Sunday, December 24, 2017

'Sheng Dan Jie Kua Le!' (Mandarin) or Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Does China have an Immense Generation Gap?

China and its immense generation gap

The Industrial Revolution spanned over 100 years in the United States. In China, it took place in less than 40 years. So for Americans, it's like having your grandparents as your parents. That's how fast China has changed. In 'The Beijing Youths', I delve into the generation gap occurring between Simon Wang and his son Greg and the conflict that carries throughout the book. 

In the 1960's and 70's, China was gripped in the Cultural Revolution or its Dark Ages. The country was ruled by Chairman Mao Tse Tung. He was a ruthless dictator that strived to eradicate the class inequalities of generations before and crush any signs of capitalism or the bourgeois class. In its place, he instituted socialism with "Chinese Characters" where citizens were required to be indoctrinated in widespread communal rural living. He hoped to level the playing field for everyone by having them work in the country fields but the system failed. He even developed 'The Little Red Book' where he cites his own quotes for civilians to recant. If one was caught not memorizing his ideologies or having the book handy, they were punished. He cut off China from the rest of the world by controlling the media, censoring mail and correspondence with the outside world and making its citizens prisoners of their own country.

Chairman Mao's 'Little Red Book' 

In the process were years of poverty, blood shed, brutality and violence from the Red Guards that wielded their ruthless power onto the people and famine that killed over 60 million people. An ideaology to purify their generation from the capitalist and money grubbing greedy past failed and massacred many. At the end, many believed that the Cultural Revolution was a social movement that benefited a few in Beijing including Mao at the cost of millions throughout the country. After ten years of bloodshed, Mao and his co-conspirators also known as the 'Gang of Four' that included his last wife were outsted in a publicly humiliating court trial where they were thrown in jail. The people suffered enough.  

Chairman Mao Tse Tung 

China's Cultural Revolution or the Dark Ages

Quoting the Little Red Book 

Allegiance to Mao and his Little Red Book 

Burning of precious artifacts that often included books, jewelry and anything of personal wealth

Public humiliation of anyone accused of being a capitalist, an entrepreneur, an artist, a teacher or anyone that went against the Mao regime or classified as dissidents. Punishments would sometimes mean brutal beatings, cutting off of body parts, being buried alive or thrown in labor camps, working in freezing temperatures with no clothes on.

I've heard so many stories from friends, family and clients of the ravages of the Cultural Revolution during that time.

From their stories, I notice the distinct vast generation gap between the parents and their children today. China remains a communist country but it is brimming with modernism in every facet of  an urban metroplis that was achieved at lightning speed and surpasses many sophisticated cities around the world today. China is a very different country today than what many perceive. 

Parents in their 40-60's remember vividly the Cultural Revolution since many of them were children when it occurred. Yet, they thrived beyond the rubbles of poverty and dispair through sheer hard work and tenacity and rose to success. The industrial elite we see today are actually first generational   wealth and that is quite commendable. Like Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and Wang Jialin, founder of Dalian Wanda Group. They spent their youth in the Cultural Revolution and had very humble beginnings. They didn't have wealthy parents like many of our CEO's or billionaires where the wealth was passed on.

Jack Ma and his brother and sister during the Cultural Revolution

Wang Jianlin in the far right, joined the Red Army during the Cultural Revolution

Their education level might be sketchy since Chairman Mao shut down the school system so he can institute his ideologies. Healthcare was meager and scarce so many are shorter, have stained teeth, have leathery skin, lesions, scars and other setbacks from not having access to healthcare during that time. Their hands bear scars from toiling away in the fields. Many drank dirty water and consumed unsanitary food which affected their health. 

China today has plenty of access to healthcare, food supply, education and advanced infrastructure system. Therefore, the children today are taller and healthier looking. Their skin is lighter and supple, head full of hair. They can eat anything they want as there are culinary delights from worldwide in every corner. China is also the largest recipient of every technological innovation in the world. So the children have the latest gadgets and technology when just a generation before, their parents were watching a black and white TV that was shared with several people in their village. These privileged children do not have any idea about what their parents went through, other than what they read about in books about the Cultural Revolution. Being the children of one child policies, they also received all the privileges and luxuries as the only child. They are the new China.

China's Hipsters

This is the generation gap that is showcased in 'The Beijing Youths'.  I illustrate the vast difference between Simon as a young boy and his son at about the same age. Will they be able to bridge that gap or will it tear the family apart?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thank you for enjoying my books!

Thank you Pauline Sun for buying and enjoying my books. I am truly grateful. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wierd Chinese Eats or Nutritional Medicine?

The world eats a wide variety of food and sometimes they are strange to someone in the world. The Chinese definitely have their share!  When you have over 5,000 years in history, one can only imagine the variety of things the Chinese picked up along the way that are considered edible or delicacies.  Even more so when the country has seen its episodic moments of famine in history and relied on non-traditional sources for protein and nutrients in order to survive.  Sometimes a trip into a Chinese supermarket or even a traditional medicine store in the "Asian" parts of town is like watching an episode of "Fear Factor".  

