Tag Archives: Amy Chua

Grace Lin: A Great Author/Illustrator Asian American Role Model Who Just Gets Better All The Time


Grace Lin Award winning author illustrator Geisel Award Newbery Honor recipient JadeLuckClub best Asian American authors writersChildren’s illustrator and author Grace Lin luckily was seemingly raised by enlightened first generation Taiwanese-American parents rather than that sad story of Tiger Mom.

At least, that is what I think after reading her Pacy series, now with its latest installment as it’s a semi-autobiographical series.

At a young age, Grace (and Pacy) knew that she wanted to write and illustrate children’s books (The Year of the Dog). She went on to polish her social skills after her best friend — the only other Asian American girl in her class — moved away. She spent the year making new friends (The Year of the Rat).

In Dumplings Days, her latest book in this series, Pacy and her family spend their summer visiting the relatives in Taiwan. Another factoid emerges: Grace was a good student in general but math was not her best subject. AND …  her parents didn’t totally flip out. Is this fact or fiction? I suspect her parents, in fact, did not flip out.

In real life, perhaps Grace wasn’t the top student in math. And so what if she’s not the top student in math at school?! She’s a shining example that this is not the end of the world! Instead, she focused on her true passion, writing and illustrating children’s books that have a pulse on Asian American culture.

The result of her efforts? Many prestigious awards. She won the Newbury Honor forWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon.  (read it, it’s fabulous. I have never met anyone who didn’t rave about  it!) She also won the Geisel Award for her wonderful easy reader Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same. (My son and I love this book so much! It always makes us laugh!)

Still, she went to arguably the best art school in the country after high school, Rhode Island School of Design. In her early career, she illustrated picture books more than writing books and worked closely with the real life version of Melanie who landed a job in publishing.

There are many reasons why I think she’s a great role model for Asian Americans, but her prestigious awards aside, I think it’s because of her personality. I hear repeatedly — we both live near Boston — what a nice person she is.

An author’s personality permeates all her books and Grace Lin is clearly a person who brings people together as the glue that helps builds a community. You can see this in her books from The Ugly Vegetables to Where The Mountain Meets the Moon.

The accolades are coming in now after decades of her hard work at her dual craft. But I have a feeling that her family was there behind her supporting her throughout this journey. Her parents have done a commendable job in letting her develop her passions, dreams, and her own identity. May we all do the same for our children!

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Embracing Failure: It’s the New Success

failure is the new success JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”

I’ve been thinking about failure since reading this excellent post on Embrace Failure on my favorite children’s literature blog, From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. As an entrepreneur, I embrace failure. It is the surest and quickest path to success. Why? It’s life’s best teacher. You never forget a failure. You learn from it, deeply and profoundly as in:  it keeps you up late a night, pondering, questioning, wondering. It provides options in the form of a nicely forking road. Do you get back in the saddle and try again, all the wiser? Or do you veer left, shimmy right, or duck down below? Failure makes you creative. If you are going to ram your head against the wall, the next time you will choose a nicely padded one.

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Not everyone agrees of course. Most pointedly, failure is not an option in Tiger Parenting. “The Chinese parenting approach is weakest when it comes to failure; it just doesn’t tolerate that possibility. The Chinese model turns on achieving success. That’s how the virtuous circle of confidence, hard work, and more success is generated.” Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Suffice it to say that I don’t buy the Tiger Parenting Model and I don’t buy the idea of failure not being an option. If you eliminate options that can lead to failure, you have very few options left. Worse, your few choices become the path of least resistance.

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

Don’t believe me? Look at Amy Chua’s career. “I went to law school, mainly because I didn’t want to go to medical school.” “After graduating [from law school], I went to a Wall Street law firm because it was the path of least resistance.” “…I decided to write an epic novel. Unfortunately, I had no talent for writing…What’s more, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and Jung Chang all best me to it….At first, I was bitter and resentful, but then I got over it.” In fact, by (sort of) admitting her failings, her book became an international best seller. But in the form of her book, this is the most risk she’s taken in her life.

