An Open Letter To Mum

Dear mum,


I’d like to start by saying that I do love you ever so much, and I do love you no matter what (well, if you were a fundie I’d have issues bringing myself to do so, but you’re not and if you were you would have brainwashed me into being a fundie anyway). Not only am I thankful that you feed me, and support me in all my endeavors, but I am especially thankful that you are an Atheist. If you weren’t, I’d have an especially hard time being faithless.


So, you are very rational in that regard…


But there are a few things that we need to talk about, eh.


For example, your faithful support of the Chinese government. Let’s start with the story you told me of why you ended up becoming a teacher, even though it was your dream of becoming a diplomat.


The Chinese government was giving you an interview to assess whether you’d make a good diplomat or not. You had the grades, the high test scores… But during the interview, they thought you weren’t willing enough to follow orders. They asked you if you would mind becoming a teacher. You said that you really didn’t want to, but if the Chinese government ordered you to, you would. This was enough for them to determine you weren’t loyal enough, and you went to Washington to study to become an English teacher.


I don’t know why you ended up still doing it when you became a United States resident and could choose to do something that you really wanted to do. I think that they brain washed you to the point where you believed you should do what they told you to even when you had a choice.


There are few things more important to me than freedom. I can’t believe that you so willingly sacrificed yours to people who wanted to control your destiny.


When I pointed out to you a few days ago that the Chinese government had blocked websites about the incident at Tiananmen Square in 1989, as well as my blog and several foreign news sources, you said that they didn’t know all sides of the story. When I asked you why the Chinese government did kill people at Tiananmen Square you said “They were refusing to work and disrupting the economy. What is most important is that people work in the factories and help the economy work, so that’s why the Chinese government killed them.”


No, the economy is not the most important thing. At least, it’s not when it comes at the expense of people’s lives and freedom.


I do highly doubt that the Chinese government will bother trying to arrest me if they do read this (at least I don’t think that the secret police is still around), but if they do, what blind statement will you make to defend them when I’m rotting in some prison cell?


“Well, my daughter shouldn’t have said such stupid things…”


Your vehement support of Chinese medicine whenever I express doubts is simply absurd.


Granted, there is some truth in Chinese medicine claims… Some of their herbs work. Acupuncture has also been shown to release endorphins, chemicals which naturally relieve pain in the body, so it works sometimes. But, really, you don’t need an acupuncturist to do some crazy stuff with yin, yang, and the twelve meridians or whatever… The concept that makes acupuncture work occasionally is simple enough that all you really need is the knowledge of where a certain nerve cluster is. The Vulcan neck pinch probably works just as well (and is cheaper than) an acupuncturist.


But every time I ask you to prove that certain Chinese medicine cures work (a scientific test would be fine, except alternative medicine by its very definition has not been tested), you say something like “It’s been around for thousands of years. That’s all the proof I need.”


Oh come on! There are loads of things that have been around for thousands of years that don’t work. Astrology has been around for thousands of years… if it were wrong you think we would have disproven it by now. Are you going to start reading your daily horoscope? How ‘bout we blow all your savings on getting a professional psychic to do your astrological profile? Tarot has been around for a while. So has palm reading!


For a long time before modern medicine, bloodletting was a common practice. Patients would often die, if not from blood loss, from infections caused by the knife the doctors used. Mercury was also commonly used, and it cured the disease… and unfortunately, also the patient… but it seems that they stuck around long enough to pay the medical bill. They didn’t get rid of these practices for a long time. This is why homeopathy seemed to work. It was so dilute that, for once, the medicine didn’t kill the patient… however, sometimes they’ll die from not actually getting the disease cured.


But I don’t care if my own nationality came up with it, and I don’t care if it has been around for thousands of years. If it doesn’t stand up to the test, it doesn’t work, and it won’t work no matter how long it has been here.


You have a high blood pressure problem, which you are treating with some sort of flower-based Chinese medication. I don’t know how strictly the Chinese government regulates medication, but I know that this is not mainstream and if it’s not mainstream it’s because it hasn’t been tested. When I asked you how you knew that it works, you said “I haven’t died yet.” That was enough to make me afraid for you. At the very least, ask the people who sold it to you for a scientific study showing that it works better than a placebo. If they don’t, then please invest in medicine that was made after the Dark Ages. Like I said, I love you very much, and it does me no good if you die from high blood pressure. I don’t want you to die. Can you understand my plea?


This morning, when Deepak Chopra was interviewed on BBC World, I turned to you to try to explain why what he said was utter tosh. He went off on some jargon-filled explanation about how when you have a “subjective state of euphoria, your body releases dopamine, and serotonin, and these function as anti-depressants and help your immune system.” Basically, he was saying that if you’re happy it’ll counteract depression… But then he also said that a strong immune system will kill cancer. He said that we would all get cancer if we weren’t happy because then our immune systems won’t be strong to kill cancer cells.


I can only assume this idiot hasn’t studied medicine at all. Cancer is caused by cells with DNA that causes it to multiply unstoppably. This DNA could have been inherited, or it could have been altered by certain toxins or radiation. I don’t care how happy you are, if you inhale a bunch of radon gas, you will get lung cancer.


You told me that I was being too egotistic in calling him an idiot. But, mum, this is basically the same ancient “wisdom” that you’re basing your belief in Chinese medicine on. He said explicitly that his ideas were from Asian medicine ideas.


There are already plenty of people in this world living in the Dark Ages. Please… step into the light of the 21st century. Please.


That said, I love you and I hope you can open your eyes.


Your loving daughter,




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