The Impact of Cultural and Lifestyle Choices during a Pandemic

May 13, 2020

China is a collectivist culture based on valuing the needs of a group or a community over the individual.

Better the Future.org says, “The traditional Chinese diet consists of low or moderate amounts of meat or fish and plenty of vegetables accompanied by starches like rice or noodles. Tea is often served with dinner instead of soft drinks. Desserts are generally not part of the meal but fresh fruits can be served to help with digestion.”

The BBC reported, “China reported the cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s global health agency, on 31 December.… The mayor of Wuhan has previously admitted there was a lack of action between the start of January – when about 100 cases had been confirmed – and 23 January, when city-wide restrictions were enacted. …

“WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed China for the ‘speed with which [it] detected the outbreak’ and its ‘commitment to transparency’.”

The United States is an individualist culture. Very Well Mind.com says, “Individualistic cultures are those that stress the needs of the individual over the needs of the group as a whole.”

Health.gov tells us about the Current Eating Patterns in the United States. “The typical eating patterns currently consumed by many in the United States do not align with the Dietary Guidelines. … About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

“More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations (and) … are not meeting the recommendations for the subgroups within each of these food groups.

“Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

“The high percentage of the population that is overweight or obese suggests that many in the United States overconsume calories. As documented, more than two-thirds of all adults and nearly one-third of all children and youth in the United States are either overweight or obese.”

How do these cultural and lifestyle choices translate to death by COVID-19?

On May 6, 2020, Statista reported that the United States was 1st place for COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

1st Place: The United States with 72,284 deaths

2nd place: the UK with 29,427 deaths (the UK is also an individualist culture)

11th place: China with 4,633 deaths (where the pandemic started)

The Smithsonian Magazine reports that “U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for Third Year in a Row, Reflecting Rising Drug Overdoses, Suicides,” and Global News reported, “The novel coronavirus is a bundle of proteins. It doesn’t care about faith, freedom, jobs or right-wing conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Americans from defying all medical advice to protest against lockdown measures meant to keep them safe — often while standing unmasked and shoulder to shoulder.”

What about life expectancy in China? Macrotrends says, “The Current Life expectancy for China in 2020 is 76.96 years, a 0.22 percent increase from 2019.”  In fact, China has seen a slow and steady increase in life expectancy since 1950. Click the link in this paragraph to see for yourself.

It is apparent that the price for individual freedoms in the U.S. means shorter lifespans and a higher risk of death by COVID-19. What freedom means in the United States depends on each individual.

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 Moral Failings of Donald Trump according to Confucius

April 15, 2020

Simon Worrall, writing in National Geographic Magazine said Confucius “was hailed after his death as ‘The Uncrowned King,’ a philosopher whose sound bites of wisdom became China’s handbook on government and its code of personal morality for thousands of years.”

Confucius believed that every person had their place in society, and his philosophy turned Ancient China into a structured society with the longest continuous history of any country in the world–3,500 years of written history. Source: American Historical Association

More than twenty-four hundred years ago, Confucius dedicated his life to the moral training of his culture. He lived during the Warring States period before China was unified. Living with all of that violence and death, he dreamed of a land where people could live happily and harmoniously together.

Does that mean China enjoys dignity without democracy while the United States has democracy without dignity?

Confucius provides the answer In Analects 16.7, “The gentleman has three things to be cautious about: In his youth, when his blood and energy are not yet settled, he must be cautious about sex. In his middle years, when his blood and energy are just strong, he must be cautious about fighting. In his old age, when his blood and energy are already weak, he must be cautious about greed.”

The Conversation says, “Trump seems to embody all three types of recklessness identified by Confucius.

“His behavior towards women has been roundly condemned; his warmongering words regarding North Korea provoked fear and consternation around the world; he unashamedly made his lust for wealth and power into the basis of his media personality.”

Why do these moral failings matter?

“Because democracy needs dignity if it is not to descend into disorder. That doesn’t mean (America’s) leaders have to abide by some impossible standard of personal moral purity; after all, they are only human.”

However, if we judge Donald Trump by Confucian standards, Trump is now America’s most irredeemable leader and is beyond redemption. It doesn’t matter of Trump wins or loses the election in November 2020, he will always be considered hopeless by future historians.