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”

I think what is daunting about failure is the publicity around it. Knowing that people will know that you’ve failed. That they’ll whisper behind your back about what an epic failure you are. Even laugh. But here’s the trick. If you own your failure, nothing anyone can say will bother you. That’s the secret. It’s simple really.

“The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”

Of course, you will own the knowledge that comes from failure. This knowledge is hard fought and very valuable. Use each failure to build, brick by brick, your success in whatever form that may be. Because success is never one big idea, or one very talented person, or someone who is “lucky, at the right time and right place.” No. Emphatically no!  It’s like most things: lots of little things added up together such that the sum is greater than the parts. Only the brave can try this. Are you that courageous?

“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.”

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The HumbleBrag Olympics: Amy Chua, Tiger Mom Wins Gold Medal

HumbleBrag olympics Amy Chua Tiger Mom JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity


Subtly letting others now about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.

Uggggh just ate about fifteen piece of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modelling contract LOL :p #humblebrag

I read about the HumbleBrag for the first time on Shuflies and not only did it ring true, but it’s just so funny: “Humblebrags can be any length. Amy Chua’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ was one very long humblebrag. The memoir’s subtitle should have a few words appended: “This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old… but my kids still turned out better than yours anyway.”

So I just wanted to cull out the Top 10 HumbleBrags in The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

p.s. The dirty little secret of why Amy Chua’s daughter Sophia got into Harvard and Yale: Legacy at Harvard for both parents, non-Asian at both schools because she’s half Caucasian, and special consideration at Yale for both parents being on the faculty. I wonder if she will tell us how much she donated to Harvard…

10.  “…when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments thirty minutes every day. At hour at most. For a Chinese Mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.”

9. “I don’t believe in astrology — and I think people who do have serious problems … I was born in the Year of the Tiger. I don’t want to boast or anything, but Tiger people are noble, fearless, powerful, authoritative, and magnetic. They are also supposed to be lucky. Beethoven and Sun Yat-Sen were both Tigers.”

8. “Classical music was the opposite of decline, the opposite of laziness, vulgarity, and spoiledness. It was a way for my children to achieve something I hadn’t. But it was also a tie-in to the high cultural tradition of my ancient ancestors.”

7. “Thank goodness I’m a lucky person, because all my life I’ve made important decisions for the wrong reasons … I did not get asked back to meet the full Yale Law faculty which meant I’d flunked the lunch. In other words, I’d been rejected by Jed’s colleagues. This was not ideal — and it made socializing a little tricky.”

6. “That’s when I decided to write an epic novel. Unfortunately, I had no talent for novel writing.. What’s more, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and Jung Chang all beat me to it with their books… At first, I was bitter and resentful, but then I got over it and came up with a new idea.”

5. “I love being able to count on Sophia. She has wells of inner strength. Even more than me, she can take anything: exclusion, excoriation, humiliation, loneliness.”

4. ” As he [Professor Wei-Yi Yang] helped Sophia bring the piece to life, adding layer upon layer of nuance, all I could think was, This man is a genius. I am a barbarian. Prokofiev is a genius. I am a cretin… Going to lessons with Wei-Yi became my favorite thing; I looked forward to it all week. At every session I would religiously take notes, the scales falling from my eyes. Occasionally, I felt out of my league.”

3. “One of my students, named Ronan, found some practice notes I’d left for Lulu…Lying around were dozens of instruction sheets, some typed, some handwritten, that I’d forgotten to hide. “I can’t believe it. These are so — weird.” “I don’t they were weird. But you can judge for yourself…By the way, in the second one, the “m,” means “measure” – so yes, I’m giving measure-by-measure instructions.”

2. “A tiny part of me regrets that I didn’t marry another Chinese person and worries that I am letting down four thousand years of civilization.”

