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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Culture shock

I was really hoping to avoid blogging about this, but the reaction to the whole Tiger Mom thing has been grating me recently. People have been going both offensive and defensive in this case, with parties on both sides either being shocked and angered or contemplatively nodding in agreement. Prepare for a long post.

First of all, really, America? Why are you so surprised? Asians are constantly stereotyped, among other things, as being academic whizzes and instrumental prodigies. What, did you think it was genetic? No! Kids don’t learn calculus when they’re 13 years old because they’re “a little smarter than the rest of us”, it’s because their parents would stay up with them until midnight every night drilling the fundamentals of math into their tiny heads. You don’t see a young Asian girl playing violin at Carnegie Hall only because of latent talent; it’s because they practiced for 3 or more hours a day, every day, since they were four.

Maybe some people are as shocked as they are because they just assumed that Asians were good at these things naturally, that their parents were just as relaxed in their education as the average American parent and just happened to spawn genius children. I’m not saying that all non-Asian American parents are lazy and don’t care about education; I’ve seen my fair share of ambitious parents that would impress even Tiger Moms. But the outcry against Tiger Mom’s parenting style does show the extent to which non-Asian American children are being pushed at home. You don’t get straight 4.0’s by being allowed to sit in front of a screen for 4 hours a day. Shocker.

Then there’s the “psychological and emotional abuse” in the homes of Tiger Mom’s everywhere. “Oh lawd, save those poor Asian children! Adopt those Chinese babies away from their abusers! Bring them over to civilization and freedom!” (Insert patriotic American anthem)

Come on, have you seen the amount of psychiatric drugs consumed in America? Anti-depressants and Ridalin usage are on the constant rise in this country (I think I read 1 in 10 adults take anti-depressants recently), and I can almost guarantee that Asians have the same ratio of  “mentally scarred” adults.

Granted, we don’t talk about it much. We’re a little touchy about that.

This parenting style does of course have its drawbacks. Several would-be Tiger Mom’s in America I know pushed it a little too hard, and their kids did end up rebelling or being disconnected from their families. But that happens across the board in all cultures, not just with Asians. Overall, if done correctly, Tiger Mom children (Tiger Cubs?) are ridiculously ambitious and motivated to excel in everything they pursue, which they do indeed accomplish. Success in everything they do is the ultimate goal, trying their best and pushing their limits to reach the greatest heights is the ideal ending for the Tiger Mom’s parenting.

A far cry indeed from the classic Western style of parenting of catering to individuality, creativity, and self-esteem building. America’s success in entrepreneurship and innovation known around the world can be credited to such upbringings if combined with the right type of child who has the motivation to continue with innate ability and/or strong interest. They are confident, can think for themselves, consider things outside the box and pursue what many Asians would consider to be reckless career paths that do sometimes end well.

But do we really need to give trophies to every single kid that played T-ball? Even the ones who lost? It’s not that we should rub it in their faces that they didn’t get 1st place, but for crying out loud don’t proactively support their normalcy. If it’s all about having fun, great, let them have fun and pat them on the back for enjoying the game, they don’t need a trophy for that. All we’re doing is telling kids that last place and first place are the same thing: you still get a shiny plastic trophy and a pizza party. Why would they be motivated to do any better?

Both styles of parenting have their pros and cons, and some of these results are more obvious and measurable than others. But there should be no reason for this public bashing/cheering that’s going on simply because one Asian woman was publicly and proudly honest about the way she raised her children.

I guess my point is, don’t try to categorize other cultures with your own biased labels, there are many other paths to success and happiness than the one you chose. And it may or may not include mandatory piano lessons.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Mister Sunshine

Why, hello there, Mister Sunshine. Good of you to finally join us at work today. You got caught up in traffic? I understand, happens to the best of us. You’ve missed out on a gay old time though. Madame Computer has already misplaced a file, and Sir Scanner appears to have mauled yet another check. Not to mention I haven’t even had my morning tea yet because somehow 3 cents got lost in the system and I just can’t seem to find those little buggers. Oh, those hooligans.

Lady Swivel Chair apparently is on strike, because she is not swiveling at all this morning. Perhaps old age is getting into her joints and rusting them up, all we need is a little warmth from-

Ah, that’s right, you weren’t able to join us earlier, were you, Mister Sunshine? It’s a pity really, because Lady Swivel Chair’s squeaking nagging seems to have bothered old Lord Calculator to the point that his number 5 is stuck; why, I’ve had to redo my tapes four times already and none of them match each other. Not a single one. Isn’t that queer?

Now, Mister Sunshine, I understand that you’re a popular old fellow and busy with a full schedule of harrumphing, but it would do the group and I a lot of good if you could just come a little earlier. Perhaps warm up my car a bit so I don’t have to sit there with the engine on for 5 minutes. Gas prices are awfully high you know. Or even give a little bit of visibility during 5 o clock traffic, because I think someone missed you so much that they almost didn’t see me right next to them as they merged into my lane. We can’t have such good folks being heartsick over their bosom friend Sun, now can we?

