Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Girl with girl cheating OK, half of boyfriends say
Fri, Jan 28 14:05 PM EST
By Basil Katz
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Half of men would forgive their female partner's infidelity, as long as it was with another woman, according to a new study on cheating.
Women, however, were less likely to forgive and forget if their boyfriend had been with another man, the University of Texas at Austin study showed.
Researchers asked 718 college students to imagine being in a long-term relationship and what their reactions would be to several different cheating scenarios.
They found that overall, 50 percent of men would likely continue a relationship with a woman who had a dalliance with another woman, while 22 percent said they could forgive betrayal with another man.
For women, the results were reversed. If their boyfriend cheated with another woman, 28 percent said they'd keep him around, but only 21 percent said they would if he cheated with another man.
Published this month in the journal "Personality and Individual Differences," the study concluded the participant's reactions were based on basic jealousy instincts.
"A robust jealousy mechanism is activated in men and women by different types of cues -- those that threaten paternity in men and those that threaten abandonment in women," said Jaime Confer, the study's lead author and a PhD candidate in evolutionary psychology.
Men, they said, felt more threatened by a rival male because of paternity uncertainty, whereas they saw a female partner's homosexual affair as "an opportunity to mate with more than one woman simultaneously, satisfying men's greater desire for more partners."
Mark Cloud, one of the study co-authors, stressed in an interview that the homosexual infidelity scenario they asked participants to imagine was very rare in reality.
So, the researchers asked participants about their real experiences with cheating. There again, men showed less tolerance of cheating than women.
"Men were significantly more likely than women to have ended their actual relationships following a partner's affair," according to the study.
(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Patricia Reaney)
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The parish priest went on a fishing trip.
On the last day of his trip he hooked a monster fish and proceeded to reel it in.
The guide, holding a net, yelled, "Look at the size of that Son of a Bitch!"
"Son, I'm a priest. Your language is uncalled for!"
"No, Father, that's what kind of fish it is - a Son of a Bitch fish!"
"Really? Well then, help me land this Son of a Bitch!"
Once in the boat, they marveled at the size of the monster.
"Father, that's the biggest Son of a Bitch I've ever seen."
"Yes, it is a big Son of a Bitch. What should I do with it?"
"Why, eat it! Of course You've never tasted anything as good as Son of a Bitch!"
Elated, the priest headed home to the rectory.
While unloading his gear and his prize catch, Sister Mary inquired about his trip.
"Take a look at this big Son of a Bitch I caught!"
Sister Mary gasped and clutched her rosary, "Father!"
"It's OK, Sister. That's what kind of fish it is, a Son of a Bitch fish!"
"Oh, well then, what are you going to do with that big Son of a Bitch?"
Sister Mary informed the priest that the new Bishop was scheduled to visit in a few days and that they should fix the Son of a Bitch for his dinner.
"I'll even clean the Son of a Bitch," she said.
As she was cleaning the huge fish, the Friar walked in.
"What are you doing Sister?"
"Father wants me to clean this big Son of a Bitch for the new Bishop's Dinner."
"Sister! I'll clean it if you're so upset! Please watch your language!"
"No, no, no, it's called a Son of a Bitch Fish."
"Really? Well in that case, I'll fix up a great meal to go with it, and that Son of a Bitch can be the main course!"
"Let me know when you've finished cleaning that Son of a Bitch."
On the night of the new Bishop's visit, everything was perfect. The Friar had prepared an excellent meal.
The wine was fine, and the fish was excellent.
The new Bishop said, "This is great fish, where did you get it?"
"I caught that Son of a Bitch!" proclaimed the proud priest.
"And I cleaned the Son of a Bitch!" exclaimed the Sister.
The Friar added, "And I prepared the Son of a Bitch using a special recipe!"
The new Bishop looked around at each of them.
A big smile crept across his face as he said, "You Fuckers are my kind of people!"
Pig poo a pollution problem? Potty train a porker
Pig poo a pollution problem? Potty train a porker
January 25, 2011: 11:02 AM
TAIWAN has been experimenting with a simple solution to the perennial problems of pollution, smell and excessive water use on pig farms: train the pigs to use a toilet.
After some encouraging results the government now wants all the island's pig farms to adopt the practice as it looks to burnish its green credentials, offering cash to farmers and pushing the benefits such as less watery manure that can be sold at higher prices.
"To use the pig waste as manure is a very good approach within the spirit of green energy, much better than just letting it go to waste and pollute river water," Stephen Shen, Taiwan's environment minister, said.
"And I think that can help us a lot in decreasing CO2 emissions and fighting global warming."
The "toilet" consists of a series of iron bars installed about 20 cm above the floor in the corner of the pen. Pigs step between the bars to go about their business, with the waste collected in a single, easy to clean spot.
If all the around six million pigs in Taiwan -- one for every four people -- used such toilets, the government estimates the around 180 million litres of water used per day in cleaning would fall by half.
The environment ministry has helpfully published three suggestions on how to toilet-train pigs: put some faeces in the cage as pigs will follow the smell; clean the rest of the pen so "the pigs are not misled to defecate outside the toilet" and let the pigs "become familiar with the new environment."
Chang Chung-Tou, general manager of Long Kow Foods Enterprise, a pig farm with toilets in the western Taiwan county of Yunlin, says not only does he get more for his manure, but his potty-trained porkers live longer.
"Because we don't need to flush the whole cage with water, the pigs are also less likely to catch colds. That helped us to raise the survival rate of our pigs from 70 to 90 percent," Chang told Reuters Television in an interview at the farm.
He said he has been able to increase income from the less-diluted, and therefore better quality, manure he sells to other farmers as fertiliser to more than T$250,000 (US$8,636) a year from T$50,000.
If that is not incentive enough for others, the government will also help.
"As long as farmers are willing to try, we would give them financial aid," said environment minister Shen.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Now take the last 2 digits of the year you were born add the age you will be this year and it WILL EQUAL 111.... How's that?
Happy New Yea
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Monday, January 24, 2011
It was the "Little White Donkey" incident that pushed many readers over the edge. That's the name of the piano tune that Amy Chua, Yale law professor and self-described "tiger mother," forced her 7-year-old daughter Lulu to practice for hours on end — "right through dinner into the night," with no breaks for water or even the bathroom, until at last Lulu learned to play the piece.
For other readers, it was Chua calling her older daughter Sophia "garbage" after the girl behaved disrespectfully — the same thing Chua had been called as a child by her strict Chinese father. (See a TIME Q&A with Amy Chua.)
And, oh, yes, for some readers it was the card that young Lulu made for her mother's birthday. "I don't want this," Chua announced, adding that she expected to receive a drawing that Lulu had "put some thought and effort into." Throwing the card back at her daughter, she told her, "I deserve better than this. So I reject this."
Even before Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua's proudly politically incorrect account of raising her children "the Chinese way," arrived in bookstores Jan. 11, her parenting methods were the incredulous, indignant talk of every playground, supermarket and coffee shop. A prepublication excerpt in the Wall Street Journal (titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior") started the ferocious buzz; the online version has been read more than 1 million times and attracted more than 7,000 comments so far. When Chua appeared Jan. 11 on the Today show, the usually sunny host Meredith Vieira could hardly contain her contempt as she read aloud a sample of viewer comments: "She's a monster"; "The way she raised her kids is outrageous"; "Where is the love, the acceptance?"
Chua, a petite 48-year-old who carries off a short-skirted wardrobe that could easily be worn by her daughters (now 15 and 18), gave as good as she got. "To be perfectly honest, I know that a lot of Asian parents are secretly shocked and horrified by many aspects of Western parenting," including "how much time Westerners allow their kids to waste — hours on Facebook and computer games — and in some ways, how poorly they prepare them for the future," she told Vieira with a toss of her long hair. "It's a tough world out there." (See Nancy Gibbs' take on the challenges of parenting.)
Chua's reports from the trenches of authoritarian parenthood are indeed disconcerting, even shocking, in their candid admission of maternal ruthlessness. Her book is a Mommie Dearest for the age of the memoir, when we tell tales on ourselves instead of our relatives. But there's something else behind the intense reaction to Tiger Mother, which has shot to the top of best-seller lists even as it's been denounced on the airwaves and the Internet. Though Chua was born and raised in the U.S., her invocation of what she describes as traditional "Chinese parenting" has hit hard at a national sore spot: our fears about losing ground to China and other rising powers and about adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy. Her stories of never accepting a grade lower than an A, of insisting on hours of math and spelling drills and piano and violin practice each day (weekends and vacations included), of not allowing playdates or sleepovers or television or computer games or even school plays, for goodness' sake, have left many readers outraged but also defensive. The tiger mother's cubs are being raised to rule the world, the book clearly implies, while the offspring of "weak-willed," "indulgent" Westerners are growing up ill equipped to compete in a fierce global marketplace.
One of those permissive American parents is Chua's husband, Jed Rubenfeld (also a professor at Yale Law School). He makes the occasional cameo appearance in Tiger Mother, cast as the tenderhearted foil to Chua's merciless taskmaster. When Rubenfeld protested Chua's harangues over "The Little White Donkey," for instance, Chua informed him that his older daughter Sophia could play the piece when she was Lulu's age. Sophia and Lulu are different people, Rubenfeld remonstrated reasonably. "Oh, no, not this," Chua shot back, adopting a mocking tone: "Everyone is special in their special own way. Even losers are special in their own special way."
With a stroke of her razor-sharp pen, Chua has set a whole nation of parents to wondering: Are we the losers she's talking about?
Americans have ample reason to wonder these days, starting with our distinctly loserish economy. Though experts have declared that the recent recession is now over, economic growth in the third quarter of 2010 was an anemic 2.6%, and many economists say unemployment will continue to hover above 9%. Part of the reason? Jobs outsourced to countries like Brazil, India and China. Our housing values have declined, our retirement and college funds have taken a beating, and we're too concerned with paying our monthly bills to save much, even if we had the will to change our ingrained consumerist ways. Meanwhile, in China, the economy is steaming along at more than 10% annual growth, and the country is running a $252.4 billion trade surplus with the U.S. China's government is pumping its new wealth right back into the country, building high-speed rail lines and opening new factories.
If our economy suffers by comparison with China's, so does our system of primary and secondary education. That became clear in December, when the latest test results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released. American students were mired in the middle: 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math — 17th overall. For the first time since PISA began its rankings in 2000, students in Shanghai took the test — and they blew everyone else away, achieving a decisive first place in all three categories. When asked to account for the results, education experts produced a starkly simple explanation: Chinese students work harder, with more focus, for longer hours than American students do. It's true that students in boomtown Shanghai aren't representative of those in all of China, but when it comes to metrics like test scores, symbolism matters. Speaking on education in December, a sober President Obama noted that the U.S. has arrived at a "Sputnik moment": the humbling realization that another country is pulling ahead in a contest we'd become used to winning. (See more on the global debate about parenting, identity and family.)
Such anxious ruminations seem to haunt much of our national commentary these days, even in the unlikeliest of contexts. When the National Football League postponed a Philadelphia Eagles game in advance of the late-December blizzard on the East Coast, outgoing Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was left fuming: "We've become a nation of wusses," he declared on a radio program. "The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium. They would have walked, and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."
These national identity crises are nothing new. During the mid–20th century, we kept a jealous eye on the Soviets, obsessively monitoring their stores of missiles, their ranks of cosmonauts and even their teams of gymnasts, using these as an index of our own success (not to mention the prospects for our survival). In the 1980s, we fretted that Japan was besting us with its technological wizardry and clever product design — the iPod of the '80s was the Sony Walkman — and its investors' acquisitions of American name-brand companies and prime parcels of real estate.
Now the Soviet Union has dissolved into problem-plagued Russia, and our rivalry with the Japanese has faded as another one has taken its place: last year, China surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy. The U.S. is still No. 1 — but for how long? We're rapidly reaching the limit on how much money the federal government can borrow — and our single biggest creditor is China. How long, for that matter, can the beleaguered U.S. education system keep pace with a rapidly evolving and increasingly demanding global marketplace? Chinese students already have a longer school year than American pupils — and U.S. kids spend more time sitting in front of the TV than in the classroom. (See five things the U.S. can learn from China.)
The document that finally focused the nation's attention on these crucial questions was not a blue-ribbon study or a hefty government report, but a slender book that sprang from one mother's despair over her daughter's teenage rebellion.
Amy Chua lives in New Haven, Conn., in an imposing mock-Tudor mansion — complete with gargoyles — that was built in the 1920s for a vaudeville impresario. The woman who descends the winding stone stairway and opens the studded wooden door, however, is wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and a friendly smile. As we take a seat in Chua's living room, the laughter of her older daughter Sophia and her boyfriend (yes, she's allowed to have a boyfriend) floats down from the second floor, and the fluffy white dog that Chua tried, and failed, to discipline stretches comfortably on the rug. (Disclosure: This reporter also lives in New Haven and has heard Chua regale friends with parenting stories.) (Comment on this story.)
The first thing Chua wants you to know is that she is not a monster. "Everything I do as a mother builds on a foundation of love and compassion," she says. Love and compassion, plus punishingly high expectations: this is how Chua herself was raised. Though her parents are ethnically Chinese, they lived for many years in the Philippines and immigrated to America two years before Chua was born. Chua and her three younger sisters were required to speak Chinese at home; for each word of English they uttered, they received a whack with a pair of chopsticks. On the girls' report cards, only A's were acceptable. When Chua took her father to an awards assembly at which she received second prize, he was furious. "Never, ever disgrace me like that again," he told her.
Some react to an exceedingly strict household by becoming permissive parents, but not Chua. When she had children of her own, she resolved to raise them the same way. "I see my upbringing as a great success story," she says. "By disciplining me, my parents inculcated self-discipline. And by restricting my choices as a child, they gave me so many choices in my life as an adult. Because of what they did then, I get to do the work I love now." Chua's path to her profession was not a straight one — she tried out the premed track and a major in economics before settling on law school — but it was made possible, she says, by the work ethic her parents instilled.
All the same, Chua recognizes that her parents' attitudes were shaped by experiences very different from her own. Her mother and father endured severe hardship under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines; later they had to make their way in a new country and a new language. For them, security and stability were paramount. "They didn't think about children's happiness," Chua says. "They thought about preparing us for the future." But Chua says her children's happiness is her primary goal; her intense focus on achievement is simply, she says, "the vehicle" to help them find, as she has, genuine fulfillment in a life's work. (See the latest figures on American motherhood.)
The second thing Chua wants you to know is that the hard-core parenting she set out to do didn't work — not completely, anyway. "When my children were young, I was very cocky," Chua acknowledges. "I thought I could maintain total control. And in fact my first child, Sophia, was very compliant." Then came Lulu.
From the beginning, Chua's second daughter was nothing like her obedient sister. As a fetus, she kicked — hard. As an infant, she screamed for hours every night. And as a budding teenager she refused to get with her mother's academic and extracurricular program. In particular, the two fought epic battles over violin practice: " 'all-out nuclear warfare' doesn't quite capture it," Chua writes. Finally, after a screaming, glass-smashing, very public showdown, the tiger mother admitted defeat: "Lulu," she said, "you win. It's over. We're giving up the violin." Not long after, Chua typed the first words of her memoir — not as an exercise in maternal bravado but as an earnest attempt to understand her daughters, her parents and herself.
That was a year and a half ago. Today, Chua has worked out some surprising compromises with her children. Sophia can go out on dates and must practice the piano for an hour and a half each day instead of as many as six hours. Lulu is allowed to pursue her passion for tennis. (Her mother's daughter, she's become quite good at the sport, making the high school varsity team — "the only junior high school kid to do so," as Chua can't help pointing out.) And Chua says she doesn't want to script her children's futures. "I really don't have any particular career path in mind for Sophia and Lulu, as long as they feel passionate about it and give it their best." As her girls prepare to launch themselves into their own lives — Sophia goes off to college next fall — Chua says she wouldn't change much about the way she raised them. Perhaps more surprising, her daughters say they intend to be strict parents one day too — though they plan to permit more time with friends, even the occasional sleepover. (See Bill Powell's take on his family's tiger-mom experience.)
Most surprising of all to Chua's detractors may be the fact that many elements of her approach are supported by research in psychology and cognitive science. Take, for example, her assertion that American parents go too far in insulating their children from discomfort and distress. Chinese parents, by contrast, she writes, "assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently." In the 2008 book A Nation of Wimps, author Hara Estroff Marano, editor-at-large of Psychology Today magazine, marshals evidence that shows Chua is correct. "Research demonstrates that children who are protected from grappling with difficult tasks don't develop what psychologists call 'mastery experiences,' " Marano explains. "Kids who have this well-earned sense of mastery are more optimistic and decisive; they've learned that they're capable of overcoming adversity and achieving goals." Children who have never had to test their abilities, says Marano, grow into "emotionally brittle" young adults who are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
Another parenting practice with which Chua takes issue is Americans' habit, as she puts it, of "slathering praise on their kids for the lowest of tasks — drawing a squiggle or waving a stick." Westerners often laud their children as "talented" or "gifted," she says, while Asian parents highlight the importance of hard work. And in fact, research performed by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that the way parents offer approval affects the way children perform, even the way they feel about themselves. (Comment on this story.)
Dweck has conducted studies with hundreds of students, mostly early adolescents, in which experimenters gave the subjects a set of difficult problems from an IQ test. Afterward, some of the young people were praised for their ability: "You must be smart at this." Others were praised for their effort: "You must have worked really hard." The kids who were complimented on their intelligence were much more likely to turn down the opportunity to do a challenging new task that they could learn from. "They didn't want to do anything that could expose their deficiencies and call into question their talent," Dweck says. Ninety percent of the kids who were praised for their hard work, however, were eager to take on the demanding new exercise.
One more way in which the tiger mother's approach differs from that of her Western counterparts: her willingness to drill, baby, drill. When Sophia came in second on a multiplication speed test at school, Chua made her do 20 practice tests every night for a week, clocking her with a stopwatch. "Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America," she writes. In this, Chua is right, says Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. "It's virtually impossible to become proficient at a mental task without extensive practice," he notes.
What's more, Willingham says, "if you repeat the same task again and again, it will eventually become automatic. Your brain will literally change so that you can complete the task without thinking about it." Once this happens, the brain has made mental space for higher-order operations: for interpreting literary works, say, and not simply decoding their words; for exploring the emotional content of a piece of music, and not just playing the notes. Brain scans of experimental subjects who are asked to execute a sequence of movements, for example, show that as the sequence is repeated, the parts of the brain associated with motor skills become less active, allowing brain activity to shift to the areas associated with higher-level thinking and reflection. (See "China Beats Out Finland for Top Marks in Education.")
Cognitive neuroscience, in other words, confirms the wisdom of what the tiger mother knew all along. "What Chinese parents understand," says Chua, "is that nothing is fun until you're good at it." That may be an overstatement — but if being good at reading or math or music permits a greater degree of engagement and expressiveness, that would seem to be a very desirable thing.
All that said, however, psychologists universally decry the use of threats and name calling — verbal weapons frequently deployed by Chua — as harmful to children's individual development and to the parent-child relationship. So just what does she have to say about the notorious episodes recounted in her book?
About "The Little White Donkey": she was perhaps too severe in enforcing long hours of practice, Chua says now. Still, she says, it was important for Sophia and Lulu to learn what they were capable of. "It might sound harsh, but kids really shouldn't be able to take the easy way out," she explains. "If a child has the experience, even once, of successfully doing something she didn't think she could do, that lesson will stick with her for the rest of her life." Recently, Chua says, Lulu told her that during a math test at school that day she had looked at a question and drawn a blank. "Lulu said, 'Then I heard your annoying voice in my head, saying, "Keep thinking! I know you can do this" — and the answer just came to me!' " (See pictures of a Mandarin school in Minneapolis.)
On calling Sophia "garbage": "There are some things I did that I regret and wish I could change, and that's one of them," Chua says. But, she notes, her father used similar language with her, "and I knew it was because he thought well of me and was sure I could do better." Chua's parents are now in their 70s, and she says she feels nothing but love and respect for them: "We're a very tight family, all three generations of us, and I think that's because I was shown a firm hand and my kids were shown a firm hand."
And Lulu's birthday card? Chua stands by that one. "My girls know the difference between working hard on something and dashing something off," she says firmly. "They know that I treasure the drawings and poems they put effort into." (Comment on this story.)
More than anything, it's Chua's maternal confidence — her striking lack of ambivalence about her choices as a parent — that has inspired both ire and awe among the many who have read her words. Since her book's publication, she says, e-mail messages have poured in from around the globe, some of them angry and even threatening but many of them wistful or grateful. "A lot of people have written to say that they wished their parents had pushed them when they were younger, that they think they could have done more with their lives," Chua recounts. "Other people have said that after reading my book they finally understand their parents and why they did what they did. One man wrote that he sent his mother flowers and a note of thanks, and she called him up, weeping."
So should we all be following Chua's example? She wrote a memoir, not a manual. She does make it clear, however, that Chinese mothers don't have to be Chinese: "I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too," she writes. The tiger-mother approach isn't an ethnicity but a philosophy: expect the best from your children, and don't settle for anything less.
Among those who are decidedly not following Chua's lead are many parents and educators in China. For educated urban Chinese parents, the trend is away from the strict traditional model and toward a more relaxed American style. Chinese authorities, meanwhile, are increasingly dissatisfied with the country's public education system, which has long been based on rote learning and memorization. They are looking to the West for inspiration — not least because they know they must produce more creative and innovative graduates to power the high-end economy they want to develop. The lesson here: depending on where you stand, there may always be an approach to child rearing that looks more appealing than the one you've got. (See TIME's special report on what makes a school great.)
Marano doesn't see us whistling Chua's battle hymn just yet. "Kids can grow and thrive under a wide variety of parenting styles," she says. "But American parenting, at its best, combines ambitious expectations and a loving environment with a respect for each child's individual differences and a flexibility in parental roles and behavior. You can set high standards in your household and help your children meet them without resorting to the extreme measures Chua writes about." Western parents have their own highly effective strategies for promoting learning, such as free play — something Chua never mentions. On a national scale, the U.S. economy may be taking a hit, but it has far from collapsed. American secondary education may be in crisis, but its higher education is the envy of the world — especially China. We have not stopped inventing and innovating, in Silicon Valley or in Detroit.
There's no doubt that Chua's methods are extreme (though her stories, she hints, may have been slightly exaggerated for effect). But her account, arriving just after those unnervingly high test scores from Shanghai, has created a rare opportunity. Sometimes it takes a dramatic intervention to get our attention. After the 1957 launch of Sputnik, America did rise to the Soviets' challenge: less than a year later, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act, which invested billions of dollars in the U.S. education system. Within five years, John Glenn was orbiting Earth, and less than a decade after that, we put a man on the moon.
Clare Boothe Luce, the American playwright, Congresswoman and ambassador, called the beeps emitted by Sputnik as it sailed through space "an intercontinental outer-space raspberry," a jeer at the notion that America had some "gilt-edged guarantee of national superiority." Think of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother as a well-timed taunt aimed at our own complacent sense of superiority, our belief that America will always come out on top. That won't be the case unless we make it so. We can get caught up in the provocative details of Chua's book (did she really threaten to burn her daughter's stuffed animals?), or we can use her larger point as an impetus to push ourselves forward, the way our countrymen often have in the past. (Read about parent-student day at a Shanghai school.)
For though Chua hails the virtues of "the Chinese way," the story she tells is quintessentially American. It's the tale of an immigrant striver, determined to make a better life for himself and his family in a nation where such dreams are still possible. "I remember my father working every night until 3 in the morning; I remember him wearing the same pair of shoes for eight years," Chua says. "Knowing the sacrifices he and my mother made for us made me want to uphold the family name, to make my parents proud." (Comment on this story.)
Hard work, persistence, no patience for excuses: whether Chinese or American, that sounds like a prescription for success with which it's very difficult to argue.
Paul's latest book is Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives.
The original version of this story, published in the Jan. 31, 2011, issue of TIME, incorrectly stated that President Obama's "Sputnik moment" education speech in December was given "in response" to international test results showing American students faring much worse than their Chinese peers.
- Find this article at: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2043313,00.html
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tough Love, the tiger mom's tale
January 22, 2011: 12:00 AM
Chinese parents are famously - some say notoriously - strict with their children, but they often achieve stellar results. A Chinese-American "tiger mom" tells Leanne Italie her controversial tale.
A new memoir of tough parenting, Chinese style, from a self-proclaimed tiger mother has unleashed a ferocious roar, an uproar.
Fallout was swift for Yale law professor Amy Chua after she published a stark essay in The Wall Street Journal describing the harsh words and heavy-handed methods she used with her two teen daughters.
Her "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" shot to No. 6 in the Amazon sales rankings last Tuesday, the day it was released, likely fueled by angry buzz over the weekend column and a headline Chua had nothing to do with: "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior."
The Chinese version of the "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" has hit the market this month on China's mainland, published by Citic Press Corp.
Adult offspring of Asian and Asian-American immigrants are weighing in on Chua's provocative description of Eastern-style parenting: No sleepovers or playdates. Grueling rote academics. Hours of piano and violin practice. Slurs like "lazy" and "garbage," and threats to burn stuffed animals when things don't go mom's way.
Some see truth and a borderline abuser. Others publicly thanked their moms online for similar, though less extreme, methods.
Few had read the book themselves, missing out on more facetious nuances and details on Chua's journey to a softer approach with Sophia, 18, and Louisa, nicknamed Lulu and about to celebrate her 15th birthday with - gasp - a sleepover party.
"It's been tough on my kids," Chua says.
"They want to speak out over the thing that has hurt me the most, when people say, 'Oh, doesn't that kind of strict parenting produce meek robots?' My daughters could not be further from meek robots. They're confident, funny, kind, generous, with very big personalities, and they're always calling my bluff."
Chua, 48 and the daughter of Filipino immigrants of Chinese descent, insists her tone in the book is self-deprecating. It's a point she considers lost in the blogosphere, including heat from moms employing current Western philosophies she doesn't consider better or worse, but more lax and undisciplined.
"My first reaction was, 'Is this a joke?' I kept waiting for the punch line," says Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, 44, a second-generation Chinese American and mother of four in Michigan. She had parents with high expectations but none of Chua's histrionics. "Her methods are so crude. The humiliations and the shaming. The kids will hear that voice in their heads for the rest of their lives."
Christine Lu's memories of her tiger mom growing up in Los Angeles are laden with sorrow. Mom's ramrod tactics failed on her ("life at home used to be horrible") but they worked on her older sister. She hit 28 and spiraled into a depression that led to her suicide after the startup where she worked fizzled.
"She graduated from Harvard with an MBA. That was the first time she had ever experienced failure," says the 34-year-old Lu, who was born in Taiwan and moved to LA with her parents and three siblings at age 2.
She stops short of blaming her mom, adding: "It's the culture. Amy is a product of the culture, too."
It's a book of extreme parenting, for sure, a memoir and not a how-to manual, Chua cautions.
Her parenting choices were conscious and reflect her upbringing: No TV, no pets, no computer games, no grades under A, no parts in school plays, no complaints about not having parts in school plays, no choice of extracurricular activities, nothing less than top spots in any school class except gym and drama, no musical instruments except piano or violin.
When Lulu had trouble with a tricky piece of music, Chua denied her bathroom breaks and threatened to ship off her dollhouse to the Salvation Army, piece by piece, until she got it right - which she did with pride, mom at her side.
Betty Ming Liu, 54, grew up in New York City's Chinatown, the older of two girls of Chinese immigrants with high expectations and tough parenting tactics.
"This is a topic so close to my heart," she says. "It's frightening to see that Amy Chua is still doing it. She's young. She's educated. She's American born. She's not an immigrant and for her to perpetuate this ... is frightening."
As a young adult, Chua says she rebelled in her own way. She married a white, American Orthodox Jew after hearing from her dad: "You'll marry a non-Chinese over my dead body."
"Now my dad and my husband are the best of friends."
Rebellion in own way
Liu and Chua alike acknowledge that the tiger mom parenting approach isn't uniquely Chinese, "but we've perfected it," Liu says. "I got straight Ds in college. That was my only power over my father."
Growing up in California's Marin County, Tony Hsieh's parents forced him to play four instruments. He'd sometimes cheat on practices by recording previous turns at the piano or violin and playing them back while his parents slept.
Hsieh graduated from Harvard in 1995, co-founded an Internet ad network sold to Microsoft and is now CEO of the online shoe retailer Zappos. He published a memoir of his road to success, "Delivering Happiness," last year. What he didn't do was become a doctor, a top prize to his parents.
"For myself personally, I think I would have benefited from a less strict parenting style, because a big part of being an entrepreneur is about being creative, thinking outside the box, defying conventional wisdom, taking risks, which runs counter to the values of many Asian parents," he says.
Shay Fan, 26, in San Francisco, didn't rip up sheets of music like one of Chua's girls, but she once protested piano by playing with her feet and paid for it with a fierce spanking.
"I understand her motives," she says of Chua. "Is there a limit to what parents should do? Absolutely. Chua's method of parenting worked for her children, lucky for her, but you have to take things by a case-by-case basis ... Overall, I'm glad that my mom taught me to be diligent and introspective."
And Wendy Lin, 55, who remembers yelling and screaming over her perceived laziness as a child, appreciates Chua's resolve to dive into the trenches with her kids.
"She was with them every inch of the way. I thought that was really touching," says Lin, who is parenting her 15-year-old son more gently in Great Neck, New York. "A lot of mothers would just shout from the next room."
Chua stands by much of her tiger mom ways: intense attention to academics, for instance. And she has some clarifications: Her girls HAVE had sleepovers and playdates, but they were few and far between.
Regrets? "I wish I hadn't lost my temper," she says. "I wish I hadn't been harsh. I wish I would have let them have more freedom."
Lin understands that in terms of her own parents.
"As an immigrant parent, there aren't a lot of tools you can give your children. You're very powerless in the system. You're very powerless when it comes to language," Lin says. "One of the things that you can do is make sure your kids have a good education and make sure they get into a good school, and after that you can finally rest and take a breath." The 10 things Amy Chua's two daughters are never allowed to do
Attend a sleepover.
Have a playdate.
Be in a school play.
Complain about not being in a school play.
Watch TV or play computer games.
Choose their own extracurricular activities.
Get any grade less than an A.
Not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama.
Play any instrument other than the piano or violin.
Not play the piano or violin.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011
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I just informed another that this is false! This bull because 911 is American. If this was originated from Oz, the emergency no. should be triple zero, 000.
Sent by Maxis from my BlackBerry® smartphone
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM
Subject: NEW RAPE SCAM! HAPPENED IN AUSTRALIA
This could happen not only in Australia but also in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and any other parts of the world ….. take heed.
Be aware – the holiday season brings out even more "crazies".
I paused, memorized the license plate and immediately headed into Target to get a manager to come help this lady, just in case something was up. While the woman manager headed out there, I kept a close watch just because I was curious what was wrong with the lady and wanted to be sure nothing happened.
As the Target lady walked up towards the car and got very close to the old woman in order to help her, the back door of the car flies open and a large man with a stocking cap on, jumps out and sticks a gun to the lady's stomach as he shoves her into the back of the car.
I yelled out "call 911" several times and just as I was saying that, a policeman who happened to be on the other side of the parking lot and who,luckily had seen the entire thing happen, raced over to the car.
He was able to stop the car and arrest the male as well as the old lady, who was involved in the scheme.
By God's grace everyone was all right, including myself, although I think we were both shaken up.
Like many of you, I would not in a million years have left an elderly person who was yelling for help if it weren't for the e-mail I had read last week. So, I wanted to pass this along so you all can be aware and remember that you really can't trust anyone these days.
You just never know when something like this could happen. I would have never dreamed it to happen to me especially on a Sunday afternoon at a Target in a safe area! It definitely was not a coincidence that my Mom sent that email just a few days before this all happened. Please, be careful and always be aware of your surroundings.
Just because you individually don't go over to help someone doesn't mean you have to leave them in trouble, but don't go ALONE, you really don't know what might be going on.
A guy sat down at the bar and ordered a beer.
The bartender filled his mug and slid it down the bar.
While sliding down the bar, the mug hit a blond woman's boobs
and splashed all over them...
The bartender went over, retrieved the mug and licked the beer
off her boobs.
Each time the guy called for another beer this happened.
After his third beer, the guy decided to help the bartender out.
The next time the bartender hit her boobs, the man jumped up
and started to lick them...
She decked him!
He was laying on the floor moaning, 'Jeez lady...
Why'd you let the bartender lick your boobs, but not me?'
'Duh,' said the blond, 'He has a licker license!'
SPREAD THE LAUGHTER & SHARE THE CHEER
Sent by Maxis from my BlackBerry® smartphone
Friday, January 21, 2011
She was standing in the kitchen, preparing our usual soft-boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, wearing only the 'T' shirt that she normally slept in.
As I walked in, almost awake, she turned to me and said softly, "You've got to make love to me this very moment!"
My eyes lit up and I thought, "I am either still dreaming or this is going to be my lucky day!"
Not wanting to lose the moment, I embraced her and then gave it my all; right there on the kitchen table.
Afterwards she said, "Thanks," and returned to the stove, her T-shirt still around her neck.
Happy, but a little puzzled, I asked, "What was that all about?"
She explained, "The egg timer's broken."
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
From: Australian Lotto Inc <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, January 17, 2011 10:49:23 PM
Subject: You are a Winner call this no +2347030272799
AUSTRALIA LOTTERY INCORPORATION,
Ticket number: WFD-6540089-GIL1
Lotto number: DMN/28123/10
Winning no: AULOTTO/2115/LPRC
Reference Number: PLV/MU/1601/2011
Dear sir / madam.
We are pleased to inform you that your email address won the lottery in 2011 Australia international online lottery and your email address was placed on the second list as the winner in the second category.
All email addresses were attached to various ticket numbers and you have been approved a lump sum of $ 900,000 (Nine hundred thousand dollars) as the winner in this lottery which was carried out by Microsoft and supported by the Australia lottery .
Your name name and email address on your file is to be paid in our regional office in Africa , you must therefore contact our agent with your winning number that is in the upper left corner of this message.
Get in touch with our American agent. Mr. Andrew O. Morgan, He is currently working with our representatives in Nigeria who is assigned to all the winners of the American continents.
Contact Mr Andrew Morgan to claim your prize or call your agent
Ms. Antoinette Ramos
Lottery Coordinator *
Friday, January 14, 2011
Benjamin Franklin pointed out that, "The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up to it yourself."
A lot of us pin our happiness to external factors...if only we had more money...or a better house...or whatever your latest "want" is, but your happiness has been...and always will be... right inside yourself.
That concept is liberating because it finally puts you in charge of your own happiness. That's why I'm excited about the latest book that BJ Gallagher and I teamed up to write, The Road to Happiness. Many of you are familiar with the special "touch" that BJ brings to her books through her stories and her original poetry.
Today, I'd like to share my introduction from The Road to Happiness. I hope that it'll start you thinking about where your happiness truly lives.
An excerpt from The Road to Happiness
by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher
When I travel on business, I like to talk to the taxi drivers who take me from the airport to my hotel, or to a convention center, or to a restaurant. Taxi drivers are often immigrants with interesting personal histories and unusual cultural backgrounds. I ask them how long they've been in America, how they chose which city to live in, and what they like best about where they live. Of course, I also ask them for advice on good local restaurants and any special attractions they'd recommend to a visitor. I've had some great experiences on my travels, thanks to the advice of taxi drivers!
On one trip about ten years ago, I was making conversation with the taxi driver, asking him my usual questions about how he came to live where he lived. Then I asked him a hypothetical question: "If you could live anywhere in the world-and if money was no object-where would you live?"
Without hesitating even for a second, he replied, "I live in my heart. So it really doesn't matter where my body lives. If I am happy inside, then I live in paradise, no matter where my residence is."
I felt humbled and a little foolish for my question. Of course he was right-happiness is an inside job. He had reminded me of something I already knew, but had forgotten. If you can't find happiness inside yourself, you'll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you.
I am grateful for the wisdom of that taxi driver. And I'm grateful for all the wisdom others have shared with me about how to be happy.
All the Best,
Founder, Simple Truths
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