2011 January 16 Sunday
Amy Chua, Parenting, And Multiculturalism

The American Left talks a big game about multiculturalism, singing its praises. But I have long been skeptical that they really believe their own rhetoric. More likely they want to use assorted cultures as props for their own attack on America's own old culture in particular. These thoughts back to me when reading the now moderately famous Wall Street Journal article by Yale Law Prof Amy Chua: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.

Hey, she thinks her culture is superior to decadent indulgent permissive Western culture, at least when it comes to child-rearing. Imagine that. She does not see Chinese culture as just a bunch of endearing differences in how to dress, eat or do architecture. Nope. She knows that since cultures differ in substantial ways they cause differences in outcomes. She's even developed this argument a book titled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Note that it only gets 3 stars in Amazon. Some of the 1 and 2 star reviews accuse her of child abuse as have some of the commentaries written in response to her WSJ article. Chua has even received death threats.

In the week since The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of the new book by Amy Chua, a Yale law professor, under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Ms. Chua has received death threats, she says, and “hundreds, hundreds” of e-mails. The excerpt generated more than 5,000 comments on the newspaper’s Web site, and countless blog entries referring in shorthand to “that Tiger Mother.” Some argued that the parents of all those Asians among Harvard’s chosen few must be doing something right; many called Ms. Chua a “monster” or “nuts” — and a very savvy provocateur.

If her book shocks some mothers into cutting way back on TV access for their kids it might serve a useful purpose. But Chinese parenting practices aren't going to turn dumb kids into smart kids.

Chua is confident her very strict and demanding parenting approach works.

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

She goes on to list assorted recreational diversions including sleepovers, participating in school plays, watching TV, and playing on the computer. Her yelling at her kids and strict demands for performance are seen as child abuse and bullying by many of her critics.

My take: She's lucky her daughters were smart enough to perform to her expectations. If their parents didn't have genes capable of making them both Yale Law School profs the daughters wouldn't have had the brains to achieve what she wanted them to do. Steve Sailer says her previous writings show Chua's got guts. I agree. She's not just sucking up the conventional wisdom. But I think she gives too much credit for her parenting for how her daughters turned out. Charles Murray sees smart genes at work.

To get a little bit serious: large numbers of talented children everywhere would profit from Chua’s approach, and instead are frittering away their gifts—they’re nice kids, not brats, but they are also self-indulgent and inclined to make excuses for themselves. There are also large numbers of children who are not especially talented, but would do a lot better in school if their parents applied the same intense home supplements to their classroom work.

But genes play a big role in whether you can demand that your child get an A in advanced calculus or make first seat in the violin section of the orchestra. With that in mind, let’s contemplate the genes being fed into those Chua children who are doing so well.

Maternal grandfather: EE and computer sciences professor at Berkeley, known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks.

Mother: able to get into Harvard (a much better indicator of her IQ than the magna cum laude in economics that she got there); Executive Editor of the Law Review at Harvard Law School.

Father: Summa cum laude from Princeton and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, now a chaired professor at Yale Law School.

We are at the tail end of the era when the importance of genes can be denied and cultural views battle each other with genetic influences totally ignored. Why are we at the tail end of this era? Plummeting genetic sequencing costs are shortly going to enable the level of data collection needed to discover all the alleles that each small contributions to intelligence.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 January 16 08:15 PM  Culture Compared


Comments
Mrs. Blessed said at January 17, 2011 12:17 AM:

Parents know what their kids can and cannot do and adjust their expectations accordingly. Is it possible she pushed her daughters so hard precisely because they were capable of taking it?

Lorne Marr said at January 17, 2011 3:33 AM:

This strict approach that she promotes in her book may have serious consequences as far as the development of these children is concerned. The worst thing about it is that their parents often see the errors of their ways when it is too late to change it.

luke said at January 17, 2011 9:25 AM:

"Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" is tongue-in-cheek, so I don't know why so many right wingers are getting upset over the title. She's trying draw attention to her book and that title will garner more interest than say "Advanced Child Rearing Practices in East Asian Societies". As for her parenting method, I'm on the fence about it. I don't consider it abuse but at the same time spending 3 hours a day practicing the violin or piano seems pointless. If she wanted them to do something constructive during that time block, she could have them learn another language like French or German and they'd be fluent by the time they were ready for college. Being trilingual (I assume her daughters know Chinese) would be a huge advantage. Some people have been saying that her daughters will grow to hate her if they don't already. I don't see it. I wouldn't hate my mother for pushing me to be better and applying myself but I would hate my mother if she was one of those "follow your own dreams" moms and let you do anything you wanted. Kids need direction, and it takes a parent to tell them getting a degree in Women's Studies insults their intelligence and that they need to study something more marketable. Chinese parents understand this, it's too bad whites don't.

no i don't said at January 18, 2011 5:15 PM:

Bertrand Russell would probably say something like: "Do away with religious dogmas and put children in contact with the fine arts from an early age"

Strict approach should be regarding discipline of mind and organized thought. Adults should talk to children with the truth, let them explore their own sexuality to avoid repression. Meke children carry out their homeworks and tasks fully. While reprimanding children, let them see no dissagreement between mommy and daddy so they do not see division in parental authority and thus cling to the "softer" position.

