Confucian Harmony Today

September 11, 2012

In China, harmony plays an important role in everyday life. Cultural etiquette among Chinese revolves around harmony as Confucius taught. “Confucianism still plays an important role in Chinese society. It is a system of ethics and conduct, the obligations of people toward each other based on their relationships.” Source: Doing Business in China: Cultural Manners

 

The philosophy behind Feng Shui supports this concept since it is how to create harmony and balance in your living and working environment. Feng Shui came about when it was observed that people are affected by their surroundings with some places luckier, happier, healthier or more peaceful than others are.

Even the way the government in China does business is governed by the same concepts. As much as most Americans and Europeans seem incapable of understanding China, the Chinese often see foreigners as barbaric when they do not behave properly according to Chinese standards. Understanding is a two way street.

For example: Last weekend, I got up to wash dishes in the sink while my wife and daughter were still eating. My wife said when we have Chinese guests it is impolite to do that since it signals to the guests that it is time to leave. It is best to soak the dishes and leave them until the guests go.

Discover Honor Chinese Style.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Kaifeng Jews (960 AD)

July 16, 2012

The Jews settled in Kaifeng, Henan Province in 960 AD after arriving along the Silk Road.  The Jews who first arrived in China were welcomed by the  Imperial government, which encouraged them to retain their cultural identity by building a synagogue, which was finished in 1163 AD.

The Kaifeng Synagogue had a Torah written on sheepskin. The architecture of the buildings reflects Jewish culture. Evidence indicates that  the Kaifeng Jews were very traditional and obeyed Kosher dietary laws and practiced circumcision for males.

The Jewish community in China thrived for centuries before it was assimilated into Chinese culture through intermarriage. By the middle of the 18th century, little survived of the Jewish community.

In 1849, the Yellow River flooded causing what was left of the Jewish community to break apart. Today there are about 500 descendents of the Kaifeng Jewish community who hope to reclaim their Jewish tradition.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This post first appeared July 2010


Anna May Wong – the Woman that Died a Thousand Times

February 10, 2012

Almost half a century after her death, Anna May Wong (1905 to 1961) has not been forgotten.

As a child, Anna loved going to the movies and even cut school to go.

Between 1919 and 1961, she acted in 62 films. The Internet Movie Data Base says she was the “first Chinese-American movie star”.

To act, Anna had to play the roles she was given. The Western stereotype cast her as a sneaky, untrustworthy woman that always fell for a Caucasian man. The dark side of achieving her dream of acting in movies was that Anna had to die so the characters she played got what they deserved.

Anna often joked that her tombstone should read, “Here lies the woman who died a thousand times.”

Until Chinese started to emigrate to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, they had never encountered a people who considered them racially and culturally inferior.

However, the discrimination against the Chinese in America was only exceeded by the racism and hatred directed at African-Americans.

In fact, in the 1960s, many of the anti racist laws enacted during the Civil Rights era focused on protecting African-Americans, which created a protected class, and since the Chinese—due to cultural differences often did not complain—they were left behind.

In many respects, this racism toward the Chinese still exists in the US today and manifests itself through the media as China bashing, which supports the old stereotype.

When Anna May Wong visited China in 1936, she had to abandon the trip to her parent’s ancestral village when a mob accused her of disgracing China.

After her return to Hollywood, she was determined to play Chinese characters that were not stereotypes, but it was a losing battle. To escape the hateful racism, she lived in Europe for a few years.

Since U.S. law did not allow her to marry the Caucasian man she loved, and she was afraid that if she married a Chinese man he would force her to give up acting since Chinese culture judged actresses to be the same as prostitutes, she never married.

Anna May Wong smoked and drank too much. She died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California at age 56.

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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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Mark Zuckerberg Discovers China through Love

January 16, 2011

Near the end of December Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend/fiancé, Priscilla Chan, went to China on vacation.

There’s a saying, “You can take the Chinese out of China but you can’t take China out of the Chinese.” Priscilla is Chinese-American from the Boston suburbs — a Braintree native, who graduated from Quincy High School in 2003.

