The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 1/2

July 2, 2012

Jian Ping, the author of the Mulberry Child memoir, grew up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Her father was one of the victims. The reason she came to the US was to provide a better life for her daughter. However, her daughter grew up to become a member of “The Sex and the City” generation and resisted learning what life was like for her mother in China.

Ping could not express her feelings to her daughter, who was taking life for granted and feeling she was entitled to the lifestyle so many young Americas take for granted today.

What I learned while researching “Mulberry Child” was that many privileged young people in America may be cursed to repeat history because they are taking life for granted as if they were entitled to the world their parents worked so hard to create.

In fact, most children in America have no concept of what life was like in the US less than a hundred years ago when children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishment such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death—the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History


No matter what storm comes, you must be strong!

To understand Jian Ping’s struggle with her daughter Lisa, it helps to know what Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today, Why Chinese Mothers Really are Superior. “On average,” Dr. Twenge wrote, “Asian parents use more discipline and insist upon hard work more than Western parents. And on average, their kids do better…”

“Mulberry Child” (the documentary) takes an in-depth look at the relationship between a mother and daughter revealing the disconnect that often takes place between immigrant parents and their American raised/born children.

Do not underestimate the negative influence of children raised to have a strong sense of self esteem.

In America, the children of immigrants are often influenced by these peers, which prepares them to become members of the “Sex and the City” generation believing they are entitled to a privileged life and that happiness is guaranteed. Most American children have no concept of how unrealistic this attitude of entitlement is.

However, it is not easy for the older generation to teach their children and grandchildren how difficult it was to survive and reach America and how much hard work and sacrifice it took to succeed once they arrived.

To understand what happens when the children born/raised in the US are disconnected from their immigrant parents/grandparents, America’s children should take the same journey Lisa’s mother provided through her memoir and the documentary of “Mulberry Child”.

Continued on July 3, 2012 in The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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When it comes to Parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All – Part 5/5

April 11, 2011

There is a difference in values and education between urban and rural parents since many Chinese in rural China never went to school or had a school close to the village while larger towns and cities all had schools.

In the last thirty years that has been changing. After Mao died in 1976 and as late as 1980, twenty percent of Chinese were literate and 80% were not.  In the last thirty years, literacy has been raised to above 90%. If the average Chinese parent was a SAP, that wouldn’t have happened. 

In fact, I’ve heard that Amy Tan’s (the author of The Joy Luck Club) mother’s primary concern was that her daughter speak English without an accent.

Amy Tan writes that her mother wanted her to be a doctor and a concert pianist. Amy Tan’s mother was an immigrant from mainland China and she was not a SAP parent by any definition but she wasn’t as extreme as Amy Chua either.

China’s leaders in Beijing knew that for China to modernize and prosper, the people would have to be literate and educated so starting in the 1980s, the public schools spread into rural China for the first time in history to reach as much of the rural population as possible.

However, urban education is still better than rural education. It takes more than a generation to bring about changes this drastic.

Meanwhile, the opposite is happening in the United States where the average literate person reads at or below fifth-grade level and among younger Americans we find few serious readers.

While China promotes education and is supported by Tiger Parents of all stripes, in America for the last sixty years, the SAPs have waged a war on education to make learning more fun than educational, which has damaged America’s ability to maintain its economic status in the world.

To reverse this trend, what America needs is more Tiger Parents of all stripes and fewer SAPs.

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Many Roads to Raise a Child

March 27, 2011

My last post was about The Role of Religion, and I quoted Henry L. Carrigan Jr’s piece published in ForeWord magazine.

Following Carrigan’s piece was another excellent review of nine more books.  This review was also seamless but written by Diane Gardner. The theme was good parents rebel: atypical ways to raise a child.

Gardner says, “Grandparents, friends, and experts all suggest the ‘right’ way to parent, and there are countless books intended to help, but many only add to the pressure.”