And if one day -while having a glass of wine- your 5-year-old asks you "can I have some" let him/her taste it.

vk45 said at January 19, 2011 10:36 AM:

Hi Luke,

Right-winger here. I largely agree with your post but I have the impression that left-wingers
have the most difficulty with Chua's title and child-rearing recommendations.

Anonymous said at January 19, 2011 12:52 PM:

>
> If she wanted them to do something constructive during that time block, she could have them learn another language like French or German and they'd be fluent by the time they were ready for college. Being trilingual
> (I assume her daughters know Chinese) would be a huge advantage.
>

If they know Chinese, they probably had to learn it in Chinese school rather than at home. Amy Chua's family hails from the Philippines. The name Chua ("Tsai" in Mandarin) is a Hokkien name. When the Hokkiens emigrated to the Philippines from Fujian province ('Hokkien' is how 'Fujian' is pronounced in Hokkien), very few were Mandarin speakers, as Mandarin was not their native tongue. Most of them speak a Filipino language (Tagalog, Ilocano, Chavacano, etc) and a form of Hokkien which they call Lan-lang (Lan-lang means 'Us people' or 'Our people').

JJ said at January 19, 2011 5:20 PM:

I think smart genes matter less than genes for traits like obediance or focusing on a task. Lots of smart kids only study
minimally. Chua's kids, and other Asians/Indians, are known for being really nose to the grindstone. I think that's partly
genes, but then also partly parental (parents create environments that suit their children's personality).

If Chua's kids didn't have professor parents, they probably would've still graduated from high school, but then ended up doing
a business or liberal arts degree from a lesser known CC.

no i don't said at January 20, 2011 11:36 AM:

Unless there are now different species within the Hommo-Sapiens, the term "smart genes" is meaningless. There's no evidence of greater or lesser intelligence depending on race or ethnicity.

We have to consider nutrition, pollution, poverty, wars, weather and other factors, before we start talking eugenesic nonsense.

Engineer Dad said at January 20, 2011 10:21 PM:

no i don't said
> Unless there are now different species within the Hommo-Sapiens, the term "smart genes" is meaningless.
> There's no evidence of greater or lesser intelligence depending on race or ethnicity.

Yeah, and the term "height genes" could not possibly explain height variation among adult Americans.

Why every mother knows *any* adolescent eating an 8000 calorie a day diet will invariably grow to be a seven foot tall adult, right? And *any* African 8 year old child who spends 3 hours a day practicing piano can perform a recital at age 10 before thousands at Carnage Hall, if just given the opportunity. And any Chinese child who spends four hours a day doing wind sprints can be an Olympic sprinter by 21.

QUACK, quack, QUACK, quack quack... Do you hear how silly you sound?

Look no, wise up. Watch the PBS Nova program 'Dogs Decoded' (its even free on Netflix) and get a quick and pragmatic education on gene-environment manipulation and its expression in intelligence and behavior.

no i don't said at January 21, 2011 5:19 PM:

"Why every mother knows *any* adolescent eating an 8000 calorie a day diet will invariably grow to be a seven foot tall adult, right? And *any* African 8 year old child who spends 3 hours a day practicing piano can perform a recital at age 10 before thousands at Carnage Hall, if just given the opportunity. And any Chinese child who spends four hours a day doing wind sprints can be an Olympic sprinter by 21."


That's right... You got it.

André M. Smith said at March 24, 2012 9:07 AM:

JJ said at January 19, 2011 5:20 PM:

If Chua's kids didn't have professor parents, they probably would've still graduated from high school, but then ended up doing a business or liberal arts degree from a lesser known CC.
_______________________

Dear JJ:

My parents were about as far removed from "professor parents" as any two could have been. Your point is not well made.

Cordially,

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

André M. Smith said at March 24, 2012 9:10 AM:

Why is the art of music required to endure the ill-informed antics of such inartistic imbeciles as Amy Chua? Her lust for fame as an old-fashioned stage mother of either a famous violinist (yet another mechanical Sarah Chang?) or a famous pianist (yet another mechanical Lang Lang?) shines through what she perceives as devotion to the cultivation of the cultural sensitivities of her two unfortunate daughters.

Daughter Lulu at age 7 is unable to play compound rhythms from Jacques Ibert with both hands coordinated? Leonard Bernstein couldn’t conduct this at age 50! And he isn’t the only musician of achievement with this-or-that shortcoming. We all have our closets with doors that are not always fully opened.

And why all this Chinese obsession unthinkingly dumped on violin and piano? What do the parents with such insistence know of violin and piano repertoire? Further, what do they know of the great body of literature for flute? For French horn? For organ? For trumpet? Usually, nothing!

For pressure-driven (not professionally-driven!) parents like Amy Chua their children, with few exceptions, will remain little more than mechanical sidebars to the core of classical music as it’s practiced by musicians with a humanistic foundation.

Professor Chua better be socking away a hefty psychoreserve fund in preparation for the care and feeding of her two little lambs once it becomes clear to them both just how empty and ill-defined with pseudo-thorough grounding their emphasis has been on so-called achievement.

Read more about this widespread, continuing problem in Forbidden Childhood (N.Y., 1957) by Ruth Slenczynska.
______________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 2, 2012 1:27 PM:

Q: You insisted your girls also have hobbies so they wouldn’t become “weird Asian automatons.” So you chose classical music. You didn’t want them doing crafts which “go nowhere” or playing drums which “lead to drugs.”

