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review 2018-04-19 20:51
Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu
Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve - Lenora Chu

This is a really interesting book that offers a firsthand view of the Chinese school system from a mostly-American perspective. Lenora Chu is a daughter of Chinese immigrants who was raised in the U.S., her husband a white American who volunteered in China with the Peace Corps. After moving to Shanghai for work, they enroll their son in a prestigious Chinese preschool. Concerning incidents at the school spark the author’s journey to learn more about the Chinese school system: she observes classrooms in China and the U.S., talks to experts, and gets to know Chinese high schoolers and parents.

So the book is part memoir, part nonfiction. From an American perspective it’s a fascinating comparison; so much of what I tend to view as going wrong in current American ideas of education and child-rearing seems to be heightened in China, from overscheduled kids (in China it’s usually tutoring or extracurricular classes rather than swimming, gymnastics etc.), to an unwillingness to let kids play freely and explore because they might hurt themselves (other parents judge Chu for letting her son run around the living room jumping off chairs, etc., and the school states that kids aren’t allowed to talk during lunch because they might choke), to a heavy emphasis on testing. Regarding that last one, pressure for the high school and college entrance exams in China is so intense that in one town a crackdown on cheating resulted in parents and students rioting.

Which actually leads to one of the positive features of the Chinese system: Chinese families tend to treat academics the way American families treat sports, to the point of huge crowds of people gathering outside exam sites to see their kids off and shout well-wishes. While Americans face a social penalty for being “nerds” and tend to view academic success as a matter of inborn talent (so if you don’t have it, why bother to try), the Chinese have valued brains – and judged people by their test scores – for centuries, and believe that success is largely a matter of effort. They aren’t afraid to demand work from kids or to ask them to memorize. This is especially noticeable in math: while American schools tend to wrap up simple math in verbally complicated “word problems” in an attempt to make the work “relevant” to kids who won’t have a professional job for a decade or more anyway, Chinese schools forge ahead and have young kids doing more advanced problems. This is helped by the fact that Chinese teachers specialize in their subject matter from the first grade, while American elementary school teachers are generalists (who by and large don’t like math and weren’t good at it themselves). Of course it’s also helped by Chinese schools’ making no attempt to integrate kids with special needs into regular classrooms, which American schools must do.

It’s evident from Chu’s writing that all of these issues are complicated: each school system has its advantages and disadvantages, but many of the advantages come with their own negatives or are bound up with the culture and therefore hard to replicate, while the disadvantages can also have silver linings. And of course no huge country has a uniform school system: just as the U.S. has both great and failing schools, China too has huge disparities, with many rural schools being shafted.

There's a lot in the book that I haven't even discussed here: politics in the classroom, the social position of teachers, the encouragement of creativity or lack thereof, and how all this affects students in the long run. But the book isn’t a treatise. Chu keeps it lively and interesting with accounts of her own family’s experiences, and with a clear, journalistic writing style. I imagine some readers might criticize her parenting decisions – at times it felt as if she were trying to claim a high-minded rationale for a choice of school that ultimately came down to cost, while she and her husband seemed willing to accept (if unhappily) a certain amount of what many Americans would consider abusive treatment of preschool kids (such as forcefeeding, or threatening to call the police on them when they misbehave) in the interests of having a disciplined and well-behaved child. But for the American reader it’s a fascinating window into a very different school system, and into Chinese culture as a whole. It is balanced and thoughtful, and the author comes across as open-minded, curious and willing to adapt rather than pushing an agenda. I do wish it had endnotes rather than a chapter-by-chapter bibliography, for readers to follow up and learn more. But I learned a lot from this book, enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it.

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url 2018-04-10 12:40
Chinese Alchemy in Fiction and Nonfiction
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols - Nataša Pantović Nuit

The Secret of the Golden Flower

Spiritual Symbols Book ExcerptSelf-DevelopmentSpiritual DevelopmentSpiritual QuotesConscious MindSymbols and Signsmeditation

 

What is Alchemy?

The Secret of the Golden Flower

Chinese Alchemy

 

qian_kun 13th century Chinese Alchemy

The ancient science of alchemy still influences the contemporary spiritual theories, and stays shaping the spiritual philosophies of our time. 

