Lin Yutang’s “My Country and My People”

March 19, 2013

If you haven’t spent time in China, your opinions about that country are probably wrong. I’ve traveled there often, and I’m married to a woman who was born and lived in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

That’s why I found it interesting to read “The Non-Existence Of A Chinese World View” at Two Fish’s Blog, where Lin YuTang was quoted.

My-Country-and-My-People-Lin-Yutang-9781849026642

While writing “My Splendid Concubine and the sequel, “Our Hart”, about Robert Hart in China, I read “My Country and My People“. Hart is mentioned on page eleven of the 1938 edition. Pearl S. Buck, who wrote the introduction to Lin’s book, felt that someone who knows the Chinese should write a book about the people and culture. She urged Lin YuTang to be that author. Even though YuTang’s book was published years before the Communist Revolution, this book is still relevant in all things Chinese.

YuTang’s style is a mixture of history, philosophy, psychology, sociology with wit and wisdom.

Lin Yu Tang

I smiled when he pointed out contradictions about the Chinese way of thinking and helped me discover what motivates many Chinese to act the way they do—even the Chinese in a government often blamed for what they do because they are Communists when in fact, they act that way because they are Chinese.

To learn more of China, discover Tom Carter’s “China: Portrait of a People”

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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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Conquest

July 9, 2010

I woke up this morning thinking that many in the West want nothing less than China to be something he or she understands, which means a capitalist, multi-party republic, Christian nation with a culture based on individualism rather than China’s more than two-thousand year old collective culture without religion. 

To help dispel this atmosphere of ignorance in the West, Pearl S. Buck urged Lin Yutang to write a book about China and its people. In the Preface for My Country and My People (1935), Lin Yutang wrote, “I write only for men of simple common sense…” Later, in the Prologue, he mentions how for every Sir Robert Hart, the Irish godfather of China’s modernization, there are ten thousand who do not understand the Chinese and do not care to learn.

Then in the Introduction for Lin’s book, Buck wrote, “It (My Country and My People) is truthful and not ashamed of the truth: it is written proudly and humorously and with beauty, seriously and with gaiety, appreciative and understanding of both old and new.”

It is unfortunate that most Sinophobes have no concept of China and its culture and do not want to learn, and men and women of simple common sense are as rare today as in Lin Yutan and Pearl S. Buck’s time.

Discover more about Lin YuTang’s “My Country and My People

_________________________

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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Caressing Nature with Chinese Calligraphy

July 3, 2010

It would be difficult to talk about Chinese art without understanding Chinese calligraphy and its artistic inspiration. A painting has to convey an object, but a well-written character conveys only its beauty through line and structure.

In Shanghai, or Beijing, I’ve watched men with longed handled brushes, as seen in the first video, using water for ink and concrete for paper. With grace, they exhibit the skills of a Rembrandt breathing life to the characters.

Lin Yutang writes in My Country and My People that Western art is more sensual, more passionate, fuller of the artist’s ego, while the Chinese artist and art-lover contemplates a dragonfly, a frog, a grasshopper or a piece of jagged rock—more in harmony with nature.

Owing to the use of writing calligraphy with a brush, which is more subtle and more responsive than the pen, calligraphy as art is equal to Chinese painting. Through calligraphy, the scholar is trained to appreciate, as regards line, qualities like force, suppleness, reserved strength, exquisite tenderness, swiftness, neatness, massivness, ruggedness, and restraint or freedom.

Maybe this helps explain why the Chinese are not as warlike as Christian and Islamic cultures.

See Chinese Yu Opera with Mao Wei-tao

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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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Lin Yutang Explains Christianity in China

April 27, 2010

“For most Chinese the end of life lies not in life after death, for the idea that we live in order to die, as taught by Christianity, is incomprehensible, nor in Nirvana, for that is too metaphysical, not in the satisfaction of accomplishment, for that is too vainglorious, nor yet in progress for progress’ sake, for that is meaningless. The true end, the Chinese have decided in a singularly clear manner, lies in the enjoyment of a simple life, especially the family life, and in harmonious social relationships.

“The Chinese are a nation of individualists. They are family-minded, not social-minded… It is curious that the word ‘society’ does not exist as an idea in Chinese thought. In the Confucian social and political philosophy we see a direct transition from family, ‘chia’, to the state, ‘kuo’, as successive stages of human organization …

Lin Yutang

“The Chinese, therefore, make rather poor Christian converts, and if they are to be converted they should all become Quakers, for that is the only sort of Christianity that the Chinese can understand. Christianity as a way of life can impress the Chinese, but Christian creeds and dogmas will be crushed, not by a superior Confucian logic but by ordinary Confucian common sense. Buddhism itself, when absorbed by the educated Chinese, became nothing but a system of mental hygiene, which is the essence of Sung philosophy.” Source: My Country and My People, Lin Yutang. Halcyon House, New York. 1938. Pgs 94; 101; 103; 172, and 108)

Learn about Superior versus Civilized

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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. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar. 


Discovery’s First Step

March 26, 2010

If you haven’t traveled in China, your opinions about that country are probably wrong. I’ve traveled there often, and I’m married to a woman who was born and lived in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

That’s why I found it interesting to read “The Non-Existence Of A Chinese World View” at Two Fish’s Blog, where Lin YuTang was quoted.

While writing “My Splendid Concubine” about Robert Hart in China, I read “My Country and My People“. Hart is mentioned on page eleven of the 1938 edition. Pearl S. Buck (who wrote the introduction) felt that someone who knows the Chinese should write a book about the people and culture. She urged Lin YuTang to be that author. Even though YuTang’s book was published before the Communist Revolution, this book is still relevant in all things Chinese.

Lin YuTang

YuTang’s style is a mixture of history, philosophy, psychology, sociology with wit and wisdom.

I smiled when he pointed out contradictions about the Chinese way of thinking and helped me discover what motivates many Chinese to act the way they do — even the Chinese in a government often blamed for what they do because they are Communists when in fact, they act that way because they are Chinese.

______________________________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Honor Chinese Style – Part 3

February 5, 2010

In 1935, Lin Yutang wrote, “Face cannot be translated or defined. It is like honor and is not honor. It cannot be purchased with money, and gives a man or a woman a material pride. It is hollow and is what men fight for and what many women die for.

“It is invisible and yet by definition exits by being shown to the public. It exists in the ether and yet can be heard, and sounds eminently respectable and solid. It is amenable, not to reason but to social convention.

“It protracts lawsuits, breaks up family fortunes, causes murders and suicides, and yet it often makes man out of a renegade who has been insulted by his fellow townsmen, and it is prized above all earthy possession.

“It is more powerful than fate and favor, and more respected than the constitution. It often decides a military victory or defeat, and can demolish a whole government ministry. It is that hollow thing which men in China live by.” (Lin Yutang, My Country and My People, Halcyon House, New York, NY, 1938, page 200)

Chinese like Yue Fei and Guan Yu were honorable men and gained much face because of their beliefs and behavior.

When anyone in China reacts to anything, politically or personally, honor plays a big role. It doesn’t matter if one is a member of the Communist Party, a farmer or a factory worker or one of the wealthiest members of the new capitalist elite.

Most Chinese measure what is important in life by a different standard than the rest of the world.

Discover Honor Chinese Style – Part 1

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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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