Anyhoo, it’s time to chase down those 3 cents again, so relax, kick up your feet as you waltz in on your own schedule. Don’t worry, it’s not like the entire world is waiting for you or anything.

Toodles!

 

—- I think I was delirious this morning when I scribbled this “conversation” in my journal. Oh dear.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Turn me on

No, stop, please don’t try, you’re going to fail. That was just a catchy title to get the flow of writing going. Silly little blog reader, you.

Being not that much a fan of physical attraction (it just doesn’t happen for me, what can I say, ^^;;) I’ve found that my minimal attention towards men focuses very strongly on two things: their intelligence, and their wit. Sure, situational humor and all-out slapstick comedy and off-color jokes can be funny, but the winning point goes to someone who can make me laugh and think at the same time, or if they found humor in something that most people wouldn’t have connected together.

I won’t lie; I have a shallow side. If the guy is two feet shorter than me or has a third arm and doesn’t practice personal hygiene, I will strongly reconsider speaking to him. But if he can cleverly explain Aboriginal history to me and make a witty remark about the political situation of Russia, I may overlook it all. Well, maybe except the hygiene thing. Please make a note of this: Showers are not an option.

But all in all, what can I say, I absolutely love the idea of platonic relationships (the non-sexual, loving the person, part). Talking to someone about philosophy and the historically created political situation, or even having them explain different types of game and what kind of guns you use to hunt them (hey, not all intelligence is book sourced), sounds like an amazing way to spend the night. I guess what you can conclude from this is that learning is my aphrodisiac? Golly that sounds odd. (Especially if you know my U.G.P.A…. O.M.G.)

However not far from the truth. For me, a brilliant mind combined with a sharp sense of humor will overshadow almost every other personality characteristic a man can bring to the table. If it can be scathing, even better. Nothing’s better than a joke except a joke that burns.

What can I say, if Gregory House or Jon Stewart or Dalton Russell from the Inside Man or RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes were within 10 years of my age (or, in most cases, an actual person)… Hm. Yeah, I’d tap that.

Hawt

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Lunch boxes

Have you seen those spiffy lunch carriers for adults nowadays? With all the cool designs and handbag styles there’s a multitude of ways to differentiate yourself from the other losers bringing lunch to work/school. Such as:

Or the sleeker

And you can even be all snazzy stylish with

And my personal favorite, the classic INSULATED BOX

(Old) school is cool

Which, by the way, is an excellent receptacle for the ever elusive “cute Asian bento”, a thing of Western myth that is supposedly passed down from generation to generation of Asian women around the world, huddled in their proverbial kitchens with hushed voices as they learn the art of creating anime characters and panda bears out of rice, soy sauce, and seaweed flakes. All while remaining perfectly make-uped (it’s a word now) in their equally cute aprons and high heels.

Apart from that, Americans don’t seem to be as concerned with the interior of their lunch boxes as much as their exterior, aesthetic qualities. There are handbag styles, paper bag oilskin styles, styles for the mature, styles with flowers, eco-friendly bags, bags that you hold, bags that go on your back, bags that velcro or string tie or zip or fold over. Like dog jewelry once was a few years back, there seems to be a burgeoning supply and trend of stylish lunch bags that can range from $5 to over $50. Just today I overheard a couple of ladies chatting it up about their cool little food totes, how much it was, how useful it is (it holds your leftovers and you put it in the fridge anyway, what’s the difference?), where they got it from, etcetera.

Is anyone else reminded of elementary school?

It’s like when we used to carry around those hard plastic boxes with the snap clip and tiny-person handles. They were all basically the same shape and quality, they all carried the same foods (PB&J ftw!), but having a Power Rangers lunch box separated your awesomeness from the Barney lunch boxes. And no one talked to the brown paper bag kid, unless you were on a field trip.

Me? I had a purple My Little Pony lunch box. I was straight up gangsta. Word.

Kids today now have insulated lunch boxes (which STILL have Power Rangers on them.. when is that show going to go away?) that actually keep their food cold/warm, and sometimes even in separate pouches! Are we truly depriving our children from having lukewarm apple juice and uncomfortably melted cheese in their sandwiches? What cherished memories will they have now? Education? Friends?

What gibberish. Where’s my purple lunch box at, it’s time to show these kids how to be a real G.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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One liners part 3

If you’re willing to die for something, does that necessarily mean you’d die without it?

Maybe it’s the ballooning of boosted patriotism in the U.S. and the exaggerated sways of emotion and media hype and ideological wars that reign today that caused this thought… or it’s because I just watched the music video of Bruno Mars’ song “Grenade”… xD

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Back in the working world

That’s right, I’m employed!!!

