u Jintao, Amy Chua and the temptation of the East
In his great small book of the early 20th century, The Temptation of the West, Andre Malraux proposed that the question of the century would be: How will the Chinese adapt to individualism? The question we might ask today as President Hu Jintao visits the United States is, how will the West adapt to the rise of China? So far, I am afraid, not very well. Western people are dreaming now of tigers and dragons. Bad dreams.
Possibly only few can make the journey across the Pacific. Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier, uncomfortable in Seattle with the Hindu waitress at the coffee shop, may long for the Irish charm and camaraderie of the “Cheers” bar in Boston. But those who will be successful in this American journey will travel the path west with him because America’s future faces across the Pacific.
The dragon has landed in D.C., and the tiger at Yale. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” has brought widespread reaction this past week. Writer Ayelet Waldman and her daughters have spent time “raging against the essay and crafting compelling and bombastic rebuttals.” New York Times columnist David Brooks called her “a wimp.”
Chua’s essay is an entertainment. In writing how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids, she says her two daughters were never allowed to: attend a sleepover, have a playmate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin.
But her essay comes with a warning. As President Hu visits Washington today, 90 girls in just one high school in Tennessee are pregnant or have just had a baby. Nurseries are a common feature today in high schools throughout the South. So ends the American century.
Hopefully Chua’s clever children will join the committed Yale alumni who work diligently in Teach for Kentucky at least for a time, because something needs to be done, and what we have done to date hasn’t worked.
Possibly because, as Chua writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”
Visit Mr. Quigley’s website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.
I am Chinese, and I was raised in the so-called “Chinese” way. I grew up envying the friendship between Western mothers and daughters, and I vowed not to parent like my mother.
As a parent, I have discovered it is neither the Western way, nor the Chinese way. There is no one way to be a parent.
I learned from books, and from my daughter by listening to her, watching her, knowing her.
Why does it have to be a choice between the East and the West? I tried to forge the middle ground, and time will tell if I succeeded.
In the meantime, I am quite happy with the results. Near-perfect SAT scores, and offers of admissions to Harvard, Yale and Princeton. You bet I am proud, but what really matters to me is that she grew up to be warm and kind, with an easygoing, unassuming demeanor.
I did not push. I encouraged. And I loved unconditionally .BY good chinese mother on 01/18/2011 at 10:21
They plan to use their wealth and live in perpetual protection as elites in Asia, much like the Kim family of North Korea.
That is the future they planned, that they executed through corrupt trade deals to pile up their profits as they bled dry the USA and its people.
Their future is in Asia. The future they have made for America is only one of destruction.BY They Cursed America on 01/18/2011 at 10:25
I am a 12 year old Chinese girl in North Carolina. I believe that Amy Chua’s child care technique is wrong. Sure, her kids will grow up to suceed, but will they have the creativity to be the best? Will they be the ones thinking of the great ideas? Chua has crushed the creativity in her children. She is stereotyping not only westerners but the people of her own culture as well. Every child is different, but I don’t think any kid likes being controlled like that. I know I wouldn’t. I’m sure that she does this out of love, but doesn’t love mean that you want to make your loved ones happy? Here’s some advice to parents: Love your kids and let their creativity grow. Not everybody has the same gifts, and every child is different. Love, discipline, and have fun! The results will be wonderful.BY 12 year old on 01/18/2011 at 16:54
龙和虎已分别在华盛顿和耶鲁降落。面对中国虎妈蔡爱眉的那本《虎妈的战歌》，在过去一周里，反响是铺天盖地。作家埃莱特 瓦尔特曼和她的几个女儿发动了对蔡的持续的口诛笔伐。《纽约时报》专栏作家大卫 布鲁克斯称蔡是个没能耐的小人。