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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
My best friend is Asian. Our kids are friends. She is one of the few people who talks openly with me about her culture.
I earned this trust because I have learned about the culture myself ever since college. While I was in engineering school, I was the only white woman in the group of friends who hung out. I know Chinese, Korean, and Filipino culture very well. Well enough to know that in San Francisco Chinatown, when you go to Dim Sum, the most Chinese of us would dress up fashionably, and tell the owner they heard about the place all the way back home. They were so excited to come dine there that they stopped by on the way back from the airport--their luggage is still in the car and they haven't checked in yet. That always brought us excellent service!
One part about being Asian, that I thought I understood, was the concept of being a Tiger Mom.
I shared with my friend how sometimes I push my little one, a lot. An example would be teaching him how to use a fork. On vacation last year, I noticed that he would still grab it like a toddler, right in his fist. So unpleasant as it was, every meal we worked on it and worked on it, getting him so frustrated he barely wanted to eat. He would hold it right for one bite, and then grab it with the hand. I would gently place it back in his hand properly. Again and again I worked, encouraging him with how once he learns it life will be so much better. How he is at the age where people are going to start teasing him if he doesn't learn. And that this skill will come.
Yesterday at dinner I asked, 'Aren't you glad you learned how to use a fork properly?'
He laughed and said, 'Yes'.
I never made him cry, but I pushed him to that edge a lot while I was teaching him.
I said to my friend, 'I was raised by hippie parents. I can't do that. My instinct tells me to push my child as a parent. I think I am a Tiger Mom.'
I was wrong.
My friend set me straight.
So this is a letter of apology to all of the Asians like my friend who had to suffer the cane.
My friend said, 'In Asian family your parent tells you to pick your own punishment'.
There would be canes of three different thicknesses in the closet, you you would have to pick them.
I stopped her cold, and asked, sheepishly, 'I have heard about them in the Bible, but I don't know what they are. What IS a cane?' as pictures of old people walking with a cane came to mind.
She got up and went to the pantry, took out a stick that looked like it was from the local craft store, like a dowel, and said they come with a handle on it. Here is a link in Wiki with a picture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in_Singapore#Parental_caning (She does not use the stick on her children. She 'is reasonable' with them.)
My friend said, 'The smart kids choose the thicker cane, which is like a broom stick. That one just gives blunt trauma. The not-so-smart kids choose the thinner one. That one cuts the skin.'
My jaw dropped in disbelief!
I asked, 'Do they just swat you hard enough to make the kid cry or do they just keep going?'
'The minimum is five. And they tell you not to cry. If you cry, they keep caning you until you stop.' she said, turning redder and angrier as I could tell she got very upset over the kind of abuse that her mother, a single mom, had given to her.
'My mother told her cousin to stop caning her boy. She said, "If you keep at it you are going to have to take care of him forever" because the boy was well past the limit of psychological abuse, and was starting to go crazy from the cane."
She added, 'That is why Asians are so quiet. Did you ever hear about an Asian F?'
'No! What is THAT?" I asked, wanting to know the Truth.
'An A minus. Anything less than an A gets you the cane at home when you bring your report card. We call those Tiger Stripes, the marks that are left from the caning. You may push your child more than Western mothers, but you are definitely NOT a Tiger Mom.'
I am so upset by this that I am adding a special group to my Groups and Organizations List for Divine Peace Healing: Tiger Kids with Tiger Stripes.
I know I should pray for the parents too.
But I can't.
Every day I will work with the Angels who are the Guides of Compassionate Healing to send Peace to all who have suffered Corporal Punishment with the cane.
Every day for the rest of my life I will pray for their beautiful spirits and hearts!
I will ask for all Healing, and for them to know that they are precious, beautiful, perfect, and pure LOVE that walks around on two legs...and for the Angels to assist them to discover this Truth and to see past the Lies of Control and Fear and Suffering that was used on to make them 'behave'.
I will add to this all children who suffered at the hands of those who were responsible to raise them, all over the world, not just canes but everything else out there that causes sorrow and suffering too.