Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tiger Mom's Daughter Gets Accepted to Both Harvard and Yale

Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a book which criticizes lax parenting methods in America, has some new empirical evidence to support her claim that the Chinese way is the correct parenting way.

Chua's daughter, Sophia, has been accepted by both Harvard and Yale. Of course, simple empirical data is far from proving Chua's claim. Chua, herself, is a Yale law professor, which might have helped some in the selection process, though it doesn't appear that Sophia is any kind of slouch.  She made her Carnegie Hall piano debut at the age of 14.

Some may also question what an acceptance to Harvard or Yale really means. I have met some very bright Harvard and Yale grads, and I have also met others that have confirmed in my mind that a Gentleman's C remains a working notion in the Ivy Leagues.



  1. Acceptance to Harvard and Yale mean only that you have taken exactly the steps needed to be accepted into those institutions.

    Original thinkers need not apply.

  2. This article challenges her article/book. Its off on some points but very on point on others.

    “That’s how to raise children the Chinese way – turn them into mindless, socially inept, overworked drones.
    They strip the child of any ability to think for himself or challenge the faulty paradigms of the society he lives in. Making your kids “be the No. 1 student” in every subject doesn’t actually make them number one, any more than all the kids in Lake Wobegon could be above average, but it DOES train them to jump through hoops like a seal. That’s the Asian way – train people to become brainless, unthinking automatons incapable of thinking outside of the box.
    As an example, take how Chinese and other Asian students dominate classical music conservatories in the U.S. Yet there is not a single notable music composer of Asian extraction that I can think of.”

  3. Keith, Well said. It's also why China will NEVER be the most powerful country in the world, even if America relinquishes the title.

    Amy Chua's actions speak louder than her words: she lives in America, not China, after all.

  4. @Keith

    Oh wow!
    Because you haven't heard of Asian composers, doesn't mean there aren't any.

    Among Japanese alone:

    * Akutagawa, Yasushi (1925–1989)
    * Fujikura, Dai (1977–)
    * Hosokawa, Toshio (1955–)
    * Matsudaira, Yoritsune (1907–2001)
    * Mayuzumi, Toshiro (1929–1997)
    * Noda, Kentaro (1976–)
    * Shirasawa, Michio (1966–)
    * Takahashi, Yuji (1938–)
    * Takemitsu, Toru (1930–1996)
    * Tanaka, Karen (1961–)
    * Tanaka, Noriyasu (1952–)
    * Yashiro, Akio (1929–1976)

    Now, you might argue that they aren't the equal of, say, Bartok. Yes, perhaps not.

    But, exactly how many European/American composers have been creative composers or even top level performers in Japanese or Indian classical music? Cross-cultural achievement is difficult, at best.

    The most creative juice in each culture tends to express itself within its own cultural idiom....especially, since modern western classical music is in many ways an arid dead end.

    I mean, is John Cage really another Bach?

    In addition, the classical arts require long years of expensive training and exposure to international culture, things which to most Asians - who are struggling to survive - are far beyond their financial means. Only the very gifted or very wealthy or ferociously ambitious can survive those odds...

    For non-Westerners, it was hard enough to break into the performance will take time to break into composition.

    Please note that there were many great American performers in the 19th century, much before there were great American composers who could equal the Europeans...

    Does that mean that American were robots in the 19th century...I'm sure you'd say no.

    (Even then, someone like Copeland isn't accorded the same "status" as, say, Berg).

    Contemporary writing in English also shows a powerful presence of Asian writers, who are, generally, MORE interesting to read than their western counterparts, perhaps because they usually have new things to say.

    Vikram Seth is an uncreative robot?


    And in other areas, if Asians were not creative, companies would not be relocating their R&D departments to Asia, left and right.

    A little more exposure to the world does wonders for one's analytical ability.

  5. Tiger Mom should let her daughter finance her own Harvard/Yale education with nothing but student loans, and defer payments until graduation.

    Then, when she graduates, Sophia can discover what a college education is really worth, as her long career tutoring rich New England kids on the piano will barely cover her monthly loan payments, and she will live at home because her student loan costs more each month than a mortgage.

  6. Apologies. Didn't post the link to the website, from which I took the names.

  7. My mother has said, with a 35 year piano performance and teaching career to back her up, many of her asian/indian students tended to be her most studious and learned pupils. She also says the majority played their assignments perfectly at 100 words per minute.

  8. "Conformity and obedience
    Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth
    Makes slaves of men and of the human frame
    A mechanized automaton." Percy Bysshe Shelley

  9. "...Some may also question what an acceptance to Harvard or Yale really means..."

    This paper answered that to my satisfaction. If you were smart enough to get accepted to Penn, but instead went to Penn State, that it did not matter, as your earning power was the same 10 years down the road.

    Ms. Chua's daughters will do well because they are smart and hardworking, not because they went to Harvard or Yale.

  10. Amy Chua has a Chinese name, but she is American born and bred, and her parents are from the Philippines, which has been an American colony for over 100 years. She's about as Chinese as our gracious host here.
    Second, having lived in China, I can confirm that what she pushes has nothing to do with Chinese parenting methods.