Friday, May 23, 2008

The greatest love of all

ma ma ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thalassemia and Chinese medicine

Thalassemia, being a genetic disease, runs in a family. Most are silent carriers or suffer mild anemia. Severe cases such as the Hemoglobin H disease with enlarged spleen, small body and malnourished look shows more prominent symptoms. [Pic below: Enlargement of spleen, small body]

TCM looks at Thalassemia from the genetic perspective too. Its symptoms such as anemia, feeling tired, paleness, jaundice, enlargement of spleen, pigmentation of skin, and skeletal deformity can be treated with Chinese herbs. Typically, there are three syndromes associated with it: The deficiency of kidney-qi is the fundamental syndrome as it relates to genetic effect. As time goes on, the child may suffer more deterioration of kidney-qi and thus the chance of accumulation of damp-heat in the body. Toward the third syndrome, the child loses more blood, more accumulation of damp-heat coupled with stagnation of blood.

Early symptoms such as slow growth, big head, protruded forehead and front teeth, collapsed or low nose bridge, wide gap between eyes must be observed closely for the degree of severity. [Pic below: Big forehead, low nose bridge, paleness]

Depending on the type, syndrome and severity, therapeutic principle varies accordingly.

For treatments for cases with obvious and known symptoms and syndrome, matching OTC (if there is any on the market) can help. For most other cases, treatments are individual based with herbal prescriptions.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The eel that arched her abdomen

In ancient China (Song dynasty? (960–1279)), there lived an educated man named 周豫(Zhou Yu). One day, his friend brought him some fresh eels, a delicacy that Zhou Yu liked very much. Having little to do that day, Zhou Yu wanted to try his culinary skills, which he had long left unused, and prepared to make a batch of unseasoned eel stew.

He placed the eels in a pot, and when the stew began to boil, Zhou Yu lifted the lid and saw an extraordinary phenomenon: One of the eels had pushed its abdomen upward in an arch, leaving its head and tail in the soup. With great curiosity, Zhou Yu immediately spooned the eel out of the soup and cut open its abdomen. To his amazement, he saw countless eggs inside. In order to protect its spawn, the mother eel had struggled to prevent hot water from hurting its abdomen by pushing its body into an arch.

The sight left Zhou Yu dumbfounded, and he could not contain his tears. Even an eel knew how to protect its eggs, he thought, yet he, a human being, the highest of all creatures, had not been filial to his mother. Deeply moved, Zhou Yu vowed never to eat eel again. And he loved and respected his mother evermore.

Original writing

“学士周豫,尝烹鳝。见有鞠身向上,以首尾就烹者,讶而剖之,腹中累累有子,鞠躬避汤耳… 物类之甘心忍痛,而护惜鞭子如此。恻然感叹,永断不食。” --《护生录; hu sheng lu; Protecting-lives-records》

"xue shi zhou yu, chang peng shan. jian you ju shen xiang shang, yi shou wei jiu peng zhe, ya er pou zhi, fu zhong lei lei you zi, ju gong bi tang er... wu lei zhi gan xin ren tong, er hu xi bian zi ru ci. ce ran gan tan, yong duan bu shi." --《护生录; hu sheng lu; Protecting-lives-records》

“Scholar Zhou Yu, tried to cook eels. [He] saw an eel bowed up, with head and tail fully cooked in soup. Puzzled, [he] cut open the eel, abdomen strains of eggs, bowing to avoid soup… living kinds willing to suffer, to protect babies at such. Deeply touched and sighed: Never to eat eels. ” --《护生录; hu sheng lu; Protecting-lives-records》

The story tells us:

“Animals do not live without feelings, emotions.
Neither do they live without love.”

Like you and I,
animals have mothers who care about them,
even when they die, babies come first.

Happy Mother's day
to all animals!
All living beings!

Shall we celebrate this Mother's day without taking lives? with vegetarian food?

1) I was preparing to translate this article from ancient Chinese expressions to English when I stumbled upon this writing. Apparently Sonoflight, a blogger from China, had already done the translation a while ago. Her narration of the story is of my taste and I can’t resist but to ‘borrow’ her work over here. Thank you, Sonoflight. A good job, indeed. The original article is at:

2) Original writing, quote from 《护生录; hu sheng lu; Protecting-lives-records》, was written probably during the time of Song dynasty (960–1279). A slightly more illustrated version (by John Lew, for the sake of more complete sense. Pin Yin pronunciation and English translation by John Lew) is shown above in Chinese language. Anyway, there is more than one version with slight difference in wordings.

3) The first illustration (首尾就烹; shou wei jiu peng; Head-Tail-In-Cooking) is by the late Mr. 丰子恺 (Feng Zi-Kai) in his book 《护生画集》第二集39; hu sheng hua ji; Protecting-lives-drawing-collections, 2nd episode, page 39. Origin of the second illustration (烹鳝; peng shan; Cooking-Eels) is unknown, though the style looks similar to that of the first one.