The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End

January 10, 2018

China is the oldest, continuous civilization on Earth. Ancient records date back to about BC 2500 and agree with the Old Testament’s timeline that the great flood took place around 2344 B.C.

Ancient Chinese myth has their first king, Fu-hi or Fohi (Chinese Noah) making his appearance on the Mountain of Chin surrounded by a rainbow after the world had been covered with water.  Myth says this Chinese Noah also sacrificed animals to God.

The Miao tribe of Southwest China has a similar myth. According to the Miao, God destroyed the world by flood because of the wickedness of man. The myth also says Nuah (Noah) had three sons: Lo Han (Ham), Lo Shen (Shem), and Jah-hu (Japheth).

In ancient China, ShangDi was considered the high God.  He was worshiped as the creator God for thousands of years. ShangDi was known as the Heavenly Ruler and the Chinese emperors were known as the Sons of Heaven.  No other god was higher or more powerful.

Evidence supports that the ancient Chinese understood the nature of God as the ancient Hebrews did after Abraham (1812 B.C. to 1637 B.C.), who is considered the father of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

One of the earliest accounts of the Border Sacrifice is found in the Shu Jing (Book of History), compiled by Confucius (551 to 479 B.C.), where it is recorded that Emperor Shun (2256 to 2205 B.C.) sacrificed to ShangDi.

While the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans worshiped many gods, the Chinese also worshipped many but worshiped a high God called ShangDi. If true, that would mean the Chinese believed in God longer than the Jews, Christians, or Muslims.

What’s interesting is the many in China believed in ShangDi for more than four-thousand years without an organized religion to guide them. Is ShangDi the same God that the Hebrews, Christians, and Muslims worship?

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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In China, there is the Gregorian New Year and the Lunar New Year

December 27, 2017

In China, it’s possible to celebrate a new year twice each year in different months – once during the western New Year based on the Gregorian calendar (December 31, 2017), and a second time during the Lunar New Year (February 16, 2018).


December 31, 2016, in Beijing

The earliest recorded festivities to welcome a new year date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox, a day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness, announced the start of a new year.

If the first recorded New Year’s celebration was in March, why was it moved to January 1st? The answer may be found at History.com where we discover that Emperor Julius Cesar introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries use today, and Cesar made January 1st the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake, Janus, the Roman god of beginnings.


December 31, 2016, in Hong Kong

The Chinese Lunar New Year gained significance because of several myths and traditions. History.com reports, “The ancient Chinese calendar, on which the Chinese New Year is based, functioned as a religious, dynastic and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate that it existed as early as the 14th century BC, when the Shang Dynasty was in power (1600 – 1046 B.C.).”

Traditionally, the lunar new year festival was a time to honor deities (gods) as well as ancestors, and it is celebrated in countries and territories that have large Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, and the Philippines.


Lunar New Year Celebration at Shanghai Disneyland in early 2017

For readers who haven’t been to China, this is your chance to experience what it is like to live in a country with more than 1.3 billion people. In China, during major national holidays, there are a lot of people on the move and it becomes so crowded on trains and buses during this time, it’s possible for a passenger to end up standing for a trip that might take hours because the more expensive seats were sold out.

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 Holistic Historical Timeline


Let there be Dragons

December 26, 2017

I’m guilty. I like dragons. I even have a character in Becoming Merlin, my next novel, and that character can shapeshift and become a Chinese or Western dragon. The choice is up to Merlin what he wants to be.

The Chinese Year of the Dragon was in 2012 and the next time dragons will arrive is 2024.

In Western culture, dragons have wings, spews flames, eats women and young children, and is often killed by knights in shining armor.  Even in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the dragon is a monster that terrorizes, kills and hoards gold.

But, in China, dragons are seldom depicted as evil.  To most Chinese, the dragon may be fearsome and powerful but the creature is often considered fair, benevolent, and the bringer of wealth and good fortune. Dragons also appear in ancient Chinese literature. In fact, Chinese dragons are considered wise too.

Instead of flying, Chinese dragons are seen as water creatures that live in lakes, rivers, and oceans. One-quarter of the night sky is called the Palace of the Green Dragon and the dragon constellation is said to predict rain. The dragon is also the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac.

When Buddhism arrived in China, dragon symbolism was adopted by that religion, and in Beijing, there is the famous Nine Dragon Screen as seen in the next video.

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 Holistic Historical Timeline


China after the Han Dynasty during the Three Kingdoms (220-265 AD)

December 19, 2017

I enjoy reading historical fiction. I also watch movies and TV series based on history. For instance, I recently watched the BBC’s Season 2 for The Last Kingdom (this one doesn’t take place in China).

Back in 2008, I bought the first version of the TV series for The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1995), an epic about China’s history that has 84 episodes (45 minutes each for 63-hours). Based on the classical novel by Luo Guanzhong, this epic series covers the end of the Han Dynasty.