A: For me classical music symbolized refinement and hard work and delicacy, and a certain depth. Both the piano and the violin are capable of producing such beauty, something more meaningful than watching TV or doing Facebook for 10 hours. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/13/amy-chua-on-high-stakes-parenting/
_______________________

The most extraordinary feature — among many extraordinary features — of the Amy Chua debacle is that no one in authority in New Haven has yet to pull her aside to tell her that she being a Professor of Law at Yale simply isn’t working well for the good of the University.

This woman is a COMPLETE moron! That she has been able in her book to unite any music instrument whatsoever with deleterious external behavior harkens back to at least somewhere in the nineteenth century when it could be said openly and quite sincerely that Negroes have an innate sense for rhythm and most Italians pass their days in song. Just from what source(s) this half-baked Professor has discovered a relationship between drums and drugs is unstated; and I’m quite sure will so remain.

Also, this buffoon refers to crafts that “go nowhere” thereby ensuring that her two daughters will have had no experience designing and building to completion with their hands any project of their choice. Her blanket statement about crafts discretely omits details about what she believes any of these cul-de-sac pursuits are.

But, moving back to the smoke heads and autoharpoonists with which Professor Chua believes the field of percussion music is suffused . . . She who advocates classical music concerts (which she is not known to attend), Mandarin language (which she does not speak, read, or write), and an aggressive pursuit of piano and violin (while being unable to play either) has chosen as her target, from the full palate of the world’s instruments the innocent drum. She can tell it to Stravinsky, Hindemith, Bartok, Kodaly, Copland, Khatachurian, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ives, Janacek, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, and her beloved Mozart and Haydn.

You might want to set aside a few minutes to see how the staff junkie in this performance has kept everyone else intact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8po7FZonP-I But for us, taking the Professor in her stride let’s look at some of the world’s examples she may have a dread fear one of her daughters may emulate.

Boston Symphony Orchestra http://www.bso.org/brands/bso/about-us/musicians/bso-musicians/percussion.aspx

Dallas Symphony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfFqJGehovg

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra School of Timpani http://www.nickwoud.com/page7.htm

HHS Winter Percussion-Dublin 2-12-11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXWSS4w15dw

Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7k6VYGtm8g

New York Philharmonic Orchestra http://nyphil.org/meet/orchestra/index.cfm?page=section§ionNum=16

London Symphony Orchestra http://www.neilpercy.com/

Berlin Philharmonic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dHOhpRr_Vc

Bolshoi Theater Percussion Ensemble http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bolshoi-theater-percussion-ensemble-q93538

Shanghai Percussion Ensemble http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=htsf&oq=&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=Shanghai+Percussion+Ensemble

Paris Percussion Festival http://speakeasy.jazzcorner.com/speakeasy/showthread.php?t=2968

Los Angeles Percussion Quartet http://www.lapercussionquartet.com/

Chicago Symphony Orchestra http://cso.org/About/Performers/Performers.aspx?hid=779&cpid=780&cid=83&nid=826

Charles Owen, The United States Marine Band and The Philadelphia Orchestra http://www.pas.org/experience/halloffame/OwenCharles.aspx

Evelyn Glennie (deaf since the age of twelve!) http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=3&oq=%22evelyn+glennie%22&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=evelyn+glennie+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l8l151344lllllllllll0&aqi=g5

Elayne Jones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82HKMGGqfhg

Max Roach http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Roach

Gene Krupa http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=2&oq=%22gene+krupa%22&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=gene+krupa+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l12l31079lllllllllll0&aqi=g5

Saul Goodman (Long may his memory endure!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4JbVS5-Z3w

Gerald Carlyss (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/bios/2007/Carlyss07.pdf

Victor Firth (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.vicfirth.com/education/percussion101-timpani.php

Fred Begun (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fred-begun-former-national-symphony-orchestra-timpanist-embarks-on-new-ventures/2011/09/21/gIQA1nlrAL_story.html

Howard van Hyning (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard), conductor of The New York Tympani Choir http://www.pas.org/news/InMemoriam.aspx

Phil Kraus (student of Saul Goodman at Juilliard) http://www.pas.org/news/InMemoriam.aspx

Richard Motylinski http://www.ncsymphony.org/about/index.cfm?subsec=people&peoplecat=musicians&catid=19&person=23

Danny Villanueva http://www.dannyv.zoomshare.com/1.html

_______________________

With time and space I easily could list one-hundred more, but these few will prove the point. Got the message, Professor? On any matter dealing with the fine arts you are, to put it discretely, outclassed.

_______________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 2, 2012 1:32 PM:

Professor Chua is a woefully ill-informed parent, one ignorant of just what is happening in some parts of education in America. Fully confident in her presumed success as a writer with an editorial staff at Penguin shadow boxing for her and unapologetically wearing her signature plastic smile for public appearances, the Lawyer Chua is trying to persuade and convince; on both counts controversially, but with enough negative reactions to cause her subsequently to attempt a dilution of the intensity in her initial self-congratulatory tirade by latterly asserting that her writing is merely one person’s experiences of some trying times in motherhood. To gain working points among the Old-Boy network, the prime lubricant of Yale, Professor Chua initially claimed that she is a Tiger Mom as Chinese maternal type; Fierce! When that showpiece veneer didn’t sit well with mothers who are the real thing, i.e., mothers from China, this faux cat altered the validity of her claim to violence by stating that she is a Tiger Mom because she was born in 1962, a Year of the Tiger. That a tenured Professor of Yale can – must? – openly justify her self-classification with superstitious underpinning should provide anyone what is needed to draw a conclusion about the level of intellect afoot in Yale Law School. Professor? Indeed!

