The Difference between Chinese vs English Poetry

August 22, 2017

Su Kent says, “In my opinion, the essence of classical Chinese poetry is more difficult and allusive. Because of the nature of Chinese characters, each line can express utmost meanings in limited words. The beauty is condensed similar to energy ready to burst out.”

However, traditional Chinese Poetry is similar to Western poetry in other ways.  Lines in Chinese poetry may have a fixed number of syllables and rhyme was required, so ancient Chinese poetry resembles traditional English verse and is not at all like the free verse in today’s Western culture.

Modern Chinese poets have written in free verse, but many still write with a strict form.

In the end, the form is not as important as what the poem says. Western poetry often focuses on love while painting an image of the poet as a lover.

Influenced by Confucius and Taoism, the ancient Chinese poet shows he or she is a friend, not a lover and often paints a picture of a poet’s life as a life of leisure without ambitions beyond writing poetry and having a good time. Su Kent says, “Chinese poetry draws much of its richness from the depth of meaning which these individual ideographs can carry.  Structurally, a classical Chinese poem usually has five or seven hieroglyphs per line, with each line creating a self-contained thought or image.”


In Chinese poetry, the poet must balance one thing against another.

According to legend, Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet, killed himself to protest the corruption of the time, and it is said that the Dragon Boat Festival was named to honor his sacrifice.

Battle
By Qu Yuan (332-295 B.C.)

We grasp our battle-spears: we don our breastplates of hide.
The axles of our chariots touch: our short swords meet.
Standards obscure the sun: the foe roll up like clouds.
Arrows fall thick: the warriors press forward.
They menace our ranks: they break our line.
The left-hand trace-horse is dead: the one on the right
is smitten.
The fallen horses block our wheels: they impede the
yoke-horses?”

Translated by Arthur Waley 1919

Note: The translation process from Mandarin to English would insure that the fixed number of syllables and rhyme required of a traditional Chinese poem in its original language would not survive, but the contextual meaning should.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Worried about a Civil War and Thinking about Moving to another Country

August 16, 2017

The Nation asks Are We on the Verge of Another Civil War? David Armitage says, “The linguistic temperature of contemporary politics (in the United States) has risen so high that civil war outside the bounds of politics is increasingly conceivable—and that is quite concerning.”

Well, if you live in the United States and you’re worried about the end of Social Security, losing medical care, and that there might be a bloody civil war in the near future thanks to #FakePresident Donald Trump and his Republican Party supporters, all hope is not lost.

If the thought of a civil war in the United States worries you, find out if there is a job opportunity in China, and here’s why: the China Law Blog reported that Chinese workers have more job protection, if not higher pay, than most workers, in the United States.

The reason for that situation in China is the transition from state controlled to private owned businesses since 1978, when China implemented its open-door policy.   The Conversation.com reports, “The fact is, massive privatisation has been ongoing in China since the 1980s, involving millions of business enterprises. Currently around 70% of Chinese industrial output is now produced by non-state controlled business firms, and over 80% of the industrial workforce in China is now employed in the private sector.”

And before complaining about the low wages in China consider the cost of living there, because the cost of just about everything is higher in the United States. To discover the difference, click NUMBEO to compare the cost of living between China and the United States. For instance, consumer prices including rent in the United States are more than 82-percent higher than in China. And the pay can’t be that bad considering the explosive growth of China’s emerging middle class that helped General Motors (according to CNN Money) sell 10-million cars in one year for the first time in its century-plus history.”

The China Law Blog reports, “China’s employment law system is quite different from the U.S. The main difference is that the U.S. is an employment at will system, which means you can terminate employees at any time for pretty much any reason (and it’s getting worse). China’s system is the opposite. The Chinese system is a contract employment system. … An employee can only be terminated for cause and cause must be clearly proved. … This whole situation makes the employment relationship and the employment documents much more adversarial than is customary in the U.S.”

Of course, finding a job in China and moving there from the United States might not be as easy as it sounds.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Who does a better job fooling the people – America’s private sector media or China’s state owned media?

August 15, 2017

In China, the people know who controls the media and its message, and that makes it easy for many to doubt news reports since they know the source is the government. In the United State, the opposite is often true. About half of the people trust the traditional media because it isn’t controlled by the government, and too many Americans follow the racist Alt-Right social internet media that invents alternative facts (lies) and manufactures fake evidence to spread unproven conspiracy theories.

This means that in China, the government is behind the fake news, but in the United States individuals like Steve Bannon and his billionaire backer Richard Mercer are behind it.

The BBC reports “China is the largest media market in the world, and has the world’s largest online population. … Beijing tries to limit access to foreign news by restricting rebroadcasting and the use of satellite receivers, by jamming shortwave broadcasts, including those of the BBC, and by blocking websites.

“Overseas Chinese-language news outlets that are not state-owned are blocked in mainland China. However, international English language websites like the BBC are often available to view. … State-run Chinese Central TV (CCTV) is China’s largest media company. … There are around 1,900 newspapers. Each city has its own title, usually published by the local (CCP branch) government, as well as a local Communist Party daily.”

