Why My Chinese Mother is Superior

I’m glad Amy Chua isn’t my mom.

I sent my parents Amy Chua’s “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” article in the Wall Street Journal and this was their reply:

Dear Eric
so, what do you think of your mom and dad?
how about your feeling being a Chinese raised family kid so far?
what will you do for my grandchildren? ha!
Love you always
Superior Mom and Dad

So what do I think about you mom and dad? Well first of all I’m really glad that you’re my parents. I thought the author was a bit extreme, if not at times crazy in her article. No playdates, TV and computer games? Not allowed to choose extracurricular activities? Required to get all A’s and be number one in everything? No wonder you get so many repressed Chinese kids, once they leave their parents and go to college, either go wild and party all the time or not know what to do with themselves because they were never taught to pursue their passions.

Sure parts of that article were true for me. I played the violin. I was forced to memorize the multiplication table in Kindergarten. My parents sent me to “bu xi ban” and gave me extra homework on top of my schoolwork. But my parents never called me garbage or worthless. I was not sent to my room to work like a slave when I didn’t get an A. My parents weren’t disappointed when I wasn’t number one. I could watch TV and play video games. I could choose my extracurricular activities. I did sports. I understand that there are some Chinese parents, like the author herself, who fit the description in the article and that the article is an attempt to defend them, but I find it horribly offensive to many individuals who don’t have parents like that. There were several Facebook wall posts among my friends expressing their disgust at the article. I myself felt the need to defend my parents.

I thought a much richer discussion about this issue would’ve been exploring the reasons – historical and cultural – why many Chinese parents are the way they are. The author glossed over this issue and as a result her arguments in my mind lacked substance. As Chinese immigrants, my parents had to work hard to earn a living and believed that education was everything. When you come from a society like Taiwan and China that historically places the utmost respect and importance on education, you’ll want your children to have the best education they can get because you care about them and in their minds that’s how you succeed in life.

Did my parents exhibit some of those Chinese parent stereotypes mentioned in the article? Of course. But they were willing to give me the freedom to explore my own interests, and they often tell me to take it easy, be healthy, and be happy. And I know for sure that I would not be where I am today without them.

* Note: to be fair, Amy Chua did come out saying that editors at the WSJ “sensationalized” the article and took the most extreme excerpts from her new book, which apparently makes a more nuanced argument.

Nonetheless, this animated spoof of her article is pretty hilarious:

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Comments
One Response to “Why My Chinese Mother is Superior”
  1. jaxie says:

    just saw this!!! YOUR PARENTS TELL YOU THEY LOVE YOU!??!?!?!! i can’t wait until the day my parents say that. my mom has finally been able to text something affectionate… she called me her baby. haha!!!

    -hamigua

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