Haven’t done Fluff in a VERY LONG WHILE.
First the Readers.
Sint Marteens…..I assume this is an island, but all the same, thx for showing up. You were probably on holiday while checking me out, which is a bit scary/weird/abnormal….but you give me another name to add to my list all the same.
Burma…..Portugal….welcome back! Burma….it’s been awhile!
Good to see old friends….Finland, Hungary and Saudi Arabia(yep).
Don’t know about you, but it always tickles me when I see the Arabs in a club. Trust me…..The Arab Men LOVE China.
Russia is probably one of the larger visitors to my blog, and I’ve seen an uptick from my readers there. (Is it you guys that scared off Ukraine?)
Still waiting on North Korea to make an appearance….
Newsblur and Feedly
Technology has surpassed me. I’m getting quite a few hits from these sites, and I’ve only now taken the time to check these sites out. Glad to see my blog is listed. Newsblur doesn’t seem as user friendly as Feedly, however. Feedly is rather straight forward. Newsblur made me think. And like a good movie, I don’t wish to “think”. I’d rather just be able to instinctively navigate around. One’s instincts are usually a bit faster than one’s Brain. Thus for me, Feedly seems a bit more “instinct friendly”.
No Cats for You!
Frequent readers of the Blog will know that I’ve in the past spoken of Tiger Mom, and yes, I’ve even dared to give a few examples of such. You will remember one in particular was very methodical and coy(so she thought ) in her approach. Checking off all the boxes one needs for her child to get into a good college, such as “volunteering and community service”, etc. For her it was basically Harvard or bust. Well, it was a big fat bust.
Harvard has a lot of experience now with Tiger Mom, and I guess they have wised up to all the tricks. Still, Tiger Mom is just playing the game by the rules the Ivy Leagues themselves have encouraged. One day though, something big will happen, and the Ivy Leagues will (gasp!) perhaps even Ban the use of the SAT for admissions purposes. With no solid metric to fall upon for comparison, methinks Asian admittance will probably take a short term drop. At least until the Tiger Moms(never to be underestimated!) figure out yet again how to game the system.
Now it’s time to talk about Tiger Mom and pets.
You will remember they had caught a rabbit previous summer, and starved it to death in a cage, in the backyard, and then cooked it. (I’m pretty sure this will be a story her daughter never tells her friends at school)
Well, a short while back, Tiger Mom went to the pet store. She wanted to adopt a cat. Nowadays pet stores actually give interviews, before allowing a person to adopt a pet. (I guess it makes sense.)
Well, the first question the shop assistant asked Tiger Mom was
“Why would you like to adopt a cat?” (I’m sure the assistant was smiling when she asked this.)
Naïve, Smiling Response:
“I want to keep the cat outside to scare away the squirrels.”
Adoption request denied.
Tiger Mom in 30 seconds practically eliminated any chance of any Chinese adopting anything from that Pet Store for the next 6 months.
A rare comment. I put up a post a few years ago on the lack of Chinese I see in local ordinary establishments. Chinese would rather eat at home, with their home cooked meal, or invite over several friends for potluck. It can be fun. Yet when we do go out to a local place, either a pizza joint(a damn good one at that!), or our local Italian eatery, we see lots of things. Lots of red wine. A guy singing Sinatra in the corner. Plenty of family chatter. And not one Chinese. This past week it was my wife that pointed it out to me. I looked around and she was right. First generation Chinese simply have no interest assimilating within their new countries. It makes it harder for their children to do same.
My Daughters Friday Night Schedule
Back from school by 4:30. Off to evening high school prep class. Back at 7pm. Practice for the following day’s piano class. Again. And again. And again. Chinese homework exercises. Evening is finished at 9:30. Ok, time for a movie. 30 minutes. Bedtime.
And this is Friday.
When I “try” and put me foot down, my own Tigerwife just blurts out the usual line in self defense:
“You are the one who wants to watch a movie!”
Her assumption of course is that Friday Night has nothing to do with leisure for children. The inference she makes about me is that I’m selfish for wanting the kids to watch a movie on Friday Night. (actually I usually just read online, or exercise) It is a well worn tactic of my inhouse Tigermom. Any suggestion I have for the kids to do something is only because I want to do it.
“Shall we go to the park?’
“Only you want to go to the park.”
Cutting the kids some slack on a Friday Night is a ticket to the local Community College rather than an Ivy League program. And I’m a bad father for daring suggest such a thing.
Actually, it’s not about the type of Dad I am. Rather, it’s about Tigermom losing face on Saturday during piano practice. And if her kids cry until 10pm the night before while on the piano so be it. Kids got to get it right. Tigermom needs to maintain that Face. The Tears, the Screaming, it’s all worth it.
More again on Tigermom….
Results, results, results.
I can see this freight train coming a mile away. When my kids grow up they will not force their kids to play music. They will be somewhat easier on their own kids. And their mom will be unhappy with them. She’ll wonder why her grandkids are “wasting” their talents. The kids will know full well why that is: their own memories of playing music will preclude them from forcing their children to do the same.
