Why do Asian Kids Study Like Crazy

asian-kids-study-like-crazy

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Can we really achieve diversity with no discrimination?

Recent years, there have been many protesters on campus looking for diversity; as UCLA is short for “University of Caucasians Lost among Asians,” many minority groups are underrepresented. While I do think it’s great to have diversity, I think having the admission program go easy on some groups rather than others is not the real solution to a problem. I believe the problem extends from culture and value backgrounds of different groups. The university admission system is obliged to take students that are most fit to study and compete in an academic environment(which yes, I will agree that the way they identify “fitness” is completely flawed, but they try). In some cases, we probably all notice that schools also take the best fit people to compete against other schools in certain sports/activities.

Some cultures value grades over balance

Now I’m not looking to get into the zone of being politically correct or incorrect, but I will state beforehand that this blog is mostly about criticizing some Asian cultures and values. I think if a kid studies all day long since the first grade, gets extra practice problems when she finishes homework while others are outside playing, stresses about college and SATs since freshman year of high school, gets “illegal punishment” from berserk parents every time she gets a B in class, and takes on all those extracurricular activities that she may or may not like, just to get into a good college, she probably deserves to get into a decent college (at least compared to the kid who just played games most of the time).

I don’t think any group is really smarter than another, but just some groups have the cultural background to study like it’s their destiny so that they don’t embarrass their families, ancestors, and everyone that is affiliated with them. Asians aren’t really good at math (To save my ass: I simply hear this comment a lot and I do not endorse this statement); it’s kids who do 20 practice problems everyday after finishing their homework since third grade that are good at math(which regrettably or not, was not me).

Luckily, issues that disadvantage college minority groups can change, and should change. I believe that providing a better education as well as promoting more studious environments and values among the minority groups from elementary school to high school is the true solution for diversity in college. With good policy making, these are all possible.

Fit vs Diversity in Sports or the Entertainment Industry?

If you want to speak about diversity (and discrimination) on things that can’t change, I propose that every NBA team should require at least 2 White guys and an Asian guy (which still isn’t fair in the absolute sense) on the floor at all times, as there seems to be a clear absence in diversity in the name of “fit”.

We might even need to make a rule that the Asian guy should have the ball at least 3 times in a game, because that probably won’t happen without.

We also might consider having diversity in physical attractiveness in the entertainment industry, because if you pay close attention to the industry often, you might notice that non-gorgeous looking people seem to be discriminated in getting lead roles in movies and such.

Ultimately, universities look for people that have the best potentials in being successful in society after graduation, so the reputation of the school would expand, as well as receive some alumni donations. It is true that by just looking at GPA, SAT scores, some extracurricular activities and a couple essays, you can’t really tell if one would be successful in society, but that’s how the university works even throughout college and into the work force, and until you figure out a better way that is cost-effective, there is no point in blaming the school itself.

Why do Asians study like crazy?

So why do Asians study like crazy anyway? What’s wrong with them? It’s really ingrained in the Asian culture that studying is everything. Getting into a good college is more like an end itself, rather than a means to an end, which is to get a successful job.

As I went back to Taiwan and saw my Grandfather(88), after six years of not seeing his only grandson, one of the first things he asked was, “when are you going to get your masters?” Oh yea, not being here for awhile, I forgot that whether I want to get a masters or not isn’t even a question.

My aunt showed similar kindness as she innocently mentions, “when you get your masters in this degree, I’ll do blah blah blah” (blah is Mandarin Chinese, so don’t even try to read it).

If I was still in middle school, whether I wanted to be a doctor or not would not have been a question either. These are just all assumed: if you can be a doctor, be a doctor, and if you can get a masters, get one.

Now being an entrepreneur doesn’t require an obliterating amount of education, but I remained polite so I won’t piss off the whole family and put my parents in shame. They who started to save money for my education(almost $40,000 a year including living fees) since they were married deserve to have some peace.

Going back to ancient China

So the reason why many Asian groups value education and degrees comes from the ancient traditions in China. During the old days, and I mean so old that I didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle, the only way to become rich and prosperous is to take this mammoth national exam, score well, and become a government official.

During the time, most people were only peasant farmers and could not afford an education. The ones who did went for an education, which is pretty much a no-brainer even without the education.

Once you score well on the exam and become a government officer, supposedly you will bring prosperity and honor to all your family and ancestors. You basically aren’t worthless anymore in a monarchy society once you have some kind of scholarly title.

