June 06, 2006

Being Chinese

Posted by Xun  |  5 comments

Emma and I are frequent visitors of libraries and bookstores. Saturday the theme of Evanston Public library is about immigrants. There are a few books by Chinese immigrants. I picked out one: Leaving Deep Water, curious about what the message would be.

I simply flipped through the book, impatient with what I think is very stereotypical and stale characterization of Chinese people. It reads like the long grey robes Chinese men wore in the old, very old times, when they also wore long ponytails. I found myself defensive and almost resent the book.

What is Chinese to me?

I refuse any characterization. I think no nation, no race is characterizable. I think all human beings are the same deep inside, all bound and limited by need for food and shelter, fear and hope. I have read Malcolm Gladwell's The Danger of Profiling. Just when you think you nailed it, a million of exceptions screaming angrily at you.

That's why there never is cultural shock to me. Only day-to-day living through, slowly adapt, slowly assimilate.

However, I also found myself do have some opinions about the differences between Chinese and Americans, at least externally.

Foods are different. Almost no Chinese eat salad, not in China. Chinese cuisine and American cuisine are as different as day and night. After so many years, I still use Chinese condiments and am so so so confused and ignorant of westerner's a million sources in cute little bottles. That is an exotic thing.

Dress codes are different. Chinese, probably all Asians (isn't Japanese always in stiff suit), dress formally for public, while Americans are just the opposite, T-shirt, always T-shirt, in a seasons, in most occasions, for most people. I love that. And gradually I lost my appetite in new dresses and shopping at all.

Maybe statistically, Americans are more extroverted. Boy, aren't they talkative? Aren't they all are equipped with oratorical power? I always always listen and watch in astonishment, in awe and in envy they talk, talk and talk, while silently pondering "what is that and this?” My ability to talk is in the lower range even among my Chinese people. Well, at least I can hide behind of the excuse of language barrier.

(My parents said I used to be a very talkative girl when I was little. How did I lost the ability along the way of growing up and settling down in America?)

Sure, we Chinese (Asians) are deadly serious about education. We definitely value high the prospect education can lead us. There is a Chinese proverb that is carved deep in every Chinese's head: "Everything is low, only education is high." So parents are always anxious and zealous with regard to their children's academic performance. Sure, our thinking is practical. We want a good career following years’ of education. I, for one, am totally serious about education. A good school and academic competence are must (And of course I will let my child have all the fun and creative outlets in the world that I never had, of course, I want Emma to be above all, happy and wholesome).

I do not want to apologize. Aren't all sensible parents all over the world want the best for and out of their children? Aren't all American parents, whenever they can, gravitate towards suburbs and crave for the best possible schools?

Funny then I read another book Top of the Class - How Asian Parents raise high achievers and how you can too.

So there is nothing to apologize.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
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Anonymous said...

Top of the class is a snobbish book by two snobbish korean sisters

Anonymous said...

I like what you have here! I have a hypnosis spiral site I think you might enjoy.

hypnosis said...

Six Steps to Success
Throughout the centuries history tells of men and women with the midas touch, who achieved greatness against what seemed insurmountable odds. To some their successes appeared to be the result of blind luck, to others the reward for hard work, but the truth about the successes of men such as Andrew Carnagie and Henry Ford is much more interesting.

Success is a state of mind to which all people should aspire. Like many others you can unlock te gate to achievement and the fulfilment of yor personal desires. With the six steps outlined below anyone can arrive at a set destination, with the added advantage of renewed self-confidence and secure in the knowledge that every goal is attainable.
Step 1. Desire
The key factor involved in the process of achieving any desire lies in the response of one's mind to the objective. If a complacent attitude is apparent then there will be a lack of enthusiasm leading to failure or only half-success.
If a goal is to be reached determination is needed to carry set plans through to a successful conclusion. This determination must have enough mental 'weight' behind it to propel you forward onto the road of achievement. This mental state can only be instilled by one thing - desire!
As can be easily seen, when we look around us, it is this desire-force that has launched mankind on his frenzied zest for ever-new knowledge and has enabled him to push back the boundaries of science to never dreamed of achievement.

It is this same desire-force that must be used in our business and personal affairs if the success we seek is to materialize. It is not very hard to develop this kind of desire for all you have to do is go after what you really want - its that simple. With this desire you will have all the persistence you need to accomplish your goal. There is a great saying "you never fail until you give up"!
Take heed of what Napoleon Bonaparte said "What we ardently and constantly desire, we always get".

Step 2. Goals
If success is to come your must realise what is expected to materialize. This statement may seem obvious at first but if careful thought is given its meaning takes on deeper significance.
Many people fail to gain satisfactory results from their endeavours because they did not know what they wanted to accomplish in the first place. Your objective must not be hazy or incomplete. Before you reach your goal you must be able to identify how your life will be different when you achieve it. You must know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. How will your life be better/different? How will you feel? What way will you look? What situations will you find yourself in? Will other people in your life be effected and if so how will they react? You need a clear definite picture in your mind of what the attainment of your goal will mean to you.

