Eating Bird Nests

September 28, 2016

The idea 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.

Myths say the Chinese have been eating bird 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 few comprehensive scientific studies in Asia and China in the 1990s 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 that might cause death.

To be fair to the birds and their saliva, eating peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, shellfish (Medical Daily), and getting flu shots (CDC) can also end in allergic reactions with severe symptoms for a few.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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

#1 - Joanna Daneman review Updated August 26 - 2016_edited-2

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U.S. Per Capita Pollution is more than 2x that of China

September 27, 2016

If the population of the United States was the same size as China, America would be pumping out 22,722,840 kilotons of CO2 emissions – more than twice the carbon dioxide emissions of China. A kiloton is equal to 1,000 tons, and one ton is 2,000 pounds. Do the math.  But because the U.S. has about 319 million people to China’s 1.36 billion, China looks worse than the U.S. when the total CO2 emissions are compared: 10,540,000 (kt) versus 5,335,000 (kt) for the U.S.

To me, this is mind boggling. The U.S. calls itself a democracy and many of its citizens never miss a chance to brag about their country’s power and the freedom offered to its citizens. Then why is China, an alleged totalitarian country without much freedom, as critics such as Liu Xiaobo’s claim, allowing Greenpeace to operate there without harassment from China’s central government?

Greenpeace is the leading non-governmental organization working in East Asia to fight climate change. Greenpeace has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul and is serving the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

And if democracies are so desirable, why did Japan send two Greenpeace activists to jail for one year after exposing widespread corruption in the Japanese government’s Southern Ocean whaling programme?

In fact, in China, efforts to combat climate change demonstrate that China’s government acknowledges the challenge as well as the responsibility of China to tackle them. In addition, if China’s Communist Party didn’t want Greenpeace, they wouldn’t be there.


Listen to Greenpeace China’s Tom Wang in Tianjin calmly being honest about China’s pollution challenges.

In 2006, Greenpeace China was the only NGO to be consulted on an early draft of renewable energy law by China’s National People’s Congress.

Has the US government consulted with Greenpeace? I’ll let Greenpeace answer that question.

China has also allowed two Greenpeace expeditions to China’s Himalayan region in 2006 and 2007 where evidence was discovered of the dramatic retreat of glaciers, which was reported in National Geographic Magazine.

One Greenpeace China campaign focused on stopping Monsanto, a US-headquartered biotechnology giant, from patenting a Chinese indigenous soybean variety. Discover what Monsanto is doing to contaminate the world’s food supply?

How has China reacted to Monsanto GMO soybeans? Sustainable Pulse.com reports, “According to a statement last week by Beijing Food Safety Volunteers the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed to them that Monsanto’s RR2 Xtend GMO soybeans have not been approved for import, despite the company’s claims earlier in 2016.”

Greenpeace campaigns in China have also focused on food, agriculture and electronic waste while highlighting the dangers of PVC in children’s toys.

I admit finding this information about Greenpeace China surprised me because all I’ve heard in the Western media of Greenpeace is that they are a gang of dangerous activists doing crazy things to get attention.

Until reading about Greenpeace in China, I didn’t know what a positive force it was for cleaning the environment.

Now I want to know why the US isn’t doing more. But I already know the answer: big oil and the Koch brothers, who fund ALEC, the climate change denial effort, and own many members  of the U.S. Congress and state legislature are doing all they can to block ridding our environment of carbon emissions. Source Watch.org lists as many of these bought and paid for elected representatives as possible, because ALEC is cloaked in secrecy, and that is not how a democracy and/or a republic works.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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

A1 on June 22 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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The few Dynasties that Made China what it is Today

September 21, 2016

China has had about 30 dynasties since 2070 BC, but there were seven that contributed more to make China what it is today: the Zhou (1046-771 BC), Qin (221-206BC), Han (206 BC-220AD)), Tang (618-907AD), Sung (960-1279AD), Ming (1368-1644AD), and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911AD).

