Home > culture, education, News > A bombshell at the WSJ by Amy Chua: “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”

A bombshell at the WSJ by Amy Chua: “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”

Amy Chua with her daughters, Louisa and Sophia, at their home in New Haven, Conn. (WSJ)

First of all, Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and author of a number of books. Her daughters are already accomplished musicians. By all accounts, her family epitomizes an American dream come true.

Her article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in the WSJ has already elicited 2700+ comments, probably a new record for the paper. Let’s just say, there are many more upset American moms today than there were just two days ago. Here, a Boston Herald mom writes:

Chua’s premise: “Western” moms — her euphemism — are permissive and raising a nation of losers. Chinese-American mothers are strict and produce intellectual rock stars.

Most of the reactions in the U.S. have been against Chua’s views. She obviously timed the article in light of the recent PISA report ranking Shanghai top in the world to publicize her new book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” which, by the way, was released today. It appears the article as a caricature probably doesn’t fully represent the book, according to this review at the San Francisco Chronicle.

There are numerous counters to Chua’s methods as a parent. Here is one from Chinese American writer, Cynthia Liu (with a PhD in literature and creative writing from U.C. Berkeley), “Amy Chua’s Book on ‘Model Minority’ Parenting, a Tempest in a Green-Tea Pot?” (Actually, she has links to quite a few thought-provoking facts. For example, Chinese Americans with similar qualifications and work experience make substantially less than their White counter-parts.)

Some of the counters are rather extreme. I suppose this author is not used to Chua’s tone or something; “Amy Chua, America’s new breed of racist.” This author writes, “After reading this piece by super mama grizzly Amy Chua, I wasn’t sure if I should congratulate her for raising two accomplished daughters or help the poor girls escape through a bedroom window.”

Going back to the WSJ article comments, it is clear there is a divide between proponents of Chua’s methods and the detractors. Many agree with her on the importance of high expectations. Most Chinese Americans think Chua’s methods are too extreme and not representative of the average “Chinese mom.”

I guess I can personally attest to that. I grew up with a fair mixture of video games, organized sports, and math (yes, on the weekends too). I only wished I got into reading more when I was younger. On the whole, I think I agree with Chua more than I disagree. Our world is becoming more specialized. “Well rounded” is an important attribute, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with being successful and “geeky.” I am not sure how much room there is for “success” to be had for simply being “well-rounded” in the future.

There are many claiming that Asian suicide rate is high in America. Chua’s methods cause suicides, the argument goes. But, according to the National Institute of Health, American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Non-Hispanic Whites are actually much higher:

Highest rates:
American Indian and Alaska Natives — 14.3 per 100,000
Non-Hispanic Whites — 13.5 per 100,000
Lowest rates:
Hispanics — 6.0 per 100,000
Non-Hispanic Blacks — 5.1 per 100,000
Asian and Pacific Islanders — 6.2 per 100,000

My favorite take on Chua’s article comes from novelist, journalist, and China expert, Dori Jones Yang.

I think Amy Chua is brilliant!

She’s the Yale Law School professor who wrote a book, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition, about the superiority of Chinese parenting. Among her alleged rules: mandatory violin and piano lessons, no sleepovers, no playdates, no computer games, no grade less than an A. She claims to have called her daughter “garbage” when the child was extremely disrespectful, a comment which she implies was a good motivator.

I don’t know Amy Chua, but I am almost certain she is exaggerating. She’s pulling our leg about stereotypes about Chinese parenting, and the fact that her two daughters posed with her, playing the violin and piano, says to me that they too have a sense of humor.

Look at the grins on their faces! If Chua had written a careful, nuanced analysis of Chinese and American parenting styles, she wouldn’t have received half the publicity. I hope she sells lots of books!

As the wife of a Chinese American and the parent of a now-grown child, I have some experience with this style of parenting. Sometimes it goes badly awry, and the child rebels, majoring in — gasp! — art. (Every Chinese American parent’s nightmare.) Sometimes it results in a lifelong drive to succeed in a highly challenging field. And sometimes the child takes advantage of the opportunities of a great education and then goes on to pursue personal dreams.

