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You must be joking, Professor Chua: An open letter to the Chinese Tiger Mom

15 January 2011 134,883 33 Comments

You must be joking, Professor Chua: An open letter to the Chinese Tiger Mom

Dear Professor Chua,

By now, your Wall Street Journal article Why Chinese Mothers are Superior has circled around the globe and you have appeared on many media outlets. Undoubtedly you are aware of the firestorm the article has created everywhere. Frankly I was at first appalled by your article because I have read your book Days of Empire, in which you suggest that tolerance is the force that helped build great empires. But in this article, you seem to suggest otherwise—that a totalitarian, authoritarian, and dictatorial approach will produce a successful person. This contradiction helped to realize that you must be joking, just like this YouTube video by Eric Liang that makes fun of how “crazy Asian moms” react when their children get a B.

I am sure, as a well-educated Professor of Yale, you must know that even in China only “garbage parents” call their children garbage. And those who call their children garbage or similar things are generally looked down upon and considered uncivilized by their neighbors and colleagues. I grew up in China and came to the US when I was 27. In all those 27 years, I don’t remember being called garbage by my parents nor have I ever called my children garbage.

I am also sure that you are aware that your strict method, while quite commonly practiced in Chinese families, does not always (and quite often do not) lead to a virtuous cycle or produce successful people. There is this running joke that supports your argument. Surprised by the fact that an uneducated peasant family were able to have all three of their children achieve high test scores to be admitted to college in China, reporters asked the father for his parenting secret that produced this miracle. The father went inside the house and took out a huge club behind the door. But this club did not do any wonders in my village. When I was growing up, my father was among the few who did not have such a club hanging on the wall. But I became the only one in the village who graduated from high school and went on to college.

Furthermore, I am sure you, as a Chinese American who seems to be familiar with China, are aware of the psychological damages your method has caused in China. As I have documented in my book, Catching Up or Leading the Way, the high suicide rates, wide-spread depression, and rebellious behaviors due to parent and school pressure in China have already caused the government and society to take drastic actions to reform its education system. The Asian students in the U.S., the so-called “model minority,” have also been found to have more psychological issues due to family pressure by researchers because their academic excellence is “forced” rather than chosen (read the book by a number of Asian American researchers Model Minority Myth Revisited: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Demystify Asian American Education Experience).

Moreover, I am sure you are aware that what you were doing to your children is simply serving as a taskmaster whose only job is to ensure that they do what the authority or the “successful” sector of the society values. In other words, you externalize the value of individual human beings as what others think important. You do not have an independent view of human value so you just rent the view of the society. When you force your children to get As in school, without necessarily even know what lies behind the As, you are no different from carrying out an order of an agency without ever questioning why. This, by the way, is the reason behind the misperception that somehow Chinese parents care more about their children’s education than Americans because they put a lot more pressure on their children to do school work and judge their children by school grades. I believe American parents care as much but they have different definitions of education—sports, music, art, independence, creativity, passion, a well-rounded education, or simply a happy childhood!

Lastly, I am sure you know that your children’s success—Carnegie Hall performance and other kudos and trophies—may have more to do with you as a Yale professor, the community you live in, the friends and colleagues you have, the schools they attend, the friends they have (oh, I forgot, they are not allowed to have friends, well in this case, the classmates they have), than your parenting style. There are at least 100 million Chinese parents who practiced your way of parenting but were unable to send their children to Carnegie Hall.

So I think you are joking. You are not really saying that your Chinese tiger mom approach is a great way to educating our children. Or at least, I hope!

And to conclude, I want to share a quote by Paulo Freire:

The struggle for humanization, breaking the cycles of injustice, exploitation and oppression lies in the perpetuation of oppressor versus oppressed. In these roles, those who commit the injustice, the oppressors, do not only deny freedom to those they oppress, they also risk their own humanity, because oppressor consciousness “tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination.”

Please tell me, Professor Chua, that you are joking.

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33 Comments »

  • Jesse Turner said:

    Sadly I think Dr. Zhao, that Professor Chua knows exactly what he is doing, and it is disrespectful of all parents. Thank you for standing up for the millions of loving parents in China. Martin Luther King said: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity.”
    Professor Chua’s article only serves to perpetuate more Chinese stereotypes just at a time they can do the most harm.
    By the way there are two loving caring Chinese teachers/mothers in my home visiting right who disagree completely with Professor Chua.
    Sincerely,
    Jesse

  • Ken Dirkin said:

    I am more apalled at what has to have been a poor choice at a marketing campaign, since the author admits that in the end that the Tiger Mom approach did not work well with her children. It endorses the concept that even bad publicity is still publicity. All the reviews, including NPR & Washington Post, have portrayed the book’s focus as a successful strategy for child rearing and tout the accomplishments of the children as proof. I have to agree with you Dr. Zhao in thinking that the true moral of the story was lost, apparantly in a publicity stunt that propagates a poor stereotype and, ironically, reinforces the wrong message with millions of parents on both sides of the Pacific. I bet it sells a lot of books though.

  • Marvin McConoughey said:

    I will not comment on Professor Chua’s book, which I have not yet seen locally. I did read the WSJ article, and her followup comments to some of the responses. The article and Ms. Chua’s comments depict a parental strategy that focuses on student achievement, but not to the exclusion of parental caring and love.

    Yong Zhao claims that “you must know that even in China only “garbage parents” call their children garbage.” How would anyone be able to know, in a nation approaching 1.5 billion people, that “only ‘garbage parents’ call their children garbage? It is impossible to know. Since the connotations of “garbage” vary within our country, it is reasonable to wonder if the meaning might not also vary within China.

  • Melia Dicker said:

    After reading Chua’s WSJ piece and her follow-up, I emailed my own Chinese-American mom and thanked her for never, ever treating me as disrespectfully as Chua treats her children. My mom wrote back (and I don’t think she’d mind my sharing this):

    “Chua’s contention that even American-born Chinese moms raise their kids like that is b.s. You can’t even say that it was like that with my grandmother’s generation – they did expect obedience and academic achievement, but not to the point of mental illness. Grandma was too busy raising four kids and trying to feed a family during the Depression to carry on a physical fight with her daughter about practicing the piano.

    The bit about “garbage” is a textbook case of an abused child thinking this is normal behavior.”

    I was inspired to co-found the IDEA (The Institute for Democratic Education in America) because I had become obsessed with the achievement game on my own and ended up a very unhappy person. If my parents had pressured me, I honestly might have snapped. Once I graduated from school, I committed myself to spreading the type of education that I wish I’d had, the kind that you write about — creative, passionate, well-rounded, and REAL.

  • Bill Peterson said:

    Yong,
    How sad your comments will not get the media attention that Amy Chua’s article has received. In the area of education and educational reform there have only been a few voices like yours attempting to introduce some sanity. In the social sciences when politics and science conflict the problem is often so complex that politics can easily win. In the physical sciences when politicians (often lawyers) attempt to push nature around we can end up with airplanes falling out of the sky, etc.
    As you have pointed out Amy Chua’s WSJ article is riddled with bad science. Beyond that she seems to be following the quasi-logic-science thinking that I have noticed in many cultures. I call this Single Event Analysis (SEA). This type of thinking only requires one axiom often unique to each person and case. One of my axioms is, “My Aunt Dolly ____ therefore _____,” and I get to fill in the blanks. In Amy Chua’s case I guess the axiom for one case would be something like “Many Chinese mothers raise their children like I do, therefore my daughter played in Carnegie Hall.” Naturally, the other advantage of SEA is that you can change the axiom whenever you desire, and the probability of correctness for each special case is always 1.0. I have to admit as a farmer’s son that Amy Chua has raised SEA to levels beyond my dreams.

  • Eye of the Tiger « Seconds said:

    [...] reformer Yong Zhao certainly took exception to this article in his blog post titled, “You’ve must be joking, Professor Chau: An open letter to the Chinese Tiger Mom.” They say there is no tone in text, but one can tell there is a lot of emotion behind his [...]

  • Deborah Heal said:

    Yong,

    I greatly appreciated reading your thoughtful response to Dr.Chua’s approach to child rearing and education. Here in Eugene, my son has Asian friends from S. Korea and the kind of approach Dr. Chua alludes to does exist. My son’s friend not only is in the most rigorous classes at the middle school, but it privately tutored three times a week, takes private cello lessons, Korean lessons and is on a basketball team. I have observed personally some depression in this little friend. He doesn’t have the joy and spontaneity that his cohorts do. He is highly competitive to the point of annoying his friends. I see him acting out mimicking a bit of our U.S. overly sexualized culture, perhaps as some kind of outlet for the personal stress he must endure at home. He told me that his parents moved from S. Korea to the U.S. for better education. Apparently, in S. Korea he and his younger siblings attended school from 8AM to 8PM 6 days a week and were hit with a paddle if they forgot their homework. His parents felt that was too stringent of a practice, yet I observe that they have created a similar educational straight jacket for their son to ‘excel’ in. I feel that this child is missing out on the joys of having some down time just to relax with his buddies and be a child.

