Americans doing Business in China – Part 5/16

February 25, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Baizhu Chen, writing for Forbes, says,In 2009, iPhones contributed about $2 billion, equivalent to 0.8% of the Sino-U.S. bilateral trade deficit. One iPhone 3GS was sold for about $600. These phones were exclusively manufactured by Foxconn, a factory in a Southern Chinese city called Shenzhen. To produce them, Foxconn had to import $10.75 worth of parts from American companies. The rest of its $172.46 components came from Korea, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. Out of a $600 iPhone, how much does China get? A puny $6.50, or 1% of the value.”

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Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

When I first traveled to China, I was warned about the food from many well-meaning people—some who had traveled to China and some who had not. I was told that I would starve if I did not take food in my suitcase, so I did. I took trail mix and hard candy nearly overloading my suitcase. It was just one of the stereotypes of China that I had heard and believed before I experienced true Chinese food for myself. For that first trip, I ended up throwing away most of the food that I had brought because I did not want to lug it back to the U.S.

I will admit that the food is different from what I normally eat—to be honest, it is definitely healthier. I found there to be a lot of vegetables, fish, and chicken—I never ate Dog or Cat at least to my knowledge. I ate at restaurants and I ate in factories. I ate what was put in front of me, and I stayed in places where my associates stayed. I had customers who went to China on their own for other products. They would not stay in anything but “Western Style” hotels and would not eat anything but “Western Style” food, and there are places in the larger cities, which have both. Some of them would even go as far as to not eat during the day with their hosts—rather waiting until they returned to their hotels for their “Western Style” food. I always felt that was rather rude to say the least and a bit disrespectful.

As for the food itself, I found it to be, for the most part, rather tasty. I took my hosts advice and did not drink the tap water. I drank bottled water, their very excellent hot tea, and a lot of their extremely appealing Chinese beer. The food was normally brought out as it was prepared and put on a Lazy Susan. Everyone turned it until the food they wanted was in front of them and then put it on their plates or ate it over, or on, a bowl of steamed white rice. We ate a lot in restaurants in private rooms, which I truly enjoyed. There was no outside noise, and the atmosphere was more personal. When I ate in factories, it was what the employees ate and in their dining area—each experience was unique and enjoyable. I learned to use Chopsticks at least enough to get food from the plate to my mouth. Although people keep bringing me utensils, I stuck with the Chopsticks while in the country. I “never” got sick from anything that I ate or drank in China, which is more than I can say for my normal diet.

The food is just one of the misconceptions of China and its people. I believed what I was told until I experienced it myself—not unlike other things in my life that I have been told by others only to be dispelled once I experienced it personally.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 26, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 6 (a guest post) or return to Part 4

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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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Note: This guest post first appeared on February 19, 2010


Random thoughts thanks to “Anais Nin” and “Amy Chua/Tan”

July 8, 2011

What kicked off these random thoughts was caused by a Chinese friend quoting Anais Nin, “The only thing psychoanalysis achieves is to make one more conscious of one’s misfortunes.”

I Googled the quote from Anis Nin and found it on Solar Powered Visions and then found the following quote from PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE TRAGIC SENSE OF LIFE by Richard L. Rubens, Ph.D., “To undertake such a journey is what is asked of patients in psychoanalysis. It is a journey into territory neither analyst nor patient knows completely, and both participants must recognize that they cannot know in advance what they will ultimately discover.… It (psychoanalysis) calls on man (or woman) to recognize his (or her) position in the forward sweep of time and to choose to live his (or her) life in full awareness of the loss that is inextricably bound up with the process of growth and change.”

That resulted in my thinking of two of Amy Chua’s critics on the Amazon Forum for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and that these two are unable to grow and change from what they have learned.

One of these anonymous critics calls herself Mandy Wu and the other JLee—both claim to be Asian and/or Chinese.  In fact, JLee started out claiming to speak for all Chinese women when she voiced her opinions as a fact that Chinese mothers are not like Amy Chua. Later, the China Daily would prove her wrong, which led to JLee calling me a Cyber bully.

Both Mandy Wu and JLee have demonstrated that Western psychoanalysis has made them aware of how miserable they are and they have identified this misfortune with Amy Chua’s parenting style as described in her memoir. These two critics are unable to recognize their position in the forward sweep of time and to live in full awareness with the process of growth and change. They are stuck.

I replied to my friend, “Amy Chua’s critics should just ‘eat bitterness’ and get over it.”

He said, “That’s not what ‘eating bitterness’ means.  It really means to endure hardship in order to build a better life.”

I asked, “Does that apply to both physical and mental hardships such as depression?”

He said yes.

As I walked away, I thought of, “Amy Chua and Amy Tan.”  I turned around and asked, “Why is Amy such a popular name among Chinese?”

My friend laughed and replied, “In Chinese ‘Amy’ means ‘love rice’ and Amy is one of the most popular names that Cantonese give to their female children.”

I then went to the MDBG online Chinese dictionary and discovered that “Ai” means love , which in Chinese is pronounced the same as the beginning of “Amy” and then I typed in “rice”, which appeared as “mi” or .  In Chinese, Amy is written as .

Discover Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 3/3

July 5, 2011

Then on April 22, 2011, Patrick Mattimore (chinadaily.com.cn) wrote Do ‘Tiger Moms’ make the best parents?

The question was, “So what is Chinese mothering and is it superior to Western parenting? Should all moms ascribe to be Amy Chua?”

What follows are a few excerpts from the China Daily opinion piece.

“First, Chua is using the terms ‘Chinese mothers’ and ‘Western parents’ loosely. The Tiger Mother/Chinese Mother can be found in many cultures and is not exclusive within any culture….”

“Unlike in the West where children are encouraged to experiment and develop their own individual talents, Chinese parents believe the child is an extension of oneself. Chinese parents believe they know what is best for their children and therefore override the child’s preferences. Chua concludes that it may come down to a matter of choice. Westerners believe in allowing children a large measure of freedom to choose their own paths while the Chinese parent makes choices for her children.…”


Amy Chua’s daughter Sophia as seen on her Blog

”Trying to untangle Chinese mothering and Western parenting and pick one style of raising a child or the other as the exclusively right way is ultimately a fool’s errand. Certainly, there are elements from both that are worth adopting. Parents can be consistent without being inflexible. They can have high expectations and demand that children work hard without setting up gulag conditions. They can listen and adapt to their children without giving up control or responsibility for raising them.…”

“In the final analysis, Amy Chua has provided readers with a provocative memoir about how she raised her daughters. Certainly, her ideas are worth considering and many are worth adopting. However, no parent should believe that Tiger Mothers have infallible blueprints for raising successful children. Parents still need to chart their own course and be prepared to vary the course according to the needs of each child.”

Instead of listening to the intolerant opinions of inflexible fools from America, why not read what Sophia, Amy Chua’s oldest daughter, has to say in her letter to the New York Post or go to her Blog and discover for yourself that her tiger mother has not damaged her.

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld’s Blog may be found at new tiger in town.

Return to The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 2/3

July 4, 2011

I first ran into this particular wall of intolerance on the Amazon Forum where Amy Chua’s critics left reviews and comments about her parenting methods in a hate fest that had mostly nothing to do with the memoir.

What these critics write are attacks on Chua accusing her of being a child molester, a sociopath, or a narcissist, etc.  Often, these critics do not know what they are talking about and the biased ignorance runs deep.

One claim I have been struggling to disprove was the one that said, “Amy Chua does not represent the average mainland Chinese parent and had no right to claim that her parenting methods were Chinese.”

After more than four months, the evidence I have been looking for appeared in China when the China Daily published Tiger Moms’ Popular in China on April 14, 2011.

The China Daily said, “The strict parenting style advocated by Amy Chua, the Yale law professor, in her latest book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is still popular in the country today, according to a recent survey.”

“Among 1,795 people polled online by China Youth Daily‘s social research center, 94.9 percent said they know women who are strict mothers, and 55.1 percent said they see merit in Chua’s parenting.…”

“A Beijing high school teacher, surnamed Liu, was quoted as saying that his wife had enrolled their daughter in violin and ballet classes at an early age and had resorted to scolding and spanking when the girl refused to go.

“Strict parenting is also a tradition in other Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea,” Liu said. “It has merits in raising smarter children and preparing them better for harsh competition in the future.”

In addition, a critic of Chua’s on the Amazon Forum referred to an opinion piece posted on the Psychology Today Blog where Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College claimed that 42 one-star reviews from anonymous people that identified themselves as Chinese was enough to conclude that the majority of Chinese (there are more than 1.3 billion Chinese and almost four million are in the US) were critical of Amy Chua’s parenting methods.