I too think Chua is exaggerating. After researching into this article more, I can understand most of the reactions in the U.S. have been negative or extremely negative. Those exaggerated “draconian” views about Chinese moms have resonated with many Americans about China herself, as is often portrayed in the American media. My mom and my Chinese friends mothers are no way like what Chua described. Chua is likely not that either, especially on Yang’s or the San Francisco Chronicle reviewer’s accounts.

For my American friends, I simply encourage them to visit China to see what the other “Chinese mom” is like there; she is absolutely not “draconian” either.

  1. SilentChinese
    January 11th, 2011 at 10:43 | #1

    Desperate House Wife: the Asians

  2. January 11th, 2011 at 11:03 | #2

    There are lots of stereotypes on steroids here, but where there is smoke, there is probably some fire…

    Amy may be describing the Taiwanese parents I knew when I grew up (my Mom was more relaxed than the stereotype, but not by too much).

    But today in China, this stereotype is just not true. Most parents work – that means many send the kids back to the grandparents – who spoil them – or have grandparents come help spoil (I mean raise) the kids. With the parent spending less time with their children than ever, parents tend to spoil the children more than they otherwise would. With the single child policy, that means the spoiling get amplified even more…

    Oh, I forgot, Chinese (Asian) parents are supposed to be tough.

  3. January 11th, 2011 at 11:34 | #3

    Whether Amy is right or wrong about parenthood – I do hope Amy will get publicity for her book – World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability – which I think more people should read…

  4. January 11th, 2011 at 12:39 | #4

    I want to buy that book. Thx for the link.

  5. r v
    January 11th, 2011 at 18:26 | #5

    I think it’s case by case.

    I know my mother was very strict with me. My mother side are all highly educated, for generations of an very old Shanghai family. So, my maternal uncles and aunts were also very strict with their kids.

    They all worked, but they all spend a lot of time drilling with their kids.

    *It is true that today’s Chinese kids are less disciplined by their parents. But in China today, Chinese parents pay the school teachers to be strict with the kids.

    I remember I used to get the “double whammy” from my parents and my teachers. (They all used to call me lazy and stupid and ungrateful, for slacking off a little bit).

    On that note, I do agree with Amy Chua that kids should get used to it. (My mother always tell me that I need to grow “thick skin”).

    I am thankful to my parents and my Chinese teachers that I did grow “thick skin”, and got used to the drilling.

    (I even missed it sometimes. That’s why I went back to law school).

    I mean, seriously, if kids can’t take a little insult from parents and teachers, how will they survive in the real world?

    It’s like military boot camp. The drill instructors will insult you, but you will get tough.

    and the best lesson? Kids need to learn that they will never know what they can do, unless they are PUSHED to the limit to try their best. (And they don’t know when they have done their best, when they are kids).

    I take that philosophy in every thing I do today. Failures and mistakes happens all the time. They are there to weed out the lazy and the weak.

    Those who try repeatedly, Thomas Edison, etc., will win in the long haul. There was no secret to Edison, other than he just keeps trying (and the man rarely slept).

  6. Chops
    January 12th, 2011 at 00:00 | #6

    Seems there may be some truth to the stereotype, at least for Westernized Asian parents, when it comes this obsession with Piano and Violin


    “Asian parents always want to refine their children. This includes enrolling them in music lessons at a very young age until about the beginning of high school. But not just any kind of music lessons: piano or violin ‘edification. (At times, flute is acceptable too.) These instruments symbolize, to many Asians, the epitome of refinement. It isn’t too different from the English during the Regency and Victorian periods when a young middle class woman’s ability to play piano was a sign of her sophistication. This asian refinement is a sign of accomplishment because the asian parents are able to ‘afford’ these frills.

    In asian circles, piano is the choice instrument, followed very closely by the violin. The violin is often a preference because it’s small and portable, great for young children.

