Tiger Mum roars again

A hand reaching out for all the good careers that people aspire to — medicine, law and more

Asian-American “Tiger Mother” Amy Chua has launched herself right back into the thick of controversy with a new book. Co-authored with her husband Jed Rubenfeld, the book is titled “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.” While many of their detractors slam their work as promoting racial stereotypes, the writers take pains to stress that it actually debunks many preconceived notions of ethnic communities.

This article lays out some of the book’s main ideas. When one gets past one’s own racial sensitivities and reflects rationally on the research presented by Drs Chua and Rubenfeld, the article is really fertile ground for a reconsideration not only of the racial stereotypes that are so prevalent (for instance, that Asian students always score good grades and black students do not) but also what drives success in general, including on a national, family and individual level.

You can hone your critical thinking skills by constantly engaging and challenging brilliant minds like Drs Chua and Rubenfeld. Do not be afraid, because even if you are not their intellectual equal, you should be able to give anyone a bit of a fight in a debate. This is what an educated person should be capable of and what GP aims to develop in you. Question anyone! You can do so in a respectful manner, but challenge!

For instance, is it true that the ethnic communities mentioned by the writers (including Chinese, Indians, Jews, Iranians, Nigerians and Cubans) can be definitively considered the most successful? Yes, they may produce the highest average incomes but who produces the highest peaks? The icons at the very pinnacle of American success — Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett — generally do not come from these groups. In fact, they are all whites (Jobs was half-Syrian biologically, but raised in a Caucasian family as an adopted child). So how do you measure the success of a community? By its peaks or its average? How do you even define success?

While everyone is entitled to his or her own definition of success, we still need to establish our own definition in an essay so that we can build a platform for a discussion. I would advise students to use a definition that will be quite widely accepted. For instance, “Success to me is a combination of financial comfort and attainment, contribution to society, happiness, good relationships and wholesome good values.” Such a definition of success would be inclusive and incorporate at least one element that almost everyone can identify with. Hardly anyone would feel alienated by such a holistic, balanced and down-to-earth definition; therefore it would be widely accepted by examiners.


For enquiries on GP or English tuition by the blogger, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, call 98392152 or click ‘About the Tutor/Testimonials’ above. If I am unable to answer, please send me a text message.

For GP model essays, click here.

About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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