It has been that for thousands of years, and scholars were always the most looked up upon, as kings and emperors always listened to them(think Confucius).

Western cultures view education as a means to a great career instead of an end to itself

In the US, things are a bit different. People look up to individuals like Bill Gates, who quit his degree at Harvard, started Microsoft and were able to pay his bills quite well, while having some extras for entertainment.

The whole system of what is “great” and “prestigious” has some differences in the cultures. In the US, being prosperous IS prestigious, excluding activities such as drug dealing etc.

At this point I shall admit that I have been talking in extremes and absolutes, and that a common idea of prestige and such is still shared among the cultures. It is impossible to talk about any group as a whole without making statements that are generic with tons of exceptions. I have only been talking on a relative basis, as a PhD is certainly prestigious in the US, just not AS valued as in an Asian society.

In many Western countries, education is the means to an end. You go to school so you can get a better job with your better degree. Many times you can evaluate is it worth the money to get that education(and I have learned in my econometric class at UCLA, that according to some data, on average you only make around 46 cents more per hour after each year of schooling).

But in Asian societies, getting a strong degree is almost like an end, for the strong social status(which is also created in people’s mind) of a high degree is the determination of if one is successful.

I can almost say in modest certainty that many Asian parents would be prouder of a child who went to Harvard but for some reason couldn’t find a good job than one who went to a bad college but has an extraordinary job.

Unconvinced: Do these kids really study like crazy?

OK, some people pointed out that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and people in the US value education the same way. Let me tell you this to be convincing:

A good amount of middle school students from Taiwan live like this (this includes many many of my personal friends): they would go to school at 7:30AM. School ends at 5:00PM. Then they go to after-school school to improve in school (like a Kaplan except 60% of the students are forced to go by their parents), leave after-school school at 10PM. Then they have to finish after-school school homework, and then their real school homework, and then they go to bed.

As far as I know, not that many middle school students live like this in the US. A few years back, students needed to go to school on Saturdays too (they Westernized). And in your 3rd year of middle school, you are forced to stay in school to study for your exam till 8PM every day.

Here’s another example. I remember those annoying tests that for every problem you get wrong, the teacher takes a big stick and hits you in the palm. It hurt like crap. When that happens, it’s always a long line of students waiting to be hit by the teacher. Do the parents go to school and yell at the teacher? No. The parents go to school to APOLOGIZE that their children created problems for the teacher.

In the US culture, parents have more power than teachers. But in many Asian cultures (I know Taiwan best, but many other Asian friends confirmed the same thing), the teachers have more power than the parents and the parents are often apologizing. That’s just a difference in cultural value.

Some observed dysfunctions of valuing grades over everything

For many Asian students, getting into an university is where life ends. Then another life independent of their past starts once they get out of college. However, there are some negative consequences to it, besides the high stress and suicide rates of students.

Since getting into college is everything, once students from Asia (not Asian students in the US, and no not ALL countries) get into top universities, they start to slack and have fun all day, instead of really acquiring knowledge as they are there for. The system also makes it that your GPA hardly matters as long as you pass, so that’s all people aim for. Getting into graduate school is simply determined by another test at the end of college years.

I know this because I every friend I talked to who grew up in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea all said in middle school and high school, they were extremely stressed and suicide rates were higher. Once people get in college, what people do all day is slack off. “They made it, so it’s time to relax instead of learning.”

For that reason, when it comes to universities, students in the US actually study harder than those in Asia (yea, amazing right? Even after all that partying). This clearly shows that it’s pretty dysfunctional when a culture places the value of “grades” over “education.” You’re not there to learn, you are there to score.

This is just some thoughts based on the observations I have in society and an attempt to explain the origins of it. If you happen to disagree with anything and have better insights about things, feel free to criticize this and enlighten me. Politeness is appreciated but sometimes too much to ask for from Anonymous Commentors, so trolls are welcome too. Have a great time!

