Browsing "Life"

Keeping An Identity: On Expectations and Achieving

Before our time in London, I spent the past week reading two books. The first Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Amy Chua) and the second To Miss with Love (Katharine Birbalsingh)

The first, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua in a straight sitting (about 2 hours – it was an easy read). It was exciting, riveting I suppose in a way, although completely unsurprising, being Asian and growing up in Asia, these sorts of expectations and need to achieve are completely commonplace.

The second though, To Miss with Love, I struggled, and I really struggled through. It was not that it was difficult to read, nor that it wasn’t interesting, in the end what I realised was that, I actually COULD NOT read it for more than a few pages at a time, simply because it was so shockingly awful and yet so shockingly true. It took me the rest of the week to finish it.

Although the contrast between the two books could not be any greater, one talks of success and high achievements, (a 14 year old performing at Carnegie Hall!) and the other describes blood-shed (metal pipes and knives!) in school, at the heart of both books lie a very similar theme….EXPECTATIONS.

What was interesting about both books was the way both confirmed and reaffirmed my thoughts that there is actually nothing wrong at all with the education environment in the Western world, but what is shockingly missing, and it’s glaringly obvious, are Expectations.

The comparison between the achievements of (broadly generalising here!) Eastern and Western children really boil down to one thing and ONE thing only, it’s the fact that in the East, Achievement is Expected, and Success Demanded, while in the West, it seems as if Achievement is Encouraged and Success is Preferable. The difference being Choice.

Readers in the figurative ‘East’ would not blink nor flinch at any of Amy Chua’s methods or thoughts, ideas and philosophies, indeed some might even think her mild, and yet the complete outrage and anger directed at her parenting methods, could really only have come from the ‘West’.

So what then of the Eastern family in a Western environment?

In more ways than I can count, I admire, Western children for the confidence, their ability to articulate, and yet, these same abilities so allowed and nurtured by their parents seem in part, to be the cause of the very same limits that hold them back from pushing the boundaries and achieving more.

We, as immigrants see so much of what is good in the Western culture, and at the same time we keep trying to reconcile that with what we know is good from our own experiences. And so for now, we strive to find the balance and walk that middle path between all the best in the West and the good that we know of the East.

Have you read the Tiger Mummy book? What do you think of it?

Apr 26, 2011 - Conversations, Learning, Life, School    4 Comments

Conversations with Georgia: Tongues in School

Of all the things, 4 and 5 year olds get up to in the school yard…

G: Do you know what Mrs Thomas said the other day?
Me: No, what did she say?
G: She said, “Everyone must keep their tongues in their own mouth and NOT touch other people’s tongues with their own tongue!”
Me: Oh…why did she have to say that?
G: Because they were touching other people’s tongues with their own tongue.
Me: !!!

Apr 23, 2011 - Learning, Life, Parenting    4 Comments

Answers from Unexpected People and Places

Up until now I’ve raved (mostly) about Georgia’s current experience in Reception in her school (save the social issues with C as I have written about here and here) it has been warm and welcoming with lots and lots of positive influences. I do absolutely love the teaching team in Georgia’s current class, they are very caring and nurturing and take great care over each child.

BUT…(there’s always a but isn’t there?) what I haven’t been so forth coming with has been the fact that my perception of what constitutes an ‘education’ is actually contradicted in some ways by the same positive influences I have been so happy with. Read more »

Apr 22, 2011 - Family, Learning, Life, Random    2 Comments

A fan of A & E – A Stomach for Blood and Gore

Accident & EmergencyWe have spent the past four days or so in London, mixing both business and pleasure  family time. While DH and I alternately attended a work-related conference we decided that as it was the Easter holidays, we might as well have G tag along.
Among the various places we visited and this we did, who would have thought, that the most surprising revelation came in the hotel room.
If you have read some of my earlier posts, you might have guessed that we hardly if ever watch any TV at home. So every holiday, Georgia tries to catch up on what she doesn’t actually miss 😉
At the end of our first day, having visited the British Museum and catching up with TL and Ari, we relented and allowed her some wind-down time, in front of the tele, and of all the things she chooses to watch…..A&E as in Accident and Emergency!
For those of you who might not know, the A&E series here in the UK follows 2-3 real-life A&E patients through their A&E experience, so while some cases might be relatively blood-free, some are completely gore-y.
So anyway, even with the range of Freeview channels on, Georgia chooses to watch this bizarre bloody gore. Both DH and I could not bear to watch, so we distracted ourselves reading, but kept an eye on her, and it was really surprising, she was really genuinely interested and not the least bit fazed by it. I half expected her to have a fitful sleep but was pleasantly surprised.
Among the cases that were on that night, LOOK AWAY NOW if you can’t stomach blood and gore!
– A ladies ear that was almost completely detached during a fall; full-view surgery which included cleaning and disinfecting the ear’s cartilage
– An absurd somewhat bizarre gadget related injury, in which a stylus was lodged in girl’s tonsil (it was sticking out of her mouth) – how, I cannot imagine!
You may look again now.
Through it all, Georgia watched fascinated, with unflinching eyes stuck to the TV. She watched riveted.
So….I wonder is the fear or stomach for blood and gore learned behaviour, or do some people just naturally have a higher threshold? We wondered also if it’s because she does not as yet, have preconceptions of bloodiness and goriness and all of it is just fascinating?
Apr 16, 2011 - Ballet, Conversations, Learning, Life    2 Comments

Conversations with Georgia: Primary Ballet exams

And just after the swimming award we have been issued with a Primary Ballet exam notice…

Primary Ballet

Now Georgia has not always been very keen on going to ballet.
Although she is a natural dancer with a completely natural sense of rhythm, she has on many occasions moaned and groaned (yes there has even been tears) about going to ballet.

