Thursday, January 20, 2011

Prof. Chua's daughter Sophia wrote an article for the New York Post, styled as a letter to her mother:
Dear Tiger Mom,

You’ve been criticized a lot since you published your memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” One problem is that some people don’t get your humor. They think you’re serious about all this, and they assume Lulu and I are oppressed by our evil mother. That is so not true. Every other Thursday, you take off our chains and let us play math games in the basement. But for real, it’s not their fault. No outsider can know what our family is really like.


A lot of people have accused you of producing robot kids who can’t think for themselves. Well, that’s funny, because I think those people are . . . oh well, it doesn’t matter. At any rate, I was thinking about this, and I came to the opposite conclusion: I think your strict parenting forced me to be more independent. Early on, I decided to be an easy child to raise. Maybe I got it from Daddy — he taught me not to care what people think and to make my own choices — but I also decided to be who I want to be.


Everybody seems to think art is spontaneous. But Tiger Mom, you taught me that even creativity takes effort. I guess I was a little different from other kids in grade school, but who says that’s a bad thing?


There’s one more thing: I think the desire to live a meaningful life is universal. ... To me, it’s not about achievement or self-gratification. It’s about knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential. You feel it when you’re sprinting, and when the piano piece you’ve practiced for hours finally comes to life beneath your fingertips. You feel it when you encounter a life-changing idea, and when you do something on your own that you never thought you could. If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I’ve lived my whole life at 110 percent.
Why I love my strict Chinese mom [New York Post]

Such a smart girl. She pretty much hit every single point that the Korean hit.


  1. I ROFL'd "Every other Thursday, you take off our chains and let us play math games in the basement." Nice.

  2. I can't believe how many angry reactions I've read to her book... from people who didn't even READ it.

    These quotes really do make the key points -- it's tongue-in-cheek humour.

    Also, I totally agree about creativity. People have a strange, romantic fantasy about what artists are like: they're born with fantastic talent and creativity that just spills out. That's utter rubbish. It takes incredible hard work and a lifetime of training, and only a few of the best who do that are successful.

    As far as classical composers go, J S Bach studied Vivaldi, among others. Eveyone since, studied Bach. And think of this: the great child prodigy that was W A Mozart...? He was a LATE developer. Considering all the time he put into learning music, he actually got to master level late in life.

    Check Malcolm Gladwell's book, 'Outliers' for a reference to a book on Mozart... I have it here but can't be bothered right now.

  3. I haven't read the book, but didn't Amy Chau state there's actually a point where her "Chinese parenting-style" backfired with her second daughter?

  4. Amy Chua daughter's piece in the NY times supporting her mother is certainly valiant, her eloquent prose at a such a young age is masterful, and the collective spirit of the family is certainly revered. But to say Asian's parents mother's parenting is superior than Americans is pretty damm stupid.

  5. Korean,

    Not sure if you're aware of this, but your link leads directly to page two of the column, which caused me some minor confusion.

    Here's the link (I think) to page one:

  6. The New York Times is reporting that Sophia, for making an egregious math error by writing that she has "lived her life 110 percent" will be denied food and water for 3 days, and her favorite dress, stuffed animal, and Norah Jones CDs will be burned in front of her.

  7. "I think the desire to live a meaningful life is universal"

    Not for me. I just want to be comfortable and have a positive vibe. What is meaningful for one person can be absolute shit for the next. As for the good that this


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