A US President’s half brother and Disneyland in China

January 1, 2013

President Obama’s half brother, Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, has lived in Shenzhen, China since 2002, and he is married to a Chinese woman. Ndesandjo speaks fluent Mandarin and practices Chinese calligraphy. In a TIME interview, he said, “I’ve experienced the warmth and the graciousness of the Chinese people.” Ndesandjo is overwhelmingly positive about his life in China.

Mark runs an Internet company called WorldNexus that advises Chinese corporations how best to reach international customers.He graduated from Brown University, studied physics at Stanford University, and received an MBA from Emory University.

In 2008, TIME magazine reported that a Shanghai Disneyland was approved in China, and according to a report by the Burbank, California based Themed Entertainment Association, “Chinese consumers have a lot of love for Disney. They’re more excited about Disneyland than the EXPO 2010 Shanghai China.”

The opening ceremony for the construction of Shanghai Disneyland was held on April 8, 2011 and the park is expected to open December 2015 on 963 acres in Pudong, Shanghai.  It will be about three times the size of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened in September 2005 and is located on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island and has hosted over 25 million guests.

To give you an idea how much Chinese love the American lifestyle, visit Zhang Yimou’s musical, the Impressions of Liu Sanjie. This musical with a cast of hundreds is staged on and alongside the Li River in Southeast China near Vietnam. The theater reminded me of similar theaters at American theme parks like Six Flags or Disneyland but the music was local and ethnic.

Discover Eating Turkey in China


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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Traveling the Great Wall

March 14, 2010

Everywhere you go in China, there is something new to see and do.  Disneyland is planning to build a theme park near Shanghai.

The sections of the Great Wall we have visited are an hour out of Beijing. The most popular site is at Badaling.  The second choice, Mutianyu, is more dramatic. This portion of the Great Wall runs along the ridge of a mountain range. Badaling, meanwhile, is in a mountain pass.

The best way to reach the Great Wall is by taxi or bus. After you get there, you will discover the usual tourist shops. Since I enjoy haggling, I spend time shopping.

Great Wall at Mutianyu

At Badaling, there were camels and horses you could pay a fee to sit on while having your picture taken.

Once you reach Mutianyu, you have a choice—take a few hours to climb the mountain or ride a ski lift to the top in fifteen minutes. Getting back is easy. Take the toboggan seen during the 2008 Beijing Olympics on network TV and ride down.


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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First China Quiz (there is one prize)

March 3, 2010

China Quiz—the answers are in the first hundred posts at iLook China. The first person to answer all the questions correctly will win a free copy of either “My Splendid Concubine” or “Our Hart”.  If the winner lives outside the United States, I will provide a free e-book copy for them to download. There is no deadline. This quiz and the prize will be kept open until the first person answers all the questions correctly. The answers may be found in the first one-hundred posts.  If you find an answer from another source, provide the source but it must match or be similar to the answer found in iLook China. Write your answers in a comment to this post. Make sure there is a way for me to contact you.

1. Why did I write American Hypocrisy, my first post at iLook China?
2. What Chinese city would you find next to the Westlake?
3. What is the name of Zhang Zimou’s night spectacular on the Li River?
4. What is the first of all virtues to most Chinese and what does it mean?
5. Why was the Reuter’s employee roughed up outside Foxconn’s walled city-like facility in Guanlan?
6. During what Dynasty did the Chinese invent paper money and add credit type loans to the banking system?
7. Bob Grant said, “In all honesty, over the years, I have ___ ___ __ ___________ __ ________ flight anywhere inside China.” (fill in the blanks for the six words that are missing)
8. After Mao died in 1976, what did Deng Xiaoping introduce to China for a brief period-of-time, and what was the public allowed to do?
9. What American president’s administration seems to have been the role model for the changes in China’s health care system and what kind of health care system was this?
10. Before the Communists won China in 1949, what was the life expectancy for the Chinese people?
11. What was the name of the health care program that Mao started and how did this system work?
12. (Fill in the blank) Chinese Internet users are _____ times as likely to have blogs as Americans.
13. How far did Tom Carter walk while taking pictures for China: Portrait of a People?
14.  Where will a Disneyland be built in China?
15. On February 28, 60 Minutes ran a segment about a Taiwanese man spying on the United States for mainland China. What was this man trying to discover and why would China care?
16. Who moved China’s first Capital and what was the name of that first capital?
17. Construction of the Longi Rice Terraces was started during what Dynasty?
18. What do the Chinese think about the crew of the Tough Titi, an American B-24 Liberator bomber?
19. What did Confucius say about the importance of gaining an education?
20. What happened in 1421?

The First of all Virtues – Part 1/9

January 30, 2010

I read ‘any damn fool can be a parent’, and it made me think that North America is not a comfortable place to be if you become a geezer. Geezer is the endearing term our teenage daughter used to call me.

When I was a kid, youngsters were to be seen and not heard. We treated our elders with respect. And I was born in America.

After the birth of Disneyland, fast food, MTV, the Internet and the iPod generation, something valuable caught a cancer that spread through too much of American culture. That something is killing off ‘respect’. In China it is called piety and piety is very much alive. In other Asian countries like South Korea, piety is just as strong. You can read more about this in Hello Korea.

Go to The First of All Virtues Part 2 or discover Deep Family Roots


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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About iLook China