The Healing Flower of Riches and Honor

July 27, 2016

Pearl S. Buck (1892 – 1973; awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Prize and 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature) loved the peony and so did the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908).  The Chinese Peony is the Paeonia lactiflora. Along with the plum blossom, the peony is a traditional floral symbol of Mongolia and China. The peony comes as a shrub and a tree.

The peony is also known as the “flower of riches and honor” and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty made the peony the national flower. Today, there is no national flower in the PRC, but the tree peony can be regarded as a national favorite. Taiwan—on the other hand—has named the plum blossom as the national flower for its island territory.

The World Health Organization reports that the dried root of the Radix Paeonia (red peony) is used to treat dementia, headache, vertigo, spasms of the calf muscles, liver disease, and allergies and as an anticoagulant. These uses have been described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine claims that drinking Bai Mudan (white peony tea) helps dispel heat within the body and enhances immune function while protecting the heart and blood vessels.


Ode to Peonies

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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Is the Nap at risk in China?

March 9, 2016

Napping is a custom in much of China. My father-in-law, for instance, who is 84, naps every afternoon, and I thought it was due to his age.

Then after more than a decade of marriage, I asked my wife if her father had always taken afternoon naps. She said yes and that even at work in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party bosses made everyone take a long nap after lunch—about two hours every day.

Deciding to learn more, I turned to Google and found that “The Chinese, particularly those in the southern and south-eastern regions, take what could be called an afternoon siesta that lasts from approximately 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.”

I learned that afternoon naps in China are common, but that doesn’t mean everyone does it.  I also learned that the Internet and the modern-urban lifestyle have cut into the old habit of napping.

In fact, micro-blogging in China has had an impact on this centuries old custom. MSNBC.com reported that the Chinese government “sensitive to public opinion, especially stories of lazy or corrupt bureaucrats carried by massively popular micro-blogging sites,” cracked down on napping at meetings in an attempt to “instill a greater sense of duty into its officials.”

If this trend continues, this might seriously impact public health, creativity and learning in China.

Han Fang, a professor at Peking University People’s Hospital, says, “Lack of sleep can cause a significant lowering of immunity…”

In addition, the New York Times reported, “New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.”

“Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn,” and that might explain why “most Chinese schools have a scheduled half-hour nap right after lunch.” – Wiki.answers.com

“According to the advocates, a short 10-20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30 percent and alertness by 100 percent as well as improve memory and concentration. They also claim that it can reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34 percent.”

I’m struggling to cultivate the habit of napping, but it’s hard to break old habits when you grew up in the United States where it is customary to make people work long hours for poverty wages even when they are exhausted.

______________________________

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.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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What happens to the alleged culprits of Food Fraud in China? Part 1 of 2

December 22, 2015

In 2011, Wall Street Journal.com reported, “Ink, dye, bleach and toxic chemicals … have been found recently in food products in China, reigniting fears over food safety despite repeated government pledges to crack down on tainted eats.”

Sounds bad, but don’t judge China before reading this entire two-part series to discover that China is not alone in the struggle to make food safer to eat.

It isn’t as if China’s government is not trying to improve food safety. In 2011, Al-Jazeera’s Melissa Chang reported from Beijing about China’s government vowing to improve food safety laws. In fact, according to Melissa Chang, more than 2,000 people across the country were arrested for failing to meet food safety standards.

The Wall Street Journal said, “One of the biggest issues is the drive to make a buck at any cost, says Lester Ross, a Beijing-based attorney with U.S. law firm Wilmer Hale. Some companies see that by using additives, they can cut overhead costs or boost profit margins, and they merely aren’t thinking about the affects the additives will have on consumers, Mr. Ross says.”

Melissa Chang demonstrated how a chemical sauce to turn meats such as pork into beef can change any meat that isn’t beef into beef so the enterprising capitalist can charge more and increase profits.

Is that capitalism at work?

Since living in China means awareness of such trickery, “Many Chinese,” Chang says, “pay a premium to know exactly where the food they eat comes from.”

