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Title: Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother

Writer: Amy Chua

Publisher:Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (2011)

Pages: 237 p

Bought at: Borders Singapore (SGD 33)

I am not into parenting books. Too much reading about parenting could make my head ache, and there are so many theories about parenting so that I decided to follow my own theory: learning by doing. Go with my guts, and hopefully the damage could be minimized =p

I felt the same when I heard about this phenomenal book for the first time. The hype was too much for me, so I thought I would just make a pass for this book. But it turned out that I can’t stand my curiosity. So…I got this book from my sister who just went to Singapore (although I think I saw the book already in several bookstores in Jakarta). And it’s been  a while until I finally landed my hand on this book.

Amy Chua is an American woman, was born in the U.S. and a successful professor in Yale. What makes her different is she came from a Chinese immigrant family, and was raised in a Chinese parenting style. Now, Amy has two daughters, Sophia and Lulu, and although her husband, Jed, is a Jew, they decided to raise their kids with that same parenting style.

This means, no playdates, no sleepovers, becoming a straight As student in school, learn musical intruments (piano and violin!), and spend most of their times to practice the instruments. Gosh! I think if I have this kind of mother, I will runaway since I was a little kid!

I hate this Amy Chua so much sometimes I just wanted to punch her. She’s so insisted and confident about her parenting style, and she did a crazy generalization about Western parents and Chinese parents.

But I really wanted to know what happened with her daughters, and what lessons she actually learned at the end of the book. Well, it turned out that if you read this book as if it is a fiction or a novel, this book is actually quite good. The clash of cultures, relationships between mother and daughters, and even some glimpses to other countries as the families traveling a lot.

I don’t agree with Amy Chua’s parenting philosophy (that your goal as a parent is to make your children successful, and not to make them like you??). I think that’s not about Chinese parenting at all (well, my father is a Chinese, so I should know a little bit about this, hehe), but it’s simply about parent’s ego. And this is a point of the book that I feel every parent could relate. Well, you want your child to become a successful violinist, and make her practice 6 hours everyday (even on a vacation or during travels!), but what exactly your purpose to make her successful? Deep down inside, parents, you know the answer. Sometimes we want to make our children as best as they could (speaking 4 languages, reading at the age of 2, eating by themselves with spoon or even playing a perfect Bach’s song in piano), just to make ourselves proud.

My advice if you do want to read this book and fulfill your curiosity about its hype, just treat it as a fiction book and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, you’ll end up hating Amy Chua!