  • Jesse Turner said:

    Stepping back from Professor Chua’s book which turns out to be more popular than academic. Even something Dr. Chua admits. I thought people might like to read this one since it is something Dr. Zhao has been writing for many years now.
    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2011/tc20110112_006501.htm
    Looks like good schooling is a great deal more than just memorizing, and filling in bubbles on standardized tests. A message heard often here in this blog.
    I am walking to DC again,
    Jesse

  • Susan said:

    The word “garbage” has a negative connotation any where on the planet, and that includes any where in China. To apply it to a precious child is chilling. The bad Karma of the parent is being passed on to the children of the future.

  • NE said:

    There is no better way to develop a public dialogue re-evaluating our parenting philosophy than to create an exaggerated contrast – and that is exactly what Chua has done. Up until now, there has been minimal public discussion about parent accountability for students’ achievement, behavior, and values.

    Privately, I hear countless educators who talk about the sub-par parenting of kids who are completely disengaged from school. As teachers, we have a phrase: take one look at the parent, and you will know why the student is doing so poorly. In other words, its the parents stupid, not the teacher; all the current reforms in education focus on teacher accountability without any hint of parent accountability. While I do not agree with any of her tactics and execution, I prefer to look at the principals behind it: 1) assuming strength in children (not fragility), 2) setting high expectations, and 3) instilling a strong work ethic.

    There is a balance between being too child-centered (western) and being too authoritarian (eastern). For me, Chua knew these buttons would be pushed, and is forcing us to re-evaluate the norm in American society, and more and more it is one of underachievement. More thoughts about it in my blog:

    http://theeducatedsociety.com/framing-the-eastern-vs-western-parenting-debate/

  • If Amy Chua represents the ‘Chinese’ view of education, the rest of the world has nothing to worry about – but it’s not that simple « Disciplined Innovation said:

    [...] in both China and America, had to say about Chua’s book. Sure enough, he’s written an excellent blog post crafted as an ‘open letter’ to Chua, in which he makes the following point: I am sure [...]

  • American woman of Chinese descent said:

    I grew up with a Tiger Dad who wore a big belt. He was an immigrant from China, came to America, and worked hard to give his family a better life. My mother was the second generation born here of her family, so she wasn’t as much of a Tiger Mom. My father wielded an iron fist in terms of our academic achievement, which my mother tempered with her American-born values. My brother and I were both accepted into prestigious public high schools, but neither of us evolved into academic stars. I maintained mostly a B average through high school, my brother did a little worse. It was vastly disappointing for my father, especially when neither of us completed college the first time around. I found out later that I had tested with a rather high IQ that fell into what used to be called the “superior” range – 3 standard deviations above the norm. But I went to high school with kids who were 1 more standard deviation above me, in the “gifted” range. I was in a gifted school without quite the gifted intellect – no wonder I felt so mundane and average. I felt like I could never be a good student, which is why I performed so miserably in college the first time around. After I went back, my first semester I received 3 A+ grades and 2 A’s – my father asked to see my “report card.” He perused it for a minute, then looked at me over his glasses and said, humph, your classes are too easy. Sigh. Now I’m working on my doctorate. Dad seems to be happy.

  • Jacqueline Hilliard said:

    Dr. Yong,
    I have been an educator of gifted/talented 7-8 year olds for over 22 years in a small midwest town. I have often worried that my teaching philosophy and strategies were not rigorous enough for my Asian students’ parents. Instead, every parent has been pleased with the inquiry based instruction and the emphasis on creative “play” to learn.
    I have observed that it is not “Asian Tiger” mothers whose children thrive in American schools, but children who come from families that value education, manners, and a healthy work ethics. It is a challenge to balance love and support without emotionally crippling a children. There are extremes on both sides. The best parents make errors.
    Little Belgium has national test scores in math that rival Asian countries. Its people share a culture that values education, good manners and a strong work ethic. Yet, Belgians enjoy their leisure time.
    I have also observed a change in my student population in the last ten years. Instruction and work is often interrupted with behavioral problems. I am looking for a common root in the behavioral changes of my high ability students. I still have more questions than answers. I do wonder if the push of constant testing and the lost of developmentally appropriate instruction in kindergarten and first grade are some of the factors.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Why is the art of music required to endure the ill-informed antics of such inartistic imbeciles as Amy Chua? Her lust for fame as an old-fashioned stage mother of either a famous violinist (yet another mechanical Sarah Chang?) or a famous pianist (yet another mechanical Lang Lang?) shines through what she perceives as devotion to the cultivation of the cultural sensitivities of her two unfortunate daughters.

    Daughter Lulu at age 7 is unable to play compound rhythms from Jacques Ibert with both hands coordinated? Leonard Bernstein couldn’t conduct this at age 50! And he isn’t the only musician of achievement with this-or-that shortcoming. We all have our closets with doors that are not always fully opened.

    And why all this Chinese obsession unthinkingly dumped on violin and piano? What do the parents with such insistence know of violin and piano repertoire? Further, what do they know of the great body of literature for flute? For French horn? For organ? For trumpet? Usually, nothing!

    For pressure-driven (not professionally-driven!) parents like Amy Chua their children, with few exceptions, will remain little more than mechanical sidebars to the core of classical music as it’s practiced by musicians with a humanistic foundation.

    Professor Chua better be socking away a hefty psychoreserve fund in preparation for the care and feeding of her two little lambs once it becomes clear to them both just how empty and ill-defined with pseudo-thorough grounding their emphasis has been on so-called achievement.

    Read more about this widespread, continuing problem in Forbidden Childhood (N.Y., 1957) by Ruth Slenczynska.
    ______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Continuing to follow the saga of what may be one of the more outrageous examples – and there are similar examples aplenty! – of the child abuses of Amy Chua, I think it timely and prudent to provide a healthy, humane counterpoint by way of a much different kind of example of adult guidance to a young stranger. To wit:

    ADVICE TO A YOUNG PERSON INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN THE LAW

    In May 1954, M. Paul Claussen, Jr, a 12-year-old boy living in Alexandria, Virginia, sent a letter to Mr Justice Felix Frankfurter in which he wrote that he was interested in “going into the law as a career” and requested advice as to “some ways to start preparing myself while still in junior high school.” This is the reply he received:

    My Dear Paul:
    No one can be a truly competent lawyer unless he is a cultivated man. If I were you I would forget about any technical preparation for the law. The best way to prepare for the law is to be a well-read person. Thus alone can one acquire the capacity to use the English language on paper and in speech and with the habits of clear thinking which only a truly liberal education can give. No less important for a lawyer is the cultivation of the imaginative faculties by reading poetry, seeing great paintings, in the original or in easily available reproductions, and listening to great music. Stock your mind with the deposit of much good reading, and widen and deepen your feelings by experiencing vicariously as much as possible the wonderful mysteries of the universe, and forget about your future career.
    With good wishes,
    Sincerely yours,
    [signed] Felix Frankfurter

    From THE LAW AS LITERATURE, ed. by Ephraim London, Simon and Schuster, 1960.
    __________________

    I knew that a Paul Claussen had been a major figure (1972-2007) in the Office of the Historian of The United States Department of State in Washington, with an abiding interest in The Great Seal of The United States. http://diplomacy.state.gov/documents/organization/101044.pdf
    An obituary of Dr Claussen is on page 47 in http://2001-2009.state.gov/documents/organization/86414.pdf
    and http://www.thefreelibrary.com/M.+Paul+Claussen,+history‘s+friend%3A+office+of+the+historian+suffers+a…-a0167843232

    So, wishing to determine whether or not the elder Claussen was, indeed, the boy writing to Justice Frankfurter in 1954 I wrote to his former colleague at State. The reply received today follows.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: PA History Mailbox
    To: ‘Andre M. Smith’
    Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:11 AM
    Subject: RE: Chris Morrison

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    Copied below is the response I received from one of Paul Claussen’s long-time colleagues here in the Office of the Historian.

    Yes it is. The young Paul wanted to be a lawyer and so decided to write Felix Frankfurter and ask for his advice. Frankfurter evidently was taken with his letter and wrote back at length…Frankfurter of course kept a copy and the text of the letter has been published in collections of Frankfurter’s writings.

    Please contact us of you have any additional questions.

    Best regards,
    Chris

    Christopher A. Morrison, Ph.D.
    Historian, Policy Studies Division
    U.S. Department of State
    Office of the Historian (PA/HO)
    _________________________________

    Dr Claussen did follow the advice of Justice Frankfurter. And he came out of that advice none the worse for it. The world is much bigger, richer, more tolerant, and more laden with opportunities than the blinkered view of Amy Chua would have her daughters and fellow fear-laden mothers without Ivy League tenure believe.

    For a very well-balanced alternative to the mania – and it is nothing less – to which the many Chuas of the world subscribe, read the refreshingly informed reports on http://orient.bowdoin.edu/orient/article.php?date=2009-12-04&section=3&id=2, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/09/28/china, and http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/16/liberalarts
    ________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Marvin McConoughey has written:

    Yong Zhao claims that “you must know that even in China only “garbage parents” call their children garbage.” How would anyone be able to know, in a nation approaching 1.5 billion people, that “only ‘garbage parents’ call their children garbage? It is impossible to know. Since the connotations of “garbage” vary within our country, it is reasonable to wonder if the meaning might not also vary within China.

