Tag Archives: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

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.


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!