    To conservative Asians, most other instruments are a no-no. “

  7. January 12th, 2011 at 00:05 | #7

    I’ve been reading reactions around the Web for a bit, and here are some quotes I thought interesting (readers responding to this critique):

    Posted by: broh | January 11, 2011 8:44 PM
    To ignore Dr Chua’s article completely is to ignore the plethora of social issues we are facing in the modern age: unhealthy dependence on credit, obesity, education, and the list goes on. Many of these issues can be attributed to the decline of the importance of discipline in raising a child.

    Posted by: paraivie | January 11, 2011 9:10 PM
    I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the following sentences: “Sure, this might be lazy. But it’s the rationale we’re going with. And we feel great about it!”

    Creativity is absolutely necessary for growth and development of a society. But how can you have that when you don’t have engineers to plan out city and highway infrastructures, doctors to treat heart attacks and prevent cancer, lawyers to protect citizens and develop our legislature.

    Our poor testing scores tell us that our youth will not be able to create a stable future to build on. Why leave it to chance that a random genius will one day appear and save us all? That’s like supporting strict pro-life laws simply because it’s possible that life born out of incest has the miniscule possibility of bringing forth the ultimate genius that the world has ever known.

    That sounds ridiculous and unrealistic. Similarly, I could only shake my head by the statement, “We just need a spark of genius to pull us all up out of this rut.”

    Posted by: Aries-Z | January 12, 2011 1:00 AM
    Let’s get one thing right here. I am a successful inventor and entrepreneur and from my experience from the school of hard knocks, I can tell you that we need a combination of good education, creativity, discipline and self-confidence, (which only comes about from the demonstration of competence). All these go hand in glove. Everything has a recipe of key basics. If you have all these qualities, you can expect to lead a successful life instead of a meager one. Similarly, you can compose a recipe for a poor life, a criminal life and so on.

    It’s never just one thing or quality. It’s not an either/or choice with discipline, creativity and competence. And of course, without competence you ain’t going anywhere either. Incompetence alone breeds failure.

    As most people are probably aware of these days, generally speaking the East tends to be missing on creativity and the West on discipline. We can learn something from each other.

  8. January 12th, 2011 at 08:58 | #8

    I’m sure that Amy Chua had no idea she was about to light a fuse that would explode when her essay was published in The Wall Street Journal about Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, which they are.
    However, I am not surprised at the response.
    I suspect that most of Chua’s critics are either of the US Baby Boomer generation, the Narcissistic, Self-esteem generation (NSG) raised by the Boomers or children that resent mothers that sets strict rules and use the word “NO” often.
    In 2000, Paul Beagle, who was a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”
    He was right.
    Studies show that the average American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attended a parent-teacher conference for their children kindergarten through twelfth grade.
    NSG parents are worse.
    In fact, according to data at the Media Literacy Clearinghouse, in 2009, the average hours:minutes spent with each medium in a typical day among eight to eighteen year olds in the US was 4:29 watching TV; 2:31 listening to music/audio; 1:29 on the computer; and 1:13 playing video games.
    When do these children and teens have time to study? Where are the parents? Do these parents know how to say “NO” as most Chinese mothers do?
    A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese but was a US public school teacher once as I was for thirty years, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it’s obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

  9. January 12th, 2011 at 09:31 | #9

    It’s a great article and really contrasts American and Chinese values. Poor America, once a thriving example of hard working paternal puritan values, now it more the insanity and fecklessness of Münster Anabaptism. Another recent news article of the difference appears below:

    Ed Rendell and American Wussification

    Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has been making headlines. The NFL’s decision on Monday to postpone the Eagles-Vikings game because of snow stood for, well, everything that ails us.

    “We’ve become a nation of wusses,” Rendell declared. “The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think they would have called off the game? People would have walked down to the stadium doing calculus on the way.”

    His throw-away line made it to NBC and BBC news, and created quite a stir.

    Pre-wussification, the theory goes, we were an economic powerhouse. Then we decided to sheathe our little princes and princesses in bubble wrap. Now we give them graduation ceremonies for getting through nursery school, and a trophy just for showing up at soccer. We’ve removed play from the playground to keep them from scraping a knee. If anything goes wrong we call the lawyers and sue for millions.

