Monthly Archives: December 2015

Defining The Chinese Language

Why is a definition of Chinese so elusive? For starters, China has over 50 different cultural groupings, which together constitute over a fifth of mankind. It is not so strange that China has 50 languages when view from this vantage point. To get the same population one really needs not one continent but two; if you combine the total population of every country in Europe, including Russia, and North America you get just over Chinas total population count and about 80% of Chinas linguistic complexity as these countries, combined, are home to only about 40 official languages. Linguistically, it is therefore the case that China is not a country, Chinas languages make up two major continents.

But lets get specific. After all, people do study Chinese. What most people refer to when they talk about speaking Chinese or learning Chinese is what is today known as Standard Mandarin. Standard Mandarin is the most common language in China, which kind of makes it a winner for the candidacy of the title Chinese though this is not strictly correct. For most Chinese people standard mandarin is not their native language. It is the second language that they learn, and this has far from always been the case.

The complicated linguistic mark up of The Middle Kingdom is a phenomenal heritage from Chinas 5000 years of history. For most of this time China has been involved in some kind of civil war, or at least been more of a loosely federated empire than a distinct nation state. The China of today is fairly recent thing that has only come about as a result of the world getting smaller. As mentioned, China really is more a large continent than a country and this fact made it centrally ungovernable until the communication and logistical technology of the last century changed the nature of the game.

For the last hundred years, or in other words, for the last 2 percent of Chinas history, there has been a far reaching streamlining process inherit in all general cultural trends and for the last fifty years, the trend has been both artificially enforced and explicit. Today every school kid learns Standard Mandarin from an early age and it is encouraged in most large domestic workplaces as the language of choice. The central government has created a new status quo that has only one lingua franca.

The benefits of this are obvious. For a country to share a currency, one seat of governance but not a mode of communication is like a railway system sharing the same types of trains but having different track widths. It is a major obstacle to trade, development and crucially, a stable and harmonious society. One people need one language to function as such.

What does all this mean for you? As a language student and a language school employee I often get questions about what Chinese really means in China. I tend at these times to give a briefer account of the above history lesson and then finish with what the reality of the situation is. For language students all this is simply put in one word: great.

Firstly, Standard Mandarin is much easier to learn than for example Cantonese, which is probably why the central government picked it as a lingua franca in the first place. Secondly, it makes learning Mandarin extremely beneficial. For all of the educational reform in China that gears the education towards a more globalised approach Chinas general grasp of English is still very much lacking. This makes a bilingual person almost unique on the labor market. Thrown in a western college education and your CV can pretty much be put on Wikipedia as an example of E-M-P-L-O-Y-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y. I am pretty fluent in the areas that I work in and I would say that I if am not under a full-scale siege from employers, I am at least the object of constant flanking artillery fire. The definition of Chinese is complicated; the benefits of proficiency are obvious.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin academy that is a great option for those that want to learn Chinese. If you are interested in more information about learning Chinese in China, please consult the website of Beijing Gateway Academy.

Chinese Symbols: What about Fengshui


In this world which is full of innovation and inspiration to create new things from old patterns and symbols, it is not unusual that we have bags of Che Guevara, shirts, bags and cups swastika as well as other ancient and historical patterns. Even the ancient Chinese beliefs and symbols are on the market today and is becoming the basis for some of fashion accessories purchased.

I’m talking about the different types of jewelry inspired by Chinese symbols and beliefs. For example, there is a silver bracelet with a design number 8 on this subject and this number 8 design was inspired by the Chinese belief. According to tradition, eight means good luck. In addition to a bracelet, there is also a silver ring which has a number 8 on the design, which was also inspired by the Chinese belief itself. Furthermore, a silver necklace, 18 is now available, also lucky because it has a silver polish called Chinese knot. Another luck charm is the sterling silver ring with an Imperial Seal’ design, which has been inspired by the seal of the Qing emperor.

All jewelry inspired over China is made of pure silver and have a free size and adjustable but the prices were quite expensive. These accessories are also strongly influenced by Chinese beliefs, mostly to the feng shui. I’ve always been intrigued and curious about the Chinese feng shui. The popularity of Feng Shui has become a common name. Well, I decided to go to this issue in the heartland of feng shui – China. Beginning with the correct pronunciation of Feng Shui (‘fung shway’) is a good start. On the other hand, knowing the literal meaning of consciousness makes it a little more about this topic: Feng means wind, while Shui means water.