Any of Chua’s public statements of the purposes of her work evolve to fit the tenor of the evolving criticisms directed at it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/amy-chua-tiger-mom-book-one-year-later_n_1197066.html It has passed, in her own words, from (1) practical handbook for parenting to (2) tongue-in-cheek (whatever that’s supposed to mean), to (3) memoir, (4) satire, (5) parody, (6) “a coming of age book for parents” (7) “the book is about a journey”; and who knows what else as she makes the rounds of the book circuit trying to snare yet more unsuspecting purchasers into her net. That she can, without blushing, class a single work with such a range causes me to wonder what kind of grade she got at Harvard for her command of the English language. She’s Trollope (the author), Pope (the author), The Wicked Witch in Hansel und Gretel and Gullible’s Travels all penned together into one oversized Pamper. Anyone who can’t read the monetary cynicism driving the kaleidoscope of this whole Tiger Mom scam and its spurious, unproven claimed insights into parenting, with variant latter-day reflections by the author herself, deserves to have paid full retail price for this book.

“What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/
Stamp collecting, fishing, lazing about on a summer day, science club, Brownie Scouting, baseball, birthday parties, church annual picnic, kite flying, visiting relatives, kissing, jumping rope, student council, insect classification . . . Away with this woman! “Fun” must be one of the more overused, misunderstood words in the American lexicon. Chinese parent = The Model Minority? In China?

“I’m happy to be the one hated.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/

“If I could push a magic button and choose either happiness or success for my children, I’d choose happiness in a second. http://amychua.com/

That’s it perfectly stated in Tigerese: Either / Or; not both. Amy Chua is a chameleonic con artist. PT. Barnum certainly was right, one “. . . born every minute!”
________________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 2, 2012 1:33 PM:

An integral amalgam of defining examples of narcissism that Professor Chua has instilled in her two daughters is self-advancement with sexual provocation. Her public signature posture is one of excessive toothiness, for a university professor exceedingly vulgar displays of long legs, and breast projections that might have won her Blue Ribbons as “Best in Show” as a candidate in any Sweater Queen contest during the 1940s or ‘50s. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/sweater-queen-contest She never misses an opportunity to increase the image of her breast size by folding her arms under them; in one oft-reproduced photograph she actually appears to be elevating the left one nudged up by a folded arm. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Amychua4.png

The elder Chua daughter, Sophia, has learned her lesson well. http://www.nypost.com/rw/nypost/2011/01/18/entertainment/photos_stories/sophia_chua--300x450.jpg and http://www.facebook.com/amytigermother?sk=photos#!/photo.php?fbid=230907580253565&set=o.134679449938486&type=1&theater,

Birds of a feather . . . A coop of nesting trophy wives!
_______________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 4, 2012 9:18 AM:

I divide my year annually between New York and Shanghai. One of my common visitations in the latter city is to the area in and around The Shanghai Conservatory of Music. About four years back the school built a large new building on Fenyang Lu. Along the street side is a lower level with a string of music stores stocked with new instruments. In four of those stores I counted, literally, one trumpet, one horn, one trombone, no tuba, two flutes, one clarinet, one oboe, no bassoon, a handful of strings (but no string bass), and two-hundred pianos! The single trombone (my instrument) looked and felt like it had been made in an industrial arts school as a class project. I asked one of the clerks how many trombone students were
then enrolled in the Conservatory. “Five,” he replied. I told him it would be impossible for any serious student of that instrument to plan advancement playing such useless metal and asked what brand of instruments are taught upstairs. All the trombones were imported by the school, only as needed, from Yamaha in Japan. But, why the sea of pianos?

Most parents do not want their children spending, i.e., wasting, their time on any instrument for which a student can not enter a contest and win prizes. Prizes mean medals and certificates, which Mommy and Daddy can display as their own achievements by extension. It is the major conservatories in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang, and Wuhan) which are responsible for continuing to nurture this false status, while, visually at least, giving the external impression that China is a major cultural locus of Western classical music. Anyone who has heard the wind sections of a major symphony orchestra in China will hear just how major the cultural locus is in China for those instruments. Naïve morons; school and parent alike!

For the serious student having neither interest nor ability to become a graduate of Harvard Medical School, this phony sequence of contest successes may lead to Juilliard in New York or Curtis in Philadelphia. “If a clown like Lang Lang can make it, then so can my little angel. Who is, of course, the most adept keyboard wizard to blossom since Lawrence Welk or Rachmaninoff.” Stage mothers: Away with them!

All of this clap-trap nonsense has no relationship whatsoever to two very important issues: music or Asian American. It is, with the rarest of exceptions, largely Oriental in the homeland. Atavistic immigrants from those eastern cultures or those descended directly therefrom – like the ever-psychobashing Kommandant Amy Chua – have some untested, sentimental notion that music opens doors and ensures careers in whatever direction the unmusical music student chooses; which the student is free to choose, so long as it isn’t music. (Try to figure out that one. “You are free to study physics or mathematics, so long as you don’t attempt to make a career of them.”)