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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Surviving a Pandemic: China vs the United States

March 25, 2020

China is a collective culture and the United States is individualistic. FutureLearn.com says, “Individualism stresses individual goals and the rights of the individual person. Collectivism focuses on group goals, what is best for the collective group, and personal relationships.”

While it is true that China got off to a bad start when local officials in the city of Wuhan attempted to silence and punish Dr. Li Wenliang for sending out a warning about the COVID-19 virus, it didn’t take long before China’s central government acted aggressively to contain the spread of the epidemic.

On December 27, Wuhan health officials learned that a new coronavirus was making people sick. Four days later, China informed the World Health Organization’s office in China.

Then on January 7, China’s President Xi Jinping became involved. Eleven days later Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan to determine what is happening.

On January 21st, the CDC in the United States confirmed the first COVID-19 case. Two days later, China, locked down Wuhan and three other nearby cities, days before Dr. Li Wenliang died on February 7 from COVID-19. The lockdown was not voluntary. It was mandatory.

By March 19, China Daily reported, “The lockdown of Wuhan, the city hardest-hit by the novel coronavirus in China, could gradually be lifted if no new cases are reported for two consecutive weeks, which may happen in April, a top public health expert said.

“However, strict disease control and prevention measures will still be needed to prevent a possible rebound of the outbreak, said Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior adviser to the nation’s top health authority.”

Meanwhile, in the United States on January 22, President Donald Trump, a hard-core individualist, because almost every word out of his mouth or from his Twitter account is about how great he is or an attack on someone else or another country, said, “We have it totally under control.”

That was the same day it was confirmed that the first American had COVID-19.

February 2, Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.”

The number of confirmed victims in the U.S. had climbed to 8.

February 24, Trump said, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

But the number of confirmed infected individuals was increased by 27, and CNBC reported, “Stocks plunge for a second day as the DOW lost more than 800 points on Tuesday.”

February 25, Trump said, “CDC and my administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Eighteen more victims of COVID-19 were confirmed in the United States.

February 26: Trump said, “The 15 cases within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He also said, “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

Six more cases were reported by February 27.

On March 4 (Source: The White House), Trump said. “If we have thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work – some of them go to work, but they get better.” Trump made this comment during an interview on Fox News. At the time, the CDC was urging employers to have workers stay home. Later that day, Trump defended himself, “I never said people that are feeling sick should go to work.” Source: CBS News

By the end of March 4, another 51 confirmed cases had been added to the list.

Meanwhile, many of Donald Trump supporters, individuals that seem to think like him, refused to self-quarantine. “Trump supporters have been warned incessantly not to trust mainstream journalistic coverage of the issue.” Source: The Atlantic.com 

Between March 4 and March 18, another 7,078 confirmed cases had been added to the list. — Statista.com

“Though President Trump said March 7 that ‘anyone who wants a test can get a test,’ the United States’ limited testing capacity means that in practice, only a fraction of people who have symptoms are being tested.” – LiveScience.com

To see the list of Trump’s lies from January 22 to March 13, click on Snopes.com.

 

I started my self-quarantine on March 13th and have gone out once to buy supplies. I was gone for about an hour on March 19. While out, I saw two shoppers (of dozens) wearing masks and they were a young Asian American couple. Later, while at Trader Joes, I saw one cashier (Caucasian) with a face mask, but it was hanging around her neck and wasn’t covering her mouth or nose.

Time.com reported, “Why Wearing a Face mask is Encouraged in Asia, but Shunned in the U.S.”

What do you think – Do collectivist cultures like China have an advantage over an individualist country like the United States when it comes to dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19?

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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What is happening in Hong Kong is a collision of cultures and Christianity may be the catalyst

January 22, 2020

World Population on Review reports, “93.6% of Hong Kong’s population consists of ethnic Chinese. Most are Taishanese, Chiu Chow, other Cantonese people, and Hakka. Most Han people in Hong Kong are from the Taishan and Guangzhou regions. Of the non-ethnic Chinese in Hong Kong, many are South Asians — including Indians, Nepalese, and Pakistanis — as well as Vietnamese refugees. There are also many Canadians, Britons, Americans, Koreans, and Japanese working in the city.”

