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For Asian Americans to discuss Asian American issues and topics.
7 posts • Page 1 of 1
http://nypost.com/2014/01/04/tiger-mom- ... an-others/
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/opini ... .html?_r=0
http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/01/27 ... successful
http://www.amazon.com/The-Triple-Packag ... 1611762464
(for the record, I have not purchased or read this $18 book, nor do I plan to until it's avail in the bargain bin)
Her newest book "The Triple Package"---which explains why certain races and cultural groups do better than others, has, not surprisingly, upset all the liberals and 'P.C.' crybabies denouncing her book as "racism," when any honest moron will tell you that a lot of what she has written, is truthful and not very politically correct.
I'm sick of Blacks and Hispanics whining about why the "White man is keeping me down," when, in actuality, Asians and Arabs suffer just as much discrimination and racism in American society, but seem to excel even more than White people. Same with the Jews...but the La Raza's, the Al Sharpton's and Jesse Jackson's don't want their 'people' to think the same way. ...
and you can add Indians and nigerians to that list.
but to be honest,all the asians,Arabs,and indians,nigerians coming to the U.S are usually qualified,they are the cream of the crop of their own societies,whereas asians in canada,arabs in europe,indians in britain ,nigerians in China etc are facing similar issues as black and hispanic americans.
and to deny that anti-black racism in the form of drug prohibition laws don't exist is also false.alot of black men are locked up(to be slaves)for smoking pot,while their white counterparts are simpely not targetted.whereas the black men are seen as free labour in prison.
hispanics are hard workers.etc
50 % of black americans are middle class.you wouldn't know that by watching TV.
btw,that tiger mom is flat as hell!Even I got more butt than her.lol is that what passes as attractive these days
Her work, along with many, many anecdotal examples, are basically the reason that I think the ideal marriage for economic success these days is a Chinese-American marriage. Your child would have access to the two most powerful nations in the world, the cultural strengths of each, and the resources to reach incredibly high levels of success. If I end up single and decide babies and marriage should be in my future, China is definitely the place I'll go.
Indians and Nigerians were already on the list lol. She picked 8 pretty solid groups.
I'm posting a very balanced article on the subject, appeared on the online edition of the Financial Times (FT.com). A bit long but worth a read.
The Tiger Mom, Amy Chua, and her decidedly non-Tiger husband, Jed Rubenfeld, have written a controversial new book about success. When they walk into the rounded living room of their Manhattan pied Ã terre in a tower of the historic Ansonia building, the two Yale law professors are indeed gleaming with success, but in an interesting way, she in knee-high Bond girl boots, and he in a pale purple shirt and stone grey suit.
I knew I would like Chua long before Iâ€™d read her widely vilified memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in which she talks, among other things, about berating and shaming her children into being serious about music, and not allowing them to have sleepovers or be in school plays because they are a frivolous waste of time. Around the time the book came out, I was at an all-womenâ€™s dinner party (I know: God help me). I mentioned that even though I hadnâ€™t yet read it I thought the fact that people were so angry, and hated Chua so passionately, meant that she had something important to say. A famous lady novelist at the table seethed and steamed at the â€œchild abuseâ€ portrayed in the book, and the rampant soul-crushing destructiveness of tiger mothers everywhere, and the pure evil that I was defending, and therefore also very likely embodied. The ambience was so toxic that everyone started making excuses and leaving. I walked out into the cold night with a greater appreciation of Chua, the ability to break up dinner parties with the sheer force of your opinions being something I have always admired.
The international fracas over Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother boiled down to the idea that Chua was mean to her children, and boiled down even further to the idea that she was telling other people they were not mean enough to their children. It largely ignored the actual words on the page, which are filled with self-parody and document, in fact, an intelligent, big-hearted struggle between mother and daughters, old country and new. Chua quotes one of her two daughters saying, â€œMommy, you are so weirdâ€, which is sort of the point of the book, an exploration of cultural and personal weirdness, the clash of weird with the sometimes insipid American normal.