    The Chinese economy has long been kicking our butt, now their school kids are wearing boots too. Just this month, U.S. education officials were surprised by an OECD report showing students in China outperforming American kids by a wide margin in reading, math and science.

    A wuss, they say, is half wimp, half puss. It’s not just the five minute attention span, it’s the inability to put down the mirror and think about something other than oneself. American kids used to grow up like Martin Luther and laugh at the Marie Antoinette French. Now we’ve gone Britney Spears and China’s laughing.

    So Rendell’s comments have ignited debate. One journalist asked an audience if the nanny state has gone too far. Everyone said yes. Give us something more manly they cried. Obama on steroids? You can’t turn a tabby cat into a tiger they laughed.

    An Asian member of the audience suggested suspending democracy and imposing some disciplined Chinese paternal authoritarianism. There was a deafening silence, then it dawned on them – we’re screwed.

  10. TonyP4
    January 12th, 2011 at 09:32 | #10

    The primary aim of education is producing good citizens. The best way is on the middle road for the majority. Amy’s is one extreme and the average black parenting in most urban cities is another extreme. We need to emphasize education is more important from the family. The seeds will give healthy trees if they’re well cared for.

  11. Charles Liu
    January 12th, 2011 at 10:58 | #11

    Bing “Amy Chua racist”, you’ll find stuff like this:


    I just love bigotry like “[illegal] to raise your child this way in America”.

  12. January 12th, 2011 at 14:38 | #12


    I think Amy Chua purposedly exagerrated in her article to hit this raw nerve across America. It is a shrewd marketing move.

    Interesting statistics and thanks for sharing them.

    When talking to my friends and relatives in China, some of them tell me the Chinese are trending that way too – their interactions with their kids are becoming less as economic opportunities become more for the grabbing.


    If we look at the overwhelming negative reactions across America to Amy Chua’s article, it is clear the deeply entrenched values of “freedom” and “individualism” are taking offense.

    Amy Chua has found a venue to rile up this raw nerve. The next question is how to reach across.

    “Sacrafice” is an extremely foreign concept in the U.S. right now.

  13. January 12th, 2011 at 15:33 | #13


    He said it’s obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

    I also meant to say, sacrifice is polar opposite to “freedom” and “individualism.” So, I don’t think the conclusion is Chinese mother love their children more than their American counter parts. The key is that the Chinese mothers perhaps moderate “freedom” and “individualism” more than the American mothers do.

  14. wwww1234
    January 13th, 2011 at 00:34 | #14

    @Lloyd Lofthouse

    “confucian mothers” can be stratified into various categories, the devotion is roughly inversely proportional to the geographic distance of these societies from china.
    礼失而求诸野 ( when etiquette is lost, look for it in the country side_) is the reason.

    Kids are more reserved, disciplined, traditional, harder working on their school work in Korea/SE asia/Hong Kong/Taiwan/then mainland China, on the average, in that order??
    I don’t know much about Japan, as my roommate was a 2nd generation Japanese from Haiwaii.

    No one wants to take up a 2nd full time job, as a policewoman/policeman at home after work. And indeed it is a personal sacrifice to be one, without pay and often without gratitude at the end, esp with kids growing up in North America . My family, and I know of several Jewish families, never had a TV at home.

  15. Chops
    January 13th, 2011 at 02:14 | #15

    Here’s an Asian American perspective

    Mother, superior?
    By Jeff Yang, Special to SF Gate


  16. January 13th, 2011 at 03:03 | #16

    De Wang,

    Yes we are looking at overwhelming negative reactions, but her book is a best seller and the article is the most popular ever on the Wall Street Journal. Rome was not build in a day. She is changing the underlying psychological makeup of America, she is part of the process of striping away everything they believe in. This creates a state of nervous breakdown which provokes extreme reactions and violence. The political shooting is typically symptomatic of the psychological change occurring in America. Did you think the transition from Judeo-Christian values to Eastern Philosophy would be easy? Look at Germany, now the most Chinese like nation in the West. This change from individualism to collectivism tore apart the society and created Hitler. Today America has Sarah Palin, the question is will they find the good behind collectivism quickly, or will it take death and destruction to make that change? Think the American Civil War. Ultimately it depends on how smart the Americas are. They will change, but they can do it quickly or they can resist.