This episode with English subtitles is from a remake (2010) of the TV series.

Don’t let the title fool you. This story is not about romance as Westerners define that word. This historical fiction, based on fact, is about the romance of politics, war, and conquest. But don’t be disappointed, because there’s even a love story that comes with the ultimate sacrifice.

The novel was written in the 14th century and was more than a thousand pages long with 120 chapters. The translated English version is longer. After the Han Dynasty collapsed (206 BC to 219 AD), China shattered into three warring kingdoms.

This story is about how China was reunified as one nation again a few decades after the collapse of the Han Dynasty (205 B.C. – 220 A.D. I’ve seen the entire series once and plan to watch it again. When Jesus Christ was born, the Han Dynasty was more than 200 years old and had more than two hundred years left before it came to an end.

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.

Where to Buy

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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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Sipping Tea in China

December 6, 2017

The Chinese invented tea.  Then thousands of years later, the British stole the secrets of tea making, and you can read about that theft in For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History.

However, whenever I’m in Shanghai, I enjoy visiting this shopping area. Go early; it gets crowded.

The Huxinting Teahouse has been around for a long time, and the last time this pavilion was restored was in 1784.  Then it was turned into the tea house in 1855.

The area in Shanghai around the Huxinting Teahouse is a good place to shop. Hint, do not pay asking prices. Be willing to bargain.  Start low and meet in the middle. Don’t be too cheap either, because the business you are buying from has to earn enough money to survive too.

And if you want to read my review of “For All the Tea in China”, click the link in this sentence.

To learn more about Shanghai, also click and read:
Shanghai
Shanghai’s History & Culture
Shanghai Huangpu River Tour
Eating Gourmet in Shanghai
Chinese Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Where have so many parents gone?

December 5, 2017

American Jobs Alliance.com reports, “China’s economic miracle is having a less than miraculous effect on nearly 60 million children growing up in the countryside with their absentee parents stuck at work in the big cities. …

“According to a 2010 survey by the All-China Women’s Federation, 80 percent of Chinese children being reared by non-parents are being raised by grandparents with a little over 4 million left to their own devices.”

In rural China, it is predicted that by 2025 another 243 million will migrate. The benefit for these rural to urban migrants is increased income, access to education and a higher standard of living.

However, many parents do not have  the money to take their children with them.

Rural Life in China says, “Researchers estimate that … nearly a quarter of the nation’s children and almost a third of its rural children are growing up without one or both of their parents, who have migrated in search of work.”

In the US, we call these children Latchkey Kids. In fact, Jareb Collins at Associated Content says as many as 77 percent of American youth are Latchkey Kids. If accurate, that adds up to more than 57 million American children.

In addition, in 2009, there were about 18.1 million children in the United States living in single-mother families. Source: prb.org

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Homosexuals and Transsexuals don’t have it easy in China

November 29, 2017

A Guest Post by Richard Burger of The Peking Duck

Like homosexuals, transsexuals, too, have a difficult time in China. The first male-to-female transsexual surgery was performed in 1983 at the Third Hospital of Beijing Medical University. But most transsexuals are turned down for the operation, and the number of those who undergo surgery is estimated at one thousand although more than three thousand apply each year.

Applicants must undergo a battery of tests and psychiatric evaluations and prove they have wanted the operation for at least five years. Explaining their situation to parents and family is next to impossible, and that further dissuades many transsexuals from applying. Those who go ahead with the sex change usually leave their hometowns to avoid discrimination.

The price, which can range from 57,000 yuan to 76,000 yuan ($9,000 to $12,000), is another deterrent.

China has the medical facilities to easily perform both male-to-female and female-to-male operations, but the problem is one of ideology.

Like homosexuality, transsexualism is viewed by many as a form of spiritual pollution imported from the West. There is a profound lack of understanding about transsexualism and, subsequently, a lot of discrimination.

One notable example of a transsexual who has been accepted by the Chinese people is the world-famous Jin Xing, born as a male to ethnic Korean parents in 1967 in the industrial city of Shenyang.

A talented dancer, at the age of nine Jin joined the People’s Liberation Army’s dance troupe and rose up the ranks to become a colonel.

However, from an early age Jin had felt she was a woman.

After ten years of traveling around the world performing and teaching dance, she underwent a sex-change operation in 1996 at the age of 29. She now lives in Shanghai with her German husband and works as a choreographer and dance trainer.

Jin was brought to front pages around the world in the fall of 2011 when she was dropped as a judge of a Chinese reality TV show because she was transgendered. She spoke out to the Chinese media, condemning the prejudice of local officials in Zhejiang province who insisted she be thrown off the show.

She is one of China’s most renowned celebrities and is credited with giving a face to transsexualism and helping raise public acceptance of a person’s right to undergo a sex change.

____________________________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China’s sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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