Ms Snell should be happy about this, I’m finally writing something to do with China
Xiao Rui (English names include a mixture of Sherry/Shirley) my stepmother left a week ago back to China for work and family reasons. Although it’s awfully quiet without her, I still think about something she’s said several times. To put it blunt and simply:
“Chinese students’ work ethic is the best.”
Before people get erratic at me for saying this, I am not claiming that China is a better country and I am not saying China is faultless. I am just going to write about one aspect. It isn’t to do with their government and I don’t even know what’s going on there politically because I don’t feel it affects me. I live in the UK after all. Also I don’t know much about Korea or Japan but I assume they fall into this a bit too.
In China there is no doubt that the competition to be an outstanding student is higher than that of many other countries, if not all. The population is about 1.3 billion. so that’s around a 5th of the total world population. Think about all people studying and it gets your mind whirling. It also makes me feel so incredibly lazy.
My parents have told me stories about their younger days where they didn’t do anything apart from study, study, and do chores. My Dad even claims that his parents didn’t push him and – I’m not going to gloat over his successful route through higher education but – he did so bloody well and I don’t understand how he’s so modest. I can imagine the learning atmosphere to be really different. So many children trying to take over eachother, you don’t want to fall behind. People will have seen examples of this on TV particularly on musical prodigies and kiddie maths geniuses.
Even now, students aren’t taking vacations. They’re taking extra classes in school. They study.
My stepmum who’s a piano teacher at Tian Jin Conservatoire told me about some of her students. Music is an extremely popular choice for a lot of Chinese families because traditionally they are geared towards the arts. Even in sports, ice skating and gymnastics – the more artistic ones – are the ones China has most strength in. The majority of people who take piano seriously look up to pianists like Lang Lang and Yuja Wang. The dissidents have mixed views on them. They are amazed by their flawless technical ability yet question if that’s all they can do? Play notes?
In Lang Lang’s case, they get annoyed by his face and how he exploits classical music by appearing on too many adverts. (see above) Personally I just find him funny to watch.
According to Xiao Rui, parents are strict but not cruel. Not because it brings a particular joy to them, but because they want their children to grow up with good habits, a promising future, all for them. In the end if it doesn’t amount to severe domestic abuse, discipline is usually seen as the way to go and it nearly always turns our well at the end. Xiao Rui said that if her father didn’t shout at her for not practicing hard enough, then she wouldn’t be living as well as she does now.
Yuja Wang said that when she was young her mother stretched her hands so that she could play more challenging pieces – it sounds brutal, but she thanked her mother for pushing her. (I saw this on an interview from www.medici.tv)
So why is this a better work ethic? Well there is less abuse in society and young people aren’t seen as idiots. No house parties, no violence, no drink, no drugs in their lives. There’s no time for all that ‘menial’ stuff. There is a strong relationship in families and children are grateful for what they have. They earn a decent living. It sounds good for both society and the children, doesn’t it? The riots in England are an example of typical reckless youths doing harm to society. One of the reasons that may have caused the riots is “lack of family values” and “lack of role models” and “lack of discipline”. They looted and detroyed…. Selfish idiots. But yet you can’t blame them entirely.
You’re probably thinking:
“Yeah those Asian kids… they’re clever, they work hard, but they have no lives and no freedom. They’re wasting their youth.”
– I think in the end whatever you do will have it’s effects. If you party all night when you’re young then you might not be so fortunate when you’re older. If you study hard now then you’ll be living easier when you’re older. In the end if your grades are all A+ and you’re a graduate from a top university that opens a lot of doors for you. A few sacrifices are made for a better future. When they’re living a stable life they will thank their parents and feel relieved that they did all that work.
I hope this post doesn’t make me look like a frigid being. Is it weird that I enjoyed writing this? Maybe I’m thinking too much. Thoughts please?
Thanks for reading. 🙂