Chua and Rubenfeldâ€™s explosive new meditation on success, The Triple Package, has already begun to enrage people, even those who, by their own admission, havenâ€™t read it but have simply heard about how shocking it is. The book asks the charged question of why certain ethnic groups do better than others, why certain populations instil in their children an ability to succeed to a greater extent than others. It is not a subject that we talk easily or freely about but they present evidence that certain immigrant groups in America â€“ Jews, Asians, South Asians, Iranians, Cubans, Nigerians â€“ seem to thrive, largely in economic terms, in test scores, college admissions, net worth and income, while others seem to have a harder time. They also look at the disproportionately large number of Asians in top music schools, of Cubans in Florida politics, of Indians in finance, and of Jews among successful comedians. Why, they ask, do some groups produce more bankers, lawyers, doctors, famous fashion designers, bestselling authors, than others?
They argue that these â€œsuccessfulâ€ groups cultivate in their children a â€œtriple packageâ€ of qualities. The first is superiority: children are encouraged to feel superior, chosen, special, turning outsider status into a badge of honour. But they believe that this sense of superiority, of being better than banal mainstream culture, has to be combined with a rousing sense of insecurity, a haunting feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough; it is the combination of these two qualities that leads to achievement, to the kind of obsessive drive that they admire.
The last part of â€œthe triple packageâ€ is â€œimpulse controlâ€. In a dominant culture that places a premium on immediate gratification, on hanging out, on fulfilment over hard work, on expression over effort, the ability to defer, to control, to be disciplined is also part of the â€œpackageâ€.
As Rubenfeld and Chua carefully anatomise the â€œtriple package personâ€, I find myself a little scared of this character: so efficient, so disciplined, so focused, so streamlined, so ambitious! She will be up at the gym while you are sleeping, she will be working with inspired concentration while you are gossiping over coffee, she will be organising her kitchen spices while you are foraging for Advil for a hangover. But then there is Chua, herself pure triple package, and she is so charming you forget to be scared of her.
â€œI was a fat kid with an accent and glasses and greasy hair,â€ she says, â€œand I felt great.â€ The reason she felt great was that her parents imbued her with a sense of superiority. They both loved her and pushed her to death. She quotes a Chinese joke, â€œâ€˜If your child ever has a problem with a teacher or coach you always take the side of the teacher or coach.â€™ Itâ€™s kind of a joke but itâ€™s only half a joke. Because you never complain. I was raised never challenging the system. If the teacher is unfair, you work 10 times as hard.â€
The book itself studiously avoids veering into memoir and is, according to its authors, â€œactively not a how-toâ€. But letâ€™s say we admire the spark of the triple package, the terrifyingly productive spirit, the spurring desire to achieve. How can we reproduce the immigrant psychology in children who are not second-generation immigrants? How can we avoid the complaisance and insipid materialism of texting teens? How can we raise anxious, driven, original kids?
For one thing, Chua and Rubenfeld are very critical of the self-esteem movement, which is to say the warm bath theory of parenting that espouses children feeling good about themselves no matter what. â€œYou canâ€™t raise your child saying, â€˜Youâ€™re perfect, youâ€™re amazing, everything you do is amazing,â€™ and give that person the drive to get somewhere,â€ Chua says. â€œSelf-esteem has to be earned to be really internalised, in order for a child to have that unbreakable sense of superiority.â€ Her point is that if you praise your children for mediocre grades, for not scoring goals, for painting a blah painting, they know in their hearts that they have not succeeded, and you do not foster a real or enduring sense of achievement. According to this very intriguing logic, many of our efforts to protect or support our children are, in fact, crippling them.
Whatâ€™s the alternative though? Chua calls it â€œgrit parentingâ€ and it involves instilling an ethic of work, of overcoming obstacles, of discipline. She points out that in many walks of life, not just business or law, even artistic ones, you need to be resilient, you need to work through rejections and setbacks. You canâ€™t always call your mother to fix things. (A partner in a major consulting firm once told me he had a young manâ€™s mother call to renegotiate his salary, which is, I guess, the exact opposite of â€œgrit parentingâ€.)
It is hard to imagine a time when either Rubenfeld or Chua was not successful, not emanating a brisk goal-achieving energy. But after college Rubenfeld drifted to Juilliard to study acting for a while; he didnâ€™t pursue it as he didnâ€™t think he was good enough. Chua remembers a time that she took a standardised test in school and did so badly she was placed in a â€œnon-college-boundâ€ group. Her response to this humiliation was to memorise words so ardently that she became, well, what she became.
