View slideshow Tiger Mom discusses 'hyperpowers' at lecture series
Amy Chua, writer of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, leads a lecture as part of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Series. In addition to profiling this book on her strict parenting, she outlined her 2007 book, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall.
Amy Chua, the writer of the hit controversial book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, spoke at the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Series, hosted at the William Saroyan Theatre, Jan. 18.
Chua's book, published in 2011, describes her parenting method, which is based on her strict Chinese upbringing. Basically, Chua was raised much differently than most American children in that her parents held her to great expectations -- such as straight A's and no boyfriends or sleepovers, among other things.
Chua implemented these same methods in raising her children, and imposed numerous restrictions on their childhood: no sleepovers, no Facebook, no watching TV or playing video games ever; they are not allowed to choose their own extracurricular activities, or perform in school plays.
Although Chua could have spoken about her book, which would have been interesting in of itself, Chua's lecture, "Babylon to Beijing: Risks and Rewards of Global Dominance" discussed "hyperpowers" throughout history. Chua is Yale law professor and, during her career as a lawyer, she specialized in international business and globalization.
During a Q&A time, Chua blended her expertise in international affairs and her best-selling satiric novel about parenting together. When the subject of childhood eduction on a international scale arose, Chua discussed the major differences between American schooling and China's educational standards. She stated that in China, children often spend their entire day, from 7 a.m.-10 p.m, either in school or doing drills and studying at home. Whereas, in the U.S., students have much less homework and are able to compete in numerous extracurricular activities.
However, America does face problems with this generation because many parents do not motivate their children the way they should, which results in American youths settling for second-best and a life of mediocrity, she says. Conversely, Chinese children are under a strict educational regiment and spend almost all of their childhood studying. This lifestyle may lead to children being very educated but not able to creatively think for themselves or become effective leaders -- something that American students are known for.
Essentially, there are two completely different methods of teaching: a strict, by-the-books education that leads to very educated students, and a more relaxed way of teaching that is meant to encourage creativity and "thinking outside of the box." Chua believes that both methods have their blatant flaws and a sense of American nationalism has made us dislike Chinese teaching methods. Chua instead proposed that we combine the two ways of teaching in order to create a system of more motivated and educated students that still have the ability to think creatively for themselves.
"The key point that I believe the audience learned from Chua is this: in order to become a true hyperpower, a nation must be able to attain the best minds from around the world. This reason is why the U.S., rather than China, is a hyperpower ... If China were a true hyperpower, then it would have the best ideas and the best universities, not vice versa." --Trevor York, '12
Chua not only discussed her opinions on international education, but also discussed the outline of her 2007 book Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance - and Why They Fall. The work discusses examples of "hyperpowers" throughout history and the similarities each power has had with one another.
First, let me define what Chua meant by using the term "hyperpower." Basically, a hyperpower is any country or state in history that has been the dominant authority around the world. Not to be confused with a superpower, a hyperpower is so strong that there is no other country in the world that could even compete with it economically or militarily. The U.S. for instance, was not a hyperpower during the Cold War since the U.S.S.R. could closely compete with America, militarily speaking.
After defining what exactly a hyperpower is, Chua went on to name some that have existed throughout history, such as the Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire and the Persian Empire. After examining these countries throughout the course of history, Chua found one similarity that occurred in every single one of these world powers: tolerance of other people.
During a Q&A session for her lecture at the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Series, Chua accepts questions from the public. In her lecture, she spoke about her two books, which cover the topics of parenting and "hyperpowers."
Now, also, let us define tolerance in the way that Chua described it. She did not mean the kind of human rights where everyone is seen as equal, but rather the kind of tolerance to other ideas. The key point that Chua made was that in order to become a hyperpower, the best and brightest minds from around the entire world must come together.
After going through several ancient hyperpowers and describing their reasons for success, Chua brought up the elephant in the room: the United States of America. Chua explained that America is no doubt a hyperpower, because it is the strongest nation in the world militarily and economically speaking -- yes, even stronger than China. She asserted that the United States has gained this dominance through the tolerance and acceptance of ideas from around the world. Other countries may have people that are more intelligent, but the U.S. is the only country that consistently attracts these intelligent minds.
The key point that I believe the audience learned from Chua is this: in order to become a true hyperpower, a nation must be able to attain the best minds from around the world. This reason is why the U.S., rather than China, is a hyperpower, since Chua stated that the goal of Chinese students is to get out of their homeland and go to an American college. If China were a true hyperpower, then it would have the best ideas and the best universities, not vice versa.
The next Town Hall Lecture will feature dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator Scott Sampson, at the William Saroyan Theatre, Feb. 15. Students can attend a Q&A session with the author starting at 9:30 a.m.
For more information on The San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series, read the Dec. 12 article, Sorkin shares statistics, suggestions for U.S. economy.