  17. January 13th, 2011 at 03:18 | #17

    De Wang,

    A person to read about is Yukio Mishima. Now he was far from a perfect person, he was infected with individualism and hedonism himself. But he was torn between the immoral life and the Japanese idea. He saw Japan moving away from goodness, becoming a deeply materialistic place. He killed himself to send a message to Japan – reform before it it too late. Ten years later Japan blew up in an orgy of materialism. Today Japan is changing course, inspired by China.

    The big theme of history today is two fold – will the West change their values system, and will China destroy itself the way the Japanese did. I am hopeful for China, but it is walking a tightrope. The vast size of China, and the lack of real philosophical direction, could take it toward materialism and individualism.

  18. pug_ster
    January 13th, 2011 at 11:38 | #18


    Actually, she spoke on the Today show and she realized that she made mistakes about micromanaging their kids. Too bad the articles didn’t mention about that.

  19. January 13th, 2011 at 14:00 | #19

    pug_ster, Chops – thx for the links.

    Folks – please see my latest post.

  20. su xu
    February 1st, 2011 at 18:39 | #20

    This is a daunting story that is amazingly and hardly believably being proud of by this prejudiced woman. I was raised by a strict father in china and have had my own 1yr child. I suffered a lot from fullfilling my father’s goal that he thought is mine too. I did not enjoy that much my childhood since it’s full of having to do this, cannot do, can only do this way….I am not raising my child this way at all and I am not turning myself to my father. I see how much I crave for freedom and I will give all these I had missed to my son.

    And, I don’t agree with that chinese mom are more superrior to american moms. there’re so many to prove that wrong, but look at this simple thing, if chinese mom are so smart, excellent, why the country is still so poor, and why chinese students still want to come to america to study for all sorts of degrees and majors. if they are so smart?

  21. wwww1234
    February 1st, 2011 at 22:38 | #21

    an average white can expect to enjoy a relatively comfortable/average american life. Not so for any colored minority in the US. Read the studies abound if that is important to you. In toronto, the median income for 2nd generation chinese is significant lower than their white contemporaries, if you separate them from the high tech recent immigrants, mostly from India.
    Good luck to your kids.

  22. February 1st, 2011 at 23:09 | #22

    @su xu,

    Sorry to hear about your rough childhood experience. Glad to hear you are trying to strike a balance for your own child.

    The WSJ article supposedly by Amy Chua is not what her book is about. Sounds like your father fits the version in the article well.

    My whole point behind the post was that the WSJ is looking to sell more papers and generate more ad revenue by making this whole affair into a Chinese mom vs. American mom. Not sure how you could have missed that.


    Indeed, the story is true as well in the U.S.. Look at the article I referenced above by Cynthia Liu. The reference study was actually more precise. 2nd generation Chinese Americans with same job, skill, and experience make significantly less than their White American counter-parts.

  23. wwww1234
    February 3rd, 2011 at 00:56 | #23
  24. February 3rd, 2011 at 01:53 | #24


    I feel like this ELIE MYSTAL has a identity/heritage crisis. Sure, she is poking fun at something that’s reasonably controversial: old people can sue their children if they feel neglected.

    But think in U.S. terms. Look at the mountain of debt the grandpa’s and grandma’s in the U.S. leaving behind for the young. Look at how the older generation has virtually bankrupted Social Security for the young.

    She needs to poke fun and speak tough at herself more.

  25. wwww1234
    February 3rd, 2011 at 02:46 | #25

    Frankly, I suspect part of the difference in how much time/effort Confucian/western parents are willing to spend on their offspring, is related to the expected return, consciously or unconsciously.
    In modern society with pension and savings, the return is largely spiritual.

