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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua


Synopsis from www.goodreads.com

After igniting a firestorm of debate across the nation, Amy Chua's daring, conversation-changing memoir is now in paperback.

At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" set off a global parenting debate with its story of one mother's journey in strict parenting. Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children's individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future. Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way-and the remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking results her choice inspires.

My Comments :

I have been looking forward to getting my hands on this book since I heard about it.

Started reading it this afternoon and I feel that I had to write down how I feel about it before I forget. Yup...am getting senile.

I read to page 47 and I text my friend and told her that am not liking this book much. Managed to finished the book somehow

From early on, the author had stressed what she deemed to be a "Chinese Mother" and "Western Mother". A Chinese mother is not necessary of a female and Chinese. It could be of other gender who follows the trait of a Chinese Mother.

It is good to demand excellence from children. I agree with the author to some degree that  "view childhood as a training period. a time to build character and invest for the future." However, I would not go to the extend to rejecting Birthday cards that my child made for me because they are not good enough and that my child could have made a better card if they put 100% effort on it.

I believe that the author is not a monster like some people thought she is. She loves her children very much and wanted them to excel in life which is why she was constantly pushing them to their limit and trying to get them to the best teacher and institution for their lesson in piano and violin.

Nevertheless, I suspected at times, she might have lost her way in her quest to give her child a better life. She is living their life for them instead of letting her children to live their life.

For example in page 213 when she describe that when Lulu decided that she does not want to go to New York every Sunday for violin lesson.."so we gave up our spot in Miss Tanaka's studio - our precious spot with a famous Julliard that had been so hard to get!". It makes me wondered about the "we" and "our" part.

However, I do admire the author for being frank in her book on her child rearing method although I do not fully agree with her methods. 

For me the method is too strict. Not letting the child to attend party and sleepover? Pulling the kid from gym and art class so that the child can have some extra practice session with her violin teacher is a bit extreme to me.

Some parents might demand too much perfection from their children that it might have and adverse effect. This can be seen by Lulu's rebellion. Anyway, from the description, Lulu who is the younger of the two daughters has always been rebellious while her elder sister, Sophia is more mature and biddable.

Maybe I am over sensitive, but I feel that the author seems to be rather smug and racist at some parts of the book. It leaves me with the impression that she feels Chinese method of child rearing is superior than the west.

It is certainly nice to see at the end of the book there is a letter from the author's eldest child, Sophia defending her mother when the author was criticize by some people for what she wrote in this book.

But you know what would have been nicer? It would have been nicer if the letter is from the younger sister, Lulu, who is the more rebellious one.


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