    Can Mr McConoughey be serious? Does one need to have known all 300,000,000+ Americans to know that calling a child – or anyone – by some form of discardable refuse carries with it an unmistakeable understanding everywhere? Where, as he states, in America does the word garbage (and its clear implication) mean anything other than junk, putrefaction, waste, debris, onerousness, useless, unregeneracy, etc.?

    Mr Zhao writes from the heart of an experience of twenty-seven years. And Mr McConoughey?

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    I believe some useful purpose will be served by offering here, what the lawyers might like to call, but will seldom welcome, a healthy second opinion; a collective opinion that will demonstrate in abbreviated form the absolute folly of any attempt to teach music to children in the manner advocated by Amy Chua and her supporters.

    These titles, with a few accompanying comments, should be read only as an introduction to a vast, interesting subject. There is one observation one can make about them all, and many more on this same subject, if needed to prove the point: Their attempt at an inherent humane understanding. I shall let the individual writers speak for themselves. To wit:

    C. C. Liu [fellow at the Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong]: A Critical History of New Music in China, Columbia University Press, 2010.
    By the end of the nineteenth century, Chinese culture had fallen into a stasis, and intellectuals began to go abroad for new ideas. What emerged was an exciting musical genre that C. C. Liu terms “new music. With no direct ties to traditional Chinese music, “new music” reflects the compositional techniques and musical idioms of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European styles. Liu traces the genesis and development of “new music” throughout the twentieth century, deftly examining the social and political forces that shaped “new music” and its uses by political activists and the government. http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-962-996-360-6/a-critical-history-of-new-music-in-china
    ___________________

    Brahmstedt’s China travels bring recognition: TTU [Tennessee Technical University] trumpet professor “Outstanding foreigner.” http://www.tntech.edu/pressreleases/brahmstedts-china-travels-bring-recognition-ttu-trumpet-professor-qoutstanding-foreignerq/
    ___________________

    Music Education in China: A look at primary school music education in China reveals numerous recent developments in general music, band and string programs, and private lessons. Music Educators Journal May 1997 83:28-52, doi:10.2307/3399021. Full Text (PDF)
    ___________________

    Howard Brahmstedt and Patricia Brahmstedt: Music education in China. Music Educators Journal 83(6):28-30, 52. May 1997.
    ___________________

    Joseph Kahn and Daniel J. Wakin: Classical music looks toward China with hope. The New York Time, 3 April 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/arts/music/03class1.htm?pagewanted=all
    ___________________

    Ho Wai-Ching: A comparative study of music education in Shanghai and Taipei: Westernization and nationalization. A Journal of Comparative and International Education 34:2, 2004.
    ___________________

    Yuri Ishii and Mari Shiobara: Teachers’ role in the transition and transmission of culture. Journal of Education for Teaching 34(4):245-9, November 2008.
    There are some common trends, which indicate that certain values are now shared among music education policies of many Asian countries. These are an emphasis on the purpose of education as the development of children’s total human quality rather than mere transmission of skills and knowledge by rote learning, the encouragement of a learner-centered approach, the introduction of authentic assessment, the integration of existing subjects, and the assertion of cultural specificity.
    ___________________

    Chee-Hoo Lim: An historical perspective on the Chinese Americans in American music education. Research in Music Education May 2009 vol. 27 no. 2 27-37.
    ___________________

    Howard Brahmstedt: Trumpet playing in China. P. 29. International Trumpet Guild Journal, February 1993.
    ___________________

    Richard Curt Kraus: Pianos and politics in China. Middle-class ambitions and the struggle over Western music. Oxford University Press. New York, 1989.
    ___________________

    From Shanghai Conservatory to Temple University
    Yiyue Zhang holds both Bachelors and Masters in Music Education from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Education at Temple University. Ms. Zhang is from a family of music. She first learned Chinese classic dance from her father at the age of 3. She then started to learn accordion at the age of 5 and piano at the age of 6. During the close to 20 years of piano training and education, she has also been learning saxophone, cello, vocal music and percussion instrument of Chinese ethnic nationalities. In addition to piano solo, Ms. Zhang has rich experiences as a piano accompanist for vocal and chorus performances. When she served as the accompanist for the female choir of Shanghai Conservatory in 2006, they participated in the Fourth World Chorus Competition and won the gold medal for female choir, silver medal for contemporary music and another silver medal for theological music. Before came the United States, Ms. Zhang taught general music at Shanghai Hongqiao Middle School and Shanghai North Fujian Rd. Primary School as her internship in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, she taught piano and music class in Shanghai Tong-de-meng Kindergarten while held Chinese Teacher Qualification Certificate. Ms. Zhang is currently the piano accompanist of Chinese Musical Voices located at Cherry Hill, NJ as well as the assistant conductor of Guanghua Chorus located at Blue Bell, PA. While holding Early Childhood Music Master Certification (Level 1) from The Gordon Institute for Music Learning, she is also actively engaged in the educational and cultural activities with the networks of local Chinese schools in the Philadelphia area. http://www.temple.edu/boyer/music/programs/musiced/MusicEducationGraduateAssistants.htm
    ___________________

    Li Ying-ling: Essential study on the function of children’s music education.
    Music education is beneficial in the comprehensive development of children’s healthy personality, helpful to enlighten the children’s creative thinking, helpful to educate the regulation senses of children, helpful to develop the children’s language and good emotion. It has certain social effect and realistic meaning for the growth of children. Every teacher should pay attention to the functional character of children music education, consciously meet the demands for music education of the children nowadays, strengthen the socialization function of music education, promote socialization proceeding of children. Music Department of Kunming University. Journal of Kunming University 2:2009.
    ___________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Professor Chua is a woefully ill-informed parent, one ignorant of just what is happening in some parts of education in America. Fully confident in her presumed success as a writer with an editorial staff at Penguin shadow boxing for her and unapologetically wearing her signature plastic smile for public appearances, the Lawyer Chua is trying to persuade and convince; on both counts controversially, but with enough negative reactions to cause her subsequently to attempt a dilution of the intensity in her initial self-congratulatory tirade by latterly asserting that her writing is merely one person’s experiences of some trying times in motherhood. To gain working points among the Old-Boy network, the prime lubricant of Yale, Professor Chua initially claimed that she is a Tiger Mom as Chinese maternal type; Fierce! When that showpiece veneer didn’t sit well with mothers who are the real thing, i.e., mothers from China, this faux cat altered the validity of her claim to violence by stating that she is a Tiger Mom because she was born in 1962, a Year of the Tiger. That a tenured Professor of Yale can – must? – openly justify her self-classification with superstitious underpinning should provide anyone what is needed to draw a conclusion about the level of intellect afoot in Yale Law School. Professor? Indeed!

    Any of Chua’s public statements of the purposes of her work evolve to fit the tenor of the evolving criticisms directed at it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/amy-chua-tiger-mom-book-one-year-later_n_1197066.html It has passed, in her own words, from (1) practical handbook for parenting to (2) tongue-in-cheek (whatever that’s supposed to mean), to (3) memoir, (4) satire, (5) parody, (6) “a coming of age book for parents” (7) “the book is about a journey”; and who knows what else as she makes the rounds of the book circuit trying to snare yet more unsuspecting purchasers into her net. That she can, without blushing, class a single work with such a range causes me to wonder what kind of grade she got at Harvard for her command of the English language. She’s Trollope (the author), Pope (the author), The Wicked Witch in Hansel und Gretel and Gullible’s Travels all penned together into one oversized Pamper. Anyone who can’t read the monetary cynicism driving the kaleidoscope of this whole Tiger Mom scam and its spurious, unproven claimed insights into parenting, with variant latter-day reflections by the author herself, deserves to have paid full retail price for this book.

    “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/
    Stamp collecting, fishing, lazing about on a summer day, science club, Brownie Scouting, baseball, birthday parties, church annual picnic, kite flying, visiting relatives, kissing, jumping rope, student council, insect classification . . . Away with this woman! “Fun” must be one of the more overused, misunderstood words in the American lexicon. Chinese parent = The Model Minority? In China?

    “I’m happy to be the one hated.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/

    “If I could push a magic button and choose either happiness or success for my children, I’d choose happiness in a second. http://amychua.com/

    That’s it perfectly stated in Tigerese: Either / Or; not both. Amy Chua is a chameleonic con artist. PT. Barnum certainly was right, one “. . . born every minute!”

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    On another web site I have read

    “In America, most parents of Asian Americans understand that music isn’t always about winning prizes. If anything, they’re so resistant to the idea of financial compensation in music that a talented youngster like myself is pushed into music for college resume reasons and yet pulled away from it so that one can focus on his chosen profession of doctor, lawyer, etc.”