She studied maths at Harvard because her parents wanted her to be a doctor, and she hated it so much she switched to pre-law school. She was oppressed, badgered by â€œthe triple packageâ€ and yet revelled in it, appreciated it. As Chua puts it, â€œWhat I like is turning being an outsider into a source of strength.â€
Notably missing from their rigorous and intimidating definition of success is the minor question of happiness. Most people, I point out, would say that they only want their children to be happy, and Chua, in Battle Hymn, says just that. But what they seem to be measuring in The Triple Package is people who make money or are famous, people who strive and rise and are ambitious.
Itâ€™s true, though, that when people say they just want their children to be happy, they usually mean happy in a certain way, or according to certain ideas of a successful life. A naked schizophrenic in the street, singing, might be rapturously happy but that kind of happy is not what they mean. Most people, if they are honest, mean happy with an asterisk.
I ask them about someone who moves to Vermont, teaches second grade, has lots of children and dogs and is happy. They are quiet for a moment.
â€œThatâ€™s a non-triple package person,â€ Chua says.
â€œThere are a host of good, decent people who are not ambitious, who are not climbing, who may have the best lives of all,â€ says Rubenfeld, who is gentler. â€œWe are just not writing about those people.â€
â€œTriple package people are not necessarily that good at happiness,â€ says Chua. â€œWe wanted to be honest about the darker side of success. We wanted to uncover its psychological underpinnings, its particular pathologies.â€ And indeed the book is both a celebration of â€œthe triple packageâ€ and an examination of its burdens; it tells the story of famous immigrants, such as the designer Phillip Lim, who are haunted by the feeling that nothing they do ever quite meets expectations. Someone asked him why he doesnâ€™t invite his mother to his catwalk shows and he said, â€œYou know, I think it comes back to that Asian cultural aspect where you are never good enough. You know what I mean? Itâ€™s like an â€˜Aâ€™ is not good enough, you have to be an â€˜A+â€™, and I have never felt good enough to receive her.â€
Rubenfeld, who writes moody, highbrow, internationally bestselling mystery novels when he is not teaching, says, â€œThe sense in my own life that nothing I do is good enough has been a source of real unhappiness for me but itâ€™s also what drives me to write novels and books like this.â€
I wonder about the writing process. I mention that for many married people writing a book together would be a strain.
â€œDid we mention we are divorcing?â€ Rubenfeld jokes.
I laugh. â€œWas it great? Fun? Horrible?â€
â€œAll of those things,â€ he says. â€œGreat, fun, horrible.â€
â€œIt was fun!â€ says Chua.
They have very different personal styles: heâ€™s quiet and thoughtful, sheâ€™s hummingbird vibrant and chatty and bold. â€œHe moves slowly,â€ Chua says. â€œHe thinks before he talks.â€
â€œYou say that like itâ€™s a bad thing!â€ I say.
â€œI think with loud music playing in the car,â€ Chua says. â€œThings tumble out. My own natural voice would be the wacky illogicality of Battle Hymn. Without him I would have a mess.â€
In fact, of the two of them Rubenfeld is the provocative one, or the one more comfortable with provocation. Chua does not seek out controversy, and even with Battle Hymn, she was not consciously seeking out the battle; there is an intensity to her, a high-energy magnetism, that seems, well, tigerish, but in life, she says, â€œ I want to be liked. I am a diplomat. I smooth things over.â€
However, weeks before publication the book has already been labelled a â€œracist argumentâ€ by The New York Post and Time, and other media, not to mention Twitter, echo that accusation. In fact, the book argues that for African-Americans, discrimination has been so entrenched in our institutions, it is harder to transcend than it is for other groups. Nowhere does it make the argument that there is anything innate in African-Americans that impedes the success of some segments of the population but, rather, that prejudice against them has been so deep that it is in a different category than that facing other groups. If looking around your world it seems that hard work wonâ€™t be rewarded, in other words, why bother?
