Farewell My Concubine – a movie review

July 2, 2013

Chen Kaige, self-trained as a filmmaker, was the director for this award winning 1993 film. Prior to “Farewell, My Concubine“, Chen received modest acclaim for the “Yellow Earth” and “The Big Parade”. With “Farewell, My Concubine,” he won the Palme d-or in Cannes.

Although the film is in Mandarin with English subtitles, the story captured me from the beginning. If you are interested in Chinese history, this film spans several decades beginning near the end of the Qing Dynasty. On the surface, it is just a story of two boys who happen to become famous, but have their difficulties like most of us lesser mortals do. However, the setting shows the  transformation of a nation from the Qing Dynasty to a warlord dominated republic, the Japanese invasion of World War II and then Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I saw this movie a decade ago and I remember this powerful, dramatic story of one man’s life from the day his mother took a knife and chopped off an extra finger on each hand so he would have five instead of the six he was born with.

The main character is apparently modeled after an actual person—Peking Opera superstar Mei Lanfang—some may imagine that Lanfang was ‘gay’. However, he only specialized in male roles. He was married at least three times and had children.

Discover Not One Less

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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, Running with the Enemy, was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

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The Rape of Nanking – Part 1/2

January 21, 2013

Although China has suffered from internal war and strife, the Han Chinese have seldom invaded another nation outside of what we know as China today in its four-thousand year history. In addition, until the 1980s, China was almost always self-sufficient. After the first emperor unified China, to wage war on neighboring countries to conquer and rule over them was not part of the Chinese character.

Nanking was the capital of China from the third to the 6th century. In the 14th century, the first Ming Emperor made Nanking the capital again. To protect the capital, the largest city wall in the world was built. It was fifty-feet high, forty-feet wide and more than twenty-five miles long.


Part 2 of this video continues the Rape of Nanking and it is so shocking and disturbing, you must go to YouTube and sign in showing that you are at least 18. If you do not wish to watch Part 2, the next post will continue to report about the Rape of Nanking, and it will not be as disturbing.
Part 2, The Rape of Nanking

On July 1937, Japan attacked China, and Chiang Kai-shek was the commander of China’s army and navy.  The battle for Shanghai came first. Tens of thousands of innocent Chinese were killed while 300 thousand Chinese troops died. After losing Shanghai, the Chinese army retreated to Nanking.

The Japanese soldiers were ordered to burn all, steal all, and kill all as they advanced through the countryside toward Nanking. It is estimated that 300 thousand innocent Chinese were murdered in that military campaign.

For over one-hundred days, Japanese bombers bombed Nanking, while Chinese troops fought fiercely defending the city. Eventually, Chang Kai-shek fled with most of his generals and government officials, but ordered one general to stay behind with the army and fight.

After Nanking fell to the Japanese, several hundred thousand Chinese civilians were raped and murdered, and during World War II between 3 million to more than 10 million civilians, mostly Chinese, were killed by the Japanese occupation forces.

Continued on January 22, 2013, in The Rape of Nanking – Part 2, and/or discover The Roots of Madness

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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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Honoring Foreign Devil Heroes

November 20, 2012

It is ironic that in the 1940s we were fighting with the Chinese against the Japanese. Then in 1950, China and the US fought against each other in North Korea and Chinese advisers were sent to assist North Vietnam to fight the US in the 1960s.

Then Nixon arrives in China in the 1970s and we were friends again.

In February 2010, I had an instant message chat with Ian Carter, an Australian expatriate living in Southeast China, and learned that during World War II in 1944 an American B-24 Liberator bomber vanished without a trace in Southeast China.

Fifty-two years later in 1996, farmers discovered the bomber’s wreckage and the remains of the ten-man crew on Mao’er Shan (Little Cat Mountain), Southern China’s highest peak. The name of the B-24 bomber was Tough Titi.

These Americans are considered heroes (click on this link for more about this story) to the Chinese, and the remains of the crew were returned to the United States for burial.

There’s a memorial stone near the crash site and Chinese tourists pay honor to these Americans by leaving flowers and other gifts.

To honor these heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts and used them as a centerpiece for a museum in Xing’an, about four hours from the crash site.

Discover Country Driving (in China) by Peter Hessler

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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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America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 2/5

December 10, 2011

My parents generation is the one John Steinbeck wrote of in Cannery Row. One review says, “The novel depicts the characters as survivors, and being a survivor is essentially what life is all about.” The same theme permeates Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice
and Men
.