    Will some reader of these Comments, one with a good understanding of the relationship of “music for college resume reasons,” please explain here just what that relationship is and in what era it began? Has it anything to do with post-1949 access to aspirations abroad? Is it a sudden blossoming after the economic opening of 1979? Is it a contrived criterion established by college admissions boards in The US? Do Mainland Chinese seeking education in England or Canada pursue the same deadening, inartistic route as those applying to The US? If a career in music is considered useless by Chinese parents, why not prepare their children as sculptors or water colorists? Why pursue any activity artistic? Is there some clearly defined idea that a student activity that makes sound and provokes applause is superior to all other activities?

    I believe the ideal person to respond to this challenge is an older parent, perhaps age 65 or above, who does truly believe that Western violin or piano is an ideal route to advancement in any field that is not artistic and that pursuing those same two instruments as a life’s work is A WASTE OF TIME. Why not erhu, pipa, reed flute . . . ?

    Frankly, I am not interested to read three kinds of response: (1) from a child written defensively on behalf of a parent, (2) a child denouncing the system, perhaps out of some real disappointment, as it now exists, and (3) a child’s response interpreting an attempt by any parent who hasn’t sufficient interest to reply.
    ______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Amy Chua has never lived in China. Her understanding of its culture, that is, the culture as it’s truly lived by the indigenous people in their dailyness, then must be that of the tourist. Here perhaps is one view of a China she may or may not have seen.

    http://bbs.tiexue.net/post_5057209_1.html [Each of the four pictures can be enlarged for clearer viewings.] In what likely is Nanning, the capitol of Guang Xi region, the boy was caught stealing money to pursue his addiction in Internet gaming. (This is a common problem in China, especially among adolescent boys. http://playnoevil.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1076-China-continues-focus-on-Internet-Addiction-Reading-the-Tea-Leaves.html) As punishment his father has publicly stripped off the boy’s clothes, lathered him with some unstated brown caking (which I shall discretely hope is mere mud), bound his hands behind his back, and then pulled him on his back and buttocks by one foot for disgrace through a very-public area of the city.

    On contemporary corporal punishment in China:

    A third of them [child respondents] said corporal punishment negatively affected their personalities, causing them to become introverted and depressed.

    Legal experts cited by the paper said China should ban corporal punishment in its marriage laws to protect children from physical and psychological harm and to protect the rights of minors.

    They blamed the common occurrence of corporal punishment in China on the traditional belief that children were a part of their parents, not individuals. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-12/07/content_397964.htm

    The routine beatings allegedly given to child gymnasts in China are no different to the corporal punishment that was once part of daily life in English public schools, according to the head of the Olympic movement.

    Mr Rogge said he believed that if physical punishment is being used to train young athletes in China, then it is likely to be confined to sports such as gymnastics and swimming, where the age of competitors is much younger than in the other Olympic sports. What is not known is how widespread the practice is. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1504716/Chinas-abuse-of-its-athletes-is-no-different-to-Britains-public-schools-says-Olympics-chief.html

    “It was a pretty disturbing experience. I was really shocked by some of what was going on. I know it is gymnastics and that sport has to start its athletes young, but I have to say I was really shocked. I think it’s a brutal programme. They said this is what they needed to do to make them hard.

    “I do think those kids are being abused. The relationship between coach and child and parent and child is very different here. But I think it goes beyond the pale. It goes beyond what is normal behaviour. It was really chilling.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2368416/Olympics-Pinsent-upset-at-Chinese-abuse.html

    Anyone who thinks the Chinese are a race of genteel pacifists who, collectively, design their lives to awaken every morning wiser than they went to bed the night before is a candidate for some serious awakening of his own. As a whole person Amy Chua is a type; she is not an aberration.

    Now, for one question I have not seen asked anywhere. . . Does Professor Chua play a music instrument? If so, let’s hear some of it. If not, from what sources has she gathered her standards about music technique and style and how they might be taught to a very young child who has shown no particular affinity for any instrument? Can she play any music from what she has demanded from either of her two daughters? Can she play simultaneously triptlets in the left hand and duolets in the right? Can she perform, even modestly, http://www.alfred.com/samplepages/00-16734_01~02.pdf, the composition she has demanded her post-toddler daughter play with assurance?

    There can be no doubt that Professor Chua likes violence, so long as it’s not directed at her, the core definition of a bully. She has said recently that there are parts of the world in which some of her parenting techniques might be considered child abuse. I do wish she could be persuaded to name (1) which some of those parts of the world are, (2) just which parenting techniques she is referring to, and (3) why she believes those same techinques should not be defined as child abuse in her home state of Connecticut.

    How did such a reprehensible woman obtain a position so high up on the feeding chain with so little prior experience in law education?

    HUSBAND, faculty of Yale Law School since 1990 : Jed Rubenfeld
    WIFE, faculty of Yale Law School since 2001 : Amy Chua

    As the lawyers may put it, Let the evidence speak for itself. The Tiger Mom has made it on her own claws.

    One last question: Who prevents Professor Chua from sitting on a toilet or eating a meal when, at any given moment, she is vexed beyond her capacity to complete an academic assignment or any other professional obligation within the proper time allocated for its completion?
    _______________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    I divide my year annually between New York and Shanghai. One of my common visitations in the latter city is to the area in and around The Shanghai Conservatory of Music. About four years back the school built a large new building on Fenyang Lu. Along the street side is a lower level with a string of music stores stocked with new instruments. In four of those stores I counted, literally, one trumpet, one horn, one trombone, no tuba, two flutes, one clarinet, one oboe, no bassoon, a handful of strings (but no string bass), and two-hundred pianos! The single trombone (my instrument) looked and felt like it had been made in an industrial arts school as a class project. I asked one of the clerks how many trombone students were
    then enrolled in the Conservatory. “Five,” he replied. I told him it would be impossible for any serious student of that instrument to plan advancement playing such useless metal and asked what brand of instruments are taught upstairs. All the trombones were imported by the school, only as needed, from Yamaha in Japan. But, why the sea of pianos?

    Most parents do not want their children spending, i.e., wasting, their time on any instrument for which a student can not enter a contest and win prizes. Prizes mean medals and certificates, which Mommy and Daddy can display as their own achievements by extension. It is the major conservatories in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang, and Wuhan) which are responsible for continuing to nurture this false status, while, visually at least, giving the external impression that China is a major cultural locus of Western classical music. Anyone who has heard the wind sections of a major symphony orchestra in China will hear just how major the cultural locus is in China for those instruments. Naïve morons; school and parent alike!

    For the serious student having neither interest nor ability to become a graduate of Harvard Medical School, this phony sequence of contest successes may lead to Juilliard in New York or Curtis in Philadelphia. “If a clown like Lang Lang can make it, then so can my little angel. Who is, of course, the most adept keyboard wizard to blossom since Lawrence Welk or Rachmaninoff.” Stage mothers: Away with them!

    All of this clap-trap nonsense has no relationship whatsoever to two very important issues: music or Asian American. It is, with the rarest of exceptions, largely Oriental in the homeland. Atavistic immigrants from those eastern cultures or those descended directly therefrom – like the ever-psychobashing Kommandant Amy Chua – have some untested, sentimental notion that music opens doors and ensures careers in whatever direction the unmusical music student chooses; which the student is free to choose, so long as it isn’t music. (Try to figure out that one. “You are free to study physics or mathematics, so long as you don’t attempt to make a career of them.”)

    For the past forty years during my own studies in medicine and music in New York I have been wedded to and worked closely with and around nurses, physicians, surgeons, and medical technicians active in all the standard disciplines. Those persons have come from all modern regions of the world. And, yes, some of my coworkers have come from the beloved Harvard Medical School. But, I can write with authority, the number of those professional persons who have had any direct contact at any times in their lives with piano or violin is insignificantly small.

    No one has ever wasted time typing me as a wimp. Nevertheless, with an Amy Chua of my own only thinly masking a contempt while ostensibly trying to encourage me before the age of ten by classing me as “garbage, “lazy,” “useless,” and a host of other niceties (a savage, a juvenile delinquent, boring, common, low, completely ordinary, a barbarian) all the while forbidding me to sit on a toilet until I can play triplets in one hand against duolets in the other mechanistically en duo with a metronome might have (likely would have) set me up both for advanced training to climb The Texas Tower and chronic constipation.
    ___________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Russians call me German, Germans call me Russian, Jews call me a Christian, Christians a Jew. Pianists call me a composer, composers call me a pianist. The classicists think me a futurist, and the futurists call me a reactionary. My conclusion is that I am neither fish nor fowl – a pitiful individual.
    Anton Rubinstein (1829-94), composer, formidable Russian concert pianist, founder of The Saint Petersburg Conservatory (1862). http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=6&oq=%22anton+rubinstein&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=%22anton+rubinstein%22+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l2l850891lllllllllll0&aqi=g5s3
    __________________________

    WHO or WHAT is AMY CHUA?
    Her father, Leon L. Chua, was born in The Philippines. He was graduated in 1959 from Mapúa Institute of Technology in Manila as a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. His Master of Science followed from MIT in 1961. Amy was born in Champaign, Illinois on 26 October 1962 while Leon was pursuing his studies for a Ph.D. (1964) at The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. And it’s here in this synoptic review that her troubles begin with her shield in a contrived public relations makeover comastered by her publisher, Penguin. She states that she is Chinese. But her surname has not been identified anywhere as Chinese.
    __________________________

