Overseas Chinese students’ reactions to the “Tiger Mom” parenting controversy
Chia-fu: By far, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of MiniTofu readers have heard of the name Amy Chua, aka the “Tiger Mother”. (For those uninitiated, read here and here. ) As a frequenter to Chinese forums, I came across this interesting and quite provocative thread on MITBBS, a famous online community for overseas Chinese students. Upon reading it, I immediately came to the realization that it merits an English translation.
Disclaimer: translation does not imply endorsement or disproval.
Amy Chua controversy exposes the West’s hostility towards other “non-mainstream” cultures
Many Americans reacted strongly [to this controversy], although many of them would privately admit she has a point. The author allegedly received death threats, all because of her opinion that the Chinese mother’s parenting style is better than their American counterparts. I am not here to argue which is better; what is interesting is the fact that this controversy exposed the narrow-mindedness and insecurity of the Americans. On one hand, Americans envy the academic achievement of Asian kids, but as soon as someone points out that the Asian education style is superior, Americans immediately jumped up and let loose vituperation. Why?1. The long-established feeling of superiority of Americans/Westerners. They feel that other cultures and races are non-mainstream and are backward. Now there comes someone, a professor from the prestigious university Yale, who points out in a high-profile that the Chinese parenting style is superior. This naturally caused a powerful shock, it’s like slapping the Americans in the face, with their narrow-mindedness in full disclosure.2. These days the Western media has been advocating their China threat theory day and night. Many Westerners have anxieties about China. [Chua's] article is like adding fuel to the flames, which accentuated American’s feeling of insecurity.
Selected replies to the post:
The round-eyed hairy white people are still very arrogant + ignorant. Of course, there are some well-educated whites, but their voices have been buried [ignored] among the voices of the ignorant.
The foundation of Americans’ self-esteem is their feeling of superiority. Other than that, there cannot be another force that is capable of uniting all of those ethnic groups together, all having vastly different beliefs and ethnic characteristics. As soon as the feeling of superiority vanishes, America will be reduced to an incoherent hodgepodge, during which time no group is willing to succumb to other groups and everyone will account their own failure to others’ mistakes. The end result is that the country['s system] is no longer sustainable.
This is no more than the American people being manipulated to help incite anti-Chinese sentiment by the big owners who have control over the media. [The people] blindly accepts the China threat theory invented by the the owners behind corporate media. It’s just like a gamecock involuntarily harboring hatred towards other gamecocks, completely unware of the fact that they are being manipulated. They are totally unaware of the presence of the conspiring manipulators who engineered this whole cockfighting show.
No wonder the other day, one of my [American] students came to me and asked me [about Amy Chua]. He said that he heard about a Chinese mother who believes that when it comes parenting, the Chinese style is better. He ridiculed [the idea].
I’d say that it does sound ridiculous in America. In 30 years’ time when the Chinese dominate the financial sector, [they] will be crying.
I would definitely not raise my kids in Amy Chua’s style. This style has a higher chance of resulting in abnormality [in children].
Everyone knows that the America’s education system has problems and needs a major overhaul. However, they would not trust upon a Chinese [and an outsider] who sleeps with people from other race [referring to the author being married outside her own race] to do the job.
Ethnic groups that hold real power in the States have long begun the implementation of a policy of obscurantism targeted toward other groups. They implant and encourage bad thoughts and values in children from other ethnic groups. What they truly try to promote is “Illiteracy as an Educational Policy”. Now they are most troubled with the Asians, who seemed to have slipped through their fishing net.
Save your breath. Tiger mother is the one who is racist, conducting racial profiling to provoke a war. People who reacted just wanted to respond [to her ideas]. The author of this post labels the entire Western population as racially discriminative, and tries to portrait the entire Chinese people as victims. Post author, you don’t happen to work for Tiger Mother, do you?
Indeed, there is no need to force kids to learn this and that at such an early age. Let them develop [their interest] on their own, the parent’s job is just to guide the kids and prevent them from going astray in their lives.
She is just too extreme, as if her parenting style was the only way for kids to become successful. I find it very disconcerting reading her article. Look at us: we were all brought up and educated in Chinese parenting style, but none of ours was as over the top as hers. Quote: “my children are never
allowed a sleepover”, “I never allowed my children to participate in school performances” which even in China is quite rare nowadays.
These days Chinese educators all agree that education is not just about exams and we must evolve with times. She still holds on to a few decades old teaching style of Fu Lei, advocating what we have now abandoned and considered ineffective, and she even tries to preach these ideas to Westerners. I feel what she is doing is quite retarded.
I beg to differ.
What the [Tiger] mother did was very selfish. She essentially excluded everything unrelated to academic study from her children’s life, especially social activities such as school performances. That is why many Chinese [Americans] are quite self-centered, incapable of contributing back to the society, not to mention becoming an integrated member of the local community.
In fact, many Chinese children are raised in this way, ending up being quite selfish. This Amy person is Philippine Chinese. The ethnic conflict between the Chinese living in Southeast Asia and rest of the local communities they live in has been an established fact. In comparison, just look at how many people from former Southeast Asian colonies still have nostalgic feeling towards the British people.
Is Chua, of such extremely utilitarian type, truly qualified to represent the majority of Chinese mothers?
Which one of us were not born and raised like this? Were we not beaten up? We even got beaten up at home when caught reading a fiction book by teachers in class. Are we now abnormal/perverted? Do we not love our parents?
[Children who were brought up in] America’s idiotic way of education, are quick in resorting to psychiatric therapies and too often found to have some [mental] “scars” from childhood. Fucking seriously, I grew up getting spanked, and I’ve never had any kind of “scars”.
Original thread in Chinese on mitbbs.com.