Although China’s civilization survived, the country’s history is rampant with rebellions, palace coups, corruption among palace officials, and insurrections. Between the longest dynasties, the country usually fell apart into warring regions as it did after 1911.

The most successful emperors managed to stabilize the country while leading wisely as the Communist Party has done since 1976. There will be some who’ll disagree, but results are hard to ignore. In the last few decades since Mao died, China is responsible for 90 percent of the world’s reduction in poverty while avoiding potential leaders like Donald Trump.

The first emperor, who conquered and unified China, was Qin Si Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty.

Emperor Han Wudi (ruled 141 – 87 B.C.) of the Han Dynasty was fifteen when he first sat on the throne.

Wudi is considered one of the greatest emperors in China’s history. He expanded the borders, opened the early Silk Road, developed the economy, and established state monopolies on salt, liquor and rice.

After the Han Dynasty collapsed, China fell apart for almost 400 years before the Tang Dynasty was established (618 -906). The Tang Dynasty was blessed with several powerful emperors.

The first was Emperor Tang Taizong, who ruled from 627-649.

Wu Zetain (624 to 705 AD), China’s only woman emperor, also ruled wisely. She was married to two emperors before becoming one.

Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, Zetain’s grandson, ruled longer (712 – 756) than any Tang emperor (43 years) and the dynasty prospered during the first half of his reign but declined after the Anshi Rebellion (755 – 763).

After the Tang dynasty fell, there would be a short period of about 60 years before the Sung Dynasty reestablished order and unified the country again.

The second emperor of the Sung Dynasty, Sung Taizong (ruled 976 – 997) reunified China after defeating the Northern Han Dynasty. The third emperor, Sung Zhenzong (ruled 997-1022) also deserves credit for maintaining stability.

The Sung Dynasty then declined until a revival by Sung Ningzong, who ruled from 1194 to 1224 AD. After he died, the dynasty limped along until Kublai Khan defeated its last emperor in 1279.

After conquering all of China, Kublai Khan founded the Mongol, Yuan Dynasty (1277-1367). Not long after he died, his dynasty was swept away in 1368, when a peasant rebellion defeated the Yuan Dynasty and drove the Mongols out of China to establish the Ming Dynasty (1271 – 1368) known for rebuilding, strengthening and extending the Great Wall tourists visit today.

Historical records show that under the third Ming Emperor, Ming Chengzu (ruled 1403 – 1424), China was prosperous.

After Chengzu, the dynasty would decline until 1567 when Emperor Ming Muzong reversed the decline. His son, Emperor Ming Shenzong, also ruled wisely from 1573 to 1620.

After Shenzong’s death, the Ming Dynasty quickly declined and was replaced by the Manchurian Qing Dynasty in 1644.

The Opium Wars started by England and France, and the Taiping Rebellion led by a Christian convert in the 19th century, contributed to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

The Qing Dynasty was fortunate to have three powerful, consecutive emperors: Emperor Kangxi (1661 – 1722), Yongzhen (1722-1735), and Qianlong (1735-1796). Under these three leaders, for one-hundred-and-thirty-five years, China remained strong and prosperous.

After Dr. Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, the republic he was building in southern China fell apart when Chiang Kai-shek broke the coalition that Sun Yat-sen had formed between the Nationalist and Communist Parties. The Communist Party survived due to Mao’s famous Long March.

Japan invaded China in 1937 more than four years before bombing Pearl Harbor. It’s estimated that 15-20 million Chinese died because of the Japanese invasion. When the World War ended in 1945, the Civil War continued until the Communists led by Mao defeated the Nationalists in 1949.

The victory was made possible because the Communists were supported by China’s peasants that hated, despised and distrusted the Nationalist Party, which represented China’s ruling elite that had mistreated and abused them for centuries.

The Communists gained the support of the peasants by treating them with respect and promising land reforms. After the Civil War, Mao delivered on that promise. Although China suffered through Mao’s Cultural Revolution, today China is an emerging modern nation with a middle class of about 300 million, and many Chinese that can afford to travel internationally have the freedom to go. In fact, more than 100 million leave and return annually.