    Is the author fully ethnically Chinese? I am wondering because while I certainly have not met every Chinese person who has lived, I have known a fair number of Chinese yet have not met a single Chinese person with the author’s surname. I read somewhere that the author’s surname is a translation of a Chinese surname, Tsai, with which I am familiar. How many generations back in her direct family line, i.e. her parents or her parents’ parents, did her family come from China? I have not previously encountered a person who talks & writes so much about being Chinese & talks on behalf of the vast population of mothers born in China yet her surname & how I have heard it pronounced is very different from that with which I am familiar. While I wish to improve to better fluency in Mandarin, I have spoken enough Mandarin with native speakers to notice I have not heard Mandarin Chinese words pronounced with the same pronunciation as I hear her name pronounced. I truly am curious about what I have read briefly about a historical migration of immigrants, including the author’s ancestors, who immigrated to the Philippines, speak a language seemingly common among those immigrants & bear names that are translations from Mandarin Chinese into such language. It is an interesting occurrence I am curious to know more about. http://www.amazon.com/Chua-Chinese-didnt-already-know/forum/Fx2TW1617UZNULU/Tx2INJY62TIU5CI/1/ref=cm_cd_ef_rt_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&asin=1594202842&tag=jusadbel-20

    Cheap Social Worker said…
    When reading excerpts from Amy Chua’s latest book, I noticed that she left out any reference to her Filipino background. Looking at Chua’s biography, her parents spent a considerable amount of time doing business in the Philippines, with her father even going to school there. Chua also spent a good portion of her childhood going back and forth between the United States and the Philippines, though I wonder if she ever went outside the walls of her gated community to interact with the main population. Given that Filipino values on education are very similar to these “Chinese” values Amy Chua promotes, why does “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” ignore her Filipino heritage completely? http://askthepinoy.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-prof-amy-chua-have-any-other.html

    As a Harvard undergraduate during the years that the author was there, I do not recall the author attending any of the many meetings or social occasions held by the Asian students on campus. Although the book discusses the author’s “Chinese” upbringing, and refers to the Chinese food that she loved as a child and the “high culture” of her Chinese ancestors, there is little in the book to indicate that the author is, or considers herself to be, part of a larger community or network of Asians or Chinese in America, an affiliation that’s critical if the author’s voice is to be heard as at all representative of that community. http://www.amazon.com/review/R180XSBCBH3O89/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1594202842&nodeID=&tag=jusadbel-20=

    It’s not uncommon to hear alcoholics claim that it’s because they’re Irish or to hear that a bad temper is a result of bad genes. Chua is no different, and is justifying her abusive behavior based on the fact that she is Chinese. The reality is that Chua’s style is not a product of her Chinese heritage. Chua has never lived in China; her parents have not either. http://voices.yahoo.com/review-amy-chuas-battle-hymn-tiger-mother-7701018.html?cat=25
    __________________________

    It isn’t at all clear to me when and where Chinese culture came into the heritage of Amy Chua, if indeed it ever has, for the surname Chùa is, in fact, Vietnamese. It means temple and is commonly found in Buddhist and other religious contexts, e.g., (1) Chùa Pháp Hoa – Nam Úc, (2) Chùa Ph?t Tích [Temple of Saint Paul], (3) L? Khánh Thành D?i Hùng B?o Di?n Chùa Quang Minh, ph?n 1, and (4) t?i Chùa Ho?ng Pháp, H?c Môn, Sài Gòn.

    Professor Chua is a graduate of El Cerrito High School in California. http://elcerritogauchos.net/ She claims a superiority of a Chinese culture she has never lived in but is married to a white American Jew. Attempting yet another of her unpersuasive slow-change / quick-change acts she has claimed to have inculcated so-called, but unspecified, Chinese values into her two American daughters. She clearly believes that unrelenting emotional pressure on children and simultaneous denial of affection toward them will improve their physical skills. What implausible culture that has lasted more than seventy-two consecutive hours has advocated such a bizarre relationship between parent and child? She states that she has denied her two daughters the experiences of having performed in school plays. But their father had to have had enough stage experience prior to having been admitted at age 21 into the Drama Department (1980-1982) of The Juilliard School in Manhattan to justify that admission.
    __________________________

    “all you need to be able to do [to get into Juilliard] is just be badass at one instrument and read music.”
    * * *
    I think that is an extremely simplistic way to look at it. There are children who are groomed for Juilliard from grade school onwards. Children who start playing at 3 or 4 and by the age of 10 are already practicing 6+ hours a day. It takes incredible long-term discipline to be “badass” at one instrument.

    Juilliard grants a 10 minute audition. By the time you walk in, greet the jury, tune up, they get their papers ready to go, glance at your accompanist, you have 7 minutes to convince them that you are at the top of the top and that you have a viable career in performance ahead of you.

    Harvard is, in some senses, more forgiving because you have so many more ways to prove yourself. You can show you are smart through grades, you can show that you earned academic honors, you can show character through recommendation…all Juilliard gives you is 7 minutes to blow them away. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/439847-harder-than-harvard.html
    __________________________

    Professor Chua has stepped as an authority into several worlds in which she has no known experience and attempted to convince readers deeply concerned with the subjects she has written about that her word is the best word, founded as she believes on substantial personal experience. She moves in step with a long and continuing line of crackpot self-styled such authorities to lay claim to a success citing her ill-chosen and unexamined demographic whopping sampling of two, one of whom has effectively rejected her horrific emotional, social, and artistic models in favor of a pursuit of a life as a real person.

    Does anyone now remember the scam of Linus Pauling (1901-94), author of “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”? In 1970 Dr Pauling, a hustling chemist with no patients and no clinical studies to substantiate his claims, convinced many of the world’s non-thinkers that tanking up on vitamin C would cure the common cold, cure cancer, cure heart disease, and wipe out miscellaneous infections. He amassed a small fortune from his publications. Forty-one years later? Anyone who has contracted the seed basis for a cold still sniffles, cancer is rampant, heart disease remains with us, and infections are a functioning reality, increasing in their variety, throughout the human species. And Dr Pauling? Who? http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pauling.html

    Obstetricians write books on running. Physicists write books on philosophy. Social workers write books on love. Orthopedists write books on financial investment. Vitamin gurus write books advising pursuit of the Fountain of Youth in the manner of Herodotus and Juan Ponce de León (1474-1521). Generals write unbiased books on history. Psychoanalysts – with the highest suicide rate of any professional group in the world – plumb the woes of others promising answers of consolation.

    And, reminding us, yet again, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, Professor of Law Amy Chua has overarchingly tried to portray herself with her menopausal-crisis magnum opus that she is (1) an authority on music instruction of the preadolescent, (2) is an informed intellectual on the relationships both distinguishing and binding alien cultures, (3) she believes that both private and public sustained and repetitive humiliations of defenseless children will inevitably lead to a positive strengthening of those children’s characters, (4) she believes that children perceive through the senses of sound and sight what their parents want them to perceive, (5) that there likely will be no relationship between enforced disruptive prohibitions of physiological functions of urination and defecation in early childhood and a possible dysfunction of those systems manifesting later in life, (6) that denial of nutrition is an educational tool, (7) that avowals of love following psychological and physical cruelties meted to the young do not establish a perverse link between those avowals and cruelties, (8) that two daughters who know well that their pussy-whipped father had the valuable preprofessional experiences of the very stage presence they may have wished for themselves in adolescence have not formed an unhealthy opinion of compromised male hegemony during those years it might have benefited them in the formation of what will become their future relations with men, (9) that, while their mother was referring to their minds and their bodies openly and publicly in the most vile terms of contempt and debasement their father sat idly by, possibly out of sight but not out of earshot, (10) that the father of two daughters is portrayed in print and public appearances by their mother as the bringer of jollity when permitted to do so by their mother (Egads!), (11) that the phrase “Head of Household” has been perverted in the Chua example to refer to the elder with the loudest mouth and the least flexible personality, (12) [The reader here is invited to continue filling in the blanks . . .]

    Whether or not any modern Chinese man or woman – or, in the example of Amy Chua, any Filipina descended from Vietnamese – subscribes to any of the tenets of historical Confucianism, those tenets continue, for many modern Orientals both in and from the Eastern lands, to elicit a sentimental ideal to which many pay lip service in time of reference.

    Professor Chua has made a significant fundamental error in attempting to define her relationship with her two daughters. “Parenting method” is not a synonym for “Being a parent.” The former arises from the jargon and complex overlays of institutional structure established by American teachers colleges, their promulgators, and devoted acolytes fallen under the influences of Frederick Wilson Taylor [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor] and leaders of The Efficiency Movement [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficiency_Movement] in the first decade of the twentieth century; good for building the Model T but less than good for building character. “Being a parent” arises from the traditional standing of parents within all well-established functioning societies.