1. “Had I perhaps just chosen the wrong activity for Lulu? Tennis is very respectable — it wasn’t like bowling. Michael Chang has played tennis… She recently made the high school varsity team, the only middle school kid to do so… I secretly plant ideas in her tennis coach’s head, texting her with questions and practice strategies, then deleting the text messages so Lulu won’t see them. Sometimes, when Lulu’s least expecting it — at breakfast or when I’m saying goodnight — I’ll suddenly yell out, ‘More rotation on the swing volley!’ or ‘Don’t move your right foot with your kick serve!’ And Lulu will plug her ears, and we’ll fight, but I’ll have gotten my message out, and I know she knows I’m right.”

Ok, some of the quotes are straight brags. What is your favorite humblebrag?


High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?

No Longer Separate No Longer Equal Asian American Discrimination Applying to College JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club I am posting a series of articles on the issue of Asian Americans who apply to elite private colleges because it seems that there is a “ceiling” on Asian Americans.

This article references Professor Mitchell Chang whose op-ed article I posted last week. It’s here.

There is argument that Asian Americans are over-represented because with a population of 5.6%, we make up around 17% of Ivy League colleges. I’m not so sure this is something to accept quietly. What about you? What do you think?

All my posts on this issue are here in a category off the navigation bar called Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College.

I will be posting an article that I’ve found on this topic once a week for the next several months. For anyone who feels that this is an incorrect assessment of what is happening with regard to Asian Americans who apply to elite colleges, I welcome your comments and links to relevant research or articles. I am happy to post rebuttals.


4/17/11 Boston Globe MagazineCompetitive disadvantage.  College Confidential.High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?”

by Jon Marcus

Grace Wong has felt the sting of intolerance quite literally, in the rocks thrown at her in Australia, where she pursued a PhD after leaving her native China. In the Boston area, where she’s lived since 1996, she recalls a fellow customer at the deli counter in a Chestnut Hill supermarket telling her to go back to her own country. When Wong’s younger son was born, she took a drastic measure to help protect him, at least on paper, from discrimination: She changed his last name to one that doesn’t sound Asian.

“It’s a difficult time to be Chinese,” says Wong, a scientist who develops medical therapies. “There’s a lot of jealousy out there, because the Chinese do very well. And some people see that as a threat.”

Wong had these worries in mind last month as she waited to hear whether her older son, a good student in his senior year at a top suburban high school, would be accepted to the 11 colleges he had applied to, which she had listed neatly on a color-coded spreadsheet.

The odds, strangely, were stacked against him. After all the attention given to the stereotype that Asian-American parents put enormous pressure on their children to succeed – provoked over the winter by Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – came the indisputable reality this spring that, even if Asian-American students work hard, the doors of top schools were still being slammed shut in many faces.

And parents aren’t happy about it. “The entry barriers are higher for us than for everybody else,” says Chi Chi Wu, one of the organizers of the Brookline Asian American Family Network. “There’s a form of redlining or holding Asian-American students to higher standards than any other group.”

Although Asian-Americans represent less than 5 percent of the US population (and slightly more than 5 percent in Massachusetts), they make up as much as 20 percent of students at many highly selective private research universities – the kind of schools that make it into top 50 national rankings. But, critics charge, Asian-American students would constitute an even larger share if many weren’t being filtered out during the admissions process. Since the University of California system moved to a race-blind system 14 years ago, the percentage of Asian-American students in some competitive schools there has reached 40, even 50 percent. On these campuses, the so-called “model minority” is becoming the majority.

High-achieving Asian-Americans may be running into obstacles precisely because they work so hard. Mitchell Chang, an Asian-American studies professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, suggests that the attention given Chua’s book will only make things worse. “Her characterization can further tax Asian-American college applicants by reducing the chances that they will be viewed as self-starters, risk takers, and independent thinkers – attributes that are often favored by admissions officers but rarely associated with Asian-American applicants,” Chang wrote in a January Op-Ed in The Sacramento Bee.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that universities can continue to consider race in admissions in the interest of diversity, admissions officers deny they’re screening out Asian-Americans. However, in researching their 2009 book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and found what looks like different standards for different racial groups. They calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans.

