The Cost of Tiger Parenting in Shanghai

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I may have been among the first to publically complain about the “Give Me Harvard or Give Me Death” Asian Success Uber Alles ethic years before Amy Chua, or Eric Liang’s youtube classic. Any time you see really high test cores like those coming out of Shanghai, I had to wonder about what the parents made their kids go through to get there. Well, now we have the answer in the follow excerpts from a new LA Times article.

My own thoughts is that Asian Americans have the advantage of sending our kids into the soft / fun American schools where they evidently get grades and test scores that are just as good, but they only have to worry about their own Asian parents, not all of China, and get coddled American kids to complete against. I kid you not, I was the first guy (now Steve Sailer knows how) to break down Americans by ethnic group, and figure out that while Asians overseas are 1-2 years ahead of Americans, so were  the Asian Americans. I’ved worked with Chinese and Indians in tech, and I’d say they probably score as well or better than American engineers, but they’re generally only good at problems they know how to solve. If they’re up against something new, they’re up a creek without a paddle.

Americans on the other hand are too foolish to realize when they can’t do something. The price of that is a lot of wasting time when they really don’t know what they are doing, but often they will figure out a way around a problem that doesn’t have a correct solution sitting on the bookshelf.

Ever notice that when America gave European music  and instruments to African Americans, we got Jazz. Now you give that to Asian Americans and what do you get? Piles of Suzuki robots and a few very good classical artists like Yo Yo Ma.

Youtube is awash in amazingly talented Asian American singers, yet since the mid 1960s, white Americans have never really supported or may ever support Asian American performers if Lea Salonga is the best we can manage compared to the sort of “talent” (or lack thereof)  you typically run across the music video channels these days.  If it’s practice-until-you-puke talent vs the sort of stuff African Americans are pumping out as rap or hip hop, our kids are getting  pwned(=annihilated or dominated) by the anti-achievers in the marketplace of popular culture.

Now that I’m older, I’m a bit annoyed that 80s research was picked up by conservatives to make Asians the poster child of the “victims” of affirmative action. Upon reflection, all the underrepresented minorities even with 100% quotas are round-off error compared to the REAL  problem for either white or Asian applicants. If you look at the applicant pool, and who’s actually up there in the top percentile SAT ranks, the the OTHER children of !@#$%-ing tiger parents that are clogging the admissions offices of the Ivy League schools when are they’re all trying to get into the same half-dozen Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, CalTech etc schools. In fact the difficulty of getting into a school has more to do with how many Asians are in / trying to get in than things like the how high their test scores are. Places like Macalester in Minnesota or Vanderbilt are sub-10 percent Asian but have test scores near the top Ivy League colleges, and have much higher admission rates compared to the apply-and-pray odds that statistically don’t even look good for Amy Chua’s progeny.

It all goes down to my favorite me-ism, if we Asians are so damn smart, why do we still hate the Whites/Europeans for running/dominating  everything?  (ok, everything but classical music and Ivy league schools..)

Chinese students’ high scores in international tests come at a cost Teens are under great pressure to do well on exams, with no time for friends or sports.

“They do very well in those subjects the teacher assigns them. They have huge vocabularies and they do math well. However, the level of their creativity and imagination is low.

they enjoy the very best China’s uneven schools can offer. Their experience has little in common with those of their peers in rural schools, or the makeshift migrant schools of the big cities, not to mention the armies of teenagers who abandon secondary school in favor of the factory floor.

they told their teachers that the questions had been simple.  “We are fully aware of the situation: Their creativity is lacking. They suffervery poor health, they are not strong and they get injured easily,”vice principal Chen Ting said

Parents who obeyed China’s one-child policy whisper to their lone offspring that the family’s destiny hangs on the test score

About the Author

MIT electrical engineering computer science graduate has written conservative columns on politics, race / culture, science and education since the 70s in MIT The Tech and various publications in including New Republic and National Review.