule and the health programs that were implemented such as the bare foot doctors. The reason so many Chinese still think of Mao as the George Washington of China was because life after 1949 was better than life before the CCP won the Civil War.

Students of China may want to see this movie, but the only place one may buy a DVD of this movie is probably China.

When Edgar Snow came down with pancreatic cancer, Zhou Enlai dispatched a team of Chinese doctors to Switzerland to treat him.

The next best thing would be to read Snow’s book about Mao, Red Star Over China and/or discover about Health Care During Mao’s Time.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl – a movie review

November 26, 2012

The Sent Down Girl was filmed in China and directed by Joan Chen. It is a Mandarin language film with English subtitles and was filmed on the hauntingly beautiful Tibetan high plains.

During the Cultural Revolution, millions of teens were sent from the cities to the country or camps to learn humility and a simpler, peasant life.

This movie stars Lu Lu as Xiu Xiu, a teenage girl and Lopsang as Lao Jin, a castrated Tibetan nomad who is assigned to teach the innocent teen how to handle and train horses.

Xiu Xiu

Lao Jin falls in love with his young charge but he is a eunuch. Then there is a local low ranking Communist official and others, who introduce Xiu Xiu to a brutal world of sex for favors. This movie was not a condemnation of Communist China. This example of sexual harassment and abuse of power can happen anywhere.

The movie was based on an award-winning novella banned in China because of political and sexual content.  This was the first film Joan Chen directed. She is best known for her role in The Last Emperor as one of the emperor’s wives.

Discover Farewell My Concubine, an incredible Chinese film, or learn more abou Slavery is ALIVE today and your Child may be at Risk

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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How one Amazon reader review Misleads and what many in the West do not know about China

August 28, 2012

There is always two sides to every issue so it is time to hear both sides in the same post—again.

A one-star Amazon Reader review written by an Adnil Nevets of “The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village” by Dongping Han said, “The author’s credentials are indisputable. He grew up in China and has an intimate knowledge of Chinese history and Mao’s policies. But, his version of history does not agree with 99% of the (note: Western) academic community, and indeed, official Chinese history.”

Adnil says, “I would suggest that readers keep in mind that there were intelligent, well-educated, scientific and academic members of the Nazi party who were completely smitten with Hitler and defended him to their graves. Sometimes closeness to a historical event does not yield clarity of thought.”

Hmmm, when I checked, Adnil Nevets’ Review Ranking on Amazon was 10,356,111.

Here is my response at Adnil’s reader review.

Regardless of the negative aspects of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Mao era, there is another side to China’s history—a positive one that is not all doom and gloom as Adnil infers.

In 1949, the average lifespan in China was age 35, more than 90% of Chinese lived in severe poverty, 80% were illiterate and China suffered from loss of life caused by famines in one or more provinces on an annual basis—deaths by starvation from famines have been documented going back annually for more than 2000 years.  For the first time in China’s history, deaths from famine have not happened in sixty of the sixty-three years that China has been ruled by the CCP.

During the Mao’s era, the average lifespan in years doubled, the population doubled, there was only one famine that caused deaths from starvation (1959-1961), but in the West Mao was blamed for that famine while Western authors and politicians ignore two thousand years of Chinese history, and people living in severe poverty have almost vanished (there are still many that live in poverty but it is not as severe as it was before 1949).

In fact, since 1976, literacy improved from 20% to more than 90% and China’s middle class grew from almost nothing to about 300-million people today with estimates that there may be 600-to-800 million middle-class Chinese by 2025.


The CCP is the only government in China’s LONG history to set goals and do something about poverty.

All of these improvements in lifestyle quality in China have been documented by the World Bank and other reputable international agencies,  although we seldom if ever hear about these positive changes in the Western media or in books written by so-called experts in Western Academia that focus only on the dark side of the CCP.


From 1982 to 2005 China succeeded in lifting over 600-million of its citizens out of grinding poverty.