However, today, many Americans have forgotten the sacrifice it takes to survive and expects government to bail them out.

My father, at 14, was mucking out horse stalls at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, California—the sort of work immigrants do today.


It started in America and swept around the globe!

My mother worked in a laundry and at home, she baked and decorated cakes for special occasions that she sold to neighbors, co-workers, friends and family.

My older brother worked most of his life until the day he died at 64 in 1999 working the jobs that immigrants do.  When he didn’t have work, he spent his days going to dumpsters looking for cardboard and searching the roadsides for empty soda cans and beer bottles to sell at the local recycling place.

Richard, my brother, “once” told me shortly before his death that he was proud he never collected a welfare check or depended on government handouts. The Latinos he worked with called him The Horse, “El Caballo”, due to his strength.

When I was fifteen, I went to school during the day and worked nights and weekends [30 hours a week] washing dishes in a coffee shop often until 11:00 PM only to be at high school the next day by 8 AM.

After a few years in the US Marines and a tour in Vietnam, I washed cars, swept floors and then bagged groceries in a super market while I attended college on the GI Bill.

One summer job before my fourth year of college had me cleaning empty 50,000 gallon stainless-steel tanks at the Gallo Winery in Modesto, California. It was a dangerous job cleaning out the tanks where the wine was fermented, and I witnessed fellow workers injured and rushed to the hospital.

However, the generation that won World War II and made America strong and powerful is mostly gone or retired. Today, the work ethic in America has changed.  The reason it changed has a lot to do with the way children have been raised since the 1960s by parents obsessed with their children’s self-esteem and happiness, while making sure these children never face a boring day and blaming teachers for the child’s bad grades instead of holding the child responsible.


Unfilled jobs due to skills gap

Since 1960, the US has not won a single war.  After more than a decade and about 50,000 dead, we lost in Vietnam. Today, after another decade at war, we are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with no victory in sight.

It’s as if today’s younger generation is incapable of making the sacrifices the Great Depression (1929 – 1942) generation did when 25% of all workers were completely out of work. Some people starved and many lost farms and homes.

However, I’ve met Chinese immigrants willing to do the same work for the same low pay that Latino immigrants from south of the border do and often charge less while saving money to put their children through college.  It’s called sacrifice.

Continued on December 11, 2011 in America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 3 or return to 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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STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 2/2

November 25, 2011

What I discovered about Chinese steel may surprise you and free China of another popular Sinophobic American myth. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Evidently, this American Constitutional right does not apply to China or the Chinese.

From InfoPlease.com, I learned the U.S. produced about half of the world’s steel in 1945.

“After World War II,” InfoPlease.com said, “the U.S. steel industry faced increased competition from Japanese and European producers, who rebuilt and modernized their industries. Later, many Third World countries, such as Brazil, built their own steel industries, and large U.S. steelmakers faced increased competition from smaller, nonunion mills (“mini-mills”) that recycle scrap steel. …”

A recent CRS Report for the US Congress said, “China’s steel industry has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. China is now the world’s largest steelmaker and steel consumer. In 2009, China produced over 567 million tons of crude steel, nearly half of the world’s steel. That was 10 times the U.S. production.”

However, CRS reported, “The majority of Chinese steel has been used to meet domestic demand in China.”

Today, the United States is in third place while Japan is the second largest producer of steel. Source: Index Mundi.com

In fact, the United States steel industry exports steel to China. For example, in 2004, the US exported 8 million tons of steel to China up from 5 million tons in 2000 and by 2010, China was buying $34.5 billion in steel from countries such as the US, Australia, and Brazil to meet its domestic needs.

John Surma, president and CEO of US Steel Corp, said, “China generally has been good for our industry.”

Meanwhile, we learn from Qingfeng Zhang writing for Perspectives that the United States produces approximately 80% of its domestic steel demand…

In addition, the US imports finished steel products from a large number of countries. The EU has been the biggest exporter with about five-million tons shipped to the United States in 2001. Canada is the second largest exporter shipping four-million tons, followed by South Korea (2 million tons), Japan (1.8 million tons) and Mexico (1.5 million tons).

China does import steel to the US.  The US Department of Commerce reported, “U.S. imports from China represent a total of 4.9% (four “point” nine percent) of all U.S. steel imports.” In 2010, steel imports to the U.S. totaled 23.9 million tons while America produced nearly 88.5 million tons of steel between January and December 2010.

You do the math and decide, “Does the US depend on China for steel to meet domestic demand?”

Return to STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – 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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