She writes, “while providing thoughtful guidance, they (the nine books) explore nonconforming options for parents. From suggestions on how to give birth to discipline advice…”

Gardner’s review couldn’t come at a better time as the debate rages between the SAPs (the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) and Tiger Parents such as Chinese-American Amy Chua, the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, although Chua hasn’t put up much resistance.

If you do not believe a debate is raging, visit Amazon.com and read the four and five star reviews along with the following comments. Some of these people are obsessive and mentally disturbed.

Gardner writes of The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood (University of California Press), “mixed or even negative emotions about motherhood are neither evil nor uncommon…. Some parents claim societal pressures go so far as to tell them how to feel and what to do.”

In Trucking’ with Sam: A Father and Son, the Mick and the Dyl, Rockin’ and Rollin’, on the Road (State University of New York Press), Gardner says, “sometimes the more unconventional ways to bond prove more effective than the traditional family dinners and game nights,” and of First the Broccoli Then the Ice Cream: A Parent’s Guide to Deliberate Discipline (Two Fish, Inc) Gardner quotes psychologist Tim Riley and why time-outs often don’t work and suggests using more meaningful penalties instead, such as loss of TV privileges (great idea).

In fact, the emotional debate that Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal and her memoir caused arrives at the right time as the US ponders how to improve educational outcomes in the public schools.

The key to a child’s success in school is often the parent and while most children and teens only have one or two parent/s, those same students may have as many as fifty teachers kindergarten to the end of high school.

Just reading Diane Gardner’s good parents rebel: atypical ways to raise a child will provide more fuel for the American parenting debate that is long overdue. The average American SAP parenting model is the real reason for the failure of public education in the US.

It is time for the average American parent to change course.

Discover how Amy Chua invaded China and ignited a parenting debate in the Middle Kingdom.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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It Started on a Sunday Hike (the home taught child) – Part 3/3

March 10, 2011

Those that read my work regularly may know that I was a public school teacher in Southern California for thirty years.

During that time, some of the toughest parents I met were Christian fundamentalist evangelicals and none was SAP parents (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness).

One Caucasian student was home taught by his parents because they feared exposure to children raised by SAP parents and taught by teachers pressured to dumb down the work while inflating grades by the same SAPs.

However, when he was old enough to go to high school, he managed to convince his parents to allow him to be among teens his own age.  It was obvious from the start that this tall, pale skinned Caucasian teen had been raised by Tough Love parents (probably not as demanding as Amy Chua) to be a disciplined, polite young man that earned excellent grades in high school.

When his parents enrolled him in the high school where I taught, they requested the counselor put him in the toughest teachers’ classes.

As a ninth grade student, he ended in my English class where I recruited him into my journalism class.


Most high school journalism students are disciplined and work hard.

Then, in his senior year, he became editor-in-chief of the high school student newspaper, and I was the faculty advisor. He never missed a deadline. He even managed to intern at a local newspaper his last semester in high school.

Last time we shared e-mails a few years ago, he was the news anchor for a network TV station in Palm Desert, California. He’d even spent a tour in the US Navy.

The fact is that there are great Tough Love parents in America but the average US parent according to many studies is a SAP that allows the child to spend an average of 10 hours a day watching TV, on the Internet probably on Facebook, playing video games or sending out hundreds of text messages while eating unhealthy food.

The SAP crowd is noisy and nosey.  For example, I just searched Amazon for books with topics on Self Esteem and discovered 3,358 books with those words in the title or description.

When I searched Tough Love, the results came back with eighteen titles.

I also discovered that there’s a Website that talks about Self Esteem Magazines for Children. I didn’t find any magazines about Tough Love, but Chinese parents don’t need magazines to know how to be a better parent than a SAP.

Return to It Started on a Sunday Hike -Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


It started on a Sunday Hike (the Lunar New Year dinner) – Part 2/3

March 9, 2011

At a recent Chinese-American Lunar New Year dinner, all Asians were talking about Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal, Why Chinese mothers are superior, and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

They were angry with Chua. They said Chua was going to make their job as parents more difficult since most American Caucasian parents would stereotype them and disapprove.