    Fidelity to your parents has been instilled into our culture over thousands of years, and is as paramount as the “common laws”, to the benefit of social stabilization and human happiness.

  26. TonyP4
    February 3rd, 2011 at 06:05 | #26

    It could be all about China.

    * If the book were published 20 years ago, it may not be that popular as China was still weak.

    * The parents may be afraid the next generation cannot compete with China/India. It is quite true and most tests require analytical thinking. When 6 of 10 black/Hispanic drop out in high school and they will be the majority, we do not have a future.

    * They argue Chinese will not have good team members and/or genius like the founders of Microsoft, Facebook… Actually China has schools for genius. The reason is no protection on intelligent property today, but it will change.

    The only major problem in this strict parenting is the high college kids’ suicidal rate and some may be not happy of their accomplishments in life.

  27. TonyP4
    February 3rd, 2011 at 06:13 | #27

    @su xu
    The reason China is so poor is China ignored the Europe’s industrial revolution that gave rise to advanced weapons. It led to sub colonization of China and Brits pushed drugs to China. After all the payments of unfair treaties, China was bankrupt. Then came WW2, and Mao’s mis governance.

    Before 16th century, China was the richest, most advanced country in the world. From a book I read, almost half of the world inventions and their derivatives came from China and the rest were from India, Prussia…

  28. February 3rd, 2011 at 13:12 | #28


    Fidelity to your parents has been instilled into our culture over thousands of years, and is as paramount as the “common laws”, to the benefit of social stabilization and human happiness.

    I generally agree, and I hope this value remains intact as China becomes an affluent society.

    @TonyP4, #26

    Completely agreed with your points. On creativity – I thought the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony was grand creativity on display. And nobody can claim it was partly Spielberg’s doing, because he got lame and departed the project. It was all Zhang Yimou and his team.

  29. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:10 | #29

    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)
    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.

  30. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:11 | #30

    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:


    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,

    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.

  31. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:12 | #31

    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.

  32. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:13 | #32

    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!”

    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.

  33. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:14 | #33

    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.

  34. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:15 | #34

    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.

  35. André M. Smith
    April 26th, 2012 at 05:18 | #35

    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.


    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

    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.


  36. April 26th, 2012 at 07:29 | #36

    What is this, thread necromancy? Andre, you have repeated the exact complete blocks of quotations from here: http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/01/the-truth-is-out-amy-chuas-chinese-moms-attack-on-american-moms-is-actually-a-wall-street-journal-creation/ (which themselves served to resurrect a thread almost a year old.)

    This thread is more than a year old, and the information you have given is repeated ad verbatim, cluttered, and does not advance the direction of the topic, with the exception of #35 (which is itself a mere component of a whole block of repeated information).

    What you have done constitutes spamming. Mods, watch out.

  37. André M. Smith
    May 6th, 2012 at 08:48 | #37


    Dear Sigmar:

    My opening statement of one sentence is the following:

    April 26th, 2012 at 05:18 | #35 Reply | Quote : “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.” Those words make it quite clear to the observant reader that what follows is the work solely of Helen He. Where is the uncertainty?

    Awaiting . . .

    André M. Smith

  38. André M. Smith
    May 6th, 2012 at 10:31 | #38

    Dear Sigmar:

    I sent a post to you following the one published afore at 8:48. Rather long; in response to your comments. Did you receive it? If not, I can retransmit.


    André M. Smith

  39. André M. Smith
    May 8th, 2012 at 06:54 | #39

    @André M. Smith

    Dear Sigmar:

    I did retransmt a few moments back. Time will tell!


    André M. Smith

  40. Sigmar
    May 17th, 2012 at 05:47 | #40

    @André M. Smith #37
    What uncertainty? What I’ve talked about is thread necromancy and spamming, the latter you’ve successfully done yet again by repeating posts.

    Mods, I advise you to lock this thread (it has served is purpose) and do something about the spammer.

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