The whirlpool of its magic at one point became madness for the alchemists who tried to decipher its secret language of symbols and signs, and for the ones who managed to just bath in the beauty of its images, it stayed full of blessings.  The desire to knock on the door that promises eternal life and eternal youth returns through centuries to haunt the alchemists with their quest to know the lapis philosophorumthe philosopher's stone - the legendary alchemical substancecapable of turning base metals into gold.

 

Chinese Alchemy, Secret of Golden Flower - Merge of Male and Female Energy

It is the merge of male and female that fascinates us so much, it is the White Queen and the Black King that unite to give a birth to a child that is perfect and immortal.  It is  Yin and Yang that when circling in perfect harmony create balance and harmony within a Human Being, on Earth and in Universe.

It is Male that is our Collective Consciousness, that is Sun, Reason, Science, Law & Order.

It is Feminine that is symbolised by Moon, or Earth, that is the Ocean of our Collective Sub-Conscious, it is our Dream Consciousness, our shadow existence, trance, dragon and the snake, siren and medusa, that is Life that creates and destroys itself.

Source: www.artof4elements.com/entry/79/the-secret-of-the-golden-flower
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review 2018-02-25 03:07
Two of Everything
Two of Everything - Lily Toy Hong

Before reading this text, I was unfamiliar with the Chinese folktale. The story tells the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Haktak and their magic pot - a pot that will give them two of everything. This story is so clever and teaches young readers about modesty. I would incorporate this book into a writing center! I would allow students to write about what they might want to drop into the pot, or if they would want to use it all! This book could also be incorporated into math lessons to help students learn about doubles. One such activity calls for the usage of a mirror, so students can actually visualize what doubling is. This activity can be found here: https://illuminations.nctm.org/Lesson.aspx?id=3294

 

Lexile - AD620L

DRA - 30

AR - 3.5

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text 2017-12-29 21:01
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 11 - Dōngzhì Festival

Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival: If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite dessert.

 

Alright, I admit I haven't made these in a while (so the pretty pics aren't mine), but the Chinese recipes are from a cookbook I brought from a trip to Hong Kong, and which I used to cook Chinese meals for my friends after my return, and the dessert recipe was a runaway success in our family for years after I'd discovered it in one of the first cookbooks I ever owned.

 

(Note: metric conversions are rounded to the nearest semi-decimal.  Trust me, they work well enough on that basis.)

 

Chinese Food

Cha Shiu Buns

Ingredients:

Yeast Dough

1 tsp dry yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) warm water

6-7 oz (ca. 170-195 g) plain flour

 

Pastry

10 oz (280 g) yeast dough (see above)

3 oz (ca. 85 g) sugar

1/2 tsp ammonia powder

1/4 tsp alkali water (or just salted water)

1-2 tbsp water

1 tbsp oil

4 oz (ca. 110 g) flour

1 tsp baking powder

 

Filling

6 oz (ca. 170 g) roast pork (= cha shiu)

1 tbsp finely chopped chives or spring onions

 

Gravy

1 tsp oil

1 tsp white wine

1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) stock

1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp cornflour mixed with

    1 tbsp water

 

Preparation:

Yeast Dough

Dissolve the dry yeast and sugar in warm water and leave for 10 minutes to prove.

Stift the flour on to a table and make a well in the centre to pour in the yeast solution.  Work in the flour to knead into a soft dough.  Place in a greased mixing bowl and cover with a towel.  Leave to prove for 10-12 hours.

 

Pastry

Place the yeast dough, sugar, ammonia powder and alkali water in a big bowl.  Add the water and oil to the mix into a thick cream.

Sift the flour and baking powder together on a table and make a well in the centre.  Pour in the yeast cream. Slowly work in the flour and knead into a soft dough.

 

Filling

Dice or shred the cha shiu.

 

Gravy

Heat the oil in a hot wok (or frying pan).  Sizzle wine and pour in the stock.   Season to taste and thicken the gravy with the cornflour solution.  Remove wok (pan) from the stove and stir in cha shiu and chopped chives / spring onions to mix well.  Dish and put into refrigerator to chill.

