Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Baby Joe is Freshman in College and Jonathan is in 2nd year Med school.

Time flies and we are entering the 'empty nest' stage of our life. We have been much more relaxed to the youngest one since he was born, everything has been 'whatever.' Although he did not have as high grades as my older two in high school, he was still in the top 10%. My oldest son never played any online games, the second one quit when he was a Junior in high school, but Joe did not quit even in Senior year when he supposed to prepare for his SAT and ACT tests. When I caught him playing online games after work, I was upset, so his dad told him not to let me catch him playing games. He said "now your mom is not happy, so no one is happy. You know she is coming home after 5, so why not stop playing before mom returns home." He found an SAT and ACT online training for Free but you could also pay for more training. Half way into the Summer, he was still not making further progress. I said "Maybe you have to pay the site in order to make progress or you are making circles and not getting anywhere. It turns out I was right, his SAT and ACT scores were average.
     He did not get accepted into Middlebury (Ranked 4 Liberal arts colleges) and he was sad because he could not join his brothers. He finally stopped playing online games. He decided to go to St Michael's (Ranked 99), 50 miles away from Middlebury, also in VT. 
Middlebury College Virtual Campus Tour
I Like St. Mike's
     We all love the natural rural setting of the small college, not too far but away from home to give him room to grow more independent. He did not make it to Middlebury, but he was the one made it to the State Competitions for track. Jonathan is in med school now and his brother Richard learned all the mistakes from his older brother, and he got much better MCAT scores and is now aiming better Med school. Joe on the other hand wants to major in Pharmacy, so he could help his brothers.
     Ivy league College rejection did affect Jonathan a lot on his confidence. First year College was difficult for him, all his school years before college, his grade was never below "A". He got his first "C" on linear algebra in college. His classmates dropped the class left and right, only Asian stayed. He thought he was half Asian, he tried his best and still got a "C". He said one of his Asian classmates did not even come to the class yet got an "A" because he already knew everything the professor taught in class. The "C" made him think he was not that smart, he was wondering what kind of major was better for him.
     It took almost 3 years for Jonathan to decide what he wanted to do with his life. He thought about majoring in writing since he used to get 100 in high school, writing was easy for him. His professor disagreed with some of his views and wanted him to change an essay in order to pass. He picked a very difficult subject "Hitler's Childhood", and he thought he did a very deep research on the subject. He also disagreed with his professor about some of the literature. So he gave it up.
     He thought about becoming a musician, he joined the college Orchestra and continued his private violin lessons. His new violin teacher was from Massachusetts, and a wealthy family in VT let the teacher use the family heirloom violin with the condition she had to spent time teaching violin in VT. Therefore she drove 4 hours each week to VT to teach violin, and Jonathan was one of her students. I reminded Jonathan about his older cousin who was majoring in music but abandoned his career altogether in order to feed his family. I used to give his high-school violin teacher a ride to the subway, since he had nothing except his violin. We used to see musicians in Cambridge with one hand carrying a musical instrument, the other hand a plastic bag to find soda bottles to return for 5 cents. If you want to be a musician, you have to prepare to be poor.
     He then tried to be geologist, I encouraged him since both of my parents were geologists. Anthony's father started his college wanting to be a geologist; he even gave his rock collection to Jonathan. He joined a senior field trip to White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. He did not want to become a geologist because he did not like to camp out that long. So he still wondered but decided on Biology for a major in his second year. He said he likes teaching children, so he could be a high school teacher.
     The 3rd year study abroad in Germany helped him determine what he wanted to do for his life. Compared to his high school German trip staying with a host family, German college classes were very different, and he also felt alone and really felt what it was to be a foreigner. His German was not good enough for the German junior college course, so he made an appointment to ask the professor questions, but only found that the professor's door was closed, so he waited an hour outside of his office hoping he would show up, but his professor was inside waiting for him. He did not knock on the door because his professors in the US do not close their doors unless they are not there.
     He had to buy food and cook his meals; the college cafeteria only served lunch like dinner. He was not used to eat such a big lunch. He had 3 German students sharing the living suite space; they were friendly to each other, but still spent most of his time with the other American students there. One weekend when we Skyped, he said "Mom, you should be happy that I joined Tai Chi class here in Germany". I asked "by a Chinese teacher", he said "No, a German", I said "A German went to China and learned Tai Chi", he said, "No, he never went to China, but learned from another German". I was a little skeptical but happy he was trying to find a way to manage his stress. One day in his Tai Chi class, a German girl next to him suddenly dropped to the ground, having a seizure, he was shocked and froze with panic, he did not know what to do. He wanted to help her, but did not know how. From the far corner of the room, a medical student ran over and performed CPR on her before the ambulance came and took her away. She was a pretty and slender young student and looked healthy to Jonathan. From that moment, Jonathan wanted to be a doctor, he wanted to be like the other medical student. To make sure, he applied to a non-paid internship at Charité in Berlin where he ended up paying over 600 Euro/month for rent and got up at 5 AM in the morning to take a bus to the hospital to be a surgeon's nurse's assistant. He saw the dying patients for the first time, trying his best to help them. He was eager to get up in the morning and he looked forward to see his patients. One of his patients told him that he was a "mother without breast" in German (a German expression). He also had a paid internship in Heidelberg University to help a PHD student with robotic micro surgery research to see if he liked medical research better. He liked to be a doctor to interact and help patients, not a nurse following doctors directions. He made his decision.
     The fourth year back to US college was the most difficult year in his 4 years college life, he had to take all science classes to be pre-med biology major. He did not have enough science classes. Since he is finally focused now, his grades were also the best and he received his first award from the dean, but his overall GPA was on the low side for trying to get into med school. He was competing with the kids who wanted to be a doctor since high school. His college mates suggested him to pay for online MCAT training but he did not want to pay thousands of dollars. Books only cost $400, he wanted to work it on his own, but his testing score was low. He took an EMT training and passed the test. He went to working for an EMT ambulance while waiting to see if any med school accepted him. He did not get accepted by any of the MD schools, but one DO school took him in so he was very happy. Yes, his brother Richard wants to do better than him. Talking about 'sibling rivalry.'