The application of Feng Shui is the balance between the elements above. The Chinese believe that feng shui creating prosperity, abundance and harmony in personal, commercial and financial. This traditional Chinese practice used to be the secret of the Chinese royal family in the provision of health and prosperity of their clans. Even the Forbidden City in Beijing was calculated in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui. Well, I think that the Chinese really took seriously the conviction.

Now I know why, even Hollywood stars are Chinese accessories like beads, etc. With enough knowledge about jewelry and feng shui belief that I could try to accessories and more wary of their surroundings, so I have more luck, and I am more than willing to accept.

Know more, on

Principles of a Chinese Gourmet

An introduction to the fine art and science of creating perfection out of simple ingredients.

Among devotees of gastronomy who have had the privilege, of sampling the great national cuisines of the world, the Chinese cuisine is rated No. 1 quite as often as the French. It has a purity and refinement that transcend mere cleverness, a beautiful simplicity that marks the truly gourmet. Like the French, it is based upon sensitivity to the inherent nature of the foodstuff being prepared. Chinese awareness and respect for intrinsic taste and texture have produced a highly sophisticated body of practices and seasoning.

There are cookery books that provide recipes for Chinese food. But recipes are dry reading at best. As cookery is an art, one can hardly learn much from recipes without an explanation of the principles that underlie the cuisine that created them. The principles of Chinese cooking have been developed partly from long experience and partly by accident through many centuries. They are applicable not only to Chinese food but to good cooking in general, a science as well as an art.

First, the Chinese believe in nature. According to their interpretation, everything that grows on earth and is edible can be delicious when properly prepared, and so is intended by nature to be eaten by man. The Chinese explored the kingdom of vegetables and herbs and living creatures and so discovered a number of foods, undreamed of by the Westerner, that are both appetizing and beneficial to health. They are used when freshly gathered from field or forest or sea, and again after they have been preserved by pickling or drying in the sun. Thanks to these means of preservation, their supply is assured for all seasons.

As an example, the Chinese discovered the virtues of the soybean, and methods of growing bean sprouts indoors and making bean curds throughout the year.These ingredients are truly a blessing to the Chinese and a just reward for a long, patient search. They are appetizing, nutritious, and because economical to produce, accessible to all. When properly prepared, they appeal equally to the palate of prince or peasant. Such widespread appeal is typical of Chinese cooking.

Most Chinese dishes include some vegetables. The net effect is to enhance the taste of the main ingredient (meat or seafood) and at the same time give simple vegetables the benefit of pleasing flavor from the meat. The combination makes a delicious dish, easy to digest and healthful. Of course, Western cuisines use vegetables, too, but they are generally cooked and eaten separately from the meat. The Chinese cuisine includes some roasted (shao k’ao), grilled (chien),or fried (cha) dishes, not combined with vegetables, but they are the exception.

Consequently, Chinese dishes require less meat. A small piece, say half a pound, enough for only one person if cooked the Western way, may serve five persons if cooked in the Chinese way. An excellent example is the well known dish chop suey, which, although invented by Chinese in America rather than in China itself, utilizes the principles of ch’ao, a staple method of the Chinese cuisine.

Ch’ao, pronounced and often spelled “chow,” means low-oil, quick-stir frying. Both meat and vegetables are cut into small pieces and cooked over high heat in a . wok, a large concave skillet. Lacking a wok, the American cook can achieve the same effect in a cast-iron frying pan. A small amount of oil is used, but practically no water. The method is almost unknown to the West, which is surprising because it is so simple and quick and adds flavor to everything cooked. It is suitable for cooking either meat with vegetables or vegetables alone, in almost endless variety.

Priscilla is a cooking lover has been teaching in food industry almost 15 years. She has involed teaching in Chinese Cooking, Japanese food, Thailand food, Estern Cuisine, Indian Food, Hawaiian Style, Philippines Style, Oriental Food, Asian Cuisine, Western Style, Meals in Minutes and etc. She would like to share with people a broad knowledge of and keen pleasure in the good healthy life style of good eating through her many years of experience.

Savory Dinner Raw Food Recipes

Let me guess.  You’re new to a low fat raw vegan diet and while you love being able to eat pounds and pounds of fruit everyday, you’re having trouble satisfying your savory tooth at the end of the day.

Well, here are all of my favorite savory raw recipes. And don’t worry, they are all low fat, salt, spice, and condiment free.