For the past forty years during my own studies in medicine and music in New York I have been wedded to and worked closely with and around nurses, physicians, surgeons, and medical technicians active in all the standard disciplines. Those persons have come from all modern regions of the world. And, yes, some of my coworkers have come from the beloved Harvard Medical School. But, I can write with authority, the number of those professional persons who have had any direct contact at any times in their lives with piano or violin is insignificantly small.

No one has ever wasted time typing me as a wimp. Nevertheless, with an Amy Chua of my own only thinly masking a contempt while ostensibly trying to encourage me before the age of ten by classing me as “garbage, “lazy,” “useless,” and a host of other niceties (a savage, a juvenile delinquent, boring, common, low, completely ordinary, a barbarian) all the while forbidding me to sit on a toilet until I can play triplets in one hand against duolets in the other mechanistically en duo with a metronome might have (likely would have) set me up both for advanced training to climb The Texas Tower and chronic constipation.
___________________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 4, 2012 9:23 AM:

Russians call me German, Germans call me Russian, Jews call me a Christian, Christians a Jew. Pianists call me a composer, composers call me a pianist. The classicists think me a futurist, and the futurists call me a reactionary. My conclusion is that I am neither fish nor fowl – a pitiful individual.
Anton Rubinstein (1829-94), composer, formidable Russian concert pianist, founder of The Saint Petersburg Conservatory (1862). http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=6&oq=%22anton+rubinstein&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS344US352&q=%22anton+rubinstein%22+youtube&gs_upl=0l0l2l850891lllllllllll0&aqi=g5s3
__________________________

WHO or WHAT is AMY CHUA?
Her father, Leon L. Chua, was born in The Philippines. He was graduated in 1959 from Mapúa Institute of Technology in Manila as a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. His Master of Science followed from MIT in 1961. Amy was born in Champaign, Illinois on 26 October 1962 while Leon was pursuing his studies for a Ph.D. (1964) at The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. And it’s here in this synoptic review that her troubles begin with her shield in a contrived public relations makeover comastered by her publisher, Penguin. She states that she is Chinese. But her surname has not been identified anywhere as Chinese.
__________________________

Is the author fully ethnically Chinese? I am wondering because while I certainly have not met every Chinese person who has lived, I have known a fair number of Chinese yet have not met a single Chinese person with the author’s surname. I read somewhere that the author’s surname is a translation of a Chinese surname, Tsai, with which I am familiar. How many generations back in her direct family line, i.e. her parents or her parents’ parents, did her family come from China? I have not previously encountered a person who talks & writes so much about being Chinese & talks on behalf of the vast population of mothers born in China yet her surname & how I have heard it pronounced is very different from that with which I am familiar. While I wish to improve to better fluency in Mandarin, I have spoken enough Mandarin with native speakers to notice I have not heard Mandarin Chinese words pronounced with the same pronunciation as I hear her name pronounced. I truly am curious about what I have read briefly about a historical migration of immigrants, including the author’s ancestors, who immigrated to the Philippines, speak a language seemingly common among those immigrants & bear names that are translations from Mandarin Chinese into such language. It is an interesting occurrence I am curious to know more about. http://www.amazon.com/Chua-Chinese-didnt-already-know/forum/Fx2TW1617UZNULU/Tx2INJY62TIU5CI/1/ref=cm_cd_ef_rt_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&asin=1594202842&tag=jusadbel-20

Cheap Social Worker said…
When reading excerpts from Amy Chua’s latest book, I noticed that she left out any reference to her Filipino background. Looking at Chua’s biography, her parents spent a considerable amount of time doing business in the Philippines, with her father even going to school there. Chua also spent a good portion of her childhood going back and forth between the United States and the Philippines, though I wonder if she ever went outside the walls of her gated community to interact with the main population. Given that Filipino values on education are very similar to these “Chinese” values Amy Chua promotes, why does “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” ignore her Filipino heritage completely? http://askthepinoy.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-prof-amy-chua-have-any-other.html

As a Harvard undergraduate during the years that the author was there, I do not recall the author attending any of the many meetings or social occasions held by the Asian students on campus. Although the book discusses the author’s “Chinese” upbringing, and refers to the Chinese food that she loved as a child and the “high culture” of her Chinese ancestors, there is little in the book to indicate that the author is, or considers herself to be, part of a larger community or network of Asians or Chinese in America, an affiliation that’s critical if the author’s voice is to be heard as at all representative of that community. http://www.amazon.com/review/R180XSBCBH3O89/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1594202842&nodeID=&tag=jusadbel-20=

It’s not uncommon to hear alcoholics claim that it’s because they’re Irish or to hear that a bad temper is a result of bad genes. Chua is no different, and is justifying her abusive behavior based on the fact that she is Chinese. The reality is that Chua’s style is not a product of her Chinese heritage. Chua has never lived in China; her parents have not either. http://voices.yahoo.com/review-amy-chuas-battle-hymn-tiger-mother-7701018.html?cat=25
__________________________

It isn’t at all clear to me when and where Chinese culture came into the heritage of Amy Chua, if indeed it ever has, for the surname Chùa is, in fact, Vietnamese. It means temple and is commonly found in Buddhist and other religious contexts, e.g., (1) Chùa Pháp Hoa – Nam Úc, (2) Chùa Ph?t Tích [Temple of Saint Paul], (3) L? Khánh Thành D?i Hùng B?o Di?n Chùa Quang Minh, ph?n 1, and (4) t?i Chùa Ho?ng Pháp, H?c Môn, Sài Gòn.

