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China’s longevity town overrun by the sick and rich

China’s longevity town overrun by the sick and rich

Staff Reporter

2013-08-13

Tens of thousands of patients, a quarter alone coming from Yangtze River Delta and especially the city of Shanghai, have flooded the “town of longevity” in Guangxi to seek a cure for their ailments. The secret of Bama, ranking fifth on a list of the world’s cities with the longest-living residents, is said to be in its clean spring water and fresh air high in negative oxygen ions, the Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily reports.A grandfather surnamed Tang, who was diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer in Shanghai, moved out and has been living in the town for half a year. When he returns to next month to take care of his granddaughter in Shanghai, some 2,000 kilometers away, he plans of arranging the transport of one tonne of local spring water by air.

Bama has on average 30.98 residents who live to more than 100 years old for every 100,000 people. Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty regularly sent gifts to a Bama resident named Lan Yang who reportedly lived to 142 years old. In June, resident Luo Meizhen, the nation’s oldest person, died in her sleep aged 127.

Most locals die without getting cancer, bucking one of the most common causes of death for people everywhere. Many cancer patients and some others, dubbed “the migrants,” have flooded into the villages around Bama to take a long-term stab at better health.

These “migrants” have a good deal to say about the water gushing from the Panyang river, saying it is rich with all kinds of trace elements that can cure all kinds of diseases. Even if drinking the water unboiled causes diarrhea for the first week, many say this is part of the detoxification process.

Another important daily exercise to build their health is a walk to Baimo Cave. The air inside is said to contain an abundance of negatively charged oxygen ions that are good for the health.

Shanghai resident Lin Keyong’s younger brother bought one floor of a villa in Bama with 13 rooms to squeeze in his brothers and sisters and their families. Lin bought US-made instruments to measure the concentration of negative ions in the air. He found that the air on his balcony contained about 4,000 to 6,000 negative ions per cubic meter, compared with 200 to 300 at his flat in Shanghai, and 30,000 to 50,000 in the Baimo Cave.

Cui Xuedong, the central figure behind Blue Link, an organization that helps bring city dwellers to the small mountain village, said that an average of six out of 10 people will end up staying after visiting the village. Cui himself is a patient with cholangiocarcinoma, a vicious cancer which no patient has survived for more than five years after diagnosis. He has kept on for two and a half years so far.

The government built Bama’s first seven-story building as a model nursing home in 2009. A few years later, dozens of buildings have sprung up as businesspeople sniffed out the potential popularity of the cure-all town. They built residences and homes and offered residents a free unit as well as ownership of the land and building for 30 years. Local residents have generally accepted the offer.

Shanghai resident He Dongze recalled a time when the miraculous Baimo Cave was free of charge. Now, after an investor bought the rights to the cave, there is an entrance fee of 70 yuan (US$11.50) and a monthly ticket available for 300 yuan (US$49).

The new locals also try to emulate the simple lifestyle of Bama’s residents, most of whom are vegetarians with very few desires, He said. That is probably the true secret behind their longevity, he added.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

One Response to China’s longevity town overrun by the sick and rich

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