Tigermom hasn’t figured out yet that not all kids can be talked to the same way, preached to the same way, yelled or criticized the same way. Each child is different. Yes, the mom and dad are the same.
The simplicity of Tigermom’s approach, upon reflection, is rather astounding. It is a uniform approach towards all children. There are no adjustments made for the “individual” within each child. Thus the tension, and the screaming. Tigermom does not “encourage” as much as “cajole” or simply utter “you can do better”. And this breeds resentment of course.
A Tigermom screaming at her kids is nothing but screaming without purpose. It’s just noise as a tactic to scare the child into submission. There is neither tact nor sophistication to the method.
“Play it again! You missed the crescendo!”
And when “finished”(you know she’s not), Tigermom will ask:
“Do you think you played well?”
Child of Tigermom knows by now the answer is “No”. An answer of “Yes” will only create another nonstop 3 minute diatribe from Tigermom:
Why can (insert any name of any Chinese kid here. Hell, make one up. Just don’t forget it has to be someone from the neighborhood. Or for creativity sake, just create a Chinese family from thin air.)
“Why can….Vicki Lu play this piece?”
“Her mother doesn’t let her watch a movie.”
“Aren’t you embarrassed you’ve played this piece so long and still cannot memorize it?”
Ahh….the FACE CARD. We simply call it by other names in the West. Shame, Embarrassed, “Mad at yourself”, etc.
(Asian kids will handle performance reviews in adulthood nicely. They’ve been having them since they were children.)
When I was a younger man and came across Asian Americans in my hometown they were all modest, and quiet. Not a one of them possessed even an iota of self confidence. And they were of course all A Students. I often thought they were being falsely modest, which is worse than being cocky.
So where was the swagger? Simple, Tigermom nipped it in the bud. Ripped it out like a weed as soon as it broke the surface. Not a single one of them thought they were smart. Or even put their efforts in context. Once it actually dawned on me these cook classmates of mine actually “believed” they were not smart, I felt sorry for them. There is no journey with Tigermom, only the result.
Tigermom misses the point. The Journey is as important as the Endgame. It adds context to the end result. There is no reflection with Tigermom. No nuance. It’s either black or white. You succeed or you fail. You humiliate your mother, or you do not. Her friends think she is a good parent, or they do not.
Let’s drag the obvious out into the sunlight:
If Chinese are so damn smart and so damn talented, why is the country such a basket case? Or is that even the point? I may or may not write about that sometime. It’s a well worn topic, though.
Husband of Tigermom
It’s all about the moods. To maintain harmony in a household with a Tigermom, Dad must do two things:
One is give complete and utter control to the raising of the children to her, no questions asked. In effect, surrender. Especially if your child is a daughter.
Believe it or not, this is what almost all Chinese Men do. They are happy to do so. While they may be great delegators I find many of them to be emotionally absent. The house is quieter, no doubt. But reneging on a basic duty, which you as the Dad have a right to express only encourages and emboldens Tigermom. Especially if the kids are all girls.
The other thing the Husband to a Tigermom must do is completely and with full confidence be able to both read and anticipate the MOOD of your Tigerwife/Mom. This is the essence of harmony within the household. I see my job as maintaining the harmony within the household. It my chief task to bring as much “balance” as possible to the life of the children. Essential to this is continuously teaching and telling my children how to respond to their mother, when she is in full “Tigermom” mode.
In essence I tell them not to say anything. Silence is the best defense. It allows the dark clouds to pass. Any resistance will simply allow the dark clouds to linger.
“Bite your damn tongue, and this too shall pass.”
Husband of Tigermom must contain Tigermom.
The goal of Husband of Tigermom is for his children to grow up normal. Beyond the screams and angst. This means with confidence. A sense of worth. Without fear. My children cannot grow up thinking they are dumb, or not good enough, compared to other people on this planet. Above all, the children must develop a high EQ. I have found when a Westerner marries a Tigermom, one of the children will without question resent her or her Chinese culture. The discipline of a Tigermom inadvertently instills a resentment in everything Chinese, from the child’s perspective. This is very difficult to change. The role of Husband of Tigermom is therefore to instill a positive appreciation of both cultures within your children.
One of my children has a personality more akin to Janis Joplin than that of any classical Chinese pianist. And she does not look Chinese. Tigermom risks incurring within her children a “shame” of being Chinese. Further, her grandmother has already caught on to this “resentment”. The perception will not change. Any argument with mother in law always begins with the all knowing accusation,
“I know you are embarrassed to be Chinese”!
I ask, how can a child caught between two cultures cope? Don’t know ‘bout you, but this is a bit too much drama for a child still taking a school bus to endure. And this is where Husband of Tigermom comes in. For one’s child to grow up normal, without emotional guilt, Dad must be constantly aware of what is going in the household. Tigermom cannot be allowed to run amok. For Tigermom will imprint not only her knowledge of algebra upon the child, but her emotional imprint as well. Letting Tigermom alone to her devices is a recipe for raising in my view a fucked up kid. Kids growup with neither compassion nor empathy. And if Husband of Tigermom steps aside, it’s your fault, too.