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6 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written and Knowledgable Book. . ., Oct. 1 2002
By 
"shawniegrrrl" (Bellingham, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
I bought this book without the slightest beginning knowledge of Chinese culture or history. I just thought it looked interesting. Now, I can tell anyone who is interested in this type of book that it was wonderfully illustrated, extremely easy to understand and intensely knowledgeable and helpful. I am in awe of all the "little" things about Chinese history and culture, and this book goes thoroughly through all of it's promised categories with ease of understanding and helpful information.
This is a quick reading book, but is also a very helpful reference tool. I now know what not to give/not give as a gift, and I even know why! It is helpful in what to surround yourself with or others, your home, business, gift giving or for different types of lifestyles or happenings. Five-fold Happiness is a great gift for anyone of any age, or a wonderful read for yourself. I think that anyone who begins this book will finish it over and over again.
Enjoy and Learn!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've bought 8 copies already!, Sept. 2 2002
By 
P. Cheng "3L" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
I'm 2nd generation Chinese-American, and this book is like an encyclopedia to my heritage! I've bought copies for all of my 2nd generation friends. My sisters are using this book to help them teach their children about these fundamental principles of Chinese culture, which otherwise may have been forgotten. Another Chinese-American friend of mine (who grew up in Taiwan) said that she learned so much from this book; many of the Chinese idioms she heard all of her life are now explained, with great accuracy in context and origin. Even my parents (who are from China) were impressed with this book's comprehensive coverage and accuracy. It is also aesthetically striking, from the beautiful cover, to the photos and drawings on nearly every page which complements the storytelling perfectly. What an amazing compilation!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Little Chinese Book of Culture, Aug. 27 2003
By 
K. Peters (Boston, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
I picked up this book and found that many of the items in it are related to Feng Shui symbols and its origin. It's meant to give beginners a glimpse into the Chinese culture. It's bilingual with Chinese on one side and the English translation on the other side. The pictures are nice. I recommend it for beginners, but it is also a nice coffee table book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Symbols explained in context, Dec 28 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
Ever look at the art around your favorite Chinese restaurant and the designs on the plates, and wonder if they have a hidden meaning? They do. And Five-Fold Happiness beautifully shows and clearly explains it all. What a reference! Read this, and dazzle your friends with your insights next time you go out for lo mein.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Categorize But Fun, July 12 2003
By 
Greg Goebel (Loveland, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
* I picked up Vivien Sung's FIVE-FOLD HAPPINESS out of curiosity,
not knowing exactly what to make of it. It was clearly a
book about Chinese culture but it was hard to figure out what
Ms. Sung's angle on it was.
The angle, as it turned out, is a little oblique -- which, if
you've ever worked closely with Chinese people, actually fits
in a way since Chinese ways of thinking are somewhat at right
angles to Western ways of thinking. Ms. Sung takes as her
starting point five Chinese characters and their associated
concepts -- luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness, and wealth
-- and elaborates on these concepts through sets of related
characters and concepts, illustrated by tales from Chinese
folklore. Ms. Sung is an Australian who wanted to get in
touch with her cultural roots and put together this book as
a way of exploring it.
The approach is informal and easily digested, if not always
easily retained because it covers (in a fashion somewhat
reminiscent of the characters of CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN
DRAGON leaping effortlessly from rooftop to rooftop) so
much ground of an alien culture. It backs up the text with
an interesting format, featuring the same text in both
English and Chinese, and loaded down with classical Chinese
woodcuts on multicolored paper and somewhat "artsy" pictures
of Chinese cultural artifacts. It looks a bit like something
you might find in an Asian import market.
There's a goldmine of fascinating information in this
little book (it looks a bit on the thick side but it's mostly
pictures). Double use of the Chinese "happiness" character
means "marital bliss", as do Mandarin ducks, which are
apparently a solidly monogamous species. The image of two
fat smiling children is a lucky image, and Chinese houses
may have the images of two warriors on the front door, the
"door gods" who protect the home.
I've been tinkering with trying to learn Japanese and the
Chinese characters were an interesting angle. I was also
interested in learning that the "greeting cat" statue
found in Japanese shops is a Chinese invention, and in
borrowing the Chinese characters the Japanese also borrowed
the superstition that "4" is an unlucky number. This
is because the word "si" in Chinese means both "4" and
"death", and the Japanese acquired both terms as "shi".
In contrast, "6" is a lucky number -- "666" would get a
positive reaction from a Chinese person but not from
someone in a Christian culture.
Even after finishing this book, it's a bit hard to
categorize it. It's not a formal survey, it's just a bit
of this and that, and someone who was after something
substantial might not like this book at all. Me, I
found it surprisingly entertaining. After I was done I
felt that it might be fun to send a copy to Genndy
Tarkovsky, the cartoonist behind the artful SAMURAI
JACK series, a copy of this book and see what he could
do with the collection of stories it contains. The
stories cry out for animation and his style would do
them perfect justice.
Oh, and one little last thing -- fortune cookies are
to no great surprise not really Chinese, they are a
Chinese-American invention from the 1920s. Apparently
originally they contained sayings from the teachings
of Confucius.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely done., June 18 2003
By 
Christina Lingga (Savannah, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth (Hardcover)
I just bought this book and I could not stop reading it. Very very good. Well done, Vivien.
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