What about the argument that, in relation to the general population, Asian-Americans are already overrepresented at universities? “It’s both true that Asians are overrepresented and that they’re being discriminated against,” says Stephen Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon who speaks out against discrimination he says Asian-Americans face in university admissions. Both things can happen at the same time, he says.

Hsu and others allege that universities are more concerned about boosting black and Hispanic enrollment than admitting qualified Asian-Americans, and that old-fashioned xenophobia comes into play as well.

“My personal perspective is that if institutions are using race to keep Asian-American students out, it’s based on a fear [among non-minorities] that these ‘other’ students are taking over our institutions or taking ‘our spots’ at the best institutions,” says Sam Museus, a professor in the Asian-American studies program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

At Harvard, the overall acceptance rate for the incoming class of 2015 was 6.2 percent, a record low. William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, says that among different racial groups, there are “not radical differences” in the proportions of students who got in.

“We’re looking for excellence, first and foremost. And there’s excellence in every community in America and certainly lots of excellence within each one of the minority communities,” Fitzsimmons says. “We would not be doing our jobs if we were not looking for the best applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.”

Asian-Americans represent 17.8 percent, or 383, of the students admitted to Harvard last month, which is up from 14.1 percent a decade ago. During the last five years, however, the proportion there and at other Ivies has remained relatively flat or increased only slightly, even after an Asian-American student at Yale filed a federal complaint in 2006 against Princeton, where he applied but was not accepted, alleging it discriminated against him because of his race. Despite perfect SAT scores and nine Advanced Placement courses, the student said he was also rejected by Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT. (That complaint has not been resolved, a US Department of Education spokesman says.)

By contrast, at California’s competitive – and race-blind – state schools, Asian-Americans are much better represented: 52 percent of the student population at the University of California at Irvine, 40 percent at Berkeley, and 37 percent at UCLA. (The ban on admissions committees considering race was upheld by a federal judge in December.)

The difference suggests that, where considering race is allowed, elite universities may be handicapping Asian-American applicants. “They just all sort of magically end up with under 20 percent Asian students,” Hsu says. One Princeton lecturer has asked if that number represents the “Asian ceiling.”

This issue has gotten some recent attention in the United States, but much more across the border in Canada, where it stirred a national controversy in the fall when students in a Maclean’s article asked whether Canadian universities were becoming, as the headline put it, “Too Asian?” With spiraling Asian enrollments, the magazine reported, Canadian universities were becoming “so academically focused that some [non-Asian] students feel they can no longer compete or have fun.” Some white students told Maclean’s they wouldn’t choose the University of Toronto because it has so many Asians. “You can’t really overestimate the power of stereotypes,” Museus says. (A university spokeswoman reports it hasn’t seen a backlash.)

In the end, Wong’s son got into most of the colleges he applied to, including Boston University, UMass-Amherst, Ithaca College, and Drexel University. But other Asian-American high school seniors in this singularly competitive corner of the country – not only the children of middle- and upper-income parents in Brookline and other expensive suburbs, but also sons and daughters of low-income families such as Southeast Asian refugees in cities including Lowell – have had a traumatic spring.

“These kids are getting pretty immense pressure from their families, because there is some truth to the idea that Asian families value education highly as a way of progress and success,” says Museus. “Then they’re getting pressure from this competitive environment that exists around Boston. On top of that, they’re getting pressure from this stereotype, which sets up the expectation that they always have to be the best. The pressure does facilitate success, up to a certain point. But it also gets to a point where it makes them feel that they can’t do anything right.”

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.


Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College UPDATED

MItchell Chang UCLA professor JadeLuckClub Why you shouldn't identify race when applying to college if Asian

 In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications.

I am posting a series of articles as I discover them, though they are not all new, regarding the politics of Asian Americans applying to elite private colleges. It seems to me that this is very similar to what happened to Jews 60 years ago where “ceilings” were placed. These days, Jews make up approximately 30% of Ivy League students, though religious affiliation isn’t tracked or reported in terms of college admits. Think about that! The Jewish population in America is believed to be 1.7% according to Wikipedia.

