Is There a Turkey Day in China Too?

November 23, 2016

Turkey is a fowl many Chinese seldom eat. However, eating duck and chicken is common. Duck is even considered a delicacy. In fact, the Unvegan says, “No trip to Beijing is complete without eating some Peking Duck.”

The Virtual Tourist says, “It is thought that Beijing roast duck, like the tradition of roast turkey in America and the UK, owes its origin to the roast goose that is still popular in Europe on festive occasions.”

Most Americans do not celebrate the Chinese New Year (the Spring Festival) and most Chinese do not celebrate Thanksgiving. After all, Thanksgiving is an American holiday that Canadians also celebrate, but on the second Monday in October.


Thanksgiving in Beijing with Peking Duck

CBS News.com reported, “America is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of turkeys. As a nation we’re also the largest consumers of turkey …” and “China is the second-largest market for U.S. turkey exports, reportedly buying more than $70.5 million in turkey meat in 2012.”

If you are visiting China during Thanksgiving, you have a choice between Peking Duck, which is easy to find, and turkey.

Go China says, “Just head to your local international grocery store (Jenny Lu’s in Beijing, Cityshop in Shanghai) and stock up on all the fixings: frozen Butterball turkeys, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie makings. But you better do it fast, there tends to be a run on these items so if you’re shopping on the last Thursday in November, you’ll be out of luck.”

In fact, if you are visiting Shanghai, the Shanghai City Guide is there to help you find where to buy your favorite food. There are even three Walmarts in Shanghai, and Time Out Beijing provides a list for China’s capital city.

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.

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Does China have its own version of Halloween?

October 31, 2016

The closest celebration in China to Halloween in the United States is The Hungry Ghost Festival celebrated the 14th or 15th night of the 7th lunar month in July or August. This year that day fell on August 17th.

The Ghost Festival, also known as The Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries, in which ghosts and/or spirits of deceased ancestors come from the lower realm and/or hell to visit the living.

Buddhists and Taoists in China claim that the Ghost Festival originated with the canonical scriptures of Buddhism, but many of the visible aspects of the ceremonies originate from Chinese folk religion, and other local folk traditions (The Ghost Festival in Medieval China by Stephen Teiser).

In America, most children wear costumes and go door to door collecting free candy.  In China, the opposite takes place; food is offered to dead ancestors, joss paper is burned, and scriptures are chanted.

Chinese Culture.net says the Hungry Ghost Festival is “Celebrated mostly in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and especially in Singapore and Malaysia.” It is believed by many Chinese that during this month, the gates of hell are opened to let out the hungry ghosts who want food.

By comparison, History.com says, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.”

I think it’s interesting that the dead linked both America’s Halloween and China’s Hungry Ghost Festival, at least historically.

As a child, I loved wearing a costume on Halloween and going out “trick-or-treating” at night to return home with a heavy bag (usually a pillowcase) filled with candy.

I still remember how much my stomach hurt and how terrible I felt after gorging myself on all that free processed sugar.

Today, due to the epidemic of diabetes and overweight or obese children in the United States (also in China mostly among its new middle class), I stopped celebrating Halloween years ago, and do not give candy to children. The last time I gave treats to children on Halloween, I handed out small boxes of raisins (sweet dried grapes) instead of candy, and one mother called me cheap.

But Science Daily.com comes to my defense with: “Teenagers who consume a lot of added sugars in soft drinks and foods may have poor cholesterol profiles—which may possibly lead to heart disease in adulthood, according to first-of-its-kind research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, “Teenagers and young adults consume more sugar drinks than other age groups and have been linked to poor diet quality, weight gain, obesity, and, in adults and children, type 2 diabetes.”

The American Diabetes Association says, “25.8 million children and adults in the US have diabetes while 79 million have prediabetes. Due to excessive sugar consumption, the risk of diabetes may lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease, and/or amputation of feet and legs.”

