The other day in - Chinese Racism - we met a (typical?) self-righteous, strict Chinese mother.
Christine Lu offers up a nice rebuttal:
Drawing from personal experience, the reason why I don't feel this works is because I've seen an outcome that Amy Chua, the author fails to address or perhaps has yet to experience.Not for anything, but this Christine Lu is one decent-looking young lady:
My big sister was what I used to jealously call "every Asian parents wet dream come true" (excuse the crassness, but it really does sum up the resentment I used to feel towards her). She got straight As. Skipped 5th grade. Perfect SAT score. Varsity swim team. Student council. Advanced level piano. Harvard early admission. An international post with the Boston Consulting Group in Hong Kong before returning to the U.S. for her Harvard MBA. Six figure salary. Oracle. Peoplesoft. Got engaged to a PhD. Bought a home. Got married.
Her life summed up in one paragraph above.
Her death summed up in one paragraph below.
Committed suicide a month after her wedding at the age of 30 after hiding her depression for 2 years. She ran a plastic tube from the tailpipe of her car into the window. Sat there and died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of her new home in San Francisco. Her husband found her after coming home from work. A post-it note stuck on the dashboard as her suicide note saying sorry and that she loved everyone.
Mine is an extreme example of course. But 6 years since her passing, I can tell you that the notion of the "superior Chinese mother" that my mom carried with her also died with my sister on October 28, 2004. If you were to ask my mom today if this style of parenting worked for her, she'll point to a few boxes of report cards, trophies, piano books, photo albums and Harvard degrees and gladly trade it all to have my sister back.
For every success story that has resulted from the "Chinese mothers" style of parenting, there are chapters that have yet to unfold. The author can speak to her example of how it's worked for her but it'll be interesting to see how long you can keep that gig up and pass it down until something gives.
As a responsibility to herself as a "superior Chinese mother", I think Amy Chua should do a bit of research outside her comfort zone and help readers understand why Asian-American females have one of the highest rates of suicide in the U.S. -- I bet many of you didn't know that. I didn't until after the fact. It'd make a good follow up book to this one she's currently profiting from.
A few years ago I got up the guts to begin sharing the story of my sister because the more I learned about depression and suicide following her death, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the stigma of depression in our society. I was also shocked to learn that Asian-American females had one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S.
I have personally helped 2 young women in the last few years who reached out to me as a result of sharing my story. Both the "perfect" daughters of "superior Chinese mothers" who were sharp Ivy League grads hiding their depression from their families and friends. I was also able to play a role in preventing the suicide of a friend of mine several months ago because of the awareness I've developed about depression and suicide since my sister's passing.
I want to clarify again that my sister's story is an extreme example that hits home for me. I'm not trying to say that strict "Chinese mother" style parenting was solely the cause that lead to her depression and suicide nor will it result in all kids burning out later on in life.
But I do hope it shows that this parenting style isn't a proven template that results in all kids turning into the success stories that author Amy Chua gives herself credit for raising.
She's out in LA I think - rich and gorgeous.
What are the odds that our own West Coast Tom could successfully *buy her a drink*?