This puts a new spin on whether or not Asians should have a ceiling; that we are “over-represented” in terms of number of Asians in the U.S. versus at the Ivy League. It’s just that you can’t readily identify who is Jewish either by looking at them, or even by examining their surnames, particularly for Interfaith families.

Professor Chang, at UCLA, has an interesting article that comments on the negative impact of Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom book has on perpetuating the stereotype of Asian Americans as over achieving because of overbearing parents. He has an interesting quote which I have bolded at the top of this post that Admissions Officers and High School Counselors readily admit to an Anti-Asian bias to the point that some, like me, recommend against identifying race in their college applications.

The more I read about this, the more I realize that nothing will happen if there isn’t pressure for change. Hence, I am posting and encourage readers to make up their own minds. Is this racism? What do you think?

If you want to read all the posts on Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College, click here.

p.s. For parents who think that Amy Chua’s book can be used as a parenting manual to get their kids into Harvard and Yale like her oldest, Sophia, realize this: her daughter is a double legacy as Harvard as both her parents went there. Her mother went to Harvard for both undergraduate and law school. Her father for law school. Sophia also doesn’t have to put herself into the most competitive group when applying to college. Since her father is Jewish, she can check either the “Mixed Race” OR the “Caucasian” box which (if you read all the articles on the bias against Asian Americans at elite private colleges) alone greatly  improves her chances for admittance. Add in bonus points for being a legacy which often makes the difference between acceptance and rejection.

As for Yale, children of employees at private colleges get special consideration that may increase their odds even more than a legacy. Sometimes the college has a set policy. For example, Boston College, Tufts College and University of Southern California are not only are more lenient on applicants who are children of employees, but any employee that has worked at the college for five years also gets a free ride for their child. At Boston College which is in the town I live in, this is so enticing on both accounts that parents will give up their own businesses to time a job at Boston College. Why not?! This makes great financial sense if you have many children. Grad school is also included! This can be up to $1 million dollars in savings for four children!

At other schools, the advantage for children of employees may be more tacit. When the pool of applicants for say Harvard is universally strong, there isn’t much difference between someone who gets accepted or rejected. Being a legacy can be the tiebreaker. Or knowing someone in the Admissions department which is easier to pull off if you work at that university.

My point is that Amy Chua has widely publicized where her daughter was admitted, not where she was rejected. Admission into Brown University or Stanford, for example, for Sophia would be a better indicator that Tiger Mom parenting is a sure thing into the Ivy League simply because she doesn’t have a “home field” advantage there.


1/27/11 UCLA TodayTiger mom adds to stereotype that burdens Asian American students
Mitchell J. Chang is a professor of education and Asian American studies.
His op-ed appeared originally in the Sacramento Bee’s Jan. 26, 2011 edition.

The Wall Street Journal published an essay this month by Yale University law professor Amy Chua titled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” bringing national attention to the methods by which Asian American parents raise high-achieving children. Within a week, the essay received more than 6,500 comments on the newspaper’s website, catapulting her previously unnoticed book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” up the New York Times‘ list of best-sellers. Chua’s essay is considered controversial largely because it stresses a rigid parenting style based on tough love — the “Tiger Mother” — that goes against what she considers more typical “Western” styles that emphasize self-esteem and self-discovery. Parenting strategies aside, what has been overlooked is how this essay unintentionally undermines Asian American college applicants by perpetuating an erroneous stereotype.

High-achieving Asian Americans have been struggling against an “Asian tax” in college as well as graduate school admissions for over three decades.

In the late ’80s, the federal government investigated charges that Asian American college applicants faced a higher admissions bar than other groups. They concluded in 1990 that Harvard admitted Asian American applicants at a lower rate than white students despite the fact that Asian American applicants had slightly stronger test scores and grades.

