@sophiacaribou . Why? Well, I wanted my name in it, puns get old (especially when "phi" and "fi" aren't pronounced the same), and -- admit it -- you were expecting "tiger," weren't you.
I've never been one for diaries, but I used to write a super self-conscious, angsty life summary every New Year's Eve. I haven't done it for a while now, but I figure it's been quite the year. So I'm going to resurrect and subject you to an abbreviated bit of tradition. Very abbreviated, because I think for the most part you guys want to hear about two things: tiger mom and college, and how those two fit together. Here's what I have to say about it.
I'll be honest: the reaction to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother made me question who I was. Before the book came out, I would have described myself as strong, independent, and self-motivated. That confidence, instilled in me by my family, was one reason I supported my mom's decision to publish the book in the first place. I thought people who read the book would take me and Lulu as living proof that kids of tiger parents turn out just fine.
To an extent, I was right. But the key phrase there is "who read the book."
Well, it turns out this is twenty-first century America, where achievement precludes happiness and psychologists hold panels called "Tiger Moms and Childhood Trauma." Have they even read my mom's book? Of course not, they read the Wall Street Journal excerpt and are boycotting the book on principle. Every troll has a constitutional right to trash that Asian witch and her brainwashed daughters in every far-flung corner of the internet. But they would never buy her book, hell no, it's all a moneymaking scheme and if you think you can trick them into funding Chinese supremacy, guess again. (How do I feel about that? Well, I support your lawful right to say whatever you want. I also support my playground right to break your nose if you call my mother names.) At least judge the book by its cover, people! The cover says it's a story of being "humbled by a thirteen year old!"
Ever since I was little, my parents have told me not to care what other people say about you. My dad is especially good at that, which is why he has been kicked out of various establishments for insubordination and chased out of restaurants by angry French chefs. When the book came out and the commentary came in, I wanted so badly to be that type of person. I succeeded halfway: I was able to shake off strangers' opinions of me, but their words threatened to change my opinion of myself. I started to question Carnegie Hall, my schoolwork, and everything else I was proud of. Was I the one who had achieved my goals and dreams, or had it just been my mom standing over my shoulder the whole time?
That's why my first term at college was so important. I had to prove that I could thrive on my own, the way I always thought I had -- not to convince the world, but to convince myself. And good news: I found out I'm fundamentally the same person at college that I was before. My strengths haven't changed, and neither have my flaws (Will I be furious and depressed if I lose at Ghost? Yes. Have I ever lost a game of Ghost? No.). And that's what I have to thank my parents for: they made me a rock-solid person who can do things on her own.
As this year comes to a close, my confidence is back and it's here to stay. My family is tighter than ever. The tiger controversy has matured from a fight about stuffed animals to a conversation that I am confident will make America stronger, smarter, and more successful.You faithful few who still follow this blog are a big part of that, as is everyone who expressed support through letters, emails, and tweets :]
Have a great New Year's. Here's my mom's take on the same issue, by the way. Expect a Q+A as a retroactive Christmas present.