Before we move on, it helps to know that there are more than 85-million members in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  If the CCP were a country, it would be ranked close to Egypt (#16) on Nation Master’s countries comparison list that has 249 entries with populations to rank, and China’s government controlled media reflects the majority view of more than 85-million Chinese who belong to the CCP. This means that what’s reported is often considered to be in the best interests of keeping harmony in China instead of allowing turmoil caused by public dissension.

What about the media in the United States?


“In the early 1980s, roughly fifty-different companies owned 90-percent of the American media. … In recent years that same 90-percent is now owned by six conglomerates.”

Back to China. The New York Times reports on China’s media: “Another strategy is manipulation. In recent years, local and provincial officials have hired armies of low-paid commentators to monitor blogs and chat rooms for sensitive issues, and then spin online comment in the government’s (China’s) favor.

“Mr. Xiao of Berkeley cites one example: Jiaozuo, a city southwest of Beijing, deployed 35 Internet commentators and 120 police officers to defuse online attacks on the local police after a traffic dispute. By flooding chat rooms with pro-police comments, the team turned the tone of online comment from negative to positive in just 20 minutes.”

Isn’t this similar to what America’s Alt-Right media does except the Alt-Right media is run by individuals like Steve Bannon while the corporate traditional media is run by 6-corporate CEOs instead of the majority consensus of more than 85-million members of the CCP?

Is America really that different from China, but are Americans easier to fool and manipulate because they think the media is free and that makes them mostly trustworthy depending on who you listen to?

By now, you might understand why so many overseas news outlets that are not state-owned are blocked in mainland China. It’s obvious to me that China’s government doesn’t want to risk a future with its own version of a #FakePresident Donald Trump leading that country spreading lies and causing disharmony that might bring on the apocalypse and a collapse of civilization.

Discover Anna May Wong, the American actress who died a thousand times.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s History with the Night Sky: Part 2 of 2

August 9, 2017

The Milky Way Maid’s Weblog says, the (ancient) Chinese focused on the constellations creating one of the earliest star maps ever found. “The Chinese are believed to have made the first observation of the legendary Halley’s comet in 240 BC.” In the West, In 1705, an astronomer named Edmond Halley discovered that the comet appears every 75 to 76 years, and the comet was named after him, not the Chinese who observed it before Christ was born.

Chinese astronomers gave distinctive names to familiar Western constellations. For example, the Big Dipper was called The Plow. The North Star was Bei Ji. Another constellation was called the Winnowing Basket.

However, the Chinese were not alone in mapping the heavens.

Ancient cultures in the West studied the skies too. The “Nebra Sky Disc”, discovered in Europe, was dated to about 1,600 BC.

National Geographic reports the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest depiction of the night sky in history, and its a hundred years older than the oldest images found in ancient Egypt. The Nebra Sky Disc may be the first representation of the universe in human history.

In addition, China.org reports that 4,000 years ago, the oldest astronomical instrument known to man was invented. It was merely a bamboo pole planted in the ground so that the movement of the sun could be observed from the direction and length of the shadow of the pole. “From the 16th century BC to the end of the 19th century AD, almost every dynasty appointed officials charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens. Such observations and records have left a rich astronomical legacy. …

“While Western astronomers of the Renaissance period were still arguing in 1615 who was the first to discover sunspots, Chinese astronomers had already accumulated a large amount of records on sunspots. Now it is known that the earliest records of sunspots were made in 28 BC by Chinese astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Western Han Dynasty.”

Return to or Start with Part 1.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s History with the Night Sky: Part 1 of 2

August 8, 2017

For thousands of years, Chinese astronomers studied the stars and planets moving in their endless repeating paths across the night sky.

The Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.) recorded eclipses and as many as ninety supernovas, a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass.

For about two thousand years, the Chinese used the constant North Star to map the location of all the other stars in the sky.

This method of mapping stars is called the equatorial system. The West would not use this method to map the heavens for almost two thousand years after the Chinese invented it.

In the early 1980s, a tomb was found at Xi Shui Po (西水坡) in Pu Yang, Henan Province where clamshells and bones were found that formed the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, and the Northern Dipper. It is believed that this tomb belonged to the Neolithic Age about 6,000 years ago.

Star names relating to Chinese astrology’s 28 Mansions of the Lunar Calendar were found on oracle bones dating back to the Wuding Period about 3,200 years ago. “Since ancient times, while classical Chinese astrology, based on the observation and movement of stars, sun, comets, moon and planets, was the exclusive privilege of the emperor, many alternative systems were consequently developed that were not based on the direct observation of the sky. Their basic principles rely mainly on numerology in association with the calendar.”

Continued in Part 2 on August 9, 2017

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, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The International Battleground of the Internet

August 2, 2017

The internet is a battleground and no one is safe. In fact, recently my desktop was hijacked by ransomware. I didn’t pay the ransom, but I did pay a local computer business to fix the problem and that cost me several hundred dollars.

