The Hell with it all....

I can’t compete.

It’s as simple as that.

The veracity, the nerve, the focus and long term planning of the local Chinese population is beyond both my energy and will to succeed.

And I’m talking about getting my kids into college.

As I’ve said before, the days of my youth aren’t coming back.  They are gone forever.    Sports before school.   Sports after school.  A few hours of TV.  Cruising the neighborhood on my bike.  An Idyllic childhood my children will never know. 

Replaced by classes that start daily at 7am and Friday night tutoring, finished off with SAT Math on Sundays and a cherry on top.

Here in America we just wrapped up a major holiday.   And both of my kids were studying.   Every subject, everyday.   Nevermind that overused phrase no rest for the weary.   Rather it’s no rest for the kids that simply want to keep up.   No rest for those that want to look not merely good, but respectable.

I was on Quora the other day.   Reading about some guy from an Ivy school telling me what it takes to become a member of their bastion, a part of the elite.   From the tone of the post I couldn’t tell if I was reading a recruiting poster for the Marines or simply looking at what it takes to be a successful university applicant…..?

I’ve decided that all Ivy school proponents are nothing but sycophantic propagandists. 

“We want well rounded students.”

“What extracurricular activities can you bring to the table….?”

Oh fuck off.  It’s nothing but bullshit. 

They want the highest scores coupled with the highest SAT, coupled with…..well I dunno.

But the end result in my uncluttered mind is they want kids that study 16 hours a day and have no hobbies.    They don’t want someone with perhaps a few B’s that also swam two hours a day on the swim team but got a great SAT score.   That would make the kid “too normal”, and well we can’t have normal kids.

“We need kids that are motivated.”

And they aren’t talking about the guy that mowed yards for extra money.

“We want kids with Tiger Moms, because taking 4 AP classes your freshman year in High School shows ambition.”   

Let me tell you what they get:

They get kids that have developed eating disorders.   Kids on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  If kids with “social skills” was a prerequisite my children’s competition would simply melt away.

Am I jealous Dad that can’t handle how American Society has changed?  Maybe….Probably.   But I also know from simply having lived my life that the highest test score, or best grades rarely if ever translate into a truly successful career(unless you are happy working in a silo), much less being the manager and leader of people.    IQ gets you in the door.  EQ is what moves you up the ladder.

None of the high schools, nor any of the 30 or so really good universities in America……emphasize the ability to lead, or manage, or improvise, or adapt within an ambiguous situation as a prerequisite for admission.

That is, none of our schools value the ability to think and solve problems in a gray world.
Instead, they value your ability to find for x.    That is, they put great focus on one’s ability to solve problems that in turn lead to a good test score, but there is little concern for one’s ability to solve problems that involve people, or personalities, or situations that lead to a better result.

So what is my daughter up against?  She’s about to enter her freshman year of high school, where all the marbles count and well, “practice is over” dear.   Time to buckle up and bear down.    My daughter  is about to be entering the best all around high school in the state.  700 students in the freshman class.   She should be excited about all the new things she will learn, and new classmates she will meet. 

Instead going to high school in this day and age is nothing but an extended boot camp, where the books one has read, the places one has been, are less and less discussed while the math scores of one’s perceived rivals are instead bandied about in whispers throughout the hallway.

So how will my daughter stand out?  I have no earthly idea.  None.  Zero. Zilch.   So have I failed her as a Father?   What to do?  I know I have 9 months to go before Day One starts.    But I can already see the enemy forming.  I don’t like what I see.

Thus,  we need to understand who the competition is.  That’s the most important thing, and I need to be clear:  it’s not my daughter’s classmates. 



My kids….your kids….all have the same competitor in common.  


It’s the mom of all these Chinese kids one should worry about.    Not the student.  The mom.  Crazy Alpha Tigermom is the enemy.  She keeps me up at night.   Instead of reading that new book, or even thinking of how to get tickets to the game, instead I ponder how to not beat the enemy, but simply how to counter the enemy.  How to blunt their effectiveness.

Case in point;

In my particular school district, no AP classes are allowed until one’s Sophomore year.  AP as most Americans know(or if you are without kids, you will someday find out) means “Advanced Placement”.    There are ordinary classes….honors classes….than the AP classes.  These classes are not only for college credit, but they also count for far more than those classes ordinary, lazy unmotivated “no purpose in your life” students attend.   In other words, kids with a normal happy childhood whose parents encourage them to play baseball, while not developing varicose veins trying to get into “Hawvahd”.

