Archive for January, 2011

Are Chinese/Asian mothers superior?

I read this deliciously controversial article in the WSJ by Yale law Professor Amy Chua called Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.  

Chua begins by stating some of the things her kids weren’t ever allowed to do – have playdates, watch TV, or be in a school play. She then advocates her style of coercive, military parenting with anecdotal (and often funny) personal examples. She wraps up by conceding that while there are different ways to raise your progeny, the Chinese way is clearly superior.

Predictably, her article has roused very strong feelings – some commentors are deeply disturbed by her parenting approach while others are awed by it. However, most readers seem to have missed the tongue-in-cheek apsect of her writing. Sure, she believes in tough love but Chua appears to be laughing at herself even as she shocks us with her opinions. It makes me wonder if she really is all that harsh or just exaggerating to make a point.

Personally, I wouldn’t go to the extremes Chua says she does, but I do believe a child’s primary goal is to learn. If teachers or parents can device ways to make learning fun, more power to them. If not, tough. The kid still has to learn, practice and compete in order to succeed.

What do you think? Chinese parenting or the Try-your-best-honey approach? Please vote.

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Die For You by Lisa Unger

dieforyou1 Die For You by Lisa Unger

I just finished “Die For You” by Lisa Unger.
The Plot: Isabel, a successful writer, and her computer games designer husband, Marcus, have a perfect life in Upper West Side Manhattan until the morning he kisses her goodbye and simply disappears. Isabel will stop at nothing to find out what happened to Marcus, though each nugget of uncovered truth further erodes her perception of her marriage.

I enjoyed the book. It drew me in with its great pacing, engaging prose and well-etched characters. I felt I was with the protagonist at each turn of her frantic quest, from the concrete streets of Manhattan to the cobble-stoned lanes of Prague. To an extent, I foresaw what was coming, as the first few pages hinted that the Isabel-Marcus union was not entirely idyllic, but the adroit unpeeling of both plot and character layers kept the novel suspenseful till the end.

On the flip side, the double-life theme is rather unoriginal (though handled well). The climax was satisfying but not heart-stopping. While some of the sub-plots distracted me from the story, they were interesting enough to be forgiven.
I recommend borrowing the book.

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