The federal government also inspected other elite universities, including some UC campuses where Asian American enrollment dropped despite increased numbers of highly qualified applicants. Federal investigators found that admissions staff at these elite universities had stereotyped Asian American applicants in characterizing them as quiet, shy and not “well rounded.”

In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications. Admissions officers reportedly complained on a regular basis that they didn’t “want another boring Asian.”

Meeting participants also reacted to a November 2005 Wall Street Journal article, which reported that white families were leaving top public schools as districts became “too Asian,” apparently referring to a shift in the emphasis of after-school programs away from a sports focus and toward an academic one.

Now comes Chua’s characterization of the “Tiger Mother,” adding to what it means to be “too Asian.” This image contributes to an already problematic stereotype by suggesting not only that most Asian  Americans are high-achieving, but also that their achievements are due to overbearing parents.

Her characterization can further tax Asian American college applicants by reducing the chances that they will be viewed as self-starters, risk-takers and independent thinkers — attributes that are often favored by admissions officers but rarely associated with Asian American applicants. If the “Tiger Mother” image leaves a lasting impression and is applied broadly beyond Chua’s own experiences, this characterization can advance a one-dimensional view of Asian Americans that minimizes their achievements and overlooks their diversity.

With any luck, those involved with admissions in higher education fully recognize the shortcomings of Chua’s essay and understand that the story of high achievement for Asian Americans is as varied as the number of college applicants. If they don’t and the “Asian tax” rises instead, we will hopefully be reading about the determination of Asian American parents to eliminate discriminatory admissions practices, rather than essays about an obsession with raising hyper-achieving kids. Ideally, the public will be just as concerned about the former as they have been with the latter.


Do Asian Americans Have Real Clout in America? How many Asian American CEOs, Politicians and Billionaires?

Patrick Soon-Shiong - CEO of Abraxis BioScience Wealthiest Asian American Forbes 400 2011 JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian Americans disempowered? cloutless?Do you this man? He is Patrick Soon-Shiong, the weathiest Asian American according to Forbes. He clocks in at #46 with a net worth of $5.6 billion.

“The doctor added $200 million to his fortune over the last year as he sold Abraxis BioScience to Celgene for $2.9 billion in October 2010. He’s pledged half of his fortune to charity, joining the Bill Gates-Warren Buffett Giving Pledge initiative: “Growing up in South Africa … we had direct experience of inequality.” His father was a village doctor in China; family immigrated to South Africa during WWII. Finished high school at 16; doctor by 23. Took American Pharmaceutical Partners public 2001. Launched cancer treatment Abraxane 2005; drug more potent, with fewer side effects than treatments then available.”

This is how to be doctor with clout!

I digress, this is actually want I wanted to talk about:


The NY Magazine has a really excellent series of posts called Paper Tigers. This particular post grabbed my attention:

What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?

This was the paragraph that got me thinking:

“Earlier this year, the publication of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother incited a collective airing out of many varieties of race-based hysteria. But absent from the millions of words written in response to the book was any serious consideration of whether Asian-Americans were in fact taking over this country. If it is true that they are collectively dominating in elite high schools and universities, is it also true that Asian-Americans are dominating in the real world? My strong suspicion was that this was not so, and that the reasons would not be hard to find. If we are a collective juggernaut that inspires such awe and fear, why does it seem that so many Asians are so readily perceived to be, as I myself have felt most of my life, the products of a timid culture, easily pushed around by more assertive people, and thus basically invisible?”


Are we successful in the real sense? Powerful? In charge? Possessing political clout?

I thought I would do a little digging around …

Asian American CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies

This is from Diversity, Inc.

Seven Fortune 500 CEOs are Asian, including two women of color. They are:

7/500= .014 or 1.4% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

What is the takeaway here? If you are an Asian American MALE and not of Indian descent, you pretty much have no role model in corporate America. Don’t waste your time climbing the ladder, start your own company. See below for inspiration, Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans.

