A life of peaks and valleys

Life is about the peaks and the valleys. To say that nothing excites you or nothing upsets you is dangerous. I’m not like that. I am the first one to get excited about something, to be energized, to be fulfilled. But there is a price for that. You have to pay a price for everything that you’ve gained in your life. Look for what excites you. Have a schedule. Seek a pressure. So many peers don’t want pressure, but it’s not for me to say, I like it, and you have to like it. But seriously, you only have one life to live. Experience the peaks of life, the zeal and ...

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  • May 10, 2013

Tiger mothers… for the greater good?

Tiger mothers, part II For my generation, we come from that kind of training. But my parents didn’t think that way. It was common knowledge that that was how you raised. You take up piano, you practice every day, even if you don’t like it. It was disciplinarian. I told my girls: if you like piano, if you love it: I will drive you, and I will pay: but you have to practice and love it. I will not sit next to you and force you to practice. Amy Chua’s view is not shocking to me. In some instance, maybe we will make a child who would not otherwise have any ...

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  • May 5, 2013

Are we all Amy Chua?

We all know Amy Chua’s type. We all know the children of the Tiger Mother. Some children do well with such mothers. Look at Olympians, look at champions, look at musicians, athletes, and academics. This is not to defend Amy Chua, or offend Amy Chua. Chinese parents as a people are very strict as to how their children perform academically. In China, it is so extreme that children frequently commit suicide because they cannot achieve standards of academics. They believe that failure is so shameful that it is unbearable. My childhood was different. I was the ...

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  • April 29, 2013

If you are near red, do you turn red?

If you are near red, do you turn red? If you are near white, do you turn white? If you are near black, do you turn black? The perceptions and expectations of your peers, (and whoever surrounds you) color your judgment, expectations, and beliefs far more than you might realize. As a first daughter in China and then Hong Kong, I was raised to be a wife. I was raised to be a good wife and a good mother. I was raised to find a husband and cater to his every need, to take care of our home and our children. But we moved. We moved from Hong Kong to San Francisco and ...

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  • April 24, 2013

How to break tradition

A break with tradition As a child in Hong Kong, my expectation was simple: by the time I turned eighteen, I was going to marry a rich old man, he would take care of me, and love me, and I was be safe and secure. That was the way of the world. But I turned eighteen in America. A new world. And I knew that that expectation was ridiculous. That was not the way the world worked. My old world was entirely different. I remember seeing my mother going out with her friends in Hong Kong. They would talk about other ladies and say that someone was someone else’s’ ...

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  • April 19, 2013

It was a different time.

A different time My father bought me that beautiful green party dress because of a dance in China Town. It was organized as a student dance, primarily for Berkeley and Stanford men, in a huge theatre. My father took me to the dance, and sat in the last row of seats. He sat for nearly three hours. I remember dancing with dozens of college men and being too shy to really speak to them. One of them asked for my phone number, and I remember whispering it to him. Needless to say, we left early. In the meantime, my mother had been teaching me to do housework. My parents ...

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  • April 15, 2013

The most important thing is not to win…

To quote Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, " The most important thing is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not triumph , but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

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  • April 9, 2013

Fashioning a life

Fashion. Am I dating myself if I reminisce about mohair suits? I have a distinct memory of a particular white mohair suit. But I have many memories of clothing and aesthetic. Since I studied art in college, artistry has always played a significant role in my life. I live for the beauty, the color, and the light. I notice what people wear, and how they wear it. When I was 13, my father brought home a sewing machine. I spent my allowance on fabric and I learned to sew. No one had any money at the time and we all worked together: a friend taught me how to do zippers, ...

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  • April 3, 2013

How to improve your shooting accuracy

I’m a firm believer that repetition leads to success. It leads to perfection. Mistakes are acceptable during practice, but perfection is necessary when the competition begins. I learned English one word at a time. In junior high, I would go to a classroom during lunch, and a group of girls would help me learn by holding up an apple and saying “apple.” During those years, I spent so much time watching television and attempting to mimic their talking. I would watch family shows over and over again and repeat everything that the characters said. And then I would ...

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  • March 27, 2013

An Introduction

命 To begin with life, is to begin with Ming. It is, perhaps, my favorite word in the Chinese language. Or at least in my top five. Ming means destiny, or predestination of life, and every day I am reminded of my Ming. Twenty years ago, I had no conception of where I would be today, or the journey that I would have traveled. Thirty years ago, I could not have imagined the struggles or the delights that life has brought me. Forty years ago, I was a young wife and mother, who had a single focus in life. Fifty years ago, I was just a child, who wasn’t yet ...

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  • March 21, 2013