Friday, January 8, 2016

Girls Need to Follow and Keep Their Mother's Family Name

 Modern research shows that Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) is the constant gene passed on from mother to daughter and son, but not from the father. Therefore only mothers pass on their mtDNA to their daughters; the mtDNA tells about daughter, mother, to mother's mother, and so on along the direct maternal line. Most girls traditionally follows their father's family name; each generation of girls have a different family name so the mother's family's name gets lost. This needs to change! Girls need to follow their mothers name since boys already follow their father's name. When a woman is married, they should keep their own maiden name, and there should be less close cousins marrying each other. It is true in China today; my mother kept her maiden name like every other married woman in China, but it is still her father's.

Mitochondrial DNA
     ZhuPu (族) is the most effective way to track the male Y chromosome and has kept the single family name villages in China for thousands of years. It is unknown how the ancient Chinese knew the fact that the male Y chromosome is a constant gene passed on from father to son only. I have searched my roots on my mother's "Guan (官)" side back for 18 generations and my father's "Han (韓)" side for 7 generations. As a woman, I do not carry the "Y" chromosome of Guan or Han, so I need to search my grandmother "Xia (夏)" which means Summer her mother (not Xia for sure), her mother's mother (??)... they all had different surnames and they were not on their family ZhuPu. I do not know anything about her Xia familyThe only way was to test the mtDNA to identify the world origin of a person's lineage which is a daunting task.  Since I do not have a daughter, the unique mtDNA would have died with me but I have a sister who has a daughter who carries on the line of mtDNA to any of her future daughters.
      My ancestral maternal lineage's route followed the east coast of India, to Burma, and then branched into a northern route headed to China and a southern route through Indochina, Indonesia, finally to Australia. So I also have many cousins along both of these paths.  My DNA covers countries include: Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Palau, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand (Maori), Micronesia, Philippines, Melanesia, Hawaii, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, North America, Central America, South America.
    Before the test, like 92% of all Chinese, I believed that I was a "Han Chinese (汉)", but the results showed that I barely had 30% "Han (汉)". The Mitochondria DNA test shows that I am every woman. I am a Han Chinese, I am Japanese. I am also Dai, Maio, Yi, Lahu, She, Mongol, Tujia, Naxi, Tu, Daur. They covered China's North, Northwest, Northeast, South, Southwest and Southeast. A big surprise to me was that I have 7% Polynesian DNA. Except for the name and its food, I really did not know anything about the Polynesians. The people of New Zealand and Hawaii make up about 90% of Polynesia’s population. I also have some Kalasha ancestry. I even have over 2% Native American connections which reflects that Native American populations diverged from Asian groups 23,000 years ago, said co-authorYun Song, a computational biologist at UC Berkeley.  I do not know much about them, since I lived in the culture race of "Han"
Genome of a 40,000-year-old man in China reveals region's complex human history   
Japanese: Han Chinese and Japanese have their DNA cluster very close. The first known written reference of Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han in the first century AD. The first era of recorded history in Japan was the Kofun (250-538 A.D.), characterized by large burial mounds or tumuli. The Kofun were headed by a class of aristocratic warlords; they adopted many Chinese customs and innovations. Buddhism came to Japan during the Asuka Period, 538-710, as did the Chinese writing system. Today, 49% of Japanese words are loan-words from Chinese.
     Chinese-style pillar-and-bracket architecture reached Japan in the sixth century. The world's oldest and the only surviving Chinese style palace in Tang Dynasty (618-907) at today's Horyuji.
Ancient Chinese Buildings
Hōryū-ji (法隆寺) in Japan
     Japanese traditional clothing (Kimonos), kimono has another name, gofuku (呉服 literally "clothes of Wu (吳)") the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese during the 8th century; overlapping collar became particularly women's fashion.
Chinese Traditional Women Clothing
Japanese traditional clothing (Kimonos)
Banquet of Emperor (mural, Eastern Han (25AD-220 AD)
China moved on but the Japanese still kept the Chinese tradition today.  Still sleep on the floor.