Maybe Americans should learn something from the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. Do not feed that sweet addictive candy to children.  Instead, give the sugar to the dead and have your children eat apples, because there’s a lot of truth to the old saying that if you eat an apple a day, it will help keep the doctor away. If you doubt that, read this from Science Daily.

Discover Anna May Wong, the woman that died a thousand times.

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.

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The influence of U.S. universities on students from China

August 30, 2016

Millions of students from Communist China have attended American universities and colleges and earned degrees.

The American impression of China hasn’t stopped some of China’s top leaders sending their children to universities in the West. For instance China’s first-daughter, Xi Mingxi, the only child of Xi Jinping, the President of China, graduated from Harvard in 2014 under a pseudonym.  The New Yorker reported she “studied psychology and English and lived under an assumed (fake) name.”

In November 2015 Foreign Policy Magazine reported, “Out of the more than 974,000 international students currently in the United States, almost one in three is now Chinese.”

According to Foreign Policy Magazine there is a benefit gained from this. “Having these Chinese students on U.S. campuses helps to build a bridge between China and the United States.”

This exchange isn’t free. In fact, it’s expensive for a foreign student to attend a college or university in the U.S., and Foreign Policy says, “In the 2014-2015 academic year, Chinese students pumped $9.8 billion into the U.S. economy through tuition and fees.”

It may come as a surprise to most Americans to discover that families in China that have the money to send their children to the U.S. mostly belong to the Communist Youth League or the Chinese Communist Party and more of them are going home after graduation.

The South China Morning Post reported, “For decades, the rate of return to China remained low as students with advanced degrees did not see opportunities for research at home. Last year, more than 272,000 Chinese returned after completing their education abroad, 86,700 more than in 2011; a 46 percent increase, according to the Ministry of Education.”

When China’s evolution as a modern nation is complete, will it become a republic influenced by America’s “so-called” socialist, liberal institutions of higher education, but with Chinese characteristics like Sun Yat-sen, the father of China’s republic, said he wanted. After all, Sun Yat-sen was influencd by what he learned while attending high school and then one semester of college in Hawaii before he went home to launch a revolution that toppled China’s last imperial dynasty in 1912.

What do most Chinese students think after spending several years in the United States? Another Foreign Policy piece attempts to answer that question and reports, For many Chinese students, it’s not that simple. “I like the U.S.,” one survey respondent wrote. “But I love China; it’s my motherland.”

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.

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Why do most Chinese save so much?

May 25, 2016

Hung Huang, one of China’s four Opras, and the CEO of China Interactive Media Group, the host of China’s TV talk show Crossing Over and one of the top-five most popular Bloggers in China wrote a post for the New York Times Economix Blog about why the Chinese save so much.

She thinks the Chinese save out of fear.

I don’t agree, because China is not unique when it comes to Asians saving money. Galbi Think.org says, “Savings rates for East Asian economies averaged about 35% of GDP.

For a comparison, the long term saving rate in the US has dropped to 5.4% for the last three years. – YCHARTS.Inc.

Another study reported by All Business.com says, “The fact that the saving rate of rural households (in China) is considerably higher than that of urban households—even though their income levels are so much lower—is surprising.”

That isn’t so surprising to me. I married into a Chinese family, and I’ve come to believe the Chinese can out frugal anyone. The less earned, the more the Chinese save.  All it takes is saying no to buying frivolous junk and eating out when the money isn’t there.

In fact, I found the comments to Huang’s New York Times Economix Blog post to be more convincing than what she thinks.

Melvin Chin said in a comment, “Asians, including Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, are predominantly brought up with the concepts of frugality and saving from very young. … Saving teaches them to be proud of what is accumulated, enjoy the fruits of abundance, and cherish the habit as a virtue.”

Ray said, “The strong family connection is the reason for Chinese to save. It is the same in Taiwan. Almost every elder person I know saves for their descendants.”

Fei said, “Simply look at the generations of Chinese who live in North America, you’ll find out that the majority of them still maintain a lifelong enthusiasm of saving … because saving is a habit that’s deeply rooted in the Chinese culture.”