In addition, Barrons.com reported, “In 2013, nearly 32%, or 225,474, of Chinese students going abroad went to the U.S, according to UNESCO’s latest data. After the U.S., students from China went to Japan (13%), Australia (12%) and the U.K. (11.5%).” The Chinese Ministry of Education reported that 523,700 Chinese students went abroad to study in 2015. Today, regardless of Western criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people have had more freedom with a better quality of life than at any time in their country’s history.

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

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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What Peanut comes with Health Benefits – boiled or roasted?

September 20, 2016

The first time I tasted boiled peanuts was in China in 1999. Since I was used to oil-roasted, salted peanuts, it took time for me to acquire a taste for the Chinese way of boiling peanuts.

Although archeologists have dated the oldest known domesticated peanuts to Peru about 7,000 years ago, it was Portuguese traders in the 17th century that introduced peanuts to China.

Peanuts became popular and are featured in many Chinese dishes, often being boiled, which enhances the health benefits of the peanut.

What scientific studies have proven about the boiling process is that peanuts prepared this way are preserved and the presence of phytochemicals are enhanced having the same qualities as antioxidants, which are noted for protecting the body’s cells against heart disease, diabetes and several different forms of cancer. – Live Strong.com

In fact, a 1990 Harvard study determined that women who ate five ounces of more of nuts per week were only 65 percent as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease as women who avoided eating this legume.

Another study in 2007 at Alabama’s A&M University’s Department of Food and Animal found that the health benefits for boiled peanuts were far healthier than oil-roasted, dry or raw. The states of Florida, Mississippi, George, Alabama, and North and South Carolina also have a tradition of eating boiled peanuts.

The Chinese boiling process brings out and enhances the health benefits of the peanut, and the Chinese eat more boiled peanuts than any country on Earth.

Perfect Insider.com reports that, China leads the world in peanut production with 18.7 million metric tons (one metric ton is 2,205.62 pounds). India is in 2nd place with 6.8 million metric tons. The United States is 3rd with 4.1 million.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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A look at Dishonesty and Democracy in Asia

September 14, 2016

Corruption is a fact-of-life in most of Asia. The Corruption Perceptions Index of 2015 reveals that most of Asia is very corrupt —when it comes to this ranking, the smaller number is better and the worst global ranking for corruption is shared by North Korea and Somalia.

Of the 168 countries ranked for corruption in the world, in South East and East Asia: North Korea was ranked 167 (the most corrupt country), Cambodia was ranked 150, Myanmar 147, Laos 139, Nepal 130, Timor-Leste 123, Pakistan 117, Vietnam 112, Philippines 95, Indonesia 88, China 83, Thailand 76, Mongolia 72, Malaysia 54, South Korea 37, Taiwan 30, Bhutan 27, Hong Kong 18 (part of China), and Japan 18. (countries in bold are listed as democracies)

These countries in Asia are listed as democracies: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Taiwan (except Taiwan is not considered a country).

India, the world’s largest democracy, was ranked 76 on the Corruption Perception Index. Singapore (describes itself as a ‘sovereign republic’) was number 8, making it one of the least corrupt countries in the world. The country on the list with the least corruption was Denmark. Second place went to Finland and third to Sweden.

China, a country that gets a lot of bad press in the United States for corruption, was ranked 83rd, but 50.59 percent of the world’s countries were ranked worse for corruption.

The United States was ranked 16th.

It may come as a surprise to many Western critics, but aei.org reports, “In 1987, the Party mandated the creation of new local governments by democratic election in China’s approximately 930,000 villages. A decade later, more than 905,000 elected committees and 3.7 million elected officials were reportedly in place.” To discover more about this experiment with democracy that’s been going on for 29 years inside of Communist China, click the link in this paragraph.

