When I saw this sticker I laughed aloud2, then reflected on the fact that if my parents had sported this on their Toyota station wagon when I was growing up, I’d probably have been a better student. Fear of unknown unknowns3 is a great motivator.
OK, so the bumper sticker has nothing really to do with the “Tiger Mom” meme, but that phrase is all over the net and the whole concept alternately interests me and cracks me up. My theory is that any truth to Mrs. Chua’s newly-named stereotype has little to do with being Asian4, and much to do with the fact that it wasn’t easy for people to immigrate to the US from China in the 1960s-80s and the process disproportionately selected for the hard-scrambling type. Many of those immigrants later decided5 to imbue in their kids the same drive that served them in getting through that filter. It’s just like the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue“, but with the parental focus being toughness mental rather than physical.
But no need to be so serious; The best Tiger Mom jokes I’ve come across so far are the article “New Parenting Book Sparks Outrage” from The Onion, and Jen Kwok’s “Tiger Mom Rap!”.
- Yes, I smudged out the license number, just in case China’s “Human Flesh Search Engines” are on the lookout for people with unharmonious bumper stickers. [↩]
- …then I stopped laughing and wondered whether the driver could have purchased this sticker as a deliberate joke, which would still be funny but less so. Unlikely given that the median level of English literacy among locals of this area in nil. [↩]
- Rumsfeld, Donald, “I never promised you a WMD”, Press Briefing (Winter 2002 Edition), GWB (ed.), URL = <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns>. [↩]
- …except for the Orientalist-tinge to the naming of the meme. [↩]
- …or had less choice in the matter than that, since people may often just use the same parental behaviors that were modeled for them when young, or maybe their nature trumps nurture and the filter selected for genetically-driven type-A peeps. [↩]