Professor Chua is a graduate of El Cerrito High School in California. http://elcerritogauchos.net/ She claims a superiority of a Chinese culture she has never lived in but is married to a white American Jew. Attempting yet another of her unpersuasive slow-change / quick-change acts she has claimed to have inculcated so-called, but unspecified, Chinese values into her two American daughters. She clearly believes that unrelenting emotional pressure on children and simultaneous denial of affection toward them will improve their physical skills. What implausible culture that has lasted more than seventy-two consecutive hours has advocated such a bizarre relationship between parent and child? She states that she has denied her two daughters the experiences of having performed in school plays. But their father had to have had enough stage experience prior to having been admitted at age 21 into the Drama Department (1980-1982) of The Juilliard School in Manhattan to justify that admission.
__________________________

“all you need to be able to do [to get into Juilliard] is just be badass at one instrument and read music.”
* * *
I think that is an extremely simplistic way to look at it. There are children who are groomed for Juilliard from grade school onwards. Children who start playing at 3 or 4 and by the age of 10 are already practicing 6+ hours a day. It takes incredible long-term discipline to be “badass” at one instrument.

Juilliard grants a 10 minute audition. By the time you walk in, greet the jury, tune up, they get their papers ready to go, glance at your accompanist, you have 7 minutes to convince them that you are at the top of the top and that you have a viable career in performance ahead of you.

Harvard is, in some senses, more forgiving because you have so many more ways to prove yourself. You can show you are smart through grades, you can show that you earned academic honors, you can show character through recommendation…all Juilliard gives you is 7 minutes to blow them away. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/439847-harder-than-harvard.html
__________________________

Professor Chua has stepped as an authority into several worlds in which she has no known experience and attempted to convince readers deeply concerned with the subjects she has written about that her word is the best word, founded as she believes on substantial personal experience. She moves in step with a long and continuing line of crackpot self-styled such authorities to lay claim to a success citing her ill-chosen and unexamined demographic whopping sampling of two, one of whom has effectively rejected her horrific emotional, social, and artistic models in favor of a pursuit of a life as a real person.

Does anyone now remember the scam of Linus Pauling (1901-94), author of “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”? In 1970 Dr Pauling, a hustling chemist with no patients and no clinical studies to substantiate his claims, convinced many of the world’s non-thinkers that tanking up on vitamin C would cure the common cold, cure cancer, cure heart disease, and wipe out miscellaneous infections. He amassed a small fortune from his publications. Forty-one years later? Anyone who has contracted the seed basis for a cold still sniffles, cancer is rampant, heart disease remains with us, and infections are a functioning reality, increasing in their variety, throughout the human species. And Dr Pauling? Who? http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pauling.html

Obstetricians write books on running. Physicists write books on philosophy. Social workers write books on love. Orthopedists write books on financial investment. Vitamin gurus write books advising pursuit of the Fountain of Youth in the manner of Herodotus and Juan Ponce de León (1474-1521). Generals write unbiased books on history. Psychoanalysts – with the highest suicide rate of any professional group in the world – plumb the woes of others promising answers of consolation.

And, reminding us, yet again, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, Professor of Law Amy Chua has overarchingly tried to portray herself with her menopausal-crisis magnum opus that she is (1) an authority on music instruction of the preadolescent, (2) is an informed intellectual on the relationships both distinguishing and binding alien cultures, (3) she believes that both private and public sustained and repetitive humiliations of defenseless children will inevitably lead to a positive strengthening of those children’s characters, (4) she believes that children perceive through the senses of sound and sight what their parents want them to perceive, (5) that there likely will be no relationship between enforced disruptive prohibitions of physiological functions of urination and defecation in early childhood and a possible dysfunction of those systems manifesting later in life, (6) that denial of nutrition is an educational tool, (7) that avowals of love following psychological and physical cruelties meted to the young do not establish a perverse link between those avowals and cruelties, (8) that two daughters who know well that their pussy-whipped father had the valuable preprofessional experiences of the very stage presence they may have wished for themselves in adolescence have not formed an unhealthy opinion of compromised male hegemony during those years it might have benefited them in the formation of what will become their future relations with men, (9) that, while their mother was referring to their minds and their bodies openly and publicly in the most vile terms of contempt and debasement their father sat idly by, possibly out of sight but not out of earshot, (10) that the father of two daughters is portrayed in print and public appearances by their mother as the bringer of jollity when permitted to do so by their mother (Egads!), (11) that the phrase “Head of Household” has been perverted in the Chua example to refer to the elder with the loudest mouth and the least flexible personality, (12) [The reader here is invited to continue filling in the blanks . . .]

Whether or not any modern Chinese man or woman – or, in the example of Amy Chua, any Filipina descended from Vietnamese – subscribes to any of the tenets of historical Confucianism, those tenets continue, for many modern Orientals both in and from the Eastern lands, to elicit a sentimental ideal to which many pay lip service in time of reference.