Step 3. Belief
Belief is the back-up system of desire. It keep the fires of enthusiasm burning and makes us continually strive to get nearer the goal attainment. Faith can truly move mountains; the mountains of fear, inferiority, worry and low self esteem - 'the success killers'!
Once a goal is firmly fixed in mind and our desire-force is hurtling us toward seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the firm belief that we can gain a favourable outcome can spur us on to victory. When the mind has been manipulated to reflect this state, wonderful physical results can ensue, producing symptoms of success in our lives in every area imaginable.
Although many can attest to the power of belief and to the wondrous accomplishments that were achieved through nothing else except faith, it still remains that many individuals find it hard to believe that a positive outcome will be forthcoming when they are faced with momentous opposition. Whether the opposition is mental or physical the fact that nothing seems to be going right and everything seems to be wrong is enough for even the strongest of us to 'throw in the towel'. But it is in these very situations that faith can conquer all. Faith in yourself, what you are doing and belief that that your objective will be reached.
There are some who bemoan "easier said than done". This is exactly the kind of mental attitude that sustains the problems that they are trying to eradicate. If your belief power is not apparent, take hope for it can be acquired.
Each morning and night recite your intentions from a written list of your goals. Voice your belief in your own abilities. Tell yourself that in due course you will be successful. As you go about your daily affairs reflect as often as possible on your goals and affirm that they are yours now. Fool your mind into believing it and you will see your world reflect it!

Step 4. Plan
Having decided upon your goal and being determined to build your faith you need to give your desire-force a 'vehicle' through which it may materialize. This 'vehicle' will take the form of a definite plan of action.
Do you need to acquire certain skills? Do you need to know certain people or be in certain places to help you achieve your goal? Make a plan that will help you get closer to your end objective. Research your desires and get clear on what you need to do. Then do it!
Ensure that your plan is workable and realistic for you. Although your plan should remain flexible so that changes can be made when appropriate only make changes after careful consideration. Trial and error will eventually show the way to a good plan although you should be open to intuition also.
However, I should point out that, it is very likely your goal will materialize in a most unexpected way. The fact that you have set a plan for its accomplishment tends to set things in motion and like a chain reaction (or the butterfly effect) subtle changes made by you may cause dramatic changes elsewhere and your goal may come before your plan is completed.

Step 5. Visualization
Visualization is the art of creating mental movies of your completed goal. This has many beneficial effects upon your consciousness. Without going into the deeper esoteric benefits of using this art let me just say that you are truly designing your life when you use it. It has one other major benefit - it strengthens your desire and persistence because you momentarily experience the thrill of having achieved your goal!
Just form a mental picture of having achieved your goal. See what you will see. Feel how wonderful it will be. See how it effects everyone around you. Hear people congratulate you. When this state is experienced nothing will stop you in your quest for your objective and thus your belief-power will also be reinforced.

Step 6. The Subconscious Mind
It is within the subconscious part of your mind that you hold all th positive and negative beliefs about yourself - your self-image. These beliefs are reflected back to you in the form of attitudes. Therefore it is from the subconscious mind that the thought of failure or success comes.

Attitudes are just mental programs and so is your self-image. They can easily be changed (yes I said 'easily'). Any attitude or belief can be changed by using the formula outlined in this article - by combining affirmations with visualization. Henry Ford used it, as did Ralph Waldo Emerson and even Arnold Swatzeneger. It is reported in some circles that a similar technique was employed by Bill Gates to build his global empire. Andrew Carnegie used it exactly as described to attain and give away multi-millions even though he was an unschooled manual worker when he started it. Carnegie's legacy can still be seen today when you freely borrow a book from any Carnegie library of which there are thousands.
If you use these six steps there is nothing you cannot achieve. Luckily we have the advantage of living in the Twentieth Century with all its new technology and innovations such as hypnosis and subliminal programming. Use these steps in conjunction with your favourite personal development system and you are assured success. hypnosis

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong. Just how do I explain it? I can't.

I hate being Chinese, maybe it was my parents fault for bring me across here or maybe it's because I don't have many friends.

Think about the ugly duckling, how is that any different from people today? Though to be honest, I can't see myself turning into a swan any time.

Oh and about dress codes... I believe what you're talking is utter rubbish. In the modern society today, young people wear what they want, for booze, for sex, for drugs. It happens.

Education is a high priority? Out of fear? Out of pride? Or just snobbery?

So tell me, what about those who do not walk the same path? Those who do not achieve awards and achievements?

On a similar note, don't you hate Chinese channels? Full of the same people with the same drama plots.

But it's always about life, about living an expensive lifestyle, getting good grades and staying out of trouble. Just like what you've said.

What is this world coming to?

Anonymous said...

I don't hate being chinese, but I'm one of like to asians in my whole school. I know everyone all like blacks are a minority. But no one thinks of asians. ATleast blacks look similar. YA okay, their skin is darker. But asians are toatally different and totally stick out. Our different shaped eyes, flat nose and short eyelashes. You have no idea how much I'm made fun of. I feel like an ugly duckling, too.

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