The 8Asians Talk About: Contradictory Advice from Asian Parents

Our internal e-mail lists have us discussing all kinds of stuff: Asian American identity, representation in the media, the experiences of activism in an academia setting and its progression as we transition to the working, adult world. And sometimes, we share stories about all the conflicting advice our parents gave to us throughout the years. Yes, to this day, we still can’t figure it out.

Ernie: Via my friend Lia – YOMYOMF’s Contradictory Words of Advice from Asian Immigrant Parents.

Jee: Who wrote this about my mom? Kidding. But seriously, if I had a dime for every time she told me I wasn’t eating enough, and in the same breath told me I was fat, I’d be a rich woman.

Ernie: And then from MY riches from all the dimes that I got, we could open up a chain of buffets and diet centers! My parents also do the “you need a new car / you drive too much; get more exercise” which I understand aren’t technically exclusive, but yeah.

Moye: We should just compile all the complaints we hear from our Asian parents. Mine is like “when are you going to get a raise?” or “When are you going to make more money?”

Christine: Um … aren’t all our parents Asian, or at least one of them? *duck* Mine would be: “Why can’t you be like ?” The funny thing is, the same is said to that high achieving relative about you.

Edward: Christine, that’s one of the most efficient tactics a lot of our Asian parents can do…It gets us competing with each other without us even knowing it… Imagine a gladiator ring where our parents are our brutal trainers and we the gladiators (in academic and professional sense, I guess?)

Mike: Here’s one that a female friend of mine complains about: “You should work hard. Be successful and make more money.” “Why you work so hard? Find a husband.”

Christine: Or the flipside to that … also probably loosely stated in the article: “Choose who you go out with very carefully.” Followed by, “Why are you so picky?”

Min Jung: My mother used to tell me to study hard to get into med school so I could marry a doctor and be a housewife.

Jeff: This conversational thread is just so inspirational. I am going to start using these on my kids today!

Image from TigerMomSays

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About Ernie

I'm the creator of 8 Asians and one of the editors. While I'm a regular blogger to the site as well, think of my role as Barbara Walters on "The View," except without the weird white hair. During the day, I'm a Developer for a major Internet company and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've also been writing in my blog,, for seven years.
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