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 1

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 2

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 3

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 4

     Mongols (蒙古族): Mongols took over China, 5.8 million people classified as ethnic Mongols living in China today. To the Han Chinese, the dairy foods Mongolians eat marked them as barbarian foes. This may be why dairy products never became popular in China. Lamb and beef, the meat dishes of the Mongols, did enter mainstream Chinese cuisine. Fermented milk (yogurt) was probably the only dairy food that did gain a foothold; it is popular and now available everywhere. Hot pot originated in Mongolia where the main ingredient was beef, mutton, or horse. It spread to southern China during the Song Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty; regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood.  I love hot pot with lamb, beef and mutton, but never had horse meat.
     Mongolian clothes had a major impact on Han traditional clothes, By combining the essence of the Han traditional clothes and the Mongolian clothes, tight and narrow, with a round collar and buttons typically used to secure the collar, short-sleeved, loose outer garment, it was adopted as the standard military uniform owing to its ease to take off and wear by soldiers when riding horses, also much more convenience.

     Daur people (达斡尔族): are descendants of the Khitan. In the 17th century, some or all of the Daurs lived along the Shilka, upper Amur, on the Zeya and Bureya River. They thus gave their name to the region of Dauria, also called Transbaikal, now the area of Russia East of Lake Baikal. A customary sport of the Daur is Beikou, a game similar to field hockey or street hockey, which has been played by the Daur for about 1,000 years. Many Daurs are Shamanists and Lamaism.
    A video about the Khitans (388 CE-1218 CE) with a collection of Khitan-related pictures carefully chosen from various sources. The Khitans played an important role in the history of East Asia, Central Asia and Eurasia in general. Yelu Chucai was a Khitan advisor who was highly respected by Genghis Khan.
 The Rise Of Genghis Khan And The Mongol Empire Documentary - Documentary Channel 
    About 132,000 Daur in China today, most live in Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner (Mòlì Dáwǎ Dáwò'ěrzú Zìzhìqí 莫力達瓦達斡爾族自治旗/莫力达瓦达斡尔族自治旗) in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China. There are also some near Tacheng in Xinjiang, where their ancestors were moved during the Qing Dynasty. Lady Gobulo, a Daur, Empress Xiaokemin (Lady Gobulo, Empress Hsiao-ko-min; 13 November 1906 – 20 June 1946), better known as Empress Wanrong, was the empress of Puyi, the last Emperor of China and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty.
Empress Wanrong (Gobulo Wanrong 郭布羅·婉容) is a Daur
     I guess my liight hair, when I was a child, could have come from Daur and Mongols.  I do love the music from the horse-head fiddle (morin khuur морин хуур) on "Beautiful Grassland".
Lang Lang and his father's Erhu "Horse Racing" at Carnegie Hall
The Miao (苗族): descended from the Jiuli tribe led by Chiyou (蚩尤). One of the first rice farmers in China. Some might have connected the Miao to the Daxi Culture (5,300 - 6,000 years ago) in the Yangtze River region. Most believe Ua Dab , others Taoism, Christianity, and Buddhism.  Historically, the term "Miao" had been applied inconsistently to a variety of non-Han peoples, include Hmong, Hmub, Xong (Qo-Xiong), and A-Hmao. 11 million people are divided into four major groups of Miao in China:
  1. Ghao Xong/Qo Xiong; Xong; Red Miao; Qo Xiong Miao: west Hunan
  2. Gha Ne/Ka Nao; Hmub; Black Miao; Mhub Miao: southeast Guizhou
  3. A-Hmao; Big Flowery Miao: west Guizhou and northeast Yunnan
  4. Gha-Mu; Hmong, Mong; White Miao, Green/Blue Miao, Small Flowery Miao; south and east Yunnan, south Sichuan and west Guizhou 

Hmong History : The Miao People of China
The Tujia (土家族): was in historical records as the Tujia from about 14th century, over 8 million, the 8th largest ethnic minority today. They live in the Wuling Mountains, straddling the common borders of Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou Provinces, and Chongqing Municipality, used to be  Ba Kingdom. Most of the Tujia worship a white tiger totem, some Tujia in western Hunan worship a turtle totem.
Travelogue - Tujia 
The She (畲) people:  are some of the earliest known settlers of GuangdongYuet people moved south during the Warring States period, waves of migrants from northern China have had a serious impact on the She people. Some She later moved to Zhejiang when Hakka moved in, there are a lot of She girls married into Hakka family.  In a census in year 2000, 709,592 She people have been counted in China.