Chang then talked about an organic food cooperative in the suburbs of Beijing, which was established by families to buy directly from organic farmers and the project was successful.

However, Chang said, “Even the best intentions (may) go awry.” Organic in China doesn’t mean the food would qualify as organic outside of China since so much of the air and water is polluted there.  It is a challenge to grow quality produce.  Achieving better standards will take years.”

What about food safety in the U.S.? Continued on December 23, 2015, in Part 2

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Can Chinese Medicine Beat Cancer?

November 10, 2015

Actress Pam Grier was a guest on Oprah some time back.  Grier has been a major African-American actress from the early 1970s, and she has 96 film credits on imbd.com.  She has also appeared in many TV series and each one counts as one of her film credits.

Grier says, “People see me as a strong black figure, and I’m proud of that, but I’m a mix of several races: Hispanic, Chinese, and Filipino. My dad was black, and my mom was Cheyenne Indian. So you look at things beyond just race or even religion: I was raised Catholic, baptized a Methodist, and almost married a Muslim.”

In 1988, Grier was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and she was given a few months to live. There was nothing Western medicine could do to cure her.

During Grier’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she said, “My physician said western medicine has done all it can, I recommend that you go to Chinatown. You’ll meet these practitioners and you’ll listen to them.”

She started making regular trips to Chinatown in Los Angeles.

The focus in China is on prevention — to plan your lifestyle around healthy habits. That’s why early in the morning in China you may find many older Chinese outside exercising using the graceful, poetic movements of Tai Chi to insure health and longevity.

The history of acupuncture has been traced back before the birth of Jesus Christ, and the use of herbal medicines in China has been traced back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), also before the birth of Christ.

In fact, the World Health Organization reports that “eighty per cent of African populations use some form of traditional herbal medicine, and the worldwide annual market for these products approaches US$ 60 billion.”

All of these facts of Eastern and/or Chinese medicine beg for a question. Why do Western drug companies reserve the right to use the word ‘cure’ and no one else may use it legally?

“Unfortunately the word ‘cure’ is the sole property of the drug companies. If a nutritional supplement company uses this term they are attacked judiciously. This often leads to bankruptcy. As a result, many natural cures are buried.” – Forbidden words, and diagnosis

Pam Grier was diagnosed with cancer in 1988, and her doctors believed she only had a few weeks to live, but she’s still around thanks to Chinese medicine. However that Chinese medicine didn’t cure her because that’s illegal. Only Western drugs are legally allowed to cure.

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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The link between Fast Food and Sugar and the Pending Collapse of Civilization: Part 2 of 2

October 7, 2015

I’ve talked to enough Chinese to know that it’s a commonly held opinion that if the average American eats and raises children a certain way and the U.S. is  the world’s only super power, then if the Chinese eat and act the same way, China will become a super power like the U.S.

This flawed belief may explain what my friend (in Part 1) wrote about the spoiled children of China’s middle class being “WAY fatter” and with a sense of entitlement.

It might also explain the exploding popularity of American fast food in China leading to an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which is parallel to what has happened and is still happening in the U.S. and the UK.

To see if the United States and China are showing signs of an impending collapse, I checked Wikipedia’s Fall of Civilizations where a summary of the opinions of twelve experts are available.

Here’s what three of the experts have to say:

  • Edward Gibbons in The Decline of the Roman Empire wrote, “The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay…”
  • Arnold J. Toynbee in his A study of History wrote, “The cause of the fall of a civilization occurred when the cultural elite became a parasitic elite.”
  • Jeffrey A. McNeely suggested, “A review of historical evidence shows that past civilizations have tended to over-exploit their forests and that such abuse of important resources has been a significant factor in the decline of the over-exploiting society.”

After reading what all twelve experts said about the collapse of civilizations, it was obvious that there may be several causes that bring on a collapse.

However, when three of the twelve experts all have different opinions and all three of those opinions are happening in America and starting to happen in China, I think that is a good reason to be concerned.

