“I never planted wheat and never will, so long as there are other harvests to be reaped with the sword.” —Robert E. Howard (from ‘Beyond the Black River’)
“In the rough and violent world of seafaring, mariners could not afford to always abide by the niceties of the law or proper etiquette.” —Robert J Anthony
“There is no greater calamity than not knowing what is enough”. —Tao Te Ching
At the very beginning of the 1800s, a Chinese woman went from being employed as a prostitute in the floating brothels close to Canton to becoming the leader of the biggest pirate confederacy in modern history. Despite ending up as one of the most successful pirates ever, little is known about her. Today, we dive into the mystery and explore her story.
In this episode:
The three waves of piracy
Piracy as a family business
The boat people
“People are not born sea bandits, but drift into brigandage because they can no longer support themselves.” Wang Zhiyin governor of Fujian
The Tay-Son rebellion
Death by a thousand cuts
The seven pirate bosses and the creation of the biggest pirate confederacy in modern history
When pirates invite you to join their crew, saying ‘no’ is not an option
A pirate’s life for me: opium, prostitutes, gambling, fights
The rise of Cheng I Sao, and her saving the Confederacy
Cheng I Sao’s law: “Off with his head!”
Former prostitute, full time pirate leader and part time shaman
Straight out of Game of Thrones: fireboats
Cheng I Sao and the Taoist talent of knowing when to stop
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This is my public FB page: https://www.facebook.com/danielebolelli1/
Here is a link to the audiobook of my “Not Afraid”: http://www.danielebolelli.com/downloads/not-afraid-audiobook/
For those of you who may be interested, here is a lecture series I created about Taoist philosophy: http://www.danielebolelli.com/downloads/taoist-lectures/
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