However, once she’s in, she loves it, and she comes out asking to come back again. (You know the saying, children know what they want not what they need?)

So anyway, realising she has to do these Ballet exams, her first reaction is.

G: No, I don’t want to do them
Me: Are you sure? You’ll get a certificate just like the one for swimming…
G: Really ? (her eyes opening wide, at the thought)
Me: Yeah sure.
G: Oh, OK then.

So there we are….Primary Ballet exam – bring it on!!!

Apr 8, 2011 - Conversations, Life, Parenting    2 Comments

Conversations with Georgia: Look at me!

You know how it is, you try to do about 5 (gazillion!) things at once, limited by having only one pair of eyes. As Georgia was trying to get me to watch her attempt skating she half shouts at me

G: Mum, look at me!
Me: Ok (My eyes still glued to the browser on my phone! – Haven’t they said iPhones are evil?!)
G: Mum, look at me now!
Me: Mmmm…ok (not yet looking)
G: I tell you, PUT AWAY THAT PHONE, it is NOT IMPORTANT. It’s much more important to look at me, not at the phone!

So what do you think I did next? 🙂

Apr 7, 2011 - Life, Random    14 Comments

Liebster – The Honour of Being Read

When I started this blog way way back in June 2007 (according to my Archives) it’s sole purpose was to serve as a parenting journal of my (our) experiences of Parenthood and as a chronicle of the milestones and developmental phases Georgia progressed through.

In many ways it has served that purpose really well. I can actually read back and remember her first words, her fascination at seeing real life ducks and geese, and all those wonderful conversations we have had. I haven’t always been very good at keeping this blog up-to-date. Completely guilty in fact of never writing about our holidays, saving drafts upon drafts of posts, half written, never posted, always meant.

This year though, I have decided to make more of an effort, not least because I would so so love to print it all bound in a hard cover book form to hand over to Georgia when she’s 21…or maybe when she becomes a mum (now that’s a scary thought!). She does not know that this blog exists, nor that she is the subject of such passionate discussions at times. Perhaps one day, I’ll tell her, but only if she’s good 😉

What has been a wonderful extension of this greater effort is the support and general friendship that has grown from readers commenting, sharing thoughts, opinions, advice. Thank you so very much to Circus Queen who nominated this blog for the Liebster Award, with such a wonderful description of my ramblings:

Stories of Georgous written by Li-Ling who grew up in Malaysia but is now raising her daughter Georgia in the UK. She speaks eloquently of the contrasts between the cultures and parenting styles, often sharing the funny or startling profound things that Georgia says. You don’t have to be from an Asian background (or even be a parent!) to find something extraordinarily human in her writing

Liebster Blog Award

And in accepting this Award, the three steps following are:

1. Create blog post about accepting, with Liebster logo.
2. Link back to person who has nominated me, and happily accept their praises.
3. Nominate 3-5 of my fav blogs, that maybe not everyone in the blogosphere will have tripped over but that are nonetheless FAB, and tell them they’ve been nominated.

A little bit of digging around on the Award hasn’t revealed very much apart from the fact that it is a way of helping blogs you like gain a greater readership or following. These blogs should have 300 or less readers, apparently.

So here goes my three nominations: written by Karyn, who sometimes writes so assertively it’s a bit scary ;), but her real, really lovely (!) personality comes through in her responses to her comments (you are allowed to disagree with her and she’ll still be your friend, I hope :). She is so passionate about parenting and creating a better life for her family and herself, you just want to keep reading.

My Adventures in the US of A Letti is a ‘real-life’ friend from my undergrad days deep in the jungles of Borneo (not quite!). She moved to the US from Malaysia and has been there for a while now. This blog and her other one on parenting Jaxon, her lovely boy Our Journey in to Parenthood are interesting descriptive stories of her experiences both in life and in parenting.

Our World My World written by… :O I don’t actually know her name. It’s a fascinating journey of parenting in Singapore, a super-‘kiasu’ ( I will come round to explaining that term soon, for now, it means competitive) country. I’m seriously in awe of how she manages to not be overly influenced by the hugely competitive parenting environment, being able to keep to an identity and a somewhat laidback (by Asian standards!) approach to parenting her children. Being there supporting, talking and spending time with them – just the way it should be!

So there you are, thank you all my lovely readers. And if you trip over to one of these blogs, I’m sure they’ll happily welcome you.

Apr 7, 2011 - Family, Learning, Life, Parenting, School    4 Comments

When I Grow Up…

Georgia came home with a homework sheet on Monday. In it, she was supposed to draw what she wanted to be or do when she grew up.

This was what she drew.

When I Grow Up...

I know Obstetrician is a big word for a 5-year old’s vocabulary, but it’s very specific, she’s not interested in doctor-ing children, just babies, particularly helping mummies with their babies being born.