For many years, it has been reported that Asians are consistently outperforming Caucasians academically. One report suggests that Asian students work harder than their counterpart for their phenomenal academic performance.
While it may be true Asian students work harder, it does not however explain the reason why they work harder and the actual underlying motivation for them to work harder other than their “outsider” status in the host country.
Another report suggests that higher Asian parental expectation for their children’s academic performance is another reason why Asian students outperform US students. US parents are content with having lower academic performance for their children and this is not helping their children to level up to Asian students.
The above reports are based on observations seen through the lens of westerners’ perspective and they do not address the actual inner psychic of traditional Asians. Many Chinese hope and desire their sons to become dragon and their daughters to become phoenix according to the proverbial sayings, 望子成龙，望女成风.
Dragon and phoenix symbolize power and wealth. In time past, Chinese emperors wore dragon robes. Chinese believe they are descendants of dragons. By the way, there is a very famous Chinese song, Descendants of the Dragons, and Chinese cannot but be moved by the lyrics of this song which is quite melodious.
Since it is the hopes of Chinese parents for their children to become a symbol of success when they grow up, this process cannot be left to chance. Children are taught from young to live a disciplined life according to this Chinese proverb, 玉不琢 不成器 人不学 不知义。
Like jade that requires cutting and polishing to become a much sought after masterpiece, children are required to undergo rigorous training from young to become some outstanding person when they grow up. A child who does not learn will not understand righteousness is the second part of this proverb and hence the constant emphasis on learning.
So it has been driven into the inner psychic of Chinese parents to teach their children to pursue academic excellence from a young age as recorded in the Chinese classic written in 1100 AD, 万般皆下品，唯有读书高.
Every occupation on earth is rather common but academic excellence is of the highest esteem. Therefore, this constant forward looking posture of acquiring knowledge is a Chinese tradition drilled into the minds of children at a young age.
By the way, such thinking and work ethics also hold true for Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese and even Vietnamese. A visit to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi City will show how much Chinese influence has taken hold on the Vietnamese even of today.
As such, this gives rise to some overbearing parents to become tiger moms micromanaging the lives of their children and their everyday activities in the pursuit of excellence in every aspect of life. Of course this does not sound like fun but once success has been achieved, looking back, the child would understand why the mother has to be very strict and rigid with the upbringing regime.
In addition, some children bore the brunt of rigorous training and discipline from eagle dad at a very young age. The kind of training some of these little kids go through will shock many. It is like putting these kids through special force or army rangers training at a tender young age.
So learning and pursuing academic success become part of the psychic of Chinese from young so much so even Cantopop singer and song writer Sam Hui wrote a song 学生哥 to encourage young children to pursue their studies when they are young lest they regret later in their life.
To the Chinese, not doing well academically shames the family. Decades ago, a neighbour of mine failed his national examinations at age 12 and he dared not return home after getting his results from school. He eventually came home after a very long reflection and fearing retributive punishment back home. He had to repeat another year to sit for the national examinations again the following year. Education is a serious business for Asians.
This constant need to excel does take a toll on some. Last month, a Japanese father stabbed his 12 year old son to death for failing to study for a school entrance exam.
This is tragic no less. High parental expectation on children has probably driven some to suicide. A couple of years back, a young girl having done pretty well for her Cambridge Ordinary Level examinations except for one or two subjects that she failed to score a distinction committed suicide. A few months after, her mother took her own life as well. The father was reduced to a mental wreck requiring professional help since.
Another tragic case was reported in Canada in 2010. A bright young Vietnamese girl was put through the strict no-nonsense regime by her parents hoping she would become successful someday. She was doing pretty well during the initial years but dropped out thereafter and she lied to her parents about making it into the University of Toronto.
Eventually when her parents found out about her deceit, she was grounded. Her boy friend then conspired with her to hire killers to murder her parents and then inherit the property. Tragically, her mother died during the assault.
This is one of those sad stories of human frailties struggling to make it in this fallen world. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians the distinction on the preoccupation between the Jews and the Greeks.
1 Corinthians 1:22: For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
Here the Asians are the modern Greeks going all out to acquire wisdom and knowledge in this world clutching at straws for a better hope and future for their children. This is of course understandable as they do not have the promise of God providing for them and meeting their every needs like the children of Israel in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament.
Matthew 6:31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Matthew 6:32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
The wisest man who ever lived made this remark concerning pursuing academic excellence.
Ecclesiastes 12:12: And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
King Solomon was of course so right. Who in the world would think that doing well academically is just a piece of cake! King Solomon who went out of the way to master everything under the sun and then concluded that all was vanity. Hence his closing advice was this:
Ecclesiastes 12:13: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For the struggling humanity wallowing in the depths of despair and misery, there is a way out of this mad rat race of life.
Malachi 1:11: For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the name the Gentiles shall trust and great is His mighty name who came to heal the broken hearts and restore hopes of life eternal to those who seek after Him.
Titus 1:2: In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Of making many books there is no end, but Jesus came to be the book of books where those who finds Him will never have to suffer weariness of the flesh again.
Hebrews 10:7: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
John 21:25: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Christians parents should take heed how they raise their children in this world and not getting caught up with the folly of many parents seeking the best for their children without factoring in the Lord into the equation of their child raising regime.