If all Asian cultures are so good at saving money and are all collective cultures, what does that say about self-centered individualistic cultures like the U.S.?

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 happens when any Form of Government becomes destructive and many people suffer?

March 1, 2016

I was recently asked, “What can China learn from the US political model? American government is looking more and more like ‘of the 1% by the 1% and for the 1%’!”

My answer follows: If China learns anything from what is happening in the U.S., it’s to keep a balance between socialism and capitalism and not let socialism dominate capitalism and capitalism dominate socialism.

Capitalism benefits the 1% – everyone cannot be a winner even though many of the wealthy think everyone can make it like they did and they look down on and discriminate against everyone who doesn’t make it. After all, everyone has the right to work harder to make it, right, even on poverty wages with no benefits?

Socialist programs benefits the other 99% where many can end up suffering horribly without a safety net.

I’m not talking about pure socialism where the state—representing the people—own everything: the land and everything built on and under it, the means of production and the retail sector that sells what’s produced. I’m talking about social safety-net programs like affordable and/or free universal health care for every citizen no matter how much they earn, a livable wage, Social Security for when people are old and retire, unemployment insurance for people who have lost their jobs, labor unions that represent the workers, and disability insurance for workers injured on the job and even from accidents outside of work, who can no longer work because of the injury.

The capitalists, the 1%, will moan and groan because of these social programs that protect 99% of the people—the workers that helped make the 1% wealthy and powerful. The 1% will moan and groan because enough is never enough and the social programs that protect the 99% cut into the profits and the growth of their wealth and power. Angry, the 1% will bribe as many leaders in the country as possible to get rid of the socialist programs that protect the 99%. The corruption and lies will be rampant, because money buys power and power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Wealth and power is similar to cancer and to contain that disease and protect the 99%, the government must walk a fine line to keep the balance.  The 99% must be stopped from destroying the 1% and the 1% must be stopped from causing the 99% from suffering due to the greed of the 1%.

The 99% can cause tyranny and suffering too because the mob is dangerous and powerful when united against tyranny, and the 1% can quickly become the tyranny behind the suffering caused to the 99%. That is what is happening in the United States today. The 1% is systematically attacking every public sector socialist program that protects the quality of life for the 99%.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence, that is not the law of the United States—the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is the law that guides America—says it best:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

A government’s struggle to keep that balance between capitalism and socialism never ends because the temptations to lean toward capitalism’s 1% are many, and it has been said through the ages that every person has a price and can be bought one way or the other. Government also must resist the cry of the mob, loud and organized factions of the 99%, that demand more from the social safety net. In the end, it is up to knowledgeable, honest voters to help keep that balance in place.

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 does it mean to Eat Bitterness and be Asian in the United States?

December 8, 2015

On April 25, 2011, Nadra Kareem Nittle wrote, Are U.S. Universities Discriminating Against Asian Students? The answer to Nittle’s question was and still is YES.

In the US, since the Civil Rights era preferential treatment favored African-Americans and Latinos since Asian-Americans tend to swallow their bitterness instead of protesting violently as the other minorities have done.

For example, the NAACP says it fights for social justice for all Americans. However, facts demonstrate that the NAACP tends to favor legislation that focuses on benefits for African Americans. If this were not true, there would be no need for political organizations to serve Latinos and Asian-Americans.

In fact, Africana Online said, “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been instrumental in improving the legal, educational, and economic lives of African Americans.” There was no mention of the other minorities that suffer from racism in the U.S.

However, Latino Political Clout is growing in the U.S. to challenge the NAACP’s clout. The recent US Census indicated Latinos continue to become a larger ratio of the American population. With growing numbers will come political and social changes to the country.

But we know that the number of votes a minority such as African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans deliver during an election results in political influence, and it’s obvious that blacks are winning when it comes to clout because a higher ratio of blacks vote than whites, Latinos and Asians.