“Between July 2006 and December 2007, elections for local assemblies were held in 60 percent of provincial administrative regions, with more than 900 million voters selecting 38,000 people’s congresses. No elections had been held beyond the township level.” – Facts and Details.com

Few outside China have heard of China’s rural experiment with democracy, and each time there is an election, almost one billion peasants learn more about democracy in action.

Discover China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the man that unified China more than 2,000 years ago

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

A1 on June 22 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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Learning English in China with help from a naughty monkey

September 13, 2016

The Oxford Royale Academy says, “It’s often said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn … and one of the reasons why English is known for being difficult is because it’s full of contradictions.”

That difficultly didn’t stop China from making learning English mandatory in its public schools, but speaking English like a native doesn’t always work well when you’re learning from a cartoon character called Mocky the naughty monkey.

Michael Meyer, the author of “The Last Days of Old Beijing” had this to say about Mocky: “Beijing students begin studying English in Grade One. Every child is enrolled in three forty-five-minute lessons each week until the end of elementary school, at Grade Six. Much of Mocky’s instruction is automated, reducing the teacher’s role to leading students through recitations of the dialogues, animated on a disc included with the text. Although Mocky speaks slowly, he sounds as if he’s inhaled some bad helium.”


This is a normal Chinese high school student who was not born in an English speaking country and learned English in class.

A friend shared the following e-mail and said it had gone viral among the Chinese. The friend said she knew someone else who went to Beijing and was given this brochure by the hotel he was staying at.  After you read this brochure that the hotel had translated into English, you might think it was written by that naughty monkey. Here goes:

Getting There:

Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.

The Hotel:

This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.

The Restaurant:

Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.

Your Room:

Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity!

You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.

Bed:

Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.

Above All:

When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.

The punchline, as it turns out, is that the original e-mail was an April fool’s joke, but because someone who thought it was real forwarded it to everyone he knew who forwarded it again, it ended up going viral. Even the Chinese had fun with this one.

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

A1 on June 22 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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China’s challenge to preserve its arable land

September 7, 2016

Arable land is where countries grow the food people eat. According to Nation Master, the U.S. has 174.5 million hectares (one hectare is almost 2.5 acres) of arable land, India has almost 160 million hectares, Russia almost 122 million, but China has less than 105 million (almost 40 percent less than the U.S). The trouble with that is that China has more than 1.3 billion people to feed compared to America’s 320 million.

Then there’s the water. Live Science.com reports that after 3 days, you’ll need water or you’ll die, but you can survive for 3 weeks without food.

To make China’s challenge more daunting, it almost has the same amount of total renewable water that the U.S. has at 2,813 billion cubic meters vs. 2,818 for the U.S.

Don’t forget that China has more than four times the people to feed.

That’s why it is vital that China protects as much arable land as possible while conserving water. That challenge is tough because almost one third of China’s land is desert — a process that has accelerated due to development and human activities. The deserts of China have also become a tourist attraction and that doesn’t help.

In addition, another third of China is mountainous with an additional 10% covered with hills. Combine deserts, mountains and hills and that accounts for about 70% of the country’s land surface.

One strategy to slow the spread of the deserts has been to create a grid of plant growth that will hold the sand in place. The Economist reported that since 1978, 66-billion trees have been planted by Chinese citizens with the goal that by 2050, there will be a forest stretching 2,800 miles along the edges of China’s northern deserts that will increase the world’s forest cover by more than a tenth.

However, due to the natural resources needed to fuel China’s growth and a huge population, northern China has become a boomtown and is attracting millions of people because of the opportunities to earn better money. At the same time herders have also been restricted from allowing their animals to graze on the areas that are being reclaimed from the desert.

This has caused a reduction in the size of herds, for instance, sheep and goats.

Yet, even with these challenges, China still produces more food than any other country on the planet. Agriculture is a vital industry in China, employing over 300 million farmers. China ranks first in worldwide farm output, primarily producing rice, wheat, tomato, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed and soybeans. Although accounting for only 10 percent of arable land worldwide, it produces food for 20 percent of the world’s population.

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

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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