The Unique She Wedding / 畲族婚礼 
 The Nakhi (纳西族): the descendants of the nomadic proto-Qiang, 300,000 of them live on the foothills of the Himalayas in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province.  Nakhi split into three groups as the Nakhi in Lijiang (丽江), the Bai in Dali (大理), and Mosuo around the Lugu Lake (泸沽湖). The Nakhi's native religion was Dongba, Tibetan Buddhism (especially the Mosuo). Taoism and its "fengshui".
The Mosuo are often referred to as China's "last Matrilineal society
The Nakhi (纳西族)

 China World Heritage List :: Old Town of Lijiang

Travelogue 2011-03-07 Ethnic Odyssey:Dali Bai Minority
The Women's Kingdom - PBS FRONTLINE Broadcast
 The Monguor (蒙古尔) or Tu people (土族, 土昆), White Mongol or Tsagaan Mongol: "Tu" came from the name of Tuyühu Khan, who was the older son of the King of Murong Xianbei who migrated westward from the northeast in 284. The DNA of the Tu people indicate that Europeans similar to modern Greeks mixed with an East Asian population around 1200 BC. The source of this European DNA might have been merchants from the Silk Road. According to 2010 census, there are 289,565 Tu today live in mostly in the Qinghai and Gansu provinces.  They practice Yellow Sect (or Tibetan) Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, and Shamanism.
Huzhu Mongghul (Tu) Bo (Shaman)
The Yi or Lolo people (彝族):  8 million descended from the ancient Qiang people of today's western China. Yi also live in Vietnam, and Thailand.  Yi used to be divided into Black Yi (nobles), qunuo or White Yi (commoners), and slaves before communist took over China. The Yi script was logosyllabic, similiar to Chinese, dated back to the 13th century. Under the Communist government, the script was standardized as a syllabary. Syllabic Yi is widely used in books, newspapers, and street signs. Bimoism (毕摩教) is the indigenous religion, also Buddhism and Christianity.
Watch tower
Life and culture of China's Yi ethnic minority
Mouth Harp
 The Dai people (傣族), 1,158,989 Dai are one of several ethnic groups living in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southern Yunnan, also in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Burma. Practice Theravada Buddhism and Dai folk religion.
Life and culture of China's Dai ethnic minority 
Yang Liping (杨丽萍), a Bai's Peacock Dance
 The Lahu people (拉祜族): among the ancient Qiang people of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Migrating slowly southward. 720,000 live live in Yunnan province, mostly in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, also in Thailand. Religion is polytheistic. Buddhism was introduced in the late 17th century and became widespread.

Lahu's life by Lancang River
The Kalash are an Indo-Aryan Dardic indigenous people living in Northern Pakistan. They speak Kalasha. They are unique among the people of Pakistan.  They are Pakistan's smallest ethnoreligious community, practicing a religion which some scholars describe as a form of animism or "ancient Hinduism".  The boy's tail in the front here, the Manchu people from central Manchuria and imposed on the Han Chinese after they took over China in 1644.
Male hairstyle worn by the Manchu people from central Manchuria and imposed on the Han Chinese in 1644.

The Polynesian people: Polynesian people originated on another island: Formosa, or modern-day Taiwan, then made their way south to the Philippines, then continued into maritime Southeast Asia. A second theory, which genetic research may help to confirm, is that Polynesia’s Austronesian roots lie not in the north, but deeper in Southeast Asia. They are superior sailors, they settle in Hawaii, Easter Island (Rapu Nui) and New Zealand, their world defined by the ocean. With about 120,000 square miles of land spread across some 10 million square miles of water, Polynesia’s islands were among the last places on Earth to be settled by humans. Despite great distances separating the outer islands, the Polynesian people are linked by linguistic, cultural and genetic ties.

     I have always been interested in Chinese minorities.  I got a chance to know Tibetans more since I used work in the region.  I have met Naxi, Bai, Dai. I had a chance back in the 1980s to visit the Inner Mongolia Grasslands but the heavy rain cancelled my trip.  Just looking at the picture of the vast grassland gives me the peace, but living in the tent would give me nightmares. Social race and culture,and economics and geography divided us apart. 

A Tour of Chinese Ethnic Minorities

Chinese Ethnic Minorities in Chinese New Year


List of ethnic groups in China


How Neanderthals Gave Us Secret Powers