(For a BIZZARE list of what people search for in order to find this post, click here)

Premier Market Research Firm Gartner Lists the 10 Biggest Disruptive Technologies in the next 10 Years

The list is:

  • Multicore and hybrid processors
  • Virtualisation and fabric computing
  • Social networks and social software
  • Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
  • Web mashups
  • User Interface
  • Ubiquitous computing
  • Contextual computing
  • Augmented reality
  • Semantics

These are 10 technologies that would change the game, as they either bring the user experience to a whole different level, or cut costs to the extent that some professions need to find new ways to keep their jobs. Future Delivery is heavily involved in a few of them, including augmented reality, Web mashups, Social networks and social software, User Interface, and Cloud Computing. What is very interesting is that designers are part of this large technological trend, as User Interface is what truly connects great technology to users. A good interface is not only a good feature of a product, manytimes it is the sales person of online applications too. It’s what converts people from “trying it” to users.

20 years ago, not that many people were using computers. 15 years ago not that many people were on the internet. Now they are both required to live life normally, or even just enroll and pass your classes. With exponential progress, I am excited to see where the future will take us.

Why I think LOTR (at least #1 and a bit of #2) is crap

I believe I should explain my reasoning for not liking this movie fast before everyone tries to burn me. I understand what is great about this movie, but it does not mean we can neglect the little things that it does wrong. LOTR is the most famous movie with the most glitches I have ever seen. I understand that making a fantasy movie like this is not easy to be glitch free, but there are way too many. I have only seen the first part, the big battle of the 2nd part, and I decided not to watch the whole and the third part. Since what’s good about this movie is found everywhere, I’ll just talk about why I don’t like it. I’ll include the parts I’ve seen on the 2nd one too since it’s convinient to do so.
First lets give some point values:

Video: 92
Audio: 90
Scenes: 92
General Plot: 87
Specific Plot: 83
Intensity: 82
Consistency: 88
Glitches: -12 (avg is -3)

As you seen all the stuff are pretty solid. The only thing I can pick out of the movie, besides the glitches is the slow pace. The movie doesn’t seem to have a fast pace, and with 3 hours of this, you get quite tired watching it.

Yea, I’ll get to the point, what are all the glitches that I am talking about? Well, first, glitches are more oftenly seen the 2nd time watching the movie, I have only seen it once, so ones I didn’t identify doesn’t mean it’s not there. But I can already tell you a plethora of it:

(Yes, I realize this is just a movie and meant to just entertain, but it is also art and make-believe, so it should not constantly remind you that “Yo, I’m just a movie! I don’t need to make sense!” Even Muholland Drive made sense.)

1. During the first part, there was a place where the big fire devil(pardon me for not remembering much names, I’m not aquainted to Tolkiens’ book and only seen the movie once. But one should not let the book influence a movie rating) was chasing the fellowship. They were running on the stairs and the place is so crappy that their weight made the stairs fall down. So the question is, if those little guys can make the stairs fall down, HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THAT FIRE DEVIL RUN AROUND AND CHASE THEM!???? Oh, maybe he can fly…but wait! He fell down with Gandolf! He can’t fly, he just magically appeared to catch up to everyone. It looked more like a video game to me at that part where you keep running in one direction and someone is chasing you and will never catch you, when you finish the level, it catches up and you have to fight the boss….^^||

2. Wraiths suck!!! From the description in the movie, wraithes are described as super powerful beings. There’s 9 of them in the world and it seems like each one of them can defeat a thousand men. What I saw in the movie is…. The only thing they do is ride horse and scare short people. They are afraid of fire, they are afraid of water. Six of them were trying to kill Frodo and one human with a torch scared them away…. I don’t know what kind of definition of suck would you use, but they suck. My friends told me they’re better in the book; the book doesn’t count in the movie. My friends also said: “What makes them so powerful is that they can’t die! You just can’t kill them! Anything that can’t die is scary and powerful…” Then i bring up my favorite analogy. You’ve played Super Mario 3 yea?(best Nintendo game ever) In it there’s this skeleton turtle that when you step on it, it turns into bones and then it revives a few seconds later. Even though they can’t die, they are still WORTHLESS!(Sincere Apologies for those who suffer from these creatures in the game, but then it just means you suck too.) They have no threat. (I know you can find ways to kill them, but not my point). Anyway, the wraiths suck. Then my friend told me in the 2nd and 3rd one they become more powerful, and I said “Good! That’s more like it!” But then I discovered they are more powerful just because they are riding on dragons!!!! Frodo can be more powerful when he’s riding on a dragon too. Oh yea…finally, I heard one or some died because the girl stabbed a dagger in them…….point made.

3. The fact that the elf guy constantly have like 8 arrows left all the time and has time (explained in the book….) to pick them all back when surrounded by thousands of orc is just a little glitch.