Since most of the Chinese-Americans I know were born and raised in mainland China, I had to remind them that Amy Chua grew up in the US and was not Chinese but Chinese-American.

While her Middle Kingdom born and raised mother and overseas Chinese father raised her using perfectly acceptable, universal Tough Love parenting methods, she was also exposed to America’s evangelical atmosphere where far to many preach his or her brand of parenting, religion, politics and lifestyle as if it were the only acceptable way to live.

Among Chinese in America or China, I’ve seldom heard anyone preach what he or she believes is the best way to raise children, live and worship.

However, one of my closest Caucasian friends in the US does nothing but preach.

The consensus among the Asians I’ve heard was that it was wrong of Amy Chua to brand Tough Love parenting as a Chinese method.

In fact, it isn’t. All through history, Tough Love has been the way most parents raised children all over the globe. SAP (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) is the exception and is a recent, flawed belief. The SAP parenting model could be called the curse of a wealthy family or culture, which often leads to its downfall.

According to the reader reviews for Amy Chua’s memoir at Amazon.com, at 11:59 AM on Sunday, February 06, 2011, one-hundred-and-fifty-seven (157) people rated her memoir as a four or five star read.

Many of these four and five star reviews were thoughtful, long and well written.

In contrast, there were one-hundred-thirteen (113) one or two star reviews and most that I read were short with a few long-winded rants that seldom go into detail about the book itself.

The results show that more than 58% of reader reviews enjoyed her work or supported some level of Tough Love parenting leaving 42% opposed to her memoir/parenting style.

I didn’t count the three star reviews since they are somewhat neutral.

Then there is the on-line opinion poll the Wall Street Journal conducted to discover which style of parenting was considered best for raising children.

The Permissive Western parenting style most practiced by SAPs, earned 37.7% of the 35,201 votes, while 62.3% voted for Demanding Eastern parenting.

The results from Amazon reader reviews and the WSJ poll on the subject seem to indicate that SAPs make up about 40% the population, which may represent the “average” American parent and child.

To be Continued in Part 3

Return to It started on a Sunday Hike – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


It started on a Sunday Hike – Part 1/3

March 8, 2011

I often hike in a local regional park.  One Sunday while passing others on the narrow trail, I overheard several Average Caucasian American (ACA) female conversations: “I bought frozen bones for my dogs at Petco. They love them. They chew on them straight from the freezer,” or “He was so cute in his Darth Vader costume.”

This regional park is huge. It runs for miles in all directions. There are mountain lions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, deer, etc.

Although I haven’t seen a cougar yet, I’ve read of them in a local newspaper but I have seen coyotes and too many deer.

The park rules are clearly displayed at entrances. “Dogs must be on a leash under your control at all times. Dogs are not allowed on trails (yet I see them on trails all the time).”

I’ve hiked in this park for years and seldom see any dogs on leashes. However, I have seen a lot of dogs and their owners.

A few dogs are well behaved and stay close to the owner under tight control even if it is unleashed.

Many of the dogs ran around having a great time and would make good anarchists if they were humans. Their owners call to them, beg, plead and those dogs ignore the owner as if he or she was a nuisance.

I wonder if those same ACAs raised their children that way. Plenty of studies for the last few decades indicate that is probably true.

In contrast, when I’m around most Chinese-Americans, they don’t talk about cute costumes or frozen dog bones or beg dogs to behave while being ignored.

In fact, most conversations among Chinese-American parents focus on children and education. These parents network learning from each other where the best schools are and what it takes to get into a top rated university. 

Most Asian parents are a big part of their children’s lives and daily conversations are much longer than the five minutes or less a SAP (Self-esteem arm of political correctness) parent spends talking to his or her children.

To be continued in Part 2

Discover The Amy Chua Debate with former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Learning what Win-Win Really Means from China

February 12, 2011


Living With Evolution or Dying Without It by K. D. Koratsky
Publisher: Sunscape Books
ISBN: 978-0-9826546-0-6
Reviewed by Lloyd Lofthouse

Koratsky’s book is a heavily researched, scholarly work that gathers what science has discovered since Darwin’s discoveries and fills in the gaps explaining why evolution has something to teach us if humanity is to survive.