In The Beijing Family book series, Grandma Moh unleashes some pretty wild Chinese fare including her practice of traditional Chinese medicine that can be sometimes shocking.  In The Beijing Youths or Book 2 of The Beijing Family book series,  Grandma Moh makes lunch for her grandson, Greg and his American friends. His friend unknowingly thought they were about to experience the common everyday beef and broccoli and orange chicken dishes at their local Chinese eateries. Oh no! Little do they know, they are about to be treated to some of the most bizarre and outlandish Chinese food! Greg and his American friends were thirsty, so they go to the fridge to find drinks. They were looking for bottled water, sodas and ice tea and instead, they find strange Chinese beverages. Some say that these wierd drinks derived from fruits and vegetables and not laden with sugar like Western soft drinks. But sometimes, maybe a good Sprite may be more appetizing. You be the judge!

Here are a few of the examples:  

1. Grass Jelly Drink

Grass Jelly Drink

What the heck is a grass jelly drink?  Grass like in the green stuff that grows on lawns? And now it's in jelly form for a drink? Oh hell NO! Is this what the Chinese do to leftover cut grass? Actually grass jelly is made from boiling aged and slightly oxidized grass, but it's the stalks and leaves of Mesona Chinesis, a member of the mint family.  After cooling the liquid to a jelly-like black consistency, this jelly can be cut into cubes or other forms and mixed with sugar or syrup to make drinks or dessert.  I've had grass jelly many times, especially in my boba drinks, usually enjoyed as sweet beverages or dessert.  

Grass Jelly mixed with fruits

Grass Jelly in almond or coconut milk and syrup or sugar

2. Chrysanthemum tea drink 

Chrysanthemum tea drink 

One of Greg's American friends is shocked to see flower petals in a beverage!  He couldn't even pronounce it.  He asks, "What's a" 

The Chinese medicinal practice includes the use of chrysanthemums as a major part of the treatment. The Chinese knew that a soothing cup of warm golden brown Chrysanthemum tea has remarkable health benefits with high potency. Chrysanthemum tea has high amount of B carotene which are present in the yellow part of the fruit. The B carotene is converted in Vitamin A in the liver. This kind of Vitamin A is helpful in treating skin problems and increasing the immunity power. It also helps in postponing the aging process and age related blindness. Drinking Chrysanthemum tea helps in providing relief in sore throat, redness in the eyes, itchiness in the eyes, dryness in the eyes and dark spots in the eye area. It makes the lungs strong and helps in providing relief in respiratory problems such as shortness of breath. Chrysanthemum tea is good for the detoxification of the liver and for lowering cholesterol levels. 

3. Birds Nest Drink 

Birds Nest Drink 

Greg and his friends then wander upon birds' nest drinks. One of Greg's American friends, Tevin, asks, 'Is there a bird in here?' Then he shakes the can anticipating a chirping sound. Yes, this drink is made from a nest from the swiftlet bird. Edible birds' nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, with an average nest selling for $2,500 per kilogram for end consumers in Asia. The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years, most often as bird's nest soup. The white nests and the red nests are supposedly rich in nutrients, which are traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as aiding digestion, raising libido, improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus, and an overall benefit to the immune system. One interesting ingredient is that the swiftlet's bird nest is cemented by the usage of saliva from the swiflet bird. So this drink and the soup commonly served in Chinese restaurants have swiftlet's saliva. 

This is what the drink looks like mixed with white fungus which is a commonly used thickening agent: 

4. Bird's Nest Soup

Birds Nest Soup 

Bird's Nest Soup is a gelatinous mix of chicken broth and swiftlet's, which is a type of bird and its saliva. Yes you heard me right. You are eating bird saliva! Swiftlets make their nests from saliva and each year, after the bird has left the nest, it's harvested and added to the soup, which is famed for its health benefits. This Chinese delicacy contains one of the most expensive animal products that humans consume. A kilogram of nests can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 USD> The swiftlet's nest is considered to have considerable health benefits, which justify the steep price of the soup ($30 to $100) and the nests themselves. 

5. Traditional Herbal Medicine 

In Book 1 or The Beijing Family,  Grandma Moh makes traditional Chinese medicinal tea for Kara Chan.  She thought she was drinking roots and herbs. Unbeknownst to her, she is drinking tea made of ox penis!  

Ox penis sold in a local street market 

In traditional Chinese medicine, ox penis is believed to increase one's virility, energy and sexual prowess

6. Chicken Feet 

I often see chicken feet at dim sum restaurants. Every time, I just simply cringe. I just don't think feet of any animal should be considered edible considering that they are used for walking on the ground, brimming with bacteria and germs. All I can think about is the trash that I would be eating along with the feet that touched them. My father loves chicken feet despite contending with them being bony and bristly. 

7. Century Egg 

Century Egg

Century egg or pidan is a delicacy by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls for several weeks to a few months. Some historians say that this practice goes back to the Ming dynasty as a way to preserve food without refrigeration. I've had this a few times. It's salty and the eggs have a potent ammonia taste to it. 

That's it for now. When I find more strange eats, I will post more here....Thanks for reading this blog. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Feeling grateful....