Most Chinese, even in America, stay close to their roots, which is Chinese culture. It’s easy to measure how close. From the evidence, Priscilla Chan, even if she doesn’t know it, is still very close to China’s culture. The clues are the fact that she speaks Cantonese along with English and Spanish.

I’ve learned that Cantonese is taught in some US schools. However, in China, Cantonese is a minority language found only in Guangzhou (Canton) a major city in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, which is about seventy miles from Guangzhou.

My 80-year-old father in law, who is from Shanghai, says most of the people in Guangdong province outside Guangzhou (Canton) speak a different language/dialect and cannot understand Cantonese.

I thought Cantonese was also spoken in Taiwan but my father in law said no. He says the language in Taiwan comes from a province north of Hong Kong and is different from Cantonese and what is spoken in the rest of Guangdong province.

The odds are strong that Chan learned her Cantonese at home in Massachusetts from her family.  You see, most Chinese in America are Cantonese since it was easier to reach America through Hong Kong than other ports in China during the 19th and 20th centuries. If you visit San Francisco, most Chinese-Americans living there speak Cantonese.

The second clue that Chan is still true to her Chinese roots is she hasn’t lost her respect for education.  Most races and ethnicities are absorbed into American culture by the third or fourth generation and by then have lost any respect the old country may have had regarding working hard to earn an education.

The Jewish and Chinese hold onto the belief that education is more important than following your heart and having fun.

Chan graduated from Harvard in 2007 with a BA in biology and is nearing the end of graduate school at the University of California, San Francisco where she is majoring in medicine. To make it to Harvard Chan had to compete in school and most Americans will not compete for good grades.

I should know. I taught in the American public schools for thirty years and my best students were usually Asians. The rest were mostly too busy avoiding reading and homework while chasing dreams of becoming rich and famous but seldom achieving that goal later in life.

In fact, all of Asia, which are collective cultures as is China, has been influenced by the value the Chinese place on gaining an education.

The relationship between Zuckerberg and Chan insures that Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, which is also a collective culture with deep roots, will be influenced by his love of Chan to learn more of China meaning he will leave the Sinophobe stereotypes that surrounded him while growing up in America in the dumpster and will see China with different eyes than most in the US.

Zuckerberg even spent most of a year learning Mandarin before the vacation to China with the woman he loves, which is another clue how important this relationship is to him.

The Huffington Post, along with other Blogs and media, focused on Zuckerberg’s lunch with Baidu’s founder and CEO Robin Li as if there might be a business deal in the works.

I suspect it was a lunch between friends and Zuckerberg had a chance to practice his Mandarin with someone he trusted.

The New Yorker reported that Zuckerberg drives a lot to relax and unwind, his friends say, and usually ends up at Chan’s apartment (before they moved in together). They spend most weekends together; they walk in the park, go rowing (he insists that they go in separate boats and race), play bocce or the board game the Settlers of Catan. Sundays are reserved for Asian cuisine. They usually take a two-week trip abroad in December.

Zuckerberg’s trip to China in December was a vacation and was about bonding and love—not business and for sure if this couple has children, those children will grow up with a high regard for earning an education. Chan will see to that.

Learn more of Deep Family Roots

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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An Update about China’s Criminal Justice System

April 1, 2010

Amnesty International (started in 1961) says,” The time is long overdue for China to fall into line with international law and standards on the death penalty and be open and transparent regarding its use of capital punishment.”

My question is, who rules China – the government of China or Amnesty International?  Without taking into consideration the cultural differences that cause the Chinese to appear secretive, Amnesty International’s “demand” is uncalled for. Change takes time and change in China (a culture born about 2205 B.C.) does appear to be taking place. To understand the Chinese better, read what Peter Hessler has to say.

A few years ago, we would not have seen anything like this from China’s state-run English-language newspaper, China Daily, that inmates in China’s 2,700 pretrial detention centers suffer bullying and torture from fellow prisoners and police officers, and some criminal justice experts want a neutral body to take over the centers from the police to curb the abuses.

Meanwhile, the United States was the only nation in the Americas to carry out executions in 2009 with fifty-two executions. Saudi Arabia executed 69 people.  Iran executed at least 112 people in the 8 weeks after the last presidential election (we heard about that since Iran is on the list of evil countries).

See China Law and Justice System 

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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