    With one exception, all other public pictures of the face of Professor Chua portray her with her signature toothy grin. The only one in which she is not smiling is that showing her imperiously overseeing her younger daughter during a music practice session. http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/RV-AB161_chau_i_G_20110107132417.jpg

    That this parenting nitwit can lay claim to so-called traditional Chinese values, while supplanting the very bases of those values with individual license to cruelty and an immodest flaunting of self at the expense of those children traditional values would obligate her to protect from adversity, is a revelation of ignorance and egocentricity wholly at odds with the established teachings of Confucius.
    __________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Further on Chua as a Chinese surname . . .

    My wife, a gyn surgeon, hails from a family of intellectuals and professionals in Shanghai. She has four sisters and three brothers. Among those eight are six of their children between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-six. Chua as a Chinese surname is unknown to them all.

    Bilingual speakers at the consulates in New York for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia all have told me the word chùa – with a grave – (= temple) is Vietnamese. A trilingual speaker at the City Campus Mahayana Temple at 133 Canal St in Manhattan has told me that the word chùa is common in Buddhist use but is not Chinese. In the illustration of the attachment hereto, the word for “temple” emblazoned is transliterated into pinyin as si or shu. http://www.mahayana.us/ But, again, I have it on the authority of my Chinese family that “chua” – at least as it’s pronounced in the nations subjoined to China and in English – is definitely not a Chinese word or name.

    Perhaps Chinese speakers of languages other than Wu or Mandarin, from elsewhere on the Mainland, may have an informed knowledge on this point of nomenclature countering what I’ve sent to you here.

    The faces of both father Leon Chua http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~chua/ and daughter Amy Chua http://www.leighbureau.com/speaker.asp?id=268 are textured similarly to reflect a family origin, at least within the previous handful of Chua generations as likely more south than Mainland China; although within fluid populations, this is speculative. Honestly, though, that part of the world is such a mixed bag of all its ingredients that . . .
    _______________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Gentle Reader:

    For all my focus on this subject I think the following text, written from the trenches on the other side of The Pacific, should be required reading everywhere else; perhaps even over there.

    Cordially,

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.
    __________________________

    Chinese Mom: American ‘Tiger Mother’ clueless about real Chinese parenting
    The “Chinese” parenting style advocated by Asian-American author Amy Chua is no longer popular among Chinese mothers
    By Helen He 20 January, 2011
    http://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/life/helen-he-dont-demonize-chinese-mothers-545975

    As a post-1980s mother, I, like many other young moms in China, often seek parenting advice from various channels and never miss reading the latest popular books on parenting.

    Recently, a book titled “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” written by Yale university professor Amy Chua on the parenting experience of a Chinese mother, stirred up a controversy in the West after an excerpt from the book was printed in the Wall Street Journal.

    I’m a born-and-bred Shanghainese mother, not that proficient in English, so I wasn’t able to read Amy Chua’s entire work. But I did have friends translate a book excerpt printed in the Wall Street Journal for me.

    The author claims that mothers, by being strict and narrowminded and focusing only on results, are able to nurture child geniuses.

    This is clearly a utilitarian take on parenting and I was deeply astounded that Chua lauds this as a forte of Chinese mothers.

    I only want to say: Please don’t demonize Chinese mothers.

    Amy Chua’s claims are misleading because Chinese-American women cannot be said to represent mothers in mainland China, and thus are unable to objectively elaborate on the parenting attitudes and experiences of Chinese mothers.

    Amy Chua does not speak for all of us
    Environment has a big influence over a person’s values, and the role of a mother is not something that every woman takes to immediately.

    The Chinese parenting method Chua champions has no claims to authenticity.Every mother gradually devises her own parenting method, which is often shaped by her own experience growing up, as well as the environment around her.

    According to reports, Amy Chua is a Filipino of Chinese descent.

    Her parents emigrated to America and underwent an intense struggle to set their roots in a foreign land, which inevitably led them to adopt a more utilitarian outlook in raising their children: “We struggled to get you this new citizenship status, the best way to repay us as our children is to succeed in life.”

    Amy Chua brings up Confucius in her article to explain why Chinese parents feel that their children are indebted to them for life. But, she probably doesn’t know that there is another fundamental saying in the Confucian school of thought that “ethics matter more than results, harmony more than competition.”

    Simply put, one should not be overly aggressive in trying to outdo others nor adopt a mindset that every investment should get due returns.

    Confucius also believed that education should be something tailored according to an individual’s talents and capabilities, rather than a force-fed regime.

    In other words, the parenting that Amy Chua received while growing up already deviates from Chinese traditions, and despite her attempts to follow in the footsteps of her parents, the Chinese parenting method she champions has no claims to authenticity.

    This strict parenting style, if blindly — or even vengefully — repeated among successive generations, will only be a prolonged tragedy.

    The parenting styles of post-1980s mothers
    The bulk of parents in China today comprise children born in the 1970s and 1980s. I will raise two examples to illustrate how Amy Chua’s perception of Chinese parenting methods differs from current practices in modern China.

    Kaixin001, China’s Facebook that’s popular among the post-1980s generation in China, recently held two online polls.

    One was titled “If you had a girl, what would you teach her?” while the other was “What would you do if you discovered your teenage son was in love?” Each had a total of 97,470 and 28,915 respondents, respectively.

    a.. More on CNNGo: Another ‘Tiger Mother’ rebuttal from across the ocean
    In the first poll, piano and karate came out on top with 55 percent and 54 percent of the total votes. In third place was the response “How to deal with men,” which shows that young parents are also concerned about their child’s interpersonal skills and EQ.

    In the second poll, there were more than 15 different response options, but only 366 netizens (less than one percent of respondents) chose the most extreme option of sharply reprimanding the child.

    The reason why books such as “Fu Lei’s Letters Home” and “Education of Love,” as well as more recent titles such as “A Good Mother Is Better than a Good Teacher” and “An Average Student at Home,” are so well-received among Chinese parents is because they reflect a parenting mindset premised on mutual respect and communication between parent and child — an attitude that’s fast becoming the norm in China.

    The parenting method that Amy Chua encourages, one of forcing a child to discover his talents through disciplined and repeated practice, is contrary to the upbringing that many young Chinese mothers have received.

    The parent-child relationship depicted in “Growing Pains,” an American television series popular in China in the 1980s, is something that is finding favor with many mothers of my generation.

    When I was in university, the way the Seaver family openly communicated with each other was something I could identify with.

    This strict parenting style, if blindly — or even vengefully — repeated among successive generations, will only produce a prolonged tragedy.Along with the opening up of China, my parents’ generation had also opened up to other methods of parenting. They no longer held on to a “spare the rod and spoil the child” mindset, but instead saw their children as equals and hoped to build friendships with them.

    Nurturing healthy individuals rather than child prodigies who have no fun
    The desire for one’s child to be a straight-A student or a musical genius seems simple and naive to most Chinese mothers.

    A survey of 1,285 mothers of children up to six years old conducted by Babytree, China’s largest parenting website, found that health, happiness, self-confidence and kindness were the four most important traits that mothers hoped their children would have.

    About 77 percent of mothers did not expect their children to have particular talents and 65 percent of mothers said they would encourage children to pursue their hobbies, even if it was not an interest shared by the mother.

    The most important wish among mothers was for their children to have a happy, stress-free life.

    The point I wish to emphasize is this: a child is a gift, but the right to control him is not a given.

    The child that we nurture may subtly be influenced by our thoughts and values while under our care, but this does not mean that we should forcefully deprive them the independence to discover and grasp other opportunities that the world offers.

    Taiwanese author Lung Ying-tai wrote in her book “Seeing Off” that the role of a parent is merely to stand by one’s child and watch his back as he gradually ventures afar.

    This very appropriately describes the mindset of many young parents in China today.

    To raise a child is to give him the freedom to build a life of his own, rather than to force him to become a replica of your own successes or as compensation to make up for your regrets. As such, the right to decide what is good or bad for a child is not entirely up to the parents — the child should have a say, too.

    If life really is a race, instead of encouraging your child to tirelessly try to outdo others and come in first, why not let him run at an enjoyable pace so he can admire the sights along the way?

    I dare say that most Chinese mothers, especially those belonging to the post-1980s generation, do silently but lovingly encouraging their children to make the most of life in exactly this manner — a mindset contrary to that advocated by Amy Chua.

    Article translated by Debbie Yong. See the original Chinese version here.

    http://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/life/helen-he-dont-demonize-chinese-mothers-545975

  • abama said:

    Chua is a chinese surname common among Filipino people of Chinese descent. It is pronounced as Tsai in Mandarin Chinese. Most of the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines are from Fujian province in China, and I’m one and my true surname is Chua.

    I think most Chinese and Confucian cultures do emphasize education and business or intellectual success and achievement. Encouraging children to excel and helping them in school is one thing, but tying their acceptance to their performance is entirely another.

    All of us 4 siblings graduated with honors from high school to college. A sister of mine topped the medical board exam. But our parents didnt exactly push us to graduate with honors, just doing good in school and passing would suffice. It was my sister who chose to be a doctor, she wasn’t pressured by my parents at all. In fact we had reservations on her chosen course due to the expensive tuition fees.

