On the Bedside Table – Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I’m sure you’ve guessed (by the title, that is) this book isn’t about travel. No where near the topic at all. It is about being Asian. More specifically, being an Asian Mother.

Before I go onto giving you my review, I’d just like to point out that I am not a racist. I may say racist things but I don’t mean it. And I’m really only racist against my own race, which I’m told is okay. Don’t worry, I’m working on it. Along with the attitude problem everyone says I have. *grumble grumble grumble*

I’m Asian, if you hadn’t read or noticed before. But I am quite indifferent to the fact that I am Asian. The reason being I have spent my entire life (par six years) in Australia, becoming an Australian by doing Australian things. Thus making me an Australian. I can prove it to you if you don’t believe me.


My Asian friend, *A, lent me this book after she 1) had finished reading it, and 2) realised she does (some of) the exact same things to her kids. We were having a good laugh about it because we had gone through the same things in our childhood and reminiscing on the memories is always (and will forever be) funny. I do it all the time with my siblings.

This book is written by an Asian mother. Not the worst I’ve read about or seen. Yes that’s right, there’s some who are WORSE, not mentioning any names (Aunty such and such). She tells tales of how she used to raise and treat her two daughters to become who they are today. How she used to make them practice hours and hours of piano and violin to get an appointment with the best music teachers in the country. How she used to scream at them when they did not obey her orders. How she blamed (on occasions) her husband for not caring enough for their daughters’ futures. How she used to guilt-trip them into doing what she wanted them to do. How she deprived them of their childhood and