For instance, in 2012, a larger percentage of blacks—66% of eligible black voters—voted than whites (64.1%). In contrast, Latino voters tend to turn out in slightly lower ratios than blacks or whites. Asians, on the other hand, are not voting like they could. According to Pew Research.org, only three in ten Asian American eligible voters cast ballots in midterm elections.

As demonstrated, Asian American political organizations have a long way to go to catch up to African-American and Hispanic or Latino political influence.

Is this because Asian and Chinese Americans are crippled by the influence of their cultures when it comes to increasing political influence in the U.S. since Chinese parents teach their children to eat bitterness?

In China, the tradition to “eat bitter” has been passed down from generation to generation. “Eat bitter” is a literal translation of Chinese "吃苦", which refers to endure hardship including discrimination without complaint or protest.

The 2014 Census 2014 census revealed that minority influence is not equal since there are about 42.1 million African-Americans, 55.5 million Hispanic or Latino Americans and only 17.1 million Asian Americans, who turn out to vote in lower ratios. Numbers count and it helps that Latinos and African-Americans do not eat bitterness like most Asians do.

I think that the Asian cultural aspect of “eating bitterness” has been influenced by Taoism, Buddhism and Confucius while in the West the warlike and often-violent religions of Christianity and Islam did not follow the same path.

______________________________

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.

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What’s the color of your flag? Part 2 of 2

October 28, 2015

Ai Weiwei was warned by representatives of the lawful government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop his illegal activities (according to Chinese law).

In such cases, it is common to receive an invitation to tea, which may not be refused, where the person responsible for what is considered counter-revolutionary activities (or another crime against the state) is told to stop or face the full might of China’s law.  China is not like Hitler’s Germany where the Gestapo showed up without warning and carried citizens off to be roasted or gassed by the millions.

The facts speak for themselves. Ai Weiwei refused to cooperate, and he violated Chinese law, and he was locked up in 2011, but he isn’t locked up now because he was released the same year.

CNN doesn’t mention Ai Weiwei was alleged to have been in violation of the 1982 Chinese Constitution, which says in Article 28, “The state maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter-revolutionary activities; it penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals.”


US Marines Marching

The PRC did not hiding anything except where Ai Weiwei was locked up and the details behind his crime. Even in the US, the authorities are often denied the right to talk about an alleged criminal and the facts behind a legal case to the press.

I’ve read in the past where some Western critics say that Chinese law is difficult to interpret and has loopholes that the PRC may use to the Party’s advantage.

Since when was any law in any country easy to understand?  If you aren’t an American lawyer, how easy is if to understand the U.S. legal system, and doesn’t the U.S. have loopholes that the wealthy and corporations take advantage of not to pay taxes in America? In fact, President Ronald Reagan didn’t pay any tax one year, and he said loopholes in the law allowed it.

Compare the language of the 1982 Chinese Constitution to the U.S. Constitution and anyone can see the differences.

In addition, Article 53 of the Chinese Constitution says, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China must abide by the constitution and the law, keep state secrets, protect public property and observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.”


PRC Troops and Flag Ceremony

An amendment to Article 13 was revised to say, “Citizens’ lawful private property is inviolable” and “The State, in accordance with law, protects the rights of citizens to private property and to its inheritance” and “The State may, in the public interest and in accordance with law, expropriate or requisition private property for its use and shall make compensation for the private property expropriated or requisitioned.”

In fact, nowhere in the CNN piece does it explain that no one owns land or houses in China as they do in the U.S. It’s more like a lease with the right to pass that property on to someone else in the family after death.

What happens in the U.S. if the property tax isn’t paid? Does anyone really own the house and land they live on?

China’s flag isn’t red, white and blue. Instead, it is red and gold.

The red of the Chinese flag symbolizes the communist revolution, and it’s also the traditional color of the people. The large gold star represents communism, while the four smaller stars represent the social classes of the people. In addition, the five stars together reflect the importance placed on the number five in Chinese thought and history. Source: World Atlas

Maybe Ai Weiwei forgot which flag flies over his country or is he color blind?

Return to or start with Part 1

______________________________

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.

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