Professor Chua has made a significant fundamental error in attempting to define her relationship with her two daughters. “Parenting method” is not a synonym for “Being a parent.” The former arises from the jargon and complex overlays of institutional structure established by American teachers colleges, their promulgators, and devoted acolytes fallen under the influences of Frederick Wilson Taylor [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor] and leaders of The Efficiency Movement [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficiency_Movement] in the first decade of the twentieth century; good for building the Model T but less than good for building character. “Being a parent” arises from the traditional standing of parents within all well-established functioning societies.

With one exception, all other public pictures of the face of Professor Chua portray her with her signature toothy grin. The only one in which she is not smiling is that showing her imperiously overseeing her younger daughter during a music practice session. http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/RV-AB161_chau_i_G_20110107132417.jpg

That this parenting nitwit can lay claim to so-called traditional Chinese values, while supplanting the very bases of those values with individual license to cruelty and an immodest flaunting of self at the expense of those children traditional values would obligate her to protect from adversity, is a revelation of ignorance and egocentricity wholly at odds with the established teachings of Confucius.
__________________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 4, 2012 9:27 AM:

For all my focus on this subject I think the following text, written from the trenches on the other side of The Pacific, should be required reading everywhere else; perhaps even over there.

Cordially,

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.
__________________________

Chinese Mom: American ‘Tiger Mother’ clueless about real Chinese parenting
The “Chinese” parenting style advocated by Asian-American author Amy Chua is no longer popular among Chinese mothers
By Helen He 20 January, 2011
http://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/life/helen-he-dont-demonize-chinese-mothers-545975

As a post-1980s mother, I, like many other young moms in China, often seek parenting advice from various channels and never miss reading the latest popular books on parenting.

Recently, a book titled “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” written by Yale university professor Amy Chua on the parenting experience of a Chinese mother, stirred up a controversy in the West after an excerpt from the book was printed in the Wall Street Journal.

I’m a born-and-bred Shanghainese mother, not that proficient in English, so I wasn’t able to read Amy Chua’s entire work. But I did have friends translate a book excerpt printed in the Wall Street Journal for me.

The author claims that mothers, by being strict and narrowminded and focusing only on results, are able to nurture child geniuses.

This is clearly a utilitarian take on parenting and I was deeply astounded that Chua lauds this as a forte of Chinese mothers.

I only want to say: Please don’t demonize Chinese mothers.

Amy Chua’s claims are misleading because Chinese-American women cannot be said to represent mothers in mainland China, and thus are unable to objectively elaborate on the parenting attitudes and experiences of Chinese mothers.

Amy Chua does not speak for all of us
Environment has a big influence over a person’s values, and the role of a mother is not something that every woman takes to immediately.

The Chinese parenting method Chua champions has no claims to authenticity.Every mother gradually devises her own parenting method, which is often shaped by her own experience growing up, as well as the environment around her.

According to reports, Amy Chua is a Filipino of Chinese descent.

Her parents emigrated to America and underwent an intense struggle to set their roots in a foreign land, which inevitably led them to adopt a more utilitarian outlook in raising their children: “We struggled to get you this new citizenship status, the best way to repay us as our children is to succeed in life.”

Amy Chua brings up Confucius in her article to explain why Chinese parents feel that their children are indebted to them for life. But, she probably doesn’t know that there is another fundamental saying in the Confucian school of thought that “ethics matter more than results, harmony more than competition.”

Simply put, one should not be overly aggressive in trying to outdo others nor adopt a mindset that every investment should get due returns.

Confucius also believed that education should be something tailored according to an individual’s talents and capabilities, rather than a force-fed regime.

In other words, the parenting that Amy Chua received while growing up already deviates from Chinese traditions, and despite her attempts to follow in the footsteps of her parents, the Chinese parenting method she champions has no claims to authenticity.

This strict parenting style, if blindly — or even vengefully — repeated among successive generations, will only be a prolonged tragedy.

The parenting styles of post-1980s mothers
The bulk of parents in China today comprise children born in the 1970s and 1980s. I will raise two examples to illustrate how Amy Chua’s perception of Chinese parenting methods differs from current practices in modern China.

Kaixin001, China’s Facebook that’s popular among the post-1980s generation in China, recently held two online polls.

One was titled “If you had a girl, what would you teach her?” while the other was “What would you do if you discovered your teenage son was in love?” Each had a total of 97,470 and 28,915 respondents, respectively.

a.. More on CNNGo: Another ‘Tiger Mother’ rebuttal from across the ocean
In the first poll, piano and karate came out on top with 55 percent and 54 percent of the total votes. In third place was the response “How to deal with men,” which shows that young parents are also concerned about their child’s interpersonal skills and EQ.

In the second poll, there were more than 15 different response options, but only 366 netizens (less than one percent of respondents) chose the most extreme option of sharply reprimanding the child.

The reason why books such as “Fu Lei’s Letters Home” and “Education of Love,” as well as more recent titles such as “A Good Mother Is Better than a Good Teacher” and “An Average Student at Home,” are so well-received among Chinese parents is because they reflect a parenting mindset premised on mutual respect and communication between parent and child — an attitude that’s fast becoming the norm in China.

The parenting method that Amy Chua encourages, one of forcing a child to discover his talents through disciplined and repeated practice, is contrary to the upbringing that many young Chinese mothers have received.

The parent-child relationship depicted in “Growing Pains,” an American television series popular in China in the 1980s, is something that is finding favor with many mothers of my generation.

When I was in university, the way the Seaver family openly communicated with each other was something I could identify with.

