Conversation—Sung Dynasty Philosophy

June 28, 2010

China may be the only ancient culture that survived the spread of Islam and Christianity and managed to hold onto its identity.


“Guan-jiah,” Robert said, “before I came to China I read The Travels of Marco Polo. Do you know who he was?”

“No, Master,” Guan-jiah replied.

“He came to China from Europe more than six hundred years ago and served under Kublai Khan during the Yuan Dynasty. Polo wrote that Hangzhou was the finest and noblest city in the world.”

“Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Sung Dynasty, Master,” Guan-jiah said. “I’ve heard it is beautiful. Sung philosophy says that we have the power in our minds to overcome our emotions.”

“Marco Polo believed it was God’s will that he came back from China so others in the West might know what he’d seen.” Robert turned to his servant, who was the last in line. “Do you believe in this Sung philosophy, Guan-jiah?”

Guan-jiah and Robert Hart - 19th century China

“The Sung said that if you know yourself and others, you would be able to adjust to the most unfavorable circumstances and prevail over them.”

“That’s admirable, Guan-jiah. You never mentioned you were a scholar. If the Sung Dynasty was that wise, I want to see Hangzhou one day.”

“I am no scholar, Master, but I must believe in the Sung philosophy to survive. I have read and contemplated much literature. However, I am like a peasant and have never mastered calligraphy. It is a skill that has eluded me.”

“How old were you when you studied this philosophy?”

“I was eleven, Master, two years after I was sent to Peking.”

Source: From Chapter 4, My Splendid Concubine
See The Influence of Confucius


Lloyd Lofthouse,
Award winning author of Hart’s concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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More than Money

March 16, 2010

The S’ung dynasty cautiously issued true-paper money in 1023, in small amounts in a limited area good for a specific time period. The notes would be redeemed after three years, to be replaced by new notes for a 3% service charge. source

Chinese money – Yuan

With the United States wanting (source) China to devalue their currency, China finds itself between a rock (1.3 billion Chinese) and a hard place (America). If China caves in and does as America wants, products manufactured in China would cost more. If that happened, demand for Chinese products from other countries would decline and Chinese people would lose jobs.

Labor unrest in China is already increasing. source People want jobs and higher pay so they can join the growing middle class and buy more things like Americans do. To get ready, China’s police  are undergoing special training to deal with expected social unrest over factory closings that have left millions of migrant workers out of jobs.

What’s happening in China today is similar to what happened in America during the 1860s and ’80s. source

It’s the same old story—the rich want to keep the money while workers want to earn more.

Discover Deng Xiaoping’s 20-20 Vision


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.

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.


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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

Risks on the Road

February 23, 2010

I’ve learned that the Chinese don’t restrict gambling to lotteries, dice or cards.  They also gamble on real estate along with any venture that might turn a profit.

Most Chinese are born entrepreneurs. I’ve read that the Chinese invented paper money and added credit to banking a thousand years ago during the Sung Dynasty. The Chinese are masters at doing business and that’s probably why my wife, who is Chinese, warned me not to do business in China. Do not misread my words—I don’t mean Westerners shouldn’t work with the Chinese. Read my piece on Doing Business in China or what Bob Grant has to say on the topic.

However, it was during a trip to the shores of the Westlake in Hangzhou where I learned how far Chinese drivers are willing to take risks to earn quick dollars. 

Traffic in China. This is mild!

On a drizzly, cold evening, we hired a three-wheeled motorcycle to carry us to the lake where there is a paved walkway along the shore.  It was raining but we had umbrellas. The driver decided traffic was too slow on the right side of the road so he drove onto the walkway where a police officer appeared from the shadows, blew a whistle and waved him off.

Then the driver drove down the wrong side of the street with a wall of traffic headed toward us. We were sitting on a seat behind the driver of a three-wheel motorcycle.

There was a bus in the lane we were in and the bus started to flash its lights.  Our driver did not blink, and the bus swerved out of the way.  All the cars behind the bus went around us too as if our driver were Moses parting the Red Sea.

We reached the lake alive, and the driver went in search of another paying customer.