    In my experience repeatedly calling children debasing names (garbage) does them long term damage.
    In Jewish thought that is tantamount to cursing your children, as our Chinese pastor says, which is a negative trait among Chinese parents. This is something which should be corrected. Just because its your culture and tradition doesn’t mean its all good. I believe in retaining what is good, and a lot of my Chinese values and background is good, but other parts should be thrown away.

    I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg’s father would call him garbage if he failed to become billionaire before the age of 21. Ms. Chua’s husband himself is an achiever, Harvard summa cum laude and all, but even he doesn’t agree with his wife’s tactics. That came from the blessing of Heaven.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    Some words penned in response to the thoughts of a student writing elsewhere . . .

    I would not normally lock horns and try to best a junior in high school; I’m hoping you do not read my words here as such, for they are meant for you only as a provocation to further thought to your ideas well-presented.

    You’ve written that you “used to get frustrated when I had to practice violin and I really didn’t want to . . .” Do I read correctly that you no longer “get frustrated?” If so, that’s a remarkable advancement. As a musician myself I want to ask you, Why do you practice violin and not another instrument of your choosing less frustrating, for examples, flute, harpsichord, tuba, or tabla. There is a vast – and I do mean vast! – repertoire for each of those, and many other, instruments that could challenge you unendingly for the remainder of your life. Instead of spending hours at your chosen instrument (whichever it may be) in the drudgery of isolated practice, why not spend more of your time in practice with music ensembles of various kinds. This can yield a discipline and advancement of a uniquely different kind. If you are studying formally with a violin teacher I’m quite sure he will confirm the well-founded idea that, as a performer, playing an instrument is one kind of challenge but playing an instrument WITH PEOPLE is significantly more so. A musician in isolation is a musician limited. And herein lays one, only one, of the transparent contradictions of the way Professor Chua has taught her two daughters to approach their instruments; opportunistically solely for unartistic purposes.

    A fundamental flaw in the approach to music of Amy Chua – an amusical hack with no known talent for an art of any kind! – is that she has decided it’s perfectly acceptable to pervert one of the greater of the fine arts for use in ulterior purposes. In the example of the Chua family, so-so slogging through masterpieces of music was used to impress others when applying for admission to university. (Would Professor Chua dare to advocate this openly with religion, physics, good grammar, or issues of national interest?) The whole idea that her elder daughter, Sophia, played a debut recital in Carnegie Hall is an early example of the pervasive blight of résumé bloat on which social climbers like Amy Chua have advanced themselves; a blight to which the Chua daughters were introduced early by two parents who know well how to tweak the system to gain unearned personal advantage.

    Carnegie Hall, http://www.carnegiehall.org/history/, includes three auditoria in its building: Stern Auditorium http://www.carnegiehall.org/information/stern-auditorium-perelman-stage/, Zankel Hall http://www.gotickets.com/venues/ny/zankel_hall_at_carnegie_hall.php, and Weill Recital Hall http://www.carnegiehall.org/Information/Weill-Recital-Hall/. It was in Weill that Sophia performed as only one among a cattle-call string of young pianists that day. Do you doubt what I write here? Compare the architectural design,
    http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/RV-AB160_chau_i_G_20110107132345.jpg, behind Sophia with that of the architectural design at the rear of the stage in http://www.carnegiehall.org/information/stern-auditorium-perelman-stage/. Having been a performer, myself, in both Stern and Weill over many years you have my assurance that Sophia performed her piece in Weill. Debut recital in Carnegie Hall! Indeed!

    You have written about your parents that they are “less extreme than Chua I’ll admit, but a lot of her memoir is satire and exaggeration.” Don’t be deceived by quick-change artist Professor Chua. She has spent more than one year trying to convince readers of her text that she is some kind of nouveau belles-lettrist who did no more than exercise a writer’s license to engage her readers. In truth she meant what she wrote until her hypocritical posturing as an authentic Chinese mother — born in Illinois to a Filipino father, neither speaks Chinese nor writes Chinese script — came back to haunt her with a ferocity that caused this self-styled Tiger Mother to recoil into improvised doublespeak. Amy Chua is a complete fake!

    All young musicians should be given only two music instrument choices to pursue in life, Violin or Piano. All else is useless waste. Any adult giving such advice is one woefully ill-informed. As a bass trombonist, my instrument has been my first class ticket from person-to-person, school-to-school, city-to-city, studio-to-studio, and stage-to-stage. With the kinds of preparations the Chua daughters were given will they ever perform, as I have, with Richard Tucker, Birgit Nilsson, Roberta Peters, Herbert von Karajan, Leopold Stokowski, and the two-thirds of The New York Philharmonic who were my schoolmates for five years in Juilliard? Forget it!

    Mercifully, I was never besieged with a Tiger Mother or Tiger Anything to motivate me. Yes, I too sometimes was bored with scales and chords. Yes, sometimes my imagined future seemed an unattainable fantasy. Yes, I did sometimes fall flat on my face in public performance (as did my teachers before me and also their teachers before them). Life went on and continues to do so.

    You’ve written that “At this point (as a Junior in high school) about 35% of the pressure to do well comes from my parents and the other 65% is complete self-motivation.” From the subtlety of your writing I suspect you’re cutting yourself short with that 65%. You appear to be much more highly motivated than your objective perspective about yourself can show you at this early time.

    The violin? I advise you to seriously reëvaluate what you believe is your relationship to any instrument of your choice; if, indeed, the violin has been your choice and not that of someone else. If the violin has been your choice, stay with it through all the coming stormy weather of doubt and seeming incompetence. If it is not, drop it in preference to another more to your liking and its fitness for your physicality. (If it’s the tuba, tell your parents that someone other than I recommended it!)

    Good Luck!

    Cordially,
    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • André M. Smith said:

    Q: You insisted your girls also have hobbies so they wouldn’t become “weird Asian automatons.” So you chose classical music. You didn’t want them doing crafts which “go nowhere” or playing drums which “lead to drugs.”

    A: For me classical music symbolized refinement and hard work and delicacy, and a certain depth. Both the piano and the violin are capable of producing such beauty, something more meaningful than watching TV or doing Facebook for 10 hours. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/13/amy-chua-on-high-stakes-parenting/
    _______________________

    The most extraordinary feature — among many extraordinary features — of the Amy Chua debacle is that no one in authority in New Haven has yet to pull her aside to tell her that she being a Professor of Law at Yale simply isn’t working well for the good of the University.

    This woman is a COMPLETE moron! That she has been able in her book to unite any music instrument whatsoever with deleterious external behavior harkens back to at least somewhere in the nineteenth century when it could be said openly and quite sincerely that Negroes have an innate sense for rhythm and most Italians pass their days in song. Just from what source(s) this half-baked Professor has discovered a relationship between drums and drugs is unstated; and I’m quite sure will so remain.

    Also, this buffoon refers to crafts that “go nowhere” thereby ensuring that her two daughters will have had no experience designing and building to completion with their hands any project of their choice. Her blanket statement about crafts discretely omits details about what she believes any of these cul-de-sac pursuits are.

    But, moving back to the smoke heads and autoharpoonists with which Professor Chua believes the field of percussion music is suffused . . . She who advocates classical music concerts (which she is not known to attend), Mandarin language (which she does not speak, read, or write), and an aggressive pursuit of piano and violin (while being unable to play either) has chosen as her target, from the full palate of the world’s instruments the innocent drum. She can tell it to Stravinsky, Hindemith, Bartok, Kodaly, Copland, Khatachurian, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ives, Janacek, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, and her beloved Mozart and Haydn.

    You might want to set aside a few minutes to see how the staff junkie in this performance has kept everyone else intact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8po7FZonP-I But for us, taking the Professor in her stride let’s look at some of the world’s examples she may have a dread fear one of her daughters may emulate.

    Boston Symphony Orchestra http://www.bso.org/brands/bso/about-us/musicians/bso-musicians/percussion.aspx

    Dallas Symphony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfFqJGehovg

    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra School of Timpani http://www.nickwoud.com/page7.htm

    HHS Winter Percussion-Dublin 2-12-11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXWSS4w15dw

    Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7k6VYGtm8g

    New York Philharmonic Orchestra http://nyphil.org/meet/orchestra/index.cfm?page=section&sectionNum=16

    London Symphony Orchestra http://www.neilpercy.com/

    Berlin Philharmonic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dHOhpRr_Vc

    Bolshoi Theater Percussion Ensemble http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bolshoi-theater-percussion-ensemble-q93538

    Shanghai Percussion Ensemble http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=htsf&oq=&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=Shanghai+Percussion+Ensemble

    Paris Percussion Festival http://speakeasy.jazzcorner.com/speakeasy/showthread.php?t=2968

    Los Angeles Percussion Quartet http://www.lapercussionquartet.com/

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra http://cso.org/About/Performers/Performers.aspx?hid=779&cpid=780&cid=83&nid=826

    Charles Owen, The United States Marine Band and The Philadelphia Orchestra http://www.pas.org/experience/halloffame/OwenCharles.aspx

    Evelyn Glennie (deaf since the age of twelve!) http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=3&oq=%22evelyn+glennie%22&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=evelyn+glennie+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l8l151344lllllllllll0&aqi=g5

    Elayne Jones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82HKMGGqfhg

    Max Roach http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Roach

    Gene Krupa http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=2&oq=%22gene+krupa%22&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=gene+krupa+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l12l31079lllllllllll0&aqi=g5

    Saul Goodman (Long may his memory endure!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4JbVS5-Z3w

    Gerald Carlyss (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/bios/2007/Carlyss07.pdf

    Victor Firth (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.vicfirth.com/education/percussion101-timpani.php

    Fred Begun (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fred-begun-former-national-symphony-orchestra-timpanist-embarks-on-new-ventures/2011/09/21/gIQA1nlrAL_story.html

    Howard van Hyning (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard), conductor of The New York Tympani Choir http://www.pas.org/news/InMemoriam.aspx

    Phil Kraus (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.pas.org/news/InMemoriam.aspx

    Richard Motylinski http://www.ncsymphony.org/about/index.cfm?subsec=people&peoplecat=musicians&catid=19&person=23

    Danny Villanueva http://www.dannyv.zoomshare.com/1.html

    _______________________

    With time and space I easily could list one-hundred more, but these few will prove the point. Got the message, Professor? On any matter dealing with the fine arts you are, to put it discretely, outclassed.