4. The Dramatic place where the Dark Lord got his finger chopped off, starting the whole thing is pretty dumb. The human had a broken sword, he hit the dark lord’s finger. The dark lord loses all the power and dies… This does’nt make sense. The dark lord has all his powers, perhaps because the rings fulls his body with energy. The guy slashes at the dark lord, his finger, close to the ring, is suppose to be one of the lords toughest places. Yea they made it dramatic, but in reality situations, the guy would slash at the dark lord (first the dark lord is powerful enough not to let the guy touch him) and then when he hits the finger, the broken sword will instantly turn to dust and the dark lord will laugh and all is to a end….yea, atleast they should make the dark lord fall in a more probable way. If this was the ending of a great epic itself, wouldn’t the view/reader be pissed? Why can’t the Dark Lord just trip, hit his head, and die, hoping he has insurance?

5. This is more of an understanding part. Frodo puts on the ring and becomes invisible, where is the dark POWER? How come the dark lord doesn’t become invisible?

6. The magicians fight…is funny. Goes like this. A shakes staff, B hits wall. B shakes staff, A hits the wall, so on. What the hell are they doing?? Are they playing RPG? I’m sure they are desperate on waiting their bar to fill and regret that they didn’t put more points in speed….WHAT ARE THEY DOING? It should go like this, A makes B hits the wall, and does it again, and again, and again, and again, and makes him spin in the air until his bones shatter, and then make him hit the wall 10 times more…that’s realistic fighting if they really have those powers! They are like, “Go hit the wall! Ok, now it’s your turn.” And then the bad guy suddenly gets smarter and wins….wow, best fight I have ever seen.

There’s some really minor ones that I’m just too tired to talk about them now.

We’ll move on to the 2nd part. Realized I just watch about 20 minutes of it and I can pick out a few.

1. The Ent tree thing was carrying the 2 halfings for a whole day, and then he suddenly saw all the dead trees and got mad (He should kill humans too), he cried out loud and in 2 seconds the whole Ent race appeared ready for battle. Ummm…if the whole Ent race can appear in 2 seconds, WHAT WAS HE DOING WALKING FOR A WHOLE DAY WITH THE HALFLINGS ON HIS BACK?? Yea, maybe all the Ents were stockers.

2. The elf guy can shoot a orc in the head when it’s half a mile away. When it really matters, when he should kill the orc with a torch 500 ft away, he shoots the shoulder, and then the other shoulder, and watches the kamakazi succeed….

3. The dwarf jumped up and landed into the mass of Orcs…who had spears! This is butt and leg first. I’m surprised there was place for him to land. Does no one know what a spear is for? Maybe they just wanted to make the movie less violent so they don’t want to show raw dwarf on a stick…..

4. When they were on the bridge filled with orcs, they rode horses through the bridge like knife thru butter and the orcs all fell off the bridge. Wait….horses are more powerful than orcs? One horce in front can knock aside 30 orcs? Well, maybe they are more powerful, but then WHY DOESN’T THEY JUST TRAIN 1000 HORSEMEN AND JUST CONSTANTLY RIDING BACK AND FORTH, BACK AND FORTH? That way all the orcs will die(if not damaged) no? Oh, I later heard that’s kinda what happened. Orcs are war creatures designed to kill.

Well, anyway, those are the ones I still remember. Probably lots more. LOTR is really a good movie, but the glitches pulled it down alot, so it can’t make my collection.Too too many…. If you can refute me, plz do. I like being convinced wrong, though there might be some inevitable resistence. Feel free to msg me.

Last thing to keep in mind, this review I wrote in my 12th grade, but I have brought it back up again and again when people ask why I don’t think it’s the best movie ever. I thought I’d just bring it onto facebook. If you read up to this point, eprops to you.

Chinese Accounting Firm Names

So the big four accounting firms have long names like PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and such, and the reason for that is that accounting firms combine together and form a larger firm, and their original names were often named after the founders’ last names.

If this exact same phenomenon would happen in China, than this dialogue would happen:

“Hey, where do you work at?”
“Oh, I work at Chou Yang & Lee.”
“NO WAY! That’s like, one of the largest firms in China! I only work for Chen Chou Wang…”
“Haha, that’s ok. It’s still a formidible firm.”
“What about me? I work for Liu Lee & Chan.”
“Umm, never heard of that one. Probably sucks.”