Hope you enjoy…

Ridiculously Delicious Raw Pasta


2 medium-sized tomatoes
1 Ataulfo (yellow) mango*
Handful of fresh cilantro
2 zucchini or yellow squash, spiralized

*Ataulfo mangoes are much creamier than the more common Kent or Tommy-Atkins varieties (and much tastier, in my opinion).


Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place into a blender.  Peel and chop the mango into large pieces, close to the size of the tomato quarters.  Place the mango pieces in the blender.  Chop the cilantro and place in the blender.

Lightly pulse. Don’t blend it too much or it will get bubbly and yucky.  Pour over the spiralized squash.

I especially like to eat this as a sauce over spiralized zucchini or yellow squash, but you could also use it as a dressing for any greens of your choice.  You could also just eat it on its own as a soup.

The mango-tomato-cilantro combo is just so delicious! 🙂

Salty Salt-Free Salsa


24 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (sweetest you can find)
16 ounces of celery (4-6 stalks)
8 ounces red bell pepper (1 pepper)
4 ounces sweet apple (Gala or Fuji, 1/2 apple)
1 handful cilantro
1 English cucumber, sliced diagonally*

*I prefer the English variety.  They are less watery than traditional cucumbers and have much more flavor.


Cut half of the celery, red bell pepper, and all of the apple into medium-sized pieces.  You want each piece about the same size as the tomatoes.  Pulse half of the tomatoes and cilantro with the celery, pepper, and apple chunks.  You want a slightly chunky mixture, not a puree.

Dice the rest of the tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, & cilantro.  Stir blended portion with the diced portion and devour with cucumber slices or any veggie you like.

Not-So-Pretty Pistachio Dressing


2 medium tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
1 oz pistachios
1 head romaine lettuce


Coarsely chop tomatoes, half the cucumber, and pistachios and blend.  Spiralize the other half of the cucumber, chop the lettuce, and mix together with the dressing.  This is a very savory and hearty salad that I love to eat during the winter.

And you’ll know the reason for the name once you make the recipe. 😉

Go raw and be fit,


For more information on the best raw vegan diet, be sure to visit and subscribe to Swayze’s newsletter Peachy Keen Ezine. By subscribing, you will also receive the free report The 4 Principles of a Healthy Raw Diet as well as the 5-week mini-course The Fool Proof Transition to Raw.

Recipes for Eating Lite: Chinese Chicken Salad and Tasty Lentil Soup With Chicken

One of the best ways to diet is to simply cut back and/or change your eating habits.  Forget about fad diets and watch what you eat.  This Chinese Chicken Salad makes a great lunch or lite dinner.  It combines protein with the salad items and it has enough substance to keep you from feeling hungry an hour after your meal.  The crunch is also a good thing.  With the crunch and the chewing required with this salad, it helps to slow down the eating which allows your brain to catch up to your stomach and realize you are no longer hungry.  If you prefer soup over salad, try this recipe for Tasty Lentil Soup with Chicken.  Lentils and chicken are both very healthy food options.  This soup is full of vegetables that are also healty and low in fat and calories.  Either of these recipes are good options to replace that greasy burger or other fast food.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 tbsp Soy sauce

1 medium head of cabbage, shredded

6 chopped green onions

2 pkgs chicken flavored Ramen noodles

1/2 cup plain almonds, sliced

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup rice or white vinegar

1 of the seasoning packets from the Ramen noodles

1 tbsp Splenda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken breasts on foil and pour soy sauce evenly over chicken.  Wrap in foil to make a packet.  Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove from oven, cool enough to handle and cut into bite-size pieces.  Toast noodles and almonds in a non-stick skillet, stirring so as not to burn.  Add sesame seeds at last minute and brown lightly.  Mix together oil, vinegar, seasoning packet and Splenda.  Put cabbage, onion and chicken pieces into a large bowl.  Pour oil mixture over top of ingredients in bowl and mix well.  Add toasted noodles, almonds and sesame seeds.  Mix again.  Ready to serve. 

NOTE:  This makes enough for several servings.


8-oz (1 cup) dried lentils, sorted and rinsed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ chunks

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 medium yellow squash, diced

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 tbsp basil

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

28-oz can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat olive oil in a Dutch-oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken with onion until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and cook about a half hour until the lentils are tender.  Sprinkle with cheese when serving, if desired.


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