With almost 7.5 million people in Hong Kong, Christians account for 11-percent of the city’s population and most of them are Protestant. The primary language of Hong Kong is not Mandarin. It is Cantonese, a minority language in China. The city’s culture is broadly Cantonese and not Han. With 1.4 billion people in China, Cantonese is spoken by around 60-million (0.04 percent of China’s population).

World Population on Review continues: “When the British forces formally took over Hong Kong in 1841, the population was 7,541. A century later, the figure officially stood at 1,600,000. This figure fell to 500,000 in 1945, following the Battle of Hong Kong. However, ever since then, the population has steadily increased culminating in its current figure.”

What World Population on Review doesn’t reveal is how the British took over Hong Kong. The British along with the French and other colonial European Empires invaded China and started two Opium Wars to force the Chinese Emperor to allow the British to sell opium to the Chinese people. The British Empire needed money to survive and the sale of opium was an important revenue stream. The British also forced China’s Emperor to give them Hong Kong.

The British Empire ruled Hong Kong for 156 years (1841 – 1997) but not as a republic or democracy. See The History of Democracy in Hong Kong is so Short it Never Happened.

[youube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCCku0_tVD4]

As for Macau, only 7.2 percent of its population is Christian, and the Portuguese who ruled the city for 400 years made little effort to convert the Chinese population to their way of thinking and to adopt Christianity as their religion.

ABC.net.au, explains, “Why Macau hasn’t been swept up by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests? … As Hong Kong grapples with its 12th consecutive week of protests, we take a look at why Macau has often been seen as a success story for the ‘one country, two systems’ framework and what it means for the future of the world’s largest gambling hub. … Macau has generally been seen as the better-behaved special administrative region (SAR) under Chinese rule because of its largely conservative society, and as such, has remained at an arm’s length from the protests in Hong Kong.”

“Macau people,” also, “often turn to mainland China for identification, interpretations, and solutions to their own problems. And while Hong Kong in 2003 expressed strong opposition to a national security law known as Article 23 — which prohibited “treason, secession, sedition” against the Central Government — the same law was passed in Macau.”

NPR.org also reveals, “A Surprising Tie That Binds Hong Kong’s Protest Leaders: Faith … Many of the leaders are Christian, and some cite faith as an inspiration.”

“National surveys conducted in the early 21st century estimated that some 80% of the population of China, which is more than a billion people, practice some kind of Chinese folk religion; 10–16% are Buddhists; 10% are Taoist; 2.53% are Christians; and 0.4% are Muslims.”

China: 2.53-percent are Christians

Macau: 7.2-percent are Christians

Hong Kong: 11-percent are Christians (about 825,000)

Mark Juergensmeyer argues that “despite its central tenets of love and peace, Christianity—like most traditions—has always had a violent side. The bloody history of the tradition has provided disturbing images and violent conflict is vividly portrayed in the Bible. This history and these biblical images have provided the raw material for theologically justifying the violence of contemporary Christian groups.” ꟷ Christianity and violence

To help understand China’s culture, read Looking at China through a Single Lens

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 Unleashed, Again

November 27, 2019

While the United States is struggling to survive the arrogant, corruption, lies, ignorance and incompetence of President Donald Trump, Wharton warns us, “China and the U.S. are battling to be the leader in 5G technology, a fight it seems that Chinese tech companies are winning.”

While Donald Trump’s followers obsess about abortion while keeping a quarter of America’s children in crushing poverty, Kara Swisher warns us in the next video that, “Next tech innovation will come from China, not the U.S.”

While Trump’s Republicans are spreading the fear of socialism, American farmers are going bankrupt thanks to Trump’s infamous trade war with China and the world, in the next video, Richard Aguilar warns us, “China (a socialist-capitalist country) is innovating advanced technology in farming.”

“China has been continuously advancing in the field of technology and … you will see how China is transforming agricultural production in their country with the use and help of their technological advancement.”

While Donald Trump’s arrogant, ignorant, and corrupt Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is doing all she can to destroy the U.S. public education system, the same schools that helped make America the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world after World War II, Rebecca Fanning, the author of Tech Titans of China, says, “U.S. awareness of China’s tech industry as a whole is limited, and this oversight could ultimately prove costly to the U.S., if it persists.”

Fanning’s new book reveals “How China’s tech sector is challenging the world by innovating faster, working harder, and going global.”

If you don’t believe China is capable of racing past the United States because it is not a democracy like the United States, learn from Joseph Needham by reading The Man Who Loved China.

For more than fifteen-hundred years starting with the Han Dynasty in 206 BC, China was the most innovative and wealthiest country in the world up to 1644 AD’s Qing Dynasty. For instance, during those centuries, the Chinese invented paper, the stirrup, the crossbow, silk, tea, gunpowder, the printing press, the development of canal locks (that make the Suez and Panama canals work), and hundreds of other innovations.

I think the reason the United States is falling behind China is because the U.S. is no longer a Constitutional Republic and democracy with a clear separation of church and state. Instead, the United States is fast becoming a theocratic kleptocracy thanks to Citizens United and corrupt, manipulating liars like Donald Trump, the kleptocrat, and Betsy DeVos, the theocrat.

Meanwhile, China throws thieves and liars like Donald Trump in prison, and does not allow religions to have political power.

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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Why does Frank Dikötter keep lying about China?

October 23, 2019

Frank Dikötter wrote what is called an ARGUMENT published by Foreign Policy.com. Dikötter alleges that “The People’s Republic of China Was Born in Chains” and “The Communist Party calls 1949 a liberation. But China was far freer beforehand.”

Dikötter has a right to his biased opinions about China, but he is wrong to the point of being a liar.

For instance, David C. Schak reports, “Throughout most of Chinese history the majority of Chinese have lived in poverty. As the hundreds of famines that have killed millions of Chinese attest, Chinese poverty has often been absolute, i.e., lacking the very material resources needed to sustain life and maintain health.”

Later in his paper, Schak says, “The fall of the Qing Dynasty and the dynastic system in 1911 changed China significantly, but the major change to the condition of the peasantry was from armed conflict. Between 1911 and the communist takeover in 1949, China suffered thirty years of warfare: battles between warlord armies over territory; the Northern Expedition leading to the establishment of the Nationalist government in Nanjing; the extermination campaigns against the communists; the very deadly war against the Japanese (1937-45); and the resumption of the civil war from 1946 to 1949. Aside from the destruction caused by the battles themselves, marauding armies often confiscated crops and forcibly conscripted men, leaving the peasants with no resources. Moreover, competing warlords each taxed the peasants, sometimes many years in advance.”

Then there is Chiang Kai-shek, a brutal dictator from 1928 until his death in 1975.  Along with Mao Zedong, he is listed as one of the top nine killers of the 20th century. “Surprisingly, Chiang Kai-shek ranks number four, killing ten million people from 1928 to 1949.”

In 1927, When Chinese workers (some of them belonged to the Chinese Communist Party) attempted to organize labor unions and negotiate working conditions with better pay, Chiang Kai-shek, ordered his army to slaughter them. This resulted in the Shanghai massacre of April 12, 1927 and started the Civil War between China’s Communist Party and Chiang’s Nationalist dictatorship that would not end until 1949.

Before April 12, 1927, the Chinese Communist Party was one of several political parties that belonged to the so-called Republic of China that was founded by Sun Yat-sen soon after 1911, a republic that never held any elections.

Even after Chiang Kai-shek lost the long Civil War to the Chinese Communists in 1949, he remained the never-elected president of Taiwan. In fact, he declared martial law in Taiwan on May 20, 1949 and ruled with a brutal iron fist until he died in 1975. Martial law would remain in place until July 14, 1987, and Taiwan would not hold its first democratic presidential election until 1990.  That means, between 1949 and 1990, Taiwan was an authoritarian state and not a democracy.

The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reports, “In 1949, the life expectancy in China was only 36 years. In early 1980s, it has increased to 68 years. This increase in life expectancy is attributed mostly to improved nutrition and lowering of mortality due to decrease in infectious diseases. Though population, disease and mortality statistics of modern China are spotty and sometimes questionable, common consensus among the researchers is that since 1949 the public health situation in China has improved tremendously (after the Chinese Communist Party ruled the country).”