Asian Americans in Politics

I located 48 Asian Americans of Chinese descent in politics. 48 of Japanese descent. 16 recent Korean American politicians with recent wins (which seems correct because I found 15 here).  13 of Vietnamese descent. 38 of Indian descent.

OK. I did not look up every Asian American ethnicity, but I think you see a pattern here?! Not so much, right?

So many the would-be Asian American politicians need to hook up with the Asian American Über Wealthy. No, seriously. Political clout = financial backing.


Asian American Über Wealthy

So here’s another measure of power: big money. How are we faring? I’m using Forbes 400 Wealthiest for this.

Patrick Soon-Shiong clocks in at #46 with $5.2 billion

Roger Wang at #69 with $4.2 billion

David Sun at #136 with $2.6 billion

John Tu at #136 with $2.6 billion

Barat Desai #252 with$1.6 billion

Min Kao #269 with $1.5 billion

Romesh Wadhwani #290 with $1.4 billion

James Kim #308 with $1.3 billion

Vinod Khosla #308 at $1.3 billion

Jerry Yang #356 with $1.15 billion

10/400= .025 or 2.5%. Actually, this was more than I expected. I guess many of these billionaires keep a low profile.

 My takeaway from this little sleuthing exercise is this: you best and brightest Asian Americans out there, Fortune 500 is no place for you. True, it could be a good training ground and there are promises of fast tracking to upper management, but you will have better odds of becoming a billionaire than becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Seriously, do the math. It’s true. Take action and start your own company instead or work for a start up that perhaps has a chance to go super nova. When an Asian American becomes President of the United States, that is probably when it’s safe to pursue the Fortune 500 CEO route here in the U.S.A.

What do YOU think? Do Asian Americans have real clout? Why or why not? Please chime in!


Ultimate Cage Fight: Panda Dad Alan Paul Faces off Against Tiger Mom Amy Chua

Panda Dad Tiger Mom Duke it Out PragmaticMom JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity

It’s sheer narcissism to believe that your child’s every success and failure is a reflection of your worth. Get over yourself.

Panda Dad

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What is the alternate to the Tiger Mom? Panda Dad offers his perspective. Amen to Panda Dad; you are preaching to the choir!!

“During our first weeks in Beijing, we attended a talent show at our children’s British school and watched Chinese students ascend the stage and play Chopin etudes and Beethoven symphonies, while their Western counterparts ambled up and proudly played the ABCs under their flapping arms. It was enough to make anyone pause and ponder the way we are raising our kids.

But time in China also taught me that while some here view a Chinese education as the gold standard, many there are questioning the system, noting that it stifles creativity and innovation, two things the nation sorely needs. Further, having seen it in action, I have a strong aversion to hard-driving “Tiger” parenting, certain that is not a superior method if your goals are my goals: to raise independent, competent, confident adults.

Living in a Beijing housing compound, I watched Western and African kids running through the streets in roving packs of fun-seekers while their Chinese friends looked dolefully out the window in the midst of long hours spent practicing violin, piano or character-writing. When they were done, they unwound by picking up video game consoles. It looked like a sad, lonesome way to grow up and nothing I would ever prescribe to my children. And of course it’s not the only style of Chinese parenting.  I saw plenty of kids smashing these same stereotypes.

It also seems insane to cast an eye around the upper-middle-class American milieu Ms. Chua is discussing and conclude that the problem is that our child-rearing is too laid back.  The shallowness of this concept will be obvious to anyone who has ever stalked a suburban soccer sideline or listened to New York parents prep their 18-month-old for nursery school interviews. God help us all if Ms. Chua’s books convinces these same people that they simply have not been trying hard enough.”

Alan Paul is the author of “Big in China, My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Becoming a Star in Beijing” (Harper). It is based on his award-winning WSJ.com column The Expat Life. Read an excerpt, here.

Smart Parenting, Smarter Children, the parenting book Alan Paul recommends.

p.s. He gets a strong reaction to his perspective and rebuts here.

p.p.s. Here’s my post on Tiger Mom.

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.