Thursday, November 6, 2014


Vivia Chen @lawcareerist 

Why the Tiger Mom's New Book Makes You Nervous 

Jan. 31, 2014    

Amy Chua is an easy whipping post. After all, she’s the iconic Tiger Mom who blithely bragged about her extreme parenting methods in her book 2011 Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Overnight, she became the archetype of the nightmare Asian mom, hell bent on raising uber-achievers at all cost.

I thought Battle Hymn was a humorous, breezy read, but many people (who probably never read the book) were outraged. No wonder, then, that critics and pundits would be looking for signs of hubris and depravity in Chua’s latest work.

Chua’s most recent book, The Triple Package, written with her husband and fellow Yale Law School faculty member Jeb Rubenfeld, looks at success in America—specifically why certain groups (Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cubans, and Mormons) succeed. In a recent New York Times article, they offer a synopsis of the book, citing what they regard as the three pillars of success: (1) “a superiority complex—a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality”; (2) “insecurity—a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough”; and (3) “impulse control”—essentially self-discipline.

Already, the criticisms are reaching a crescendo. This time, though, Chua is condemned not just as an arrogant elitist and abusive mother but something else: racist.

Suketu Mehta writes in TIME that the book represents “the new racism—and I take it rather personally.” Mehta adds that “the language of racism in America has changed . . . It’s not about skin color anymore—it’s about ‘cultural traits.’”

In a follow-up to Mehta’s article, Anna Holmes argues that the “new racism” in The Triple Package is just a continuation of “the same old racism.” Her verdict on the book: “It’s the same old garbage, in a slightly different, Ivy League-endorsed disguise.”

The tenor of a lot of the criticism has been angry, hostile and extremely personal (Chua seems to get singled out much more so than her husband). And, I think, racist. The fact that some of the slings come from minority group members doesn’t make the criticisms less vicious.

What gives the attacks a distinct racist tinge is that Chua is reduced to a stereotype—a Dragon Lady, of sorts. This time, though, the Dragon Lady is not the evil seducer of old Fu Manchu movies, but the new evangelist of racial superiority. Maureen Callahan writes in the New York Post: “[Chua] used her heritage and all the worst stereotypes of Chinese women — cold, rigid Dragon Ladies.”

Chua is under attack because she and Rubenfeld are talking about ethnicity in a way that makes people uncomfortable. She’s writing about differences among divergent groups (ethnic or otherwise) and how those differences enter into the equation of success, as measured by education and socio-economic achievement (and yes, that definition of success has become a flash point too). The fear is that acknowledging those differences is to place cultures in a hierarchy, to be elitist. Jie-Song Zhang, for instance, writes in a rambling but somewhat poetic essay on The Huffington Post that Chua is adding “pollutants to our social eco-systems, strengthening the perception of difference, distance, and opposition between our communities.”

Of course, many children of immigrants no longer buy the narrative that their culture has been a primary driver of their success. Mehta, for one, writes that he is chagrined when relatives send him emails lauding the success of Indians. He says his family thrived in America not because of the “triple package” but because “my uncle in Detroit, an engineer, brought us over on the family reunification bill, not in shackles or in steerage.”

And that’s fine. We can all disagree about the origins of success and what success means.

But what’s outrageous about some of the criticism against Chua is that it essentially censors discussions that might touch a nerve. Labeling the speaker or the topic as exclusionary or racist is a quick way to undermine the legitimacy of the whole conversation.

All of this speaks volumes about how uncomfortable we are about talking about race, ethnicity, and success in America. And that this discussion is now being propelled by the Tiger Mom makes a lot of people nervous.

Perhatian: Ada lagi ulasan mengenai isi buku 'The Triple Package' di bahagian akhir masukan berikutnya dalam blog ini atas nama 'MELAYU ITU HEBAT BANGSANYA'. Selamat membaca.

Chen is the creator and chief blogger of the Careerist and a senior reporter at the American Lawyer. The views expressed are solely her own.