This year, at the G-20 Summit, Trump met with Putin for a scheduled thirty-minute talk that turned into several hours behind closed doors, and The Daily Beast says, “Donald Trump Just Set the Table for Vladimir Putin’s Next Election Hack.”

But Russia is not the only player in the cyber-warfare battlefield. The German Police and Intelligence Agencies hired a company to create Trojans capable of capturing traffic from Skype and SSL, and in 2001, the recording industry wanted the right to hack into our computers and delete stolen MP3s.

After a Chinese fighter collided with an American surveillance plane in April 2001, Chinese hacker groups cyber-attacked American businesses causing millions of dollars in damage.

The Carders“, cyber-criminals that specialize in using a sophisticated and automated process to steal information from credit cards, have made off with billions.

When the Cult of the Dead Cow gains access to a computer, they can spy on all of us through our own webcams and microphones. Imagine what the Dead Cows discover and maybe film if that webcam is in your bedroom or bathroom.

The American National Security Administration’s (NSA) Red Team is suspected of distributing malicious software across the web acting as illegal hackers, but they do it legally under the protection of U.S. law.  In 2008, an elite U.S. Military Unit shut down a Saudi-CIA Website that was seen as a threat to US security. Learn more from the NSA’s disturbingly successful hack of the American military.

Mother Jones reports that Britain’s NSA [the GCHQ] listens to its citizen’s phone calls too, and recently Reuters reports, “The U.S. government will seek to collaborate with Israel and other countries to develop new ways to thwart computer hacks and other cyber-attacks.”

While Russia is ramping up cyber-attacks and the alleged U.S. President Donald Trump ignores the evidence, The New York Times reported in 2016, “Nine months after President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China agreed to a broad crackdown on cyberespionage aimed at curbing the theft of intellectual property, the first detailed study of Chinese hacking has found a sharp drop-off in almost daily raids on Silicon Valley firms, military contractors, and other commercial targets.”

Now that Trump is president and reversing everything that Obama accomplished, is that good-deal dead too?

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The Impact of Poverty and Starvation on Human Rights

August 1, 2017

On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by fifty-six members of the United Nations. The vote was unanimous, although eight nations chose to abstain (not vote).

At the time, the most powerful countries in the world was the members of the alliance that won World War II. It would take another sixty-three years for the rest of the world (minus three) to join and reach 193 countries. That means in 1948, twenty-nine percent of the world’s countries decided what human rights was.

Although Nationalist China was one of the original fifty-one members of the UN in 1945, Communist China (established in 1949 after the end of the Chinese Civil War) didn’t become a member until October 25, 1971, when the UN General Assembly expelled the Republic of China (Taiwan), and admitted the People’s Republic of China as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. – Growth in United Nations membership, 1945-present

The five most powerful countries are on the U.N. Security Council: China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, and the United States. They are also the five most powerful countries that worked together to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II.  Six of the eight that abstained and did not vote were members of the Soviet Union’s Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe.

Merriam-Webster defines human rights as: “rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.”

When I read A Different Turning Point for Mankind by G. W. Bowersock in the May 9, 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books, I had one of those “Aha!” moments while I was reading about the history of several different cultural philosophies and ideologies.

For millennia, the major cultural influences on the planet have been: Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Chinese, Hindu, Islamic, and Buddhist.

But the concept of human rights that dominates the planet today has its roots from ancient Greece and Rome, not China, Africa, India, or the Middle East.


China focused on poverty reduction first over human rights. After all, what good are human rights if you are poor and starving?

This Western, Greek-Roman concept of human rights that evolved over a period of centuries to dominate the planet today came about due to the fire and brimstone of the colonial era of the 18th and 19th centuries where European countries such as Spain, England, France, Germany, Portugal and Italy ruled, often brutally, over most of the planet as colonial powers. Later the United States joined in building its own global empire once again based on a Greek-Roman, Christian foundation.

When Western citizens criticize China or Asia, the Middle East, or Africa for human rights violations, these cultures are not being judged by their own perception of what human rights might mean. Instead, the West, especially the United States, is forcing its beliefs on those cultures.

In the West, human rights are based on the ideology of the self that emphasizes autonomy, but this is not relevant to a Confucian based society that stresses the primacy of community and the person’s obligation to others. – University of Illinois Press

And for the Islamic Middle East, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im says, “Shari’ah, which is the historical foundations of Islamic law, directly affects the millions of Muslims around the world. Because of its moral and religious authority, it has great influence on the status of human rights for Muslim countries.”

Words for thought: are claims of human rights violations outside of Western countries based on the status of human beings as individuals or as a member of a community or group of people, because traditional cultures do not always view the individual as an autonomous being possessed of rights above society? – Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center

In addition, hunger and poverty also influence the concept and evolution of human rights. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing fifteen percent of the population of developing counties.” – World Hunger.org

If you were one of the almost one billion people around the world suffering from chronic undernourishment (starving), would you be sitting around debating freedom of expression, religion, democracy, and equal pay for men and women? If you have never experienced living in a so-called democracy, how can you be expected to understand what that’s like?

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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