This strict parenting style, if blindly — or even vengefully — repeated among successive generations, will only produce a prolonged tragedy.Along with the opening up of China, my parents’ generation had also opened up to other methods of parenting. They no longer held on to a “spare the rod and spoil the child” mindset, but instead saw their children as equals and hoped to build friendships with them.

Nurturing healthy individuals rather than child prodigies who have no fun
The desire for one’s child to be a straight-A student or a musical genius seems simple and naive to most Chinese mothers.

A survey of 1,285 mothers of children up to six years old conducted by Babytree, China’s largest parenting website, found that health, happiness, self-confidence and kindness were the four most important traits that mothers hoped their children would have.

About 77 percent of mothers did not expect their children to have particular talents and 65 percent of mothers said they would encourage children to pursue their hobbies, even if it was not an interest shared by the mother.

The most important wish among mothers was for their children to have a happy, stress-free life.

The point I wish to emphasize is this: a child is a gift, but the right to control him is not a given.

The child that we nurture may subtly be influenced by our thoughts and values while under our care, but this does not mean that we should forcefully deprive them the independence to discover and grasp other opportunities that the world offers.

Taiwanese author Lung Ying-tai wrote in her book “Seeing Off” that the role of a parent is merely to stand by one’s child and watch his back as he gradually ventures afar.

This very appropriately describes the mindset of many young parents in China today.

To raise a child is to give him the freedom to build a life of his own, rather than to force him to become a replica of your own successes or as compensation to make up for your regrets. As such, the right to decide what is good or bad for a child is not entirely up to the parents — the child should have a say, too.

If life really is a race, instead of encouraging your child to tirelessly try to outdo others and come in first, why not let him run at an enjoyable pace so he can admire the sights along the way?

I dare say that most Chinese mothers, especially those belonging to the post-1980s generation, do silently but lovingly encouraging their children to make the most of life in exactly this manner — a mindset contrary to that advocated by Amy Chua.

Article translated by Debbie Yong. See the original Chinese version here.

http://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/life/helen-he-dont-demonize-chinese-mothers-545975

Andre M. Smith said at April 6, 2012 8:56 AM:

There is a recurring theme without solid core that continues to recycle on the question of Amy Chua and her style as a mother. J.G. (unfortunately anonymous, as are most of the endorsements of Professor Chua) has written

I think it's easy to take cheap shots at Chua, but it's hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others.
It might seem amusing to mock her (her "cushy job" and "hottie husband"), but harder to actually consider the points being made in a non-defensive way, without trying to paint yourself as the "cool mom" who prefers three martini playdates?

p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) would paint her parents as laissez-faire and herself as moderately motivated.
Posted by: J.G. | January 18, 2011 at 02:31 PM http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecareerist/2011/01/chinese-moms.html

I, for one, have no interest whatsoever in her “cushy job” and “hottie husband.” Nor do I have any objection to her having become a millionaire from the sales of her book and that she will be well on her way to becoming a multimillionare once the planned translations of it into thirteen of the world’s languages have been completed. My uncompromising objections to Professor Chua are two-fold: her abuses of young children pursued to further her own narcissistic urgencies and her deep commitment of abuse of the art of music – of which she seemingly has no knowledge whatsoever – for reasons having nothing to do with that art. My shots at her are far from what J.G. calls “cheap shots.” They do in fact go to the heart of the problems with her that remain my chief concerns.

J.G. and most of his fellow travelers in their tepid defenses of Professor Chua continue to focus on her inherited emphasis of the sorry state of public education in The United States. What else is new?

As with most of the ringing endorsements of Amy Chua, those from J.G. are clearly from a mind not wholly engaged. He has written ” it's hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others. In his tangled syntax I’m quite sure he means – at least I’m hoping he means – it's hard to argue that the average American child does not need more discipline, more direction or more respect for others.

J.G. has written further, “p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) . . . “ Again, but this time TWO thoughts from nowhere! What has Williams College to do with Amy Chua (Harvard, A.B. ’84)? And since when has Williams even been on the “fantasy” palate “of Chinese parents everywhere?”

Professor Chua usually receives the quality of defense she deserves.
____________________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

Andre M. Smith said at April 9, 2012 12:43 PM:

I checked Asian. I had heard it was harder to apply as an Asian, so as a point of pride, I had to say I was Asian. http://jadeluckclub.com/true-picture-asian-americans/

In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride


1) Tiger Sophia, you may have checked Asian which does have a “tax,” however you also got big bonus points for being a legacy many times over. The upshot is that you had help getting in unlike these Asian Americans below who live at the poverty line and don’t have Ivy League parents with deep pockets.

2) By checking Asian when, actually, you are of mixed race, you have taken a spot away from those who don’t have the benefit of applying to a less competitive race slot. Thanks to you, someone who[se] life could be completely changed did not get a spot. http://jadeluckclub.com/true-picture-asian-americans/

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Matthew 25:29

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, the daughter of a mother of mixed Asian ethnicity of no known religious involvement and a secular — whatever that means — American Jewish father has, ostensibly been raised as a Jewess in an atheistic family positing itself as . . . ? When she applied for admission to Harvard she descended into a pride of Asianness to avail herself of an ethnic quota advantage.

This duplicitous young woman is, indeed, her mother’s daughter! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=230907266920263&set=o.134679449938486&type=1&theater
________________________

André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
Formerly Bass Trombonist
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.


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