Sunday, May 8, 2011

Deanna Fei: Battle Plan Of A Tiger Daughter (And Mother-To-Be)

Deanna Fei: Battle Plan Of A Tiger Daughter (And Mother-To-Be)

Because I had the kind of mother who, if I brought home a test score of 98, would demand an explanation for how those two points had escaped me. If I scored 100, she'd demand to know why I'd failed to earn extra credit. Explanation was futile. As my mother would say, "There's no Chinese word for try."

I generally resist simplistic East/West dichotomies, but this is true. In Chinese, you can try something out -- as in sampling, tasting, taking a turn -- but you can't say, "I tried my best" or "But I tried." In any case, I knew better than to attempt such excuses in English.

I had a duty to excel because, as the daughter of immigrants, I was privileged: privileged to grow up in a land of peace and prosperity -- with a Chinese mother. With privilege came responsibility: responsibility to validate her sacrifices and avail myself of opportunities that, by her implication, might otherwise fall to Americans who were lazier, dumber, or more self-entitled than me.

comments:

What a perfect piece for mothers day. I too am grateful for my Hispanic tiger mom. Who taught me never to make excuses, always give everything I do, my 100%. I hated it then, but see the difference and advantages now.

I miss her famous words when deep inside I wanted to say "I hate you" but out of respect I never did, but somehow she knew what I was thinking and would always say "hate me now, but you'll thank me later"....­and she was right.

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