One thing we can be sure of, lobbyists from the fast food and sugar industries will find a few so-called experts to disagree—a lot.

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.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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The link between Fast Food and Sugar and the Pending Collapse of Civilization: Part 1 of 2

October 6, 2015

There is a theory that lead poisoning contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. Powered by Osteons.org

In addition, the New York Times reported, “Much of the food and wine the Romans consumed to such excess was contaminated with amounts of lead far exceeding today’s safety standards. Accumulations of lead in the body can cause one form of gout, a painful and sometimes crippling inflammation of the joints, as well as the mental retardation and erratic behavior normally associated with lead poisoning.”

Now it looks like fast food and sodas loaded with sugar are doing the same thing to our civilization.

For decades, I’ve thought that American arrogance (due to being the only super power), run-away consumerism and growing debt of all kinds coupled with how the average American child is being raised by parents obsessed with the child’s self-esteem or increased grit above all else would lead to the inevitable end of the American experiment in personal freedoms and a rapid decline in living standards followed by chaos and anarchy.

Then I had an e-mail from an American friend and expatriate living in China working as an  English teacher that changed my thinking. I replied and asked him how it was going.

He replied, “You’ll be interested to know the kids are WAY fatter and noisier than they were in 2004. I asked some other teachers about this. They attribute it to McDonalds (3 all on the same 3-kilometer street in this very small city). In 2004 there were none (in that city), and Chinese parents spoiling their kids more and more; that sense of entitlement carries over into the classroom …”

After teaching American children and teens for thirty years (1975 – 2005) and experiencing the same decline in child health and behavior, I understood what he meant.

Could this cultural decay be a sign of the pending collapse of civilization?

To be continued in Part 2 on October 7, 2015

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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The Return of China’s Concubines or should we call them Independent Escorts?

August 19, 2015

A friend of mine sent me a link to an interesting post of China’s Second Wives (concubines). “A 2008 estimate says that Second Wives account for a third of the country’s consumption of luxury products.”

The area Director of JWT North Asia, Tom Doctoroff, answered questions for the piece. He said, “When I ask people how much it costs to maintain a second wife – a trophy concubine – the average I’m told is 50,000RMB (about $7,600US). This isn’t just a girlfriend, this is someone who is kept. And she is displayed as somebody that’s a result of this guy’s power and influence, and access to funds.

However, it wasn’t like that for several decades.

When the Communist Party won China’s Civil War (1927 – 1949 with a break during WWII) and drove Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists from China, Mao announced that women held up half the sky; the practice of bound feet ended and women were considered equal to men for the first time in China’s history.

For thousands of years, the wealthy and powerful in China often had more than one wife and several concubines. The emperor had thousands of concubines.

Between 1949 and 1976, Mao’s goal was to change China by ending the old ways and building a new China that would be stronger and more capable of defending itself from invasions. Mao denounced Confucianism and literally waged a war against Buddhism (and all religions) in China. Mao ended the practice of having concubines too.

The goal to lead China away from its ancient cultural heritage ended after Mao’s death and recently the party had a statue of Confucius erected in Tiananmen Square in an effort to bring back some of the old ways.

Now that China is a hybrid capitalist nation, powerful and wealthy men are collecting concubines (those second wives) again. In fact, “A survey in the 2000s revealed that 60 percent of respondents said they had an affair at some point during their marriage, compared to 15 percent in the 1980s. Many sociologists believe the number is increasing all the time as rising standards of living make it more feasible economically to have affairs.” – Facts and Details.com

However, there is a difference. The legal system in China sees women as equals so women cannot be legally bought and sold. This time, women have a choice to be a concubine or wife.

In the embedded YouTube video of the Young Turks, it is mentioned that some wealthy and powerful men in America have concubines too, but in the US, those women are called swingers or escorts. To learn more, read this post at The Honest Courtesan-frank commentary from an unretired call girl in the U.S.

In fact, if a Chinese wife doesn’t approve of her husband having concubines, she now has the freedom to divorce him, and divorce is on the rise in China.

______________________________

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.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
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