Thank you Karo C. Pei for buying my entire book series and posting the photo on Facebook. I am feeling so grateful.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thank you for buying my books!

Thank you Jeanine Austin for buying my entire book series and posting it on Instagram. You are an angel on earth. I am feeling so grateful. #SJHS #jestersisters rock! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Just in time for Halloween - The Beijing Mummies

Just in time for Halloween - The Beijing Mummies. Frightful ancient mummies from China terrorizing the Wang family. Will they finally be put to rest? 

Just in Time for Halloween - The Beijing Ghosts

Just in time for Halloween. The Beijing Ghosts - ghouls from Peking China lurking in an old mansion that Kara, the realtor, is trying to sell. Will she be able to sell the home without losing her mind? 

My book series hit Barnes and Noble this week. Very exciting.

My book series hit Barnes and Noble this week. Very exciting. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Finish Line Ahead: The Beijing Family book series should go live in about 72 hours on Amazon! Whoopppeee!!

Finish Line right in front of me. All five books of The Beijing Family book series have been configured for publication and now submitted to Amazon Kindle and Createspace for publication in ebook and print. My book series should go live in about 3 days or so. I can't tell you what a relief this feels like. This has been a long five year project for me. During this time, I was also a very busy real estate broker. I sold over $140 million dollars in real estate. I would start writing at 4AM before work and finish at around 11PM after work. Often sleep deprived, highly caffeinated and militant about sticking to a time management regimen that left me little time for anything else. I'm so relieved that all this is finally coming to fruition.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Finish Line Ahead: The Beijing Family book series is being prepared for publication

Entire book series is with my copy illustrator who is packaging it for publication for both ebook and print formats. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The best stories are from real life

Saw this at a book store today. The best stories are from real life, wouldn't you agree? 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book 5: The Beijing Mummies is complete

Book 5: The Beijing Mummies is complete. Editor and I worked on it for two months and I am very pleased.  1 more to go - "Book 3: The Beijing Ghosts." Then it's off to my copy illustrator for final packaging for both print and ebook.  Then it's published on Amazon.  Almost there!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Scaring myself while writing "The Beijing Ghosts"

I am working with my editor on Book 3 - "The Beijing Ghosts."  On my computer at 4am as usual so I can get some writing in before heading off to work.  Dark outside, very quiet everywhere, sitting here by myself, imagining most ghostly horror.  Ugghhh!  I am scaring myself! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book 4: The Beijing Beauties is complete

Book 4 - "The Beijing Beauties" is done being edited by a good editor.  It's about three Chinese women looking for love in Los Angeles.  3 down, two left - Books 3 (The Beijing Ghosts) and  Book 5 (The Beijing Mummies) are being edited simultaneously.  Once that is done, then I can publish the entire 5 book series onto Amazon!!  Keep going, keep going...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book 2 of The Beijing Family book series is complete!

Book 2 - The Beijing Youth - is complete.   My editor and I finished the entire book and the book cover description.  It's ready for publication.  She helped me tremendously and it's a wonderful story.  I can't wait to have it all released on Amazon when the entire book series is complete. 

So 2 down, 3 more to go.  Before Book 2 was finished, I hired two new editors to work simultaneously on Book 3 - The Beijing Ghosts and Book 5 - The Beijing Mummy.  I am finishing up Book 4 - The Beijing Beauties myself.  Book 4 was previously edited by a professional editor.  I'm just going back and tidying up some more.  I am hoping to have all the books ready for publication by the end of the year.  I can't wait!  

Keep going- keep going!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book 1 is complete. Keep Going...

Book 1 is finally complete.  Whew!  The editing and the book cover is done.  I am pleased with the work. I showed it to a few friends of both the final book draft and the cover. They made a few comments but overall they liked it.  I have posted the new book cover description onto this website under Book 1. Take a look and let me know what you think. The Beijing Family Book 1 Cover 

1 down, 4 more to go.  I have to keep going.  So now I am working on Book 2 with my editor.  We're in the middle of the book and the drama is intensifying.  I am also in the process of hiring an editor for Book 3. This time, I received 50+ job applicants from Upwork in comparison to the 71+ job applicants I received for Book 2, which was insane.  Still a good handful, but more manageable.  I am paying above average compensation which garners more interested applicants than usual.  But at the same time, I am looking for above average talents and skills suitable for this particular book.  

Furthermore, my work partner and I are the number #1 sales team for all of Los Angeles for my day job as a real estate broker.  

Busy, busy, busy.  

Back to work...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Risk of being banned from China

My editors are encouraging me to write openly about the shameful atrocities of the Cultural Revolution during the Mao regime into Book 2.  If I do, I will be openly denouncing one of the historical leaders of China and risk being banned from China.  But I am an American.  How can I write without telling the truth and speaking freely?  Thank goodness for Freedom of Speech.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The work continues

The work continues.  Up before sunrise to work on my chapters that my editors revised for at least a few hours.  Afterwards, go for a walk at the local park after the sun is up to get some exercise. Clear the mind.  Come home, get ready for work and put in a full day as a real estate broker. Demanding job.  Come home, work some more if I have any energy left.  Next day - repeat.