    _______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    An integral amalgam of defining examples of narcissism that Professor Chua has instilled in her two daughters is self-advancement with sexual provocation. Her public signature posture is one of excessive toothiness, for a university professor exceedingly vulgar displays of long legs, and breast projections that might have won her Blue Ribbons as “Best in Show” as a candidate in any Sweater Queen contest during the 1940s or ‘50s. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/sweater-queen-contest She never misses an opportunity to increase the image of her breast size by folding her arms under them; in one oft-reproduced photograph she actually appears to be elevating the left one nudged up by a folded arm. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Amychua4.png

    The elder Chua daughter, Sophia, has learned her lesson well. http://www.nypost.com/rw/nypost/2011/01/18/entertainment/photos_stories/sophia_chua–300×450.jpg and http://www.facebook.com/amytigermother?sk=photos#!/photo.php?fbid=230907580253565&set=o.134679449938486&type=1&theater,

    Birds of a feather . . . A coop of nesting trophy wives!
    _______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    There is a recurring theme without solid core that continues to recycle on the question of Amy Chua and her style as a mother. J.G. (unfortunately anonymous, as are most of the endorsements of Professor Chua) has written

    I think it’s easy to take cheap shots at Chua, but it’s hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others.

    It might seem amusing to mock her (her “cushy job” and “hottie husband”), but harder to actually consider the points being made in a non-defensive way, without trying to paint yourself as the “cool mom” who prefers three martini playdates?

    p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) would paint her parents as laissez-faire and herself as moderately motivated.
    Posted by: J.G. | January 18, 2011 at 02:31 PM http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecareerist/2011/01/chinese-moms.html

    I, for one, have no interest whatsoever in her “cushy job” and “hottie husband.” Nor do I have any objection to her having become a millionaire from the sales of her book and that she will be well on her way to becoming a multimillionare once the planned translations of it into thirteen of the world’s languages have been completed. My uncompromising objections to Professor Chua are two-fold: her abuses of young children pursued to further her own narcissistic urgencies and her deep commitment of abuse of the art of music – of which she seemingly has no knowledge whatsoever – for reasons having nothing to do with that art. My shots at her are far from what J.G. calls “cheap shots.” They do in fact go to the heart of the problems with her that remain my chief concerns.

    J.G. and most of his fellow travelers in their tepid defenses of Professor Chua continue to focus on her inherited emphasis of the sorry state of public education in The United States. What else is new?

    As with most of the ringing endorsements of Amy Chua, those from J.G. are clearly from a mind not wholly engaged. He has written ” it’s hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others. In his tangled syntax I’m quite sure he means – at least I’m hoping he means – it’s hard to argue that the average American child does not need more discipline, more direction or more respect for others.

    J.G. has written further, “p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) . . . “ Again, but this time TWO thoughts from nowhere! What has Williams College to do with Amy Chua (Harvard, A.B. ’84)? And since when has Williams even been on the “fantasy” palate “of Chinese parents everywhere?”

    Professor Chua usually receives the quality of defense she deserves.
    ____________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    I checked Asian. I had heard it was harder to apply as an Asian, so as a point of pride, I had to say I was Asian. http://jadeluckclub.com/true-picture-asian-americans/

    In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride

    1) Tiger Sophia, you may have checked Asian which does have a “tax,” however you also got big bonus points for being a legacy many times over. The upshot is that you had help getting in unlike these Asian Americans below who live at the poverty line and don’t have Ivy League parents with deep pockets.
    2) By checking Asian when, actually, you are of mixed race, you have taken a spot away from those who don’t have the benefit of applying to a less competitive race slot. Thanks to you, someone who[se] life could be completely changed did not get a spot. http://jadeluckclub.com/true-picture-asian-americans/
    For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Matthew 25:29

    Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, the daughter of a mother of mixed Asian ethnicity of no known religious involvement and a secular — whatever that means — American Jewish father has, ostensibly been raised as a Jewess in an atheistic family positing itself as . . . ? When she applied for admission to Harvard she descended into a pride of Asianness to avail herself of an ethnic quota advantage.

    This duplicitous young woman is, indeed, her mother’s daughter! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=230907266920263&set=o.134679449938486&type=1&theater
    __________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Andre M. Smith said:

    An entire class of high school students receive IV drips while cramming for exams
    http://www.ministryoftofu.com/2012/05/photo-an-entire-class-of-high-school-students-receive-iv-drips-while-cramming-for-exams/
    _____________________

    This report, if it doesn’t defy belief, it certainly devastates common sense. Mr Xia, an administrator of a public school in China, has, presumably with the approval of his superiors in the local government office of public education, found justification for facilitating a program that encourages a substance dependence as an acceptable adjunct for intellectual preparation and advancement. Not only is this MISuse encouraged, the paraphernalia are provided to assist in an efficient administration of the medium of condoned choice.

    State grants for adolescent addicts? “In order to spare students the trouble of running back and forth between the infirmary and the classroom and save their time, the school decided to arrange IV drip sessions right in the classroom.” Exhausted students inserting their own IV ports? And monitoring their own dosages? Can’t an ignorant student with no understanding whatsoever of a relationship between dose and consciousness be thought to presume that being kept alert with one strength might yield an added alertness with double dosage? Wake up, Administration!, that’s the way adolescents think!

    Who is foolish enough to believe that all sites of needle insertion have been properly swabbed? Who chooses the sites for multiple insertions? How do students distinguish between veins and arteries, a wrong choice or faulty insertion of which can kill within sixty seconds? Who is foolish enough to believe that all needles are used once only and not shared? With no obvious controls on bag contents, Who is foolish enough to believe that bag residues are not traded for something else of value, e.g., money, sex, correct answers, food, a ride home, etc.

    I’ve noticed outside the windows there is total darkness. The time therefore must be either predawn or post sundown.

    Are these elders completely mad? Have they never heard of the intricate origins and consequences of The Opium Wars? Debilitate–>Conquer!
    __________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  • Marvin McConoughey said:

    Andre Smith asserts that “calling a child – or anyone – by some form of discardable refuse carries with it an unmistakeable understanding everywhere? Where, as he states, in America does the word garbage (and its clear implication) mean anything other than junk, putrefaction, waste, debris, onerousness, useless, unregeneracy, etc.
    Mr Zhao writes from the heart of an experience of twenty-seven years. And Mr McConoughey?”

    Though Mr. Zhao and myself have different experiences, we may have each had the finding that idioms and meanings of common expressions can vary from nation to nation and from culture to culture. An example: In our country “kill the ump” commonly does not convey an actual intent to eliminate the life of the ump. It is a sports-oriented epithet that does not mean precisely what is being said. In some nations, umpires have been, literally, killed by fanatics and perhaps “kill the ump” carries a more serious meaning there. I know that calling a child garbage in my culture is, genuinely, demeaning and pejorative. I do not presume the same level of knowledge concerning all other nations and cultures. Perhaps a Chinese mother living in China will enlighten both Mr. Smith and myself: What are the meanings in China when a mother calls a child garbage?

  • Michael Wang said:

    Hi Dr. Zhao,

    While a latecomer to this article, I wholeheartedly agree with the criticisms (albeit in sarcastic fashion) that you present against Amy Chua’s ‘tiger mom’ position. I think she simplifies a very complicated phenomenon (high achieving ‘Chinese’) and disrespects many other parents in the process. By pointing out the various components of success left out of her article, I think you reveal nicely the complexity of the question: what leads to high achieving children?

    That being said, I also think Amy Chua does a good job of bringing a taboo topic to the forefront. Dr. Zhao, aside from strict parenting, how would you account for the general success (defined by academic achievement, social/economic growth, etc.) of the Chinese/ Chinese American population compared to other American subgroups?

    Sincerely,
    Michael Wang

    1st year doctoral student
    Educational Psychology
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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