(Have I mentioned these types of kids’ aren’t valued?  Their too physically fit in mind and body to be accepted anywhere except your Daddy’s “State University” these days.)

Did I say freshmen cannot take AP classes? 

What do I know?

All the Chinese kids in our school district have parents that were born and of course raised in China.   

Thus, like most Chinese from that environ they have little to no regard for rules.  So despite the rules, Local Alpha Tigermom(not an oxymoron!) demanded her kid take not one but 4 AP classes as a freshman.  ( Four!!)

Not having read the book “How to win friends and influence people”,  she became an ugly bitch in the process, but very much kudos to her, and a big middle finger to the high school, she got her way. 

How is my daughter to compete with people like this?

This Tigermom is basically saying her 15 year old child is ready to take freshmen college courses.
In a nutshell, Tigermom is wanting to take the current system we have in place and turn it upside down, to benefit her agenda.  I find it is not just my child competing with Tigermom’s kid, but actually with the mental toughness of Tigermom herself.   In turn, it’s on me and my own resident Tigermom to either take up the sword and accept the challenge…or simply shrug and walk away, muttering something to the effect “you win”.

And it’s not just us.

Every China Mom in my community knows about this, and well…..the arms race is on.

(I want to attempt to be fair here.  Tigermom says a transfer student from out of state came in with 4 AP classes as well….she’s just trying to keep up…..don’t know if this is true or not, especially as she claims the student is Caucasian…..yeah right)

Crazy Alpha Tigermom already has her kid in a violin quartet, all Chinese of course, touring the local retirement homes, like Sinatra played clubs in Vegas.   He’s a freshman.     This Crazy Tigermom even knows who her son’s competition for the Ivy’s will be….another China kid named “Wu”.   So she’s banned “this kid Wu” from joining her sons violin quartet.  (Such foresight.)

As you all should know by now, I am thoroughly disgusted with this woman.   Yet while it’s easy for me to cry about how she subverts not just the educational process let alone the spirit of the process, the high school itself deserves much blame as well.   All they had to do was “just say no”.

Did they not realize as soon as they bend the rules for one kid, they indeed must do so for everyone else……??   Perhaps they felt this would not leak out……??

This is Crazy Alpha Tigermom’s second go around.

If one goes back to my Tigermom series of posts, you will be able to see her there, fangs and all, dripping from the pages.   Her other child had previously received a near perfect SAT score, was valedictorian of her magnet school(not this one), and yet was turned down by every single Ivy, until Columbia mysteriously came knocking and she got in. 

“I’ll feel like a failure”, she repeatedly uttered should her daughter only be able to get into a State 
School.   Never mind the State School is ranked top ten in the nation for “State Schools”.
So what’s wrong with these State Schools?  I’m a State School Guy.  Had a great time!  (We had a good football team.)  Tuition was cheap.  I met lots of people NOT from my home state.  Classes were challenging.  So what gives?

This silly, sad obsession with Ivy Schools is beyond obsessive.  Harvard has around 30,000 applicants. I’m guessing probably half of those are Asian.  They only let in around 2000 kids.  Here’s the sad part:  probably half the kids they let in will not even have an SAT score comparable to Tigermom’s kids.  (Got it?)  Maybe 400 or so of those 15,000 Asians will get accepted.  (Including probably less than 10 Mainland Chinese. )  Is your kid gonna cure Cancer within the next 4 years?  If not, you have just as much likelihood of winning the lottery. 

Tigermom can run the numbers just like me.  (And still she soldiers on! )  Thinking her kid is different.   
All the while chewing her tongue off at the thought all those “dumb black and Latino kids” will be accepted over her kid.   Not quite grasping the point(she will never grasp the point), that the reason China is like it is today, despite all those crazy smart students is because China is bursting at the seams with people just like her.   The same mentality. 

In short, I think an argument that you are a good caring mother could conceivably be made.  An equal argument that your children will grow up to be totally fucked up due to your unrelenting emotional abuse is equally valid.  And even worse, your daughter will probably wind up marrying a laowai…maybe someone like me! 