How about if we focus on the dark-side of American democracy instead?

There was a bloody Civil War to end slavery (that has returned today but in a different form), the battle for women’s rights, poverty (more than 40-million Americans live in poverty), starvation in America exists, endless foreign wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc), and continued racism, etc.


News that should be covered more than it is in the United States

Is there anyone out there that cares about both sides of the truth supported with facts?

Discover Health Care During Mao’s Time

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 1/2

July 2, 2012

Jian Ping, the author of the Mulberry Child memoir, grew up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Her father was one of the victims. The reason she came to the US was to provide a better life for her daughter. However, her daughter grew up to become a member of “The Sex and the City” generation and resisted learning what life was like for her mother in China.

Ping could not express her feelings to her daughter, who was taking life for granted and feeling she was entitled to the lifestyle so many young Americas take for granted today.

What I learned while researching “Mulberry Child” was that many privileged young people in America may be cursed to repeat history because they are taking life for granted as if they were entitled to the world their parents worked so hard to create.

In fact, most children in America have no concept of what life was like in the US less than a hundred years ago when children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishment such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death—the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History


No matter what storm comes, you must be strong!

To understand Jian Ping’s struggle with her daughter Lisa, it helps to know what Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today, Why Chinese Mothers Really are Superior. “On average,” Dr. Twenge wrote, “Asian parents use more discipline and insist upon hard work more than Western parents. And on average, their kids do better…”

“Mulberry Child” (the documentary) takes an in-depth look at the relationship between a mother and daughter revealing the disconnect that often takes place between immigrant parents and their American raised/born children.

Do not underestimate the negative influence of children raised to have a strong sense of self esteem.

In America, the children of immigrants are often influenced by these peers, which prepares them to become members of the “Sex and the City” generation believing they are entitled to a privileged life and that happiness is guaranteed. Most American children have no concept of how unrealistic this attitude of entitlement is.

However, it is not easy for the older generation to teach their children and grandchildren how difficult it was to survive and reach America and how much hard work and sacrifice it took to succeed once they arrived.

To understand what happens when the children born/raised in the US are disconnected from their immigrant parents/grandparents, America’s children should take the same journey Lisa’s mother provided through her memoir and the documentary of “Mulberry Child”.

Continued on July 3, 2012 in The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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Taoism and Religion in Communist China – Part 3/3

March 29, 2012

Until Communism arrived, religion and the state were often closely linked. In the imperial era, the emperor was regarded as divine; political institutions were believed to be part of the cosmic order; and Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism were incorporated in different ways into political systems and social organizations.

U.S. History.org says, “Taoism and Confucianism have lived together in China for well over 2,000 years. Confucianism deals with social matters, while Taoism concerns itself with the search for meaning. They share common beliefs about man, society, and the universe, although these notions were around long before either philosophy.”

During the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), the teenage Red Guard did not discriminate against particular religions — they were against them all. They ripped crosses from church steeples, forced Catholic priests into labor camps, tortured Buddhist monks in Tibet and turned Muslim schools into pig slaughterhouses. Taoists, Buddhists and Confucians were singled out as vestiges of the Old China and forced to change or else…

However, under Deng Xiaoping, in 1978, the ban on religious teaching was lifted. In fact, since the mid-1980s there has been a massive program to rebuild Buddhist and Taoist temples.

Then in December 2004, China’s government in Beijing announced new rules that guaranteed religious beliefs as a human right.

According to an article in The People’s Daily: “As China has more than 100 million people believing in religion, so the protection of religious freedom is important in safeguarding people’s interests and respecting and protecting human rights.”

In March 2005, religion was enshrined in China as a basic right of all citizens. Even so, worship outside designated religion remains forbidden. Source: Facts and Details – Religion in China

There are five religions recognized by the state, namely Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. There are also a few Jewish Synagogues: two in Beijing, two in Shanghai, and five in Hong Kong.

Return to Taoism – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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