Asian Heritage is Universal

May 18, 2010

The 6th Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration took place in San Francisco on May 15, 2010.  There were Chinese, Thai, Tibetans, the Falun Gong hiding behind another name, a free Burma booth, and booths for Dragon Boat Races, and the Lion Dance.

I was there with President Margie Yee Webb of the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club,  Frances Kakugawa,  and Teresa LeYung Ryan .   The CWC’s booth was in front of the San Francisco library.

Authors Frances Kakugawa and Teresa LyYung Ryan at the CWC booth

It is estimated that 100 thousand people attend this street celebration each year.

Many people stopped by our booth to talk about China and/or buy books. By noon, I went for a walk toward Little Saigon. Booths lined the street for blocks. It was obvious from what I saw that all of Asia’s cultures have been influenced by China one way or another.

Lion Dance booth

California Dragon Boat Races

The Chinese believe in lucky symbols and bamboo plays a part in that belief.  China was the super power in Asia for more than two thousand years. At one booth, I stopped to take a few photos of a Chinese band playing traditional Asian music.  All the instruments I’ve written about were there.

The silk trade started in China and there was a booth with a woman creating tapestries from silk thread.

Even the Glamour and Grace of Miss Chinatown USA was represented.

It was a long and rewarding day that went by too fast, but it was a harmonious day.

photo 005

Lloyd Lofthouse

When I was teaching, I attended an in-services where I learned that by the third generation, the children of most immigrants are assimilated by American culture.  If that is true, why is it that Asians, as an ethnic group, have the lowest incidence of STDs, the lowest incidence of drug use and the lowest incidence of teen pregnancy?   American Asians, including Chinese, tend to graduate from high school with higher GPAs and go on to complete college more than any ethnic group in America.

Why is this? The answer is simple, and I’ve talked about this before—the collective family culture with a strong belief in the importance of education and respect for teachers. The public schools where I taught for thirty years had a small percentage of Asian students. Most always earned high grades and were concerned about anything lower than an A. Even an A- minus would worry some. I seldom had behavior problems from the Asian students I taught.

Discover Chinese Yu Opera with Mao Wei-tao

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Four Equals One China—Minority China (Part 5 of 7)

May 16, 2010

There are 56 ethnic Chinese minorities with about 100 million people among them. These minorities have their own languages and cultures. The majority, the Han Chinese, have seven languages. There is one written language in China.

Learning Mandarin and English are mandatory in the public schools. It is expected and mandatory that “all” students will spend 11 years in school.

Until the 11th, Five-Year Plan, urban schools were much better than China’s rural schools.  It’s too early to see the results yet. After all, it took more than three decades to achieve what China has already accomplished.

Uighurs in Xinjiang province

The two minorities best known outside China are the Tibetans (4.6 million) and the 8 million Uighurs in China’s northwest Xinjiang province. Few of the province’s Uighurs speak the national language of Mandarin. They are educated in their own tongue in Uighur schools, and they are treated in Uighur hospitals that they claim are sub-par.

The Uighurs have a history of insurrection with the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There were several rebellions during the 19th century that were put down ruthlessly by the Manchu.

Go to Four Equals One China: Part 6

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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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Family Connections

March 7, 2010

In China, if you can’t trust anyone else, you should be able to trust your family. That belief also applied to the emperors.

In China, when a minority king became too powerful and caused unrest, the emperor proposed that this king marry the emperor’s real daughter (instead of an adopted daughter), as if to say, “You will be a member of my family so stop what you are doing—stop fighting with The Middle Kingdom. Since we are soon to be related through marriage, there is no need to fight.”

This happened more than a thousand years ago with Tibet when the Emperor of the Tang Dynasty married his daughter to the Tibetan king so the Tibetans would stop raiding China.

Traditional Chinese Wedding

Under the rule of emperors, minorities were not forced to pay taxes like the Han Chinese. It was believed that minorities were less fortunate and did not have the same advantages. After Mao, China’s government, with few exceptions, continued this policy.

More about a few of China’s Minorities
China’s Zhuang & Yao ethnic people
Li River Minority area
Li River Minority area # 2

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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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