Mao might be as guilty as Chiang Kai-shek for brutality, but when Mao died in 1976, the average lifespan had dramatically increased from age 36 to 64.63. In addition, in 1949, China’s population was 541.6 million people. By the time Mao died, China’s population had reached 930.7 million people, an increase of more than 389 million people.

It is obvious that Frank Dikötter does not know what he is talking about unless he is deliberately spreading lies about China. It is a fact that the Chinese have a better quality of life and more freedom today than they have ever had throughout the history of their country.

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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THUGS: “to be, or not to be, that is the question”

October 16, 2019

This post is about the protests and riots taking place in Hong Kong, but I’m going to start with a question first and attempt to answer it.

What would happen in the United States if thousands of protestors swarmed Washington Dulles International Airport or flooded Wall Street in New York City?

To find out, I turned to history. After all, we can learn from what has already happened, right?

CNBC.com reports, “In 1863, citizens were drafted to serve on the Union side in the Civil War. … Resentment at the situation eventually resulted in rioting, but those taking part soon targeted African-Americans, and large numbers were lynched in the streets and had their homes destroyed. President Lincoln sent militia regiments to pacify the city, and by the fourth day the uprising was crushed decisively. … Figures vary between 120 and 2000 people killed …”

Seattle 1999

“Activists blocked traffic at major intersections … police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and, eventually, rubber bullets, to disperse the crowds … Protesters responded by destroying storefronts, pushing flaming dumpsters into intersections and slashing the tires of police cars. Ultimately, 600 people were arrested, chief of police Norm Stamper stepped down and the vandalism caused $20 million in damages.”

New York City 1977

“The 1977 blackout, which affected only New York City, was marred by pervasive arson and looting. … All told, over 1,600 stores were damaged, over 1,000 fires were reported and 3,776 people were arrested, the largest mass arrest in city history.”

Cincinnati 2001

“It was a reaction to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was attempting to escape from police officers on foot.”  On the 3rd night of rioting, it rained. “The precipitation stopped the violence in its tracks and limited the damage to $3.6 million.”

Detroit 1967

“When the violence dissipated five days later, property damage was estimated to be between $40 million to $80 million.”

Chicago 1968

“Arson was so extensive that the fires exceeded the capabilities of the city’s fire department, so many buildings burned to the ground. Many that didn’t were so badly damaged that they had to be torn down, rendering hundreds of people homeless and costing more than $10 million in damages.”

Watts 1965

“The situation degenerated into widespread violence that didn’t fully die down until six days later, at a cost of $40 million and 34 lives. The unrest would stand as the worst such case in Los Angeles history until the 1992 riots 27 years later.”

Newark 1967

“The account proved to be false, but the rioting took on a life of its own regardless, and persisted for six long days, resulting in 26 fatalities and $10 million worth of property damage.”

Los Angeles 1992

“Thousands responded to the verdict by engaging in widespread arson, assault and looting, killing 53 people and injuring thousands more. The unrest went on for six days and did not die down until the National Guard was deployed to the area. When it was all over, more than 1000 buildings had been destroyed by fire, and most assessments of the damage put its cost at almost $1 billion, making it the costliest episode by far of civil unrest in United States history.”

Now, back to Hong Kong. Vox.com reports, “9 questions about the Hong Kong protests you were too embarrassed to ask … Protesters filled Hong Kong International airport two weeks ago. … They carried signs and decorated the walls and floors with messages explaining why they’re rallying, disrupting the transit hub. … The airport protests encapsulated months of turmoil in Hong Kong. Weekly demonstrations and sit-ins have at times turned tense and violent when police arrive spraying tear gas and rubber bullets.”

What is happening in Hong Kong has happened before, all over the world, not just the U.S. and HK.

When there are demonstrations in the United States, police and demonstrators also clash as tensions escalate.

Therefore, if the rioter and protesters in Hong Kong are led by alleged pro-democracy advocates, what do we call the rioters and protestors in the United States that is allegedly a democracy?

Do we call them anti-democracy advocates or are they all, in HK and the U.S., just thugs that are out of control?

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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