 

To complete:

Roll the soft dough into a long strip and cut into 24 equal portions.  Flatten each portion into a small round.  Place a tsp of filling in the centre of the round, then draw in the edges and form small pleats to wrap up the filling.  Stick a small squre piece of grease proof paper to the bottom of each bun.

Arrange the buns in a steamer, then steam over high heat for 8 minutes.  Remove and leave to cool.  Steam a second time for 2 minutes, then serve hot.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. (ca. 170 g) each

2 lemons

1 beaten egg

1 cup (ca. 235 ml) cornflour

oil for deep frying

2 parsley sprigs or chunks of broccoli

 

Chicken Marinade

1 tbsp ginger juice

1 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 pinch of pepper

 

Seasoning

1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) stock

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp wine

1 pinch of pepper

 

Gravy Mix

2 tbsp custard powder

1/2 tsp cornflour

3 tbsp water

 

Preparation:

Wash and trim the parsley / broccoli and set aside for later use.

Mix all the ingredients of the marinade.

Slice the chicken breasts into large thin pieces, then immerse in the marinade for 30 minutes.

Toss the chicken in the beaten egg, then coat evenly with the cornflour.

Heat the wok (or frying pan) until very hot and pour in the oil to bring to the boil.  Slide in the chicken to deep fry until golden brown.  Drain, cut and dish.

Squeeze out the juice of one lemon and mix with all the seasoning except the wine.

Heat another wok (or frying pan) and bring 2 tbsp of oil to the boil.  Sizzle the wine, then pour in the lemon mixture and season to taste.  Mix the custard powder and cornflour with the water, then stream into the sauce to thicken.  Blend in the last tbsp of oil and mask over the chicken.

Slice the other lemon and arrange on or around the platter with the parsley / broccoli.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dessert: Sherry Cream

Ingredients:

1 lime (or small lemon)

75 g (ca. 2 1/2 oz) icing sugar

125 ml (ca. 4 fl oz) sherry (preferably Amontillado or Oloroso)

300 g (ca 10.5 oz) double cream or crème fraîche (not: sour cream!)

2-3 drops of essence of vanilla or orange

a few slices of orange

 

Preparation:

Brush clean the lime / lemon in running water, then dry and julienne the peel (cut into thin tiny slices).  Squeeze out the juice of the lime / lemon and blend with the icing sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Then mix in the sherry.

Whisk double cream / crème fraîche until foamy, then slowly mix in the lime juice and sherry blend, as well as the essence of vanilla / orange.  Fill cream into large serving bowl or small dessert bowls, sprinkle with lime / lemon peel juliennes, and decorate with orange slices.

 

(Note: This also works with port or madeira, if your taste runs more that way.)

 

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text 2017-12-20 09:11
我的决胜21点
我的决胜21点(48天,一个扑克菜鸟如何逆袭成王?美女作家、“超杀算牌女”唐宏安... 我的决胜21点(48天,一个扑克菜鸟如何逆袭成王?美女作家、“超杀算牌女”唐宏安自曝秘术,真实揭秘赌场算牌内幕,还原狮城“大杀三方”真相!凯文•史派西主演电影《决胜21点》真人现实版!) (Chinese Edition) - 唐宏安

48天,一个扑克菜鸟如何逆袭成王?美女作家、“超杀算牌女”唐宏安自曝秘术,真实揭秘赌场算牌内幕,还原狮城“大杀三方”真相!凯文�6�1史派西主演电影《决胜21点》真人现实版!

 

《我的决胜21点》是一本根据真实事件改编的赌场小说。喜欢冒险的旅游作家安,在一个偶然的机会下认识了得州扑克选手杨丹,随即他们一起踏上了算牌的未知旅程。中国台湾、韩国、中国澳门、新加坡、越南,他们辗转五地,一掷千金,与世界算牌选手合作与博弈,也目睹了他们之间复杂的金钱冲突和心理暗战,最终安实现了最初的愿望——35岁前被列进赌场的黑名单!


《我的决胜21点》揭秘赌场算牌只赢不输的神秘真相,堪称好莱坞电影《决胜21点》的真人现实版。玄妙的牌局谋算、超强的心智对决,尽在本书中!

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