The other choice is humanity going the way of the dinosaurs into extinction.

I started reading in early 2010 and took months to finish the 580 pages. The Flesch-Kincaid Readability level would probably show this book to be at a university graduate level leaving at last 90% of the population lost as to the importance of its message.

For months, it bothered me that so many in the United States do not have the literacy skills to understand an important work such as this (the average reader in the US reads at fifth grade level and millions are illiterate). This is certainly not a good foundation to learn how precarious life is if you do not understand how brutal the earth’s environment and evolution has been for billions of years.

As I finished reading Living With Evolution or Dying Without It, I realized that it would only take a few key people in positions of power to understand the warnings offered by Koratsky and bring about the needed changes in one or more countries so humanity would survive somewhere on the planet when the next great challenge to life arises.

On page one, Koratsky starts 13.7 billion years ago with the big bang then in a few pages ten billion years later, he introduces the reader to how certain bacteria discovered a new way to access the energy required to sustain an existence.

By the time we reach humanity’s first religion on page 157, we have discovered what caused so many species to die out and gained a better understanding of what survival of the fittest means.

To survive means adapting to environmental challenges no matter if they are delivered by the impact of a monster asteroid to the earth’s surface, global warming (no matter what the reason) or by competition with other cultures or animals competing for the earth’s resources.

In fact, competition is vital to the survival of a species for it is only through competition that a species will adapt to survive.

The book is divided into two parts.  The first 349 pages deals with where we have been and what we have learned, and the two hundred and eleven pages in Part Two deals with current ideas and policies from an evolutionary perspective.

I suspect that most devout Christians and Muslims would dismiss the warnings in this book out-of-hand since these people have invested their beliefs and the survival of humanity in books written millennia ago when humanity knew little to nothing about the laws of evolution and how important competition is to survival.

Koratsky is optimistic that the United States will eventually turn away from the political agenda of “Cultural Relativism” that has guided America since the 1960s toward total failure as a culture.

The popular term for “Cultural Relativism” in the US would be “Political Correctness”, which has spawned movements such as race-based quotas and entitlement programs that reward failure and punish success

Even America’s self-esteem movement is an example of “Cultural Relativism”, which encourages children to have fun and praises poor performance until it is impossible to recognize real success.

The current debate started by Amy Chua’s essay in The Wall Street Journal is another example of “Cultural Relativism” at work.

After reading Living with Evolution or Dying Without It, it is clear that Amy Chua’s Tiger Mother Methods of parenting are correct while the soft approach practiced by the average US parent is wrong and will lead to more failure than success.

Koratsky shows us that the key to survival for America is to severely curtail and eventually end most US entitlement programs. While “Cultural Relativism” is ending, competition that rewards merit at all levels of the culture (private and government) must be reinstituted.

He points out near the end of the book that this has been happening in China and is the reason for that country’s amazing growth and success the last thirty years.

In the 1980s, merit was reinstituted at the bottom and most who prosper in China today earned the right to be rewarded for success by being more competitive and adapting. Even China’s state owned industries were required to become profitable or perish.

The earth’s environment does not care about equality or the relativists’ belief that everyone has a right to happiness even if society must rob from the rich and give to the poor.

This book covers the evolution of the universe, the planet, all life on the planet including the reasons why most life that lived on the earth for hundreds of millions of years before humanity is now gone; the beginnings of the human species; religion in all of its costumes; the growth of civilizations and the competitions that led to the destruction and collapse of so many such as the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty two millennia ago.

The environment and evolution says that all life on the planet is not equal and no one is born with a guaranteed right to success, happiness and fun. To survive means earning the right through competition and adaption.

If you don’t believe Koratsky’s warning, go talk to the dinosaurs and ask them why they are gone.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.