When we compare Peter Gray’s opinion in the Psychology Today Blog with information from almost 2,000 people polled online in China, which source do you think is more credible?

Continued on July 5, 2011 in The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 4/4

July 2, 2011

As for Bo Xilai, the so-called darling of the Maoists according to The Economist, the weekly rag failed to mention that last year when this Chinese “Maoist” splinter of the Communist Party thought they had a leader in Bo Xilai, he had thirty Maoist hard core leaders arrested and locked up. Source: Serve the People

Bo Xilai may be a leader among Chinese conservatives but those conservatives are not Maoist revolutionaries dreaming of a return to the upside down world of The Cultural Revolution, which would turn China into a train wreck, and most Chinese have worked too hard building a modern, capitalist China to throw all that away.

Maoists have followers as well as critics in modern China. While these supporters of Mao claim that it was during his era that China witnessed mass development in terms of economy, industry, healthcare, education, and Infrastructure, his critics (that have ruled China since 1976 leading to a middle class of about 400 million) hold a different view.

According to them, the history of Maoist China was marked with uncountable deaths, and an extreme economic crisis that damaged China’s cultural heritage.

What is the difference between the Maoists in China that are a minority in the Communist Party and the American Nazi Party in the US? Do we read pieces in the Western media criticizing the US for having an American Nazi party after what the Nazis did during World War II?

In fact, in 2006, NPR.org reported, “New schoolbooks were about to be introduced in Shanghai that were moving a bit further away from the traditional communist ideology. And in them Mao was actually only mentioned once, and very fleetingly, as part of a lesson on the custom of lowering flags to half mast at state funerals.”

In that interview at NPR, Louisa Lim said, “The official verdict on Mao that the Party came to in 1981 was that he was 70% good and 30% bad. And their mythology about Mao was really that he was a great national hero who unified the country. He sort of threw off the yoke of Japanese imperialism and freed people from poverty, and that any later mistakes were made when he was older and should be weighed up against his great contributions to China.”

If Bo Xilai sounds as if he wants to bring the Maoism of The Cultural Revolution back, he is probably doing what all “good” politicians do (even in the US), and that is telling people what they want to hear to gain support. After all, in 2012, China’s leaders are changing and Bo wants to get as close to the top as possible. That is not a secret.

Start with Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 1 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Jocelyn Eikenburg’s “Speaking of China”

June 28, 2011

Eikenburg says, ” ‘I love you’ is a meaningless phrase if you can’t ‘show me the love’.”

Since I write about China, I often discover other Blogs and Websites about China and in May, I discovered Jocelyn Eikenburg’s Blog, Speaking of China, and felt it was worth recommending and to show-case a taste of what she has to offer from her rare perspective of China and the Chinese.

If you are tired of reading criticisms of China and the Chinese in the Sinophobe dominated Western Media/Blogs, I suggest visiting Eikenburg’s Blog for a breath of honest air.

When I stumbled on Eikenburg’s Blog, I was researching how peer pressure among teens causes depression for one of my other Blogs, Crazy Normal, and discovered an interview with Jocelyn Eikenburg on My New Chinese Love, which you may also find interesting.

In fact, the interview ended with a WARNING: Her writing is a delicious blend of a highly personal China travelogue and a juicy romance novel that will leave you wanting more. Way too easy to get hooked – so if you’re easily addicted then *stay away*!

However, who is Jocelyn Eikenburg? Well, for starters, she lived in China more than six years and speaks Mandarin.

Writer and Chinese translator, Eikenburg is one of the most prominent voices on the web for Chinese men and Western women in love. Married to John, a Chinese national from Hangzhou, Jocelyn writes offbeat stories about Chinese culture, and advice about cross-cultural love, dating, marriage and family.

She’s lived and worked in Zhengzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai. A Cleveland, Ohio native that resides in Idaho, Jocelyn is currently working on her memoir about love and marriage in China.

For a preview of her writing, I offer a glimpse from three of Eikenburg’s posts. Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese Parents, Pressure and a Preemie Baby

“Welcome to the world of Chinese families, where the parents rule.” (Note: maybe the average American parent could learn something valuable  from this “Speaking of China” post.)

“Chinese have lived for thousands of years with the Confucian value of filial piety — showing respect for family elders and ancestors. The flip side to this is Chinese parents expect to have a lot of control over the lives of their children (and even, in many cases, grandchildren). One Chinese once described it to me like this: ‘Chinese parents think of their children as furniture’ — something they own, something they should be able to ‘move around’ as they please.”

