MCLC: how to combat tiger moms

Denton, Kirk denton.2 at
Sat Dec 10 10:35:28 EST 2011

From: kirk (denton.2 at
Subject: how to combat tiger moms

Source: The Australian (12/9/11):

Two Chinese schoolgirls publish book on how to combat pushy parents

TWO Beijing schoolgirls, already masters of manipulation at the tender age
of ten, have unleashed a daring counter-attack against Tiger Mothers: the
pushy, discipline-crazed scourge of children across China.

The Complete Book of Combat With Mum may be lacking in presentational
polish, but it compensates for that with Machiavellian guile. For every
tenet of parental doctrine described in Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the
Tiger Mother, Chen Leshui, right, and Deng Xinyi have a practical or
devious solution.

The guide, written in ballpoint pen on a battered notebook, for children
between 6 and 12, and illustrated with crude diagrams of each "trick",
catalogues how to navigate the relentless lectures and chastisements of
everyday life.
Leshui's father, glowing with pride, uploaded the guide on to China's
equivalent of Twitter, where it has been forwarded tens of thousands of
times. State television has further drawn attention to the girls' work.

With each stratagem comes a note on how regularly each gambit should be
employed and a rating on what sort of mental attitude must be adopted to
pull it off. Shoving a note of contrition under the door, for example, is
described as "so-so", both in effectiveness and required skill. Bursting
into song mid-punishment however, takes guts and should be tried very

The guide has about 20 "tricks" ranging from the straightforward (No4:
burst into tears and bury head on Mum's shoulder) to the suicidal (No8:
when Mum has finished, come back with an insult of your own).

The idea for the guide came to Leshui when she returned home from an
examination in which she had performed badly.
Predictably, she faced the snarl of the ambitious Tiger Mother: a
humiliating comparison with the other children in the class and a
rhetorical "aren't you ashamed to bring this exam paper home?"

Since no guide for dealing with the situation existed, Leshui decided to
write one herself. In an interview with The Times, Leshui's father
insisted that his wife was not the dragon portrayed in his daughter's
drawings. "We always advocate that parents should provide children with a
free space," he said.

When Ms Chua's controversial memoir was published this year, it
highlighted a chasm between Western and Asian parenting approaches. For
some, her threats of burning toys were ludicrously harsh; to others, they
were a sensible approach to preparing her children for a competitive world.


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