Chua and Rubenfeld know that talking about cultural groups is a touchy business, that people will think they are stereotyping, because no matter how carefully you do it, the mere fact that you are speaking about them at all will blindly enrage people. Why do it when so many are bound to be offended? â€œThe advantage of generalising,â€ Chua says, â€œis that you can see patterns, truths are revealed.â€
I have a feeling that the talk of â€œsuccessâ€ will also irritate and provoke. However complex or subtle the analysis, certain readers will feel they are being ruthlessly labelled failures. They will feel an implicit brutality, a dismissal of the variety of successes, and the faltering of dreams, in the judgments of who is â€œsuccessfulâ€. By defining and pinning down success, you are also defining and pinning down â€œfailureâ€, which will make people uncomfortable.
Towards the end of our conversation I confess that I feel a little daunted by the rigorousness of their definition of success. I have no savings. I write for a living. I have known myself to spend $600 on a pair of beautiful shoes to the slight detriment of the electric bill. If I took the marshmallow test, I am pretty sure I would fail it. (In fact, someone gave it to my three-year-old and I found myself rooting for him to fail it. I was thinking, â€œTake the marshmallow! Take the marshmallowâ€, because who knows if the world will still be there in five minutes.)
One thing that Rubenfeld and Chua do not seem to condone is â€œliving in the momentâ€, which they call a â€œhollowâ€ way to be. The idea of planning, seeing the outlines of the future, following a bigger picture, takes on for them an almost moral urgency. The joy of idling, of luxurious, wasted summer days, mornings whiled away in bed, seems not to be part of their vision of â€œtriple packageâ€ success.
And yet, in a world in which people are immensely anxious about their childrenâ€™s futures, these thorny questions of success do occupy our imaginations. We run our kids ragged with lessons, enriching them within an inch of their life, for fear they will slip through the middle-class standard of living in a harsh, new future that we envision but canâ€™t quite understand. This is a cultural moment in which an unprecedented amount of energy is being poured into creating â€œsuccessfulâ€ children and yet we seem often to be floundering and misguided in how precisely to do that. (I myself worry that one danger is creating â€œsuccessfulâ€ young adults with no soul or self to inhabit that success, but thatâ€™s a whole other subject.)
Rubenfeld says, â€œPeople are going to think we are obsessed with Ivy League universities and income, and they are going to think we are obsessed with class.â€ Judging from the early reactions, one would have to add â€œraceâ€ to that list. But if they are obsessed with those things, they are interestingly obsessed, they are sensitively, intelligently obsessed, attuned to the ambiguities of those obsessions.
Of course, life and, more specifically, your offspring, have a way of surprising you no matter how carefully you plan. Rubenfeld and Chuaâ€™s elder daughter Sophia, now at Harvard, announced that she had joined the armyâ€™s Reserve Officersâ€™ Training Corps on campus, and hopes to become an officer after graduating. They were stunned. â€œShe found the one thing that it never once crossed our mind she would do,â€ says Chua. She had found the one path they could not have imagined their virtuoso piano player taking, and yet they are both proud and worried sheâ€™ll go somewhere dangerous, rising to the occasion and adapting as good parents do.
In the end they seem to know that it is the rogue surprise, the moment when the child breaks out and reaches for independence, when the â€œpackageâ€, whatever it is, falls away, that the fun, by which I mean the true or deepest success, begins.
Coincidentally, this is Amy Chua's family background. Not quite the self-made girl, with parents of such caliber...
Chua was born in Champaign, Illinois. Her parents were Chinese Filipinos who are ethnically Chinese from the Philippines and immigrated to the United States. She is of Hoklo ancestry from Fujian and was raised in a Hokkien-speaking, not a Mandarin Chinese-speaking, household. Amy's father, Leon O. Chua, is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a writer on nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks, and is the discoverer of the memristor. Chua's mother was born in China in 1936, before relocating to the Philippines at the age of 2. She subsequently converted to Catholicism in high school and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, with a degree in chemical engineering, magna cum laude.
Speaking of which (my mind wonders...) below is the son of a famous scientist I respect the most. Mark Oliver Everett, also known as "E" of the rock band Eels and of a respectable solo career as a modern bluesman.
His father was none less than world-class physicist Hugh Everett, the inventor or the theory of multiple universes. For how accomplished he was in his professional life, he was an absolute arsehole to his small, local non-quantic world called family.
To which extent, I find the following documentary much more instructive on the family conditions that yield true filial genius than all of Chua's books put together.