Then there is the post where she writes On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands, and says, “When I’m in China, I tend to turn a lot of heads, especially in the countryside — and that’s not just because I’m a foreigner. It’s because I’m often seen holding hands with my Chinese husband.”

Then in Chinese Men are Sexy, she says, “In October, 1999, it was as if I’d finally met my long lost locker pinup guy in the flesh. A sullen, James Dean type in a black leather jacket with a perfect ass. The kind of guy that made clichés like “tall, dark and handsome” drip from your mouth.… He drove me so crazy, I spent weeks taking cold showers and long bicycle rides just to cool down.”

Discover the 2008 China Trip

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Capturing a Vanishing China

June 23, 2011

I feel compelled to write about a one-star review that appeared recently of Tom Carter’s China: Portrait of a People.

In fact, as I write this post, Carter’s book has had 100 reviews. Eighty-eight earned five stars and eleven four-star reviews. There is only one one-star review.

My wife is Chinese and was born in Shanghai (discover the modern city) during Mao’s Great Leap Forward then was sent to a labor camp as a teen during The Cultural Revolution. When she first saw the photos in Tom Carter’s book, she said he is the first and only photojournalist to capture the heart and soul of China.

What she was talking about was the rural Chinese who have always been the invisible heart and soul of China. If it weren’t for those same rural Chinese, Mao and the Communist Party would have never won China’s Civil War.

What follows is the rambling, rant of a one star review written by someone calling him or herself Xuemin Lin.

Lin says, “Ignorance of all American who think that these photos show the reality China, you don’t know the truth. Tom Carter pictures can only show that poor farmers and rural areas. He ignoring the majority of China’s middle class and developed districts in urban life intentionally. We have a modern apartment and a beautiful new car and stylish clothes. Why Tom Carter just want to show the barefeet farmers and the minorities? His pictures make you believe we Chinese all are swarthy skin and the tooth is not good and make our homes in the mountains area. China’s economy has grown rapidly. The United States owes a debt to total billions of dollars to China. China will soon become a superpower in the world! Han people will lead Asia and then the world. So, do not believe that this book is shows the real China! Tom Carter in a planned way only want to show you the poor! I upload his video got from the Youku website so yourself can see his photos is not the good. Do not by this book I suggest!”

Lin claims that the majority of Chinese belong to the emerging middle class. Lin is wrong. China has a few decades to go until more than a billion people join the modern middle class lifestyle.

Even China’s leaders have admitted that China is not as developed as America or Europe and that China will never rival American super power status. The best China may attain is a regional military super power and a global economic super power.

To understand what I mean, you may want to read Amy Chua’s Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance–and Why They Fall.

It is a fact that China is modernizing at a pace never before seen in history and more than three hundred million Chinese now live in urban cities similar to Shanghai and Beijing and belongs to China’s middle class. However, that leaves about 1.2 billion people that have not yet joined that middle class and 800 million of those people still live as Carter shows us in his photos.

If China accomplishes its goal to modernize most of China and lift the majority of Chinese into the middle class, the world that Tom Carter captured with his photos will vanish. Our only reminder of that China will be his book.

What Lin’s one-star review really reveals is a shame among some Chinese that should not exist. China should be proud of its rural peasants because they have always been the backbone of China and those people deserve their moment in the sun or between the covers of China: Portrait of a People

When I visit China, I want to escape America for a few weeks but realize that I cannot escape the Golden Arches of McDonalds, or Starbucks, Pizza Hut and KFC, which is the worst thing China could adopt from America.  In addition, China has also inherited the obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer that come with this fast food, middle class, and motorcar culture invented in the West.


Some of America’s history captured in photos and song.

In addition, I’ve complained that China has no artist comparable to America’s Charles Russell or Bev Doolittle — great artists that captured the heart and soul of the America that existed before Europe and the industrial revolution arrived to fill the air with poison.

However, Tom Carter’s photos capture some of that world in China that will soon be lost. After China has paved over its past, without Tom Carter’s photos we would never know what that world was like.

Therefore, I ask the Xuemin Lins of China, “What is it you have against Tom Carter capturing what is fast disappearing as China becomes another middle class, smog choked clone of Los Angeles, London, Paris and New York?”

I prefer the China where people are practicing Tai Chi in the early morning fog.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


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