Still, somewhat to my relief Crazy Tigerbitch never quite grasped the reality that Asian kids with high scores….well are a penny a dozen.   Admissions teams are Thank God so up to speed with people “like you”.  They knew you had more than a heavy hand in her essay write-ups and community service. 
 (a child so academically successful has so little time for things as “unimportant” as volunteer “stuff” anyway )

Heaven forbid you let your kid’s personality stand out. 

Word was her mother paid $2000 for someone else to write her application essays.    And still Harvard and Yale turned her down. 

Oh the Horror.

So what is a white middle class guy to do?

Perhaps you haven’t heard, but word is all the white middle aged guys in America are suddenly dying in droves…..(are there really that many of us married to a Tigermom?).

I guess I can trust my own abilities and be “content” with my kid going to good ol’ State.  After all, their football team would crush Harvard’s.   She’ll stand out, for sure.    And it’s cheap.   In sum, a dad with no ambition and little appetite for competing with Crazy Alpha Tigermom would be making a good economic decision here.

In short, you win.  I lay down my sword.  To hell with it.  

But what would my own resident Tigermom think?  How would she look in the eyes of everybody else?
Fuck, I don’t know.   We all know what they would think though….

“IF only she’d hadn’t gone off and done something stupid like marry a laowai her kids would’ve gotten into a “good university” too!”

Racist pigs.

I can only assure myself with the knowledge my children’s psychiatric  and health bills will be a lot less than all those Crazy Alpha Tigermoms .  


  1. It's crazy, ironic, yet understandable, how the Chinese all complain about their educational system--the red envelopes to get the teacher to pay attention to their kid, the too much studying, the lack of student input and imagination, the rote memorization, hukou-determined school location, and more--but as soon as they become parents they can't help themselves to perpetuate it. The REALLY crazy but less understandable thing is how they say one reason they want to come to the West is for the educational system, but when they are here, they raise their kids according to the demands and practices of China's schools. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I hear about paying someone to write their kid's college entrance essay. Hey! You're defeating the entire purpose!!

    1. Indeed. Kudo's to the Ivies etc for seeing through this. Shame on the private high schools for not giving a damn. And shame for the Husbands of Tigermom for letting their wives run roughshod over the whole process....

  2. That's a great comment (the original post as well). All the Chinese parents I know in China say how much they hate the education system, but I suspect that mostly because there's almost no way to 'win' in China against equally deranged competition. Move them over to America with all the locals' stupid faith in 'fairness' and it's a lot more fun to compete.

    I work in international education and it's a pretty well known fact that Chinese and Korean kids cheat massively on any exams they can, in regular school, and certainly including the SAT. There are Chinese kids who are certainly smart enough to earn their way into Harvard, but there's lots of evidence pilling up that they don't do nearly as well as their application profiles suggest they should once they get into college. One Ivy admissions director I've spoken to said that they assume any application from China is fake and they heavily discount any 1st or 2nd generation Asian in the admissions process, for exactly that reason- the kids are never as good in real life as they look on paper. And this shows up in all kinds of areas- look at bar exam passage rates. You'd think these disciplined geniuses would manage better scores than a bunch of lazy white people, but it's exactly the opposite because it's a hard test to scam.

    That's all very sad since Chinese intellectually can certainly stand on their own two feet and they'd be much better off overall with a focus on fairness rather than scores. But they've worked so hard to subvert an established evaluation process that they've brought it on themselves.

    In related, but tangental news, there are reports Alibaba's singles day record was propped up by 60% fake sales- at least that's the number of returns that came back on the day's sales (maybe that's high, but I bet not too far off). Actually when you think about it, BABA is a perfect analogy for China. It's a great service with lots of good things going for it, but it's massively overvalued based on fake numbers that they're stuck pretending are better than they are. So rather than focusing on growing a medium sized company into a huge one, they have to worry about how to keep people thinking that their medium sized company is actually huge. A giant waste of time and money that could be better spent on real problems.

  3. Or perhaps the Chinese have just realized its easier to cheat outside China and get away with it.
    I very much agree with your statement about the overall talent of the Chinese. It's indisputable. They simply lack the environment with which to succeed. Awhile back I wrote a post "Chinese know how to take a test", or something like that, that delves into this somewhat. Cheating is natural when your future comes down to a test, and there are millions competing against each other.

    Very interesting comments you make abt BABA....I had no idea.


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