Gregory Lee is a British academic who had a Chinese grandfather, and this short book is, along with a few other matters, a survey of attitudes to China and the Chinese in 20th century Britain, together with passages of personal reminiscence. \nIt makes depressing reading. Attitudes, Lee claims, were for the most part hostile, though matters improved somewhat when Chinese seamen became perceived as necessary for the UK's survival during World War II. For the rest it was a comic parody typified by the representation of Chinese people in the British pantomime Aladdin. In addition, the British are shown as actively promoting opium addiction in the Far East, refusing to believe there had ever been any genuine civilizations east of Suez, and routinely exploiting Chinese workers both at home and abroad as cheap labor that could easily be persuaded to work long hours. \nThe blend of personal reminiscences and academic reference might appear an unpromising formula, but Lee manages it successfully enough. The point, probably, is that there isn't sufficient material concerning perceptions of Chineseness in Britain to make a long book, and anyway the author's own experiences do add something useful to the picture. Besides, there doesn't appear to have been a major study of this subject before, and Lee's modest foray thus constitutes a useful first attempt at the topic. \nGregory Lee was born in Liverpool in the 1940s. He writes that he never knew much about his Chinese maternal grandfather (who died when Lee was eight). He does know, however, that he left China in 1909 and arrived in the UK two years later, the same year that every Chinese laundry in the Welsh city of Cardiff was ransacked during a seaman's strike. Lee says he's never experienced any discrimination himself, except possibly when teaching in China where his proficiency in Chinese was a source of puzzlement. \nDuring the 1950s, however, his mother suffered from what Lee calls the quadruple disadvantages of being from Liverpool, working-class, half-Chinese and a woman. During World War II, by contrast, she had enlisted in the British Royal Navy and passed the examinations needed to become a commissioned officer, though she never took up the rank because she lacked the money to afford the necessary accouterments. By coincidence, the author's Chinese-sounding name surname Lee comes from his father who had no Chinese ancestry. \nHe writes: The plain fact is I did not look Chinese, I did not suffer racism for being Chinese, but I had been, still am, an observer of my own family's suffering, of their \nbeing treated differently. \nThe book is largely put together from previously-published articles (which perhaps explains why there is no index and no bibliography). But the last chapter is new, and it's the one that contains Lee's experiences as a boy in Liverpool's Chinatown. He states that he's tried unsuccessfully to write a longer autobiographical narrative about this period of his life, and short passages of this attempt appear here. \nThe chapter on opium also makes for chilling reading. The drug had been imported into China by the British, a trade Hong Kong was acquired specifically to facilitate. Apparently it constituted a major source of the state's empire-derived revenue, yet it was hypocritically argued that the Chinese were temperamentally drawn to addiction to it, whereas, in the form of laudanum, it was considered an entirely beneficial item in every British household, at least up to the middle of the 19th century. Campaigns against the promotion of the drug in the Empire were for long resisted by the authorities, even after its use in the UK had become disreputable. \nLiverpool's Chinese population in the first decade of the 20th century only amounted to a few hundred, but nonetheless constituted the biggest concentration of Chinese in the UK. Lee's grandfather was an educated man and used to help newly-arrived immigrants, representing runaway seamen, over-stayers and illegals in the courts. Every New Year he boiled himself a small duck, and he even made preparations to take his family on a return trip to China. This final chapter is the most interesting in the book. Its atmosphere is nonetheless bleak, evoking cold gray skies and a pinched existence in a slum area of town, with the ever-present fear of discrimination. \nIt all seems a far cry from Taiwan today, and is probably equally remote from modern-day Britain. All in all, this book makes sad reading. It presents a world of imperial arrogance and economic exploitation, resulting in racist stereotypes in the minds of the uneducated that helped them endure their own penury -- at least there were others they could look down on, if only by reason of their race. It's a relief, therefore, to be able to report that today Gregory Lee enjoys a prestigious life as a professor of Chinese at the University of Lyon, France. Would that all tales of migration, displacement and a perceived hybrid identity had such happy endings.
Chen Wang-shi (陳罔市) doesn’t know where to go if she is forced to move. The 78-year-old Chen is an active “sea woman” (海女) in Taiwan’s easternmost fishing village of Makang (馬崗) in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮). When the waves are calm, she ventures out to forage for algae, oysters and other edible marine morsels. She lives alone in the village, as her children have moved to the cities for work, returning for weekends and festivals. “I cannot get used to living in Taipei, and I feel very uncomfortable if I don’t go out to the ocean to forage. I
Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 They called him the “No Problem Doctor” (沒關係醫生) because that’s what he always told his patients when they couldn’t pay up. Operating the only clinic in Changhua County’s Pusin Township (埔心) during the 1950s, Hsu Tsai-chih (許再枝) knew that life was difficult in his remote hometown. “They barely had enough to survive, so it was pointless to chase after them for the money,” an 81-year-old Hsu told the United Daily News in 2002. “I just went with the flow, some offered to pay me back years later but I had already forgotten
Your body is floating in a warm, blue bath, neither sinking nor rising. Sunlight shimmers on the white sand below as a sea turtle drifts by. You feel your heart beating slowly and a profound sense of calm floods your mind. The figures floating at the surface seem distant, as if from a different world. Down here, there is just you, your mind, your body, and the water. In this calm, timeless moment, you have glimpsed infinity... you are freediving. The next time you find yourself on Siaoliouciou (小琉球), or on Green Island (綠島), or at any number of popular snorkeling
A widely criticized peer-reviewed study that measured the attractiveness of women with endometriosis has been retracted from the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. The study, “Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study,” was first published in 2013 and has been defended by the authors and the journal in the intervening years despite heavy criticism from doctors, other researchers and people with endometriosis for its ethical concerns and dubious justifications, with one advocate calling the study “heartbreaking” and “disgusting.” The study’s conclusion was: “Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups.