1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

To force or not to force? January 28, 2011


image by axinia


A recent article on “Chinese upbringing methods” made a splash in the web, even on the Russian Internet. If you haven’t come across it, please check the article here, I allow myself to repost it. Please read to the end! And see my comments below.

  • Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

    Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV and hours of music practice create happy kids? An excerpt from Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

  •  A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were 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.

    I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

    All the same, even 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 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.

    Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children. By contrast, Western kids are more likely to participate in sports teams.

    When it comes to parenting, the Chinese seem to produce children who display academic excellence, musical mastery and professional success – or so the stereotype goes. WSJ’s Christina Tsuei speaks to two moms raised by Chinese immigrants who share what it was like growing up and how they hope to raise their children.

    What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it’s math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

    Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can’t. Once when I was young—maybe more than once—when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me “garbage” in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn’t actually think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.

    As an adult, I once did the same thing to Sophia, calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests.

    The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, “Hey fatty—lose some weight.” By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her “beautiful and incredibly competent.” She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)

    Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, “You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you.” By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

    I’ve thought long and hard about how Chinese parents can get away with what they do. I think there are three big differences between the Chinese and Western parental mind-sets.

    Weigh in

    First, I’ve noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.

    For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child. Other Western parents will sit their child down and express disapproval, but they will be careful not to make their child feel inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their child “stupid,” “worthless” or “a disgrace.” Privately, the Western parents may worry that their child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that there is something wrong with the curriculum and possibly the whole school. If the child’s grades do not improve, they may eventually schedule a meeting with the school principal to challenge the way the subject is being taught or to call into question the teacher’s credentials.

    If a Chinese child gets a B—which would never happen—there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A.

    Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)

    Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And it’s true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches, putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring, training, interrogating and spying on their kids.) Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.

    By contrast, I don’t think most Westerners have the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents. My husband, Jed, actually has the opposite view. “Children don’t choose their parents,” he once said to me. “They don’t even choose to be born. It’s parents who foist life on their kids, so it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide for them. Kids don’t owe their parents anything. Their duty will be to their own kids.” This strikes me as a terrible deal for the Western parent.

    Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children’s own desires and preferences. That’s why Chinese daughters can’t have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can’t go to sleepaway camp. It’s also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, “I got a part in the school play! I’m Villager Number Six. I’ll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I’ll also need a ride on weekends.” God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.

    Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that Chinese parents don’t care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up anything for their children. It’s just an entirely different parenting model.

    Here’s a story in favor of coercion, Chinese-style. Lulu was about 7, still playing two instruments, and working on a piano piece called “The Little White Donkey” by the French composer Jacques Ibert. The piece is really cute—you can just imagine a little donkey ambling along a country road with its master—but it’s also incredibly difficult for young players because the two hands have to keep schizophrenically different rhythms.

    Lulu couldn’t do it. We worked on it nonstop for a week, drilling each of her hands separately, over and over. But whenever we tried putting the hands together, one always morphed into the other, and everything fell apart. Finally, the day before her lesson, Lulu announced in exasperation that she was giving up and stomped off.

    “Get back to the piano now,” I ordered.

    “You can’t make me.”

    “Oh yes, I can.”

    Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have “The Little White Donkey” perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

    Jed took me aside. He told me to stop insulting Lulu—which I wasn’t even doing, I was just motivating her—and that he didn’t think threatening Lulu was helpful. Also, he said, maybe Lulu really just couldn’t do the technique—perhaps she didn’t have the coordination yet—had I considered that possibility?

    “You just don’t believe in her,” I accused.

    “That’s ridiculous,” Jed said scornfully. “Of course I do.”

    “Sophia could play the piece when she was this age.”

    “But Lulu and Sophia are different people,” Jed pointed out.

    “Oh no, not this,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Everyone is special in their special own way,” I mimicked sarcastically. “Even losers are special in their own special way. Well don’t worry, you don’t have to lift a finger. I’m willing to put in as long as it takes, and I’m happy to be the one hated. And you can be the one they adore because you make them pancakes and take them to Yankees games.”

    I rolled up my sleeves and went back to Lulu. I used every weapon and tactic I could think of. We worked right through dinner into the night, and I wouldn’t let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to go to the bathroom. The house became a war zone, and I lost my voice yelling, but still there seemed to be only negative progress, and even I began to have doubts.

    Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands suddenly came together—her right and left hands each doing their own imperturbable thing—just like that.

    Lulu realized it the same time I did. I held my breath. She tried it tentatively again. Then she played it more confidently and faster, and still the rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming.

    “Mommy, look—it’s easy!” After that, she wanted to play the piece over and over and wouldn’t leave the piano. That night, she came to sleep in my bed, and we snuggled and hugged, cracking each other up. When she performed “The Little White Donkey” at a recital a few weeks later, parents came up to me and said, “What a perfect piece for Lulu—it’s so spunky and so her.”

    Even Jed gave me credit for that one. Western parents worry a lot about their children’s self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there’s nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t.

    There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids’ true interests. For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it’s a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that.

    Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.




    Well what do I think of all that? At the first sight, this sounds shocking. Even if I cannot claim myself being so “Western” still my parents never forced me to do anything like that. Despite the fact that they put me into University’s faculty which wasn’t really of my choice, but later on I appreciated that a lot.

    In my observation of the Western life since many years I can admit that far too many people (especially under 40) feel quite lost in life. They want to express themselves, to have “dream jobs” but the point is that they don’t really know what they want. It seems that most of them never learned to work hard on anything and thus, starting one thing, they easily give up and turn to another, needless to say without much success. Coming back to my post on determination, I love the quote one of my beloved readers Steve left as a comment:

    ” Nothing in the world can take place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
    – Calvin Coolidge

     On the other hand, looking from philosophical or spiritual point of view – what does it matter? Do we need to be forced (by parents, teachers or ourselves) to work hard on something?  May be we do, because even the work on our soul needs determination.

    Regarding the quoted article, it’s clear to me that the balanced way of upbringing (of children or ourselves too!) lay somewhere in between, in the golden middle. Forcing may do a good job sometimes, and totally letting loose may have a devastating impact on a personality…probably it depends on many factors. The question is where is this golden middle in each particular case?


    P.S. Last news from China: the official note came out that those who are not taking care of the elderly parets are not going to achieve and heights in their carrier (mean they will not be promoted).

    LOVE, axinia


    27 Responses to “To force or not to force?”

    1. eugene Says:

      Безусловно, интересная точка зрения. В свою очередь, относительно методов воспитания, я больше сторонник бихевиоризма (Скинер, Торндайк, К. Лоренц и т.д.). Я многократно убеждался в действенности и пользе его методов. Могу Вам посоветовать прочесть книгу Карен Прайор Не рычите на собаку! (Karen Pryor Don’t shoot the Dog! Lads before the Wind Adventures in Porpoise Training). В ней много полезных советов, а сама книга написана очень живым и доступным языком.

      • axinia Says:

        Евгений, спасибо за совет. В принципе, в своё время, когда я увлекалась психологией, не была сторонником бихевиоризма, а больше гуманистической психологии. Опять же что касается воспитания, то мне ближе Ваш земляк Макаренко 🙂 -не знаю, поривда, к какому течению его можно отнести.

    2. Tapani Jalonen Says:

      Look, how about a middle path?

      I know a few cases where a western parent has been really strict and demanding (a family where the father’s profession is a captain in the military), with huge expectations to excel in everything. That has produced in my opinion an individual who now as an adult has a slight competition with everyone and everything.

      I’m not saying parents should pretend that they don’t have expectations. The mistake that I feel western parents are making is denying their natural urge to see to it that they fill their responsibility as parents, which is to guide their children and give them tools for a balanced life when they grow up.

      What I’m saying that the chinese way is not a magical formula to produce superhumans. I also refuse to believe that all chinese kids get straight A’s at school, as to say what, millions of kids all excel? In relation to each other, or what? “except gym and drama”? So, you CAN fail in those subjects? So there are no differences between kids’ school performance in China? I just don’t buy it. Someone needs to show me some statistics or something. And find some arguments why a kid should be called pathetic if he gets a B in maths (which is still better than satisfactory) and is

      Also, it’s not just the behavior of parents. The society needs to support that. If one family is a bunch of nazis and the family next door is liberal and the third family something else and then these kids exchange ideas, what does that lead to? Confusion probably. What’s the best approach?

      A middle way in my opinion. Coming from a rather liberal upbringing, I feel I need to set boundaries for my kids. Also, I want them to know I have expectations of them. If I see that they develop an interest for something in particular, I will encourage them and will not let them give up at the drop of a hat.

    3. Mahesh chendake Says:

      hi Axinia
      very nice topic for discussion
      in managed results from school everything is possible otherwise it is not possible to get A for everybody. most important is what is their mission and objectives. in one way thinking rigid upbringing can mold the children to hard work and perform best, get succeed also even though competition is very cut throat and they have to no .1 They may collect more medals but i dont know I am not happy with such activities i am just thinking what will be their final gain at individual level even at social level?
      scarification of mothers for what ? grade A all the time? I dont agree with that it is not necessary and not needed. putting the child in this cut throat competition and oneself also running behind them scarifying everything ? is it really needed. I know in India also such parent I can see there children succeeding also in that rat race but but I dont know why I am not satisfactory with that whether really they leaving happily moment by moment or dying moment by moment?
      Axinia rather I am frustrated with that that race.
      What i believe child should be unique individual and should be grown up with own identity. Yes necessary support encouragement,guidance should be given even though they are failing what ever parental scarification is their should be happily and in joyful environment and not in tense It should be simple leaving for self and not a scarification. they both should enjoy parenthood and childhood . Repressed feeling of parent should not be imposed to children yes they can be guided properly supported properly when needed without humiliation. Failure after sufficient efforts should not be crime. When You say golden balance ? for say its OK but very difficult to achieve as nobody want their child should be fail not only in exam but also in life.
      I have many cases who have succeeded in exams but failed in life. How you compare that? I know winners (may be only one) may be enjoying but what about other if we carry same philosophy. they dont any life to enjoy? what I believe now rather than success or failure , working for perfection on particular topic is important and should be more joyful and failures should not be humiliated.
      my parents never imposed me anything even during 10th i was not knowing about art,commerce science faculties also. Still I behave maturely and happily leaving Whatever i have not got in life even though having capacities I dont feel bad for that because I have enjoyed my past very well with family and outside .
      in my house there is still big drama on my daughter’s education s my my wife want to be Chinese type and want tobe her daughter successful but i am much more liberal. While writing on this blog also same drama is going on so managing golden balance is very difficult. but still i will be never like chinese mother even with my students I understand them very well along with their capacities and never expect A grade from all but still take care that nobody will fail and there will be 100 % chance to all pupil to get no.one still no humiliation to failure , rather gives more support to them. I dont know what will be future of my daughter as many teacher are like chinese mother who always run behind only success ( even without any scarification from their side)?
      on the other hand i know their parent they even dont know in which class their child go? and they are feeling that 1.they are loosing one earning hand for family 2. what ever i m doing my child should not do 3.i m ready to sacrifice in terms of money to get success.
      very few people aware about self esteem ? and we dont know whether we are helping to develop self esteem of child or loosing by our actions, even i also goes in that dilemma temporarily when i see failure as well as this rat race around Me.
      You might be find confusing but it’s real confusing as we dont know how to up-bring children

    4. Triveni Says:

      Thanks for sharing this Axinia.. This is quite new to me. But, its quite heartening to see the independence of a child lost through over expectations of the parent. As you rightly said there should be a balance, the parent must realise the child has her interest of own. Persistence is needed, but when and where is the question that needs a very thoughtful decision. At the same time, giving full freedom to the child is not correct. This also spoils them, again harming their purpose of life. Discipline with the correct amount of love and attention is needed. Its just like bringing up a plant. Give it lot of water, and no sun, it dies.. So does it die if its given excess sunlight and no water. The right amount of water and sunlight is the required formula to bring up the tender plant into a huge tree. Now how much of what is to be given is again not a standard measure. its all unique for every individual. So this cant be really defined too.

    5. Ldinka_108 Says:

      oh, no! growing super-achievers/perfectionists… it is so damaging for psyche…
      yes, they do achieve in society, goal after goal. they do it for ambitious parents mostly – typical patriarchal complex. as the result, usually they gain bunch of neurosis, too. and inner emptiness and disconnection from their own core. mostly because they were achieving to please the authorities (parents). their inner needs, especially for spontaneous self expression and impulses usually get neglected or completely suppressed in this case. natural flow and creativity is gone.
      also, they are lacking the ability to learn to be a collective being in a natural way – through the play with the same kind as themselves…
      of course, there are other alternative (healthy, too!!) replacements for watching tv and playing computers 24/7… it is not easy as society is so ready to offer toys for kids to destruct them from busy parents… but it is doable anyway with some determination from the parents’ side…
      of course, all the parents do mistakes, but… imho, the key components in raising a child is a love (not force to live up by parent’s standards for any price) and a common sense.
      the joy is an indicator – if child loves the activity and sincerely wants to do it, it will show.
      singing in the bathtub could be one healthy indicator 🙂

    6. radha Says:

      Maybe it has nothing to do with being chiinese. It s an attitude. I was raised by a father with Mrs Chau type of attitude and he never even visited China. Now that i am adult i understand that it was the only way to make me motivated and i am grateful, becuase i can understand my story and myself better. It s interesting what Chau says. Things seem changing thoug. EVen here in hongkong parents (natives & from other places) unanimously look struggling for the best possible way…

      • axinia Says:

        radha, thanks for the comment – this is something I was also hinting at. i am sure this menothd – may be not that srickt, can work for many people. Recently one 35 year old men told me that he is very greateful to his parents for everything exept one thing – they never taught him how to achieve anything. So he has no desires, no ambiitons and no direction…feeling quite lost. Overwise he is exellently brought up and a wonderful person. But this “lack” makes him suffer same way as someone would suffer from too many ambitions…

    7. swaps Says:

      Axinia, I am happy that you have mentioned ‘the middle path’…being too strict to children can hurt their self-esteem and breed timidity; but one must teach responsibility too.

      • Mahesh chendake Says:

        certain students learn with their own even in unfevareble condition, What u call that?
        For parent, specially middle class, this dilema can seen s they are more anxious, as successful adjustment with high achievement is felt need and demand also also they are mostly autocratic parent !!!! others are list bothers? because their preferences are different . child acivement is list important for them also even though wanted.If child is well with own its good. otherwise also it’s good for them. as they involve their problem only

      • Tapani Jalonen Says:

        @swaps, “middle path” was a comment by me 🙂

    8. That much to pet training applied to human. Do I hear Pavlov s bell?
      I wonder how long it will take our specie to realise that the actual concept of “success” is killing humanity.
      I wonder also how long it will take to some to realise that our neurological connections are build on lust, and that control reduces intelligence.
      The problem is that too many reproduce the abuse they experienced as children on the next generation, pretending it did themselves good.
      Each therapist knows the sad truth behind all those success noises.
      Can we not learn to relate differently with the next generation as either with guilt full consumerism entertainment laissez faire, or with imposing narcissistic projections of fear driven achievement goals.
      Trusting the human nature, might start by trusting the nature of children.
      Children learn by imitation.Even of unconscious patterns.And their devoted sense of resilience, can mean surprising behaviours to not disturb parents obsessed with perfectionism.

    9. I just wonder how many of those successful children might end bringing their parents out of sight into older s home,were they don’t have to care about such disturbing aspects of human life who are not based on being well adapted and performing.

      • axinia Says:

        Actually I think the opposite is true – exactly these children are brought up to take care of their parents properly, it’s also deep in the Chinese culture (as the article’s author say, the children are tought that they owe the parents everything).
        At the same time, it is usually the children of liberal parents who put them inot older’s home: it was one of my first shocks when I moved to Austira to learn that this is such a common practice here, these homes…i never saw it before.

        • Mahesh chendake Says:

          In our place also need for old age home is increasing as I visit every year these as a syllabus requirement for student I found though many have come by choice but most have by chance and misreble as there is no alternative and they are humiliated at home. some of pick Up from road (Few stories too much horrible.- having money is not important there are many who have adequate money but refused to take care and love at home and are unable to take self care, some of their children at foreign and fails even response back with single phone call. some are bitten snatched for money they posses and then thrown out by their own children and daughter in law. Now here also most people doesn’t expect old age care from children independent of their upbringing mostly it confusing as some time at extreme autocratic specially during 10th or 12th otherwise they list bother or leave hopes.
          so I am stressing constantly that it is inborn characteristic, attitude , self determination of child and totally not depend on how you have grown up” eighter autocratic or democratic environment. It really doesn’t matter .
          olderes should be cared as children as they are also equally difficult for manage them
          Axinia, I dont know your understanding and experience of this but as actually I am having both at home I understand it very well and how much difficult to manage.
          we have to give up our total leaving for them and in our lifetime we dont have time to think of self enjoyment excluding them . we have to carry constantly that responsibility as sometimes burden and definitely creates pressure on minds and surrender our previllage,chances for development/upgradation ( If priority is given to family as i have) and freedoms for them. some do it happily other not and dilema starts ( which is depend on that particular attitude and determination).

          • Mahesh chendake Says:

            ( which is depend on that particular attitude and determination)….. irrespective of my upbringing as i have brought up in democratic family and even my parents doesn’t have given dreams ,desires to me just they provided me comfortable life which was possible to them (even for that also they have surrender lot which may be their part of struggle to survival).
            My attitude and determination i have decided as total freedom given by parent. I I was never shown rejected in my family during my wrong decision and failures …
            … If possible plz edit and connect

        • these children are brought up to take care of their parents properly, it’s also deep in the Chinese culture

          I know you have a deep fascination with Eastern “culture”, Axinia (just as I do with civilised societies) and believe that the grass is so evergreen in the “wonderful East” with “great spiritual cultures” 🙄 but sometimes, social, economic and other necessities get passed off as a product of “culture”. When conditions and necessities change with time, such “cultures” gets exposed for what they are.

          In other words, uncivilised peoples always boast and shamelessly lie about the supposed greatness 🙄 of their own “cultures” in order to cover up their own uncouthness and lack of civilised behaviour. Usually, they get exposed for what they are – they are neither civilised nor “cultured”.

          I agree that the flimsiness of familial bonds in the civilised societies of the West is NOT a good thing and is directly opposed to the Christian foundations of civilised societies (and the example of the family of Christ himself).

          But never for a moment will I believe that all Chinese children are angels trained by their “culture” to take utmost care of their aged parents till their very last breath.


          What Mahesh says about the deliberate abuse and neglect of elders in the sub-human sub-continent is quite true and becoming more and more common. I see no reason why it should be too different in China.


    10. The western parent’s have seen what kids can do later on in life (to the parents) and hence have taken a more realistic option (of not interfering). The chinese and more importantly Indian parents are yet to see all that – perhaps in another generation, they will be clear as the westerners! I am sorry to be so crude, but what’s the point of working/ struggling so much for your kids when they will happily ignore you in the future?

      Destination Infinity

    11. Well, axinia…I don’t talk about being obligated to handle a situation compared to the free will to do so.No wonder the oppressive Chinese regime is in favour of Confucius, but never names Lao tse .Having cared during years for my mother who had Alzheimer, amongst other diseases and was incontinent, I can guaranty you that “duty” will not provide you a good care, if you don’t get loved truly.You might get your food, but you might get told off too for not fitting in, if you have not understand when your children were young that emotions matters more than discipline.I have seen many of those “successful” people behaving absolutely inadequately, when it came to have to deal with their older parents.They did not even call them, out of the fear to handle the fact that life was not only about the equation society achievement=well being.Obviously my lifestyle and my boeheme education had better prepared me to embrace life in all his dimensions instead of getting all nihilistic avoiding like those successful are in reality.They show their mistrust of life, by their fear of it through success and their need to dominate through artificial importance instead of relating directly to other human in an egalitarian way.Everything who does not reflect this “efficiency” get s sorted out.Can be workers in an enterprises, can be the own old parents send to a distant care place.Let s not forget, its a booming industry who needs that kind of behaviour to sell pretend professionalism( you only have to see the reality of many of these places to think different.!) instead of love. Something successful can agree on.All neat, isn’t it…and out of sight!

    12. Despite the fact that they put me into University’s faculty which wasn’t really of my choice…

      What an unbelievable coincidence! 😉 You’ve got company in that one, Axinia dear 🙂 I really understand how hard that must have been for you, for I had to go through exactly the same thing 😦 and for the same reason you mention.

      …but later on I appreciated that a lot.

      Unfortunately, I cannot say that for myself 😦 I never really got over that, and I consider that time (and the one that followed immediately after, as a result of it) as “lost” 😐

      What I have done is to put it behind me. There is no use in crying over spilled milk, especially when there are other things available to drink 😉 Moreover, it has made me learn a few valuable lessons about life that I may never have learned otherwise. And one of them is never to go by someone else’s choice, even if it is made by those who have my best interests at heart – simply because they are different and I am different. The best choice is always the one that one makes for oneself 😐


      • axinia Says:

        Believe it or not, Raj, most of the best things in my life happend not because of my choice! all the serious things like my studies, my marriage, country to live, my jobs (especially the best job I ever had is the one I’m in now) – all of that was not because I wanted it this way. – I mean I was not really forced, but the curcumstances were so that I had to accept it. Of cause I had a choice to refuse but I felt it’s good so.

    13. University s used to provide universal wisdom at least theoretical, but this days they degenerated to job franchises pleasing those who feed them, providing enough hungry ghost careerists with expert narrow visions of the world who have learn one thing, basically…how to flatter hierarchy structures and the own pride, despite their, too often, disastrous impact on society.
      I used to hang all my diplomas at the toilettes, now they probably dust in an old box…who cares.The most I learned in life happen on my own initiative.Wisdom is everywhere, and reducing it to a hierarchical game is an absurd waste of life energy.

    14. May I ad an observation I made over the years.
      The wish to control seems to be born out of a own instability, insecurity,fear.
      I have seen human with very moody unpredictable characters asking for rigid rules and regimes.I associate my own trust in free concepts with my own mostly well grounded solidity.Rigid education points more towards the parents past as towards the future of children, beside in the repetition of patterns and the resulting consequences of such artificial rigidity s on us all.

    15. Christian Alexander Tietgen Says:

      Chinese mothers treat their children very badly.

    16. Each dictatorship is based on citizen who once as humiliated children have not be allowed to say no.If we want democracy, we have to learn to argue fair in eye level of children instead of imposing unquestionable authority.

      These days the fearful middle class is pushing children into a new form of repression of their natural needs ,imposing standards who neglect that learning to be a human includes moments of non occupation and the freedom of the own creativity, movements and sensorial, social and environmental discovery’s.
      This pushing and pulling is not increasing the strengths of children, but weakens their inner potential to trust life and to react social adequately.

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