Modern Family & ‘Tiger’ Indian Parents

Last week’s episode of Modern Family had a funny, and somewhat timely and relevant plot line regarding the daughter Alex studying hard and competing to get the best grade against her main rival, an unseen Indian American kid named Sanjay. The show’s website summarizes the rest nicely:

Phil and Claire [Alex’s parents] try to convince her that it’s okay to ease up. Surprisingly, Alex agrees to do so after getting the second-best grade in the class. She says, “Sanjay’s dad’s a surgeon, his mom’s a professor. I can’t compete with that. I’ll just have to do the best I can with what I was given.” Phil and Claire are worried that Alex thinks they aren’t intelligent people. Sure they share a fondness for incredibly cheesy movies, but it doesn’t mean they’re not all that bright, right? When Phil and Claire run into Sanjay’s folks at the movies, they follow them into their theater to see a critically-acclaimed foreign film. What they were hoping to see was a 3D horror flick called Croctopus. It’s one of the best half-crocodile/half-octopus movies ever made.

This kind of plot reminded me of the still on going discussion and debate over the Wall Street Journal’s excerpt of Amy Chau’s book titled, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, which has been captured quite humorously in a Taiwanese news animated story or how fellow blogger Jeff expressed his sentiments in his post.

I’m pretty amazed at how long this “Tiger Mom” meme has been going on now over the Internet and the media. I think why the reasons why this article has hit such a nerve is that everyone has an opinion about how to raise kids properly but more importantly, there is a fundamental pervasive feeling that Americans and their kids today will not be prepared to compete in the future against “Tiger” nations like China, a rising super-power in every sense – economically, politically, militarily, etc.

I’m imaging the user of “Tiger” is going to be used from here on out in describing model minority individuals: Tiger Mom, Tiger Dad, Tiger Son and perhaps even Tiger Nation? What would the opposite be? Mouse?

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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