Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tiger Mom

A few weeks ago a Chinese lady published a book about how much of a domineering parent she is. An expert posted on the Internet caught fire because of America's insecurity about the rise of China (see the State of the Union speech).

I think this New Yorker article is one of the best looks at the whole story--including the meta-story, the story behind the story--and a good example of how to write that kind of piece. My only criticism is that the commentary on the content is a bit light: are Chinese students really better prepared for the future?

I'd also comment that what I found most interesting about the hysteria is how people who parents like Chua, who agree with Chua on a lot of things, vilified her. Lots of people, most people, at MIT have parents like her. To get into MIT you need a lot of luck, a lot of raw intelligence, or parents who beat you into doing things to please admissions officers. As far as I can see, only 10% got in on intelligence and maybe 20% on luck, so the vast majority is here because of overbearing parents.

But maybe this explains it: They want to pretend their parents aren't like Chua. That side of their parents really is crazy. And in retrospect (I've heard people emote this) people feel really stupid for getting so stressed out in high school about music, GPAs, and college admissions.

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