Former HP CEO, Carly Fiorina on the Islamic Civilization

Dalam keadaan dunia Islam kini  berada dalam keadaan kucar-kacir, disebabkan peranan musuh Islam, yang ditunggangi oleh kelompok Zionis, elok juga kita mengingati zaman silam Tamaddun Islam yang gilang gemilang yang dipaparkan oleh seorang tokoh bukan Islam yang terkemuka iaitu mantan CEO Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina.


An excerpt from HP CEO Carly Fiorina's speech on September 26, 2001
There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.
It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.
One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known.
The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.
And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.
Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.
When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.
While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.
And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population–that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.
This kind of enlightened leadership — leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage — led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.
In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership– bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership.


Published on Oct 03, 2014, MYPAPER, OPINION.

Losing common sense in the information age


IS COMMON sense that common any more?

Common sense is a term that is bandied around in all walks of life. In business, it implies sound and prudent judgment and, indeed, this is the usual dictionary definition.

The term is ancient and the original definition is bound with the five senses: we see, touch, feel, hear and taste things and form an opinion on them accordingly.

In short, we experience something and learn from it. The commonality comes from other people experiencing the same thing and sharing their interpretation.

Sharing information is just communication - as humans, we do this in three ways. The most basic is body language and we all have an innate perception of what others' displays mean. It can be confused by culture - raising your middle finger means different things in different cultures. Body language also includes general conduct, such as timekeeping, dress and cleanliness.

Advanced forms of communication are speaking and listening, and writing and reading.

Verbal communication used to require physical proximity, but is now often remote via phone or screen.

Written communication is almost always remote, so we cannot see the writer and, therefore, cannot make a judgment on them with our five senses.

We do make judgments, of course, but they are based on pictures we put in our heads and tones that we apply to the language we are reading.

Writing started on paper (or parchment or stone, if you want to be pedantic), but is now most frequently accessed on screen.

It is dominated by the Internet and includes things like e-mail, messaging systems (such as SMS and Twitter) and, for business, databases of what the leaders think is relevant to their employees.

The written word allows us to learn about every idea had by anyone under the sun. I cannot remember who said it, but a good definition of our age is that there are no new ideas to be had, only the application of existing ones.

Fine. This all sounds good - we can access information on any subject, anywhere, and apply it to our own lives and to situations at work. But, hang on, does the information we receive lead to the application of common sense?

To have common sense means you have to have experienced the current situation or something similar to it, not just read about it, or been told about it.

If you don't have the personal experience, you are applying someone else's experience, which may not be relevant.

If you do not see the person who is telling you something, you cannot make a personal judgment on the quality of the information. You just take it "as gospel".

So what?

Modern systems of communication give us access to information that we would never have thought possible even 20 years ago. They stuff us with knowledge.

But do we learn from them and do they give us experience? Are we better at our jobs for it? Are we better people?

My rather pessimistic conclusion is "no". We are losing the art of talking to each other, debating with each other and forming personal conclusions.

SMS and e-mail mean we don't see each other as much as we should. We don't look into each other's eyes, we don't evaluate honesty - we take things for granted far too much.

Methodologies and templates are replacing original thought and expression. Granted, they mean that we should not forget to do something, but what use is that if we didn't understand the importance of it in the first place?

My first job as an "in charge" auditor was a simple manufacturing audit in North London. I forgot to request a stocktake at the year end. If you are not an auditor, this is a pretty basic error. Having to conduct one in arrears and reconcile back to the right date taught me everything I know about stock.

I had a business partner who banged on and on every year about the importance of the bank reconciliation in an audit. The staff used to hate it, but we encouraged it because if you want to steal money from a company, it has to show up in the bank reconciliation sooner or later. All the major Singapore frauds were caught that way.

The availability of information, no matter how good, is no substitute for finding out for yourself. Databases on an auditor's laptop are wonderful aids, but only when they are adapted to actual conditions, because they are designed to be generic, not specific.

Adaptation requires experience. Experience means personal experience. Personal experience means using the five senses and, for human communication, this is mainly seeing and hearing.

Modern communications cut us off from these natural tools. We are losing common sense.


The writer, a business communications consultant in Britain, was a Price Waterhouse Singapore partner for 18 years in the 1980s and 1990s.