It’s temporary, it has very little to do with my future career goals, but dammit all it’s a paying 40-hour a week job (and it doesn’t require selling things or talking to the mass public! WOOHOO). I can now buy gas and frozen yogurt without cringing, and am now able to pay for that pre-order of Dragon Age 2 (hot damn that game better be freaking amazing). Yeah, I pre-ordered a $60 game while I was unemployed… shit happens.

I’m working in the payments department of a medical imaging company, meaning that I deal with massive checks from insurance companies and patients all day. Mm… don’t you love the feel of money? Even if it’s not yours?

Like all accounting departments that I’ve worked with, the entire group is composed of women. Why does that always happen? Do men just not like number crunching? Maybe it’s the conveniently standard work schedule that appeals to moms? Are women simply more attracted to those spiffy calculator things with the rolls of paper?

Ohhh yeah, baby, tap my digits.

Regardless, my coworkers are all middle age and above women, and are actually pretty hilarious. They talk and laugh about quirky things, and aren’t afraid to look like fools. Once a person grows out of the state of giving a damn about stupid things, they seem to become quite goofy and enjoyable to be around.

Ah, youth. How thou hast embittered me.

They even do those little ergonomic exercises twice a day to help with posture and wrist pains from sitting at a computer for too long. Imagine my utter amusement when all these ladies randomly stood up at 9:30 in the morning to twirl their wrists around and stomp on the floor like a tantrum throwing toddler in order to free blood flow to their legs. I think I’ll join them next time, just to say that I can stomp around like a mad woman at work without being looked at funny. Apparently the company passed out yoga balls to people so they can sit at their cubicle with good posture… but have you ever tried moving papers around a huge corner desk while being planted on a yoga ball? Workers compensation can only do so much.

One thing that I don’t think that I will ever get used to is getting to work at 6 A.M. Two summers ago I worked for a couple months from 6-3 because of their shift schedule and the need to coincide with the east coast. Okay, fine, I can handle it. But that was then, during the summer, when you could at least be greeted by the sun like the beginning of a proper day before stepping into the building.

Today I had to wait at the office for over an hour before that shiny bastard bothered to peek its head above the horizon. Then a coworker had the nerve to tell me that they had worked out in the morning before they came to work. What are you talking about, fool? Look at the pitch black outside, IT’S STILL NIGHTTIME!

Good grief.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s in a name

Other than the ridiculously cliche and overused phrase I pasted onto the title (Hey kids, do you know who wrote it first?), sometimes people’s comments really do beg the question: what exactly is in a name?

It’s understandable that we try to generalize people as fast as we friggin can in order to save ourselves the effort of actually getting to know the person. I’m not judging, coming to know a person for who they really are is a ridiculously difficult and time intensive task, and requires us to pull our eyes off the computer screen and have a pleasant conversation about topics other than the weather. I mean, who does that anymore? What is this, 1920?

It’s almost like we’re finding new and profound ways of stereotyping people. What, your friend is a liberal? She’s probably a dirty tree humping vegan! You have a conservative cousin? He’s a bible thumping fanatic. Your professor is a Tea Party member? ……. how the hell did he get a PhD?

We (and I use the all encompassing human “we”) have a tendency to demonize and belittle our enemies. This is a given, since we seem to be biologically programmed to call out enemies, even if they don’t really exist. Us vs. Them, the Smart vs. the Uneducated, the Enlightened vs. the Blind, the Scientific vs. the Orthodox.

Apparently we’ve never heard of a Venn Diagram.

What is that bluish purple thing? ... middle ground? BLASPHEMY!

I admit to leaning a little left, but that doesn’t mean that I consider the people on the right to be racists or corporate pawns. There are intelligent people on both sides with strong arguments and moral grounding. It’s just a matter of principles, and that… really has nothing to do with intelligence. People can say they want, but principles are principles, and rarely do they stem from analytical logic or rationale. Principles come first, support comes later.

So, World, I ask nicely that you don’t equate my political leanings with being a bum living off welfare, or thinking that my believing in Christ automatically makes me a close-minded and irrational bigot. That really doesn’t describe me at all, I’m sure we could play nice if you gave it a chance.

We can point to numerous idiotic people on the “other side”, but really? It’s humanity. The vast majority of humans are idiots. Of course each side is going to be filled with them, it’s all probability.  (It’s also very probable that you yourself are an idiot. Be proud to represent the species). If 75% of the world is composed of stupid people (this is a conservative estimate) then roughly 75% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, 75% of Prius drivers, and 75% of any other group is going to be idiotic. Argue all you want that “they” have more idiots than your group, but let’s face the facts, most people have no idea what they’re talking about.

And that’s what we love about people. It’s like watching a retarded puppy trying to chase its own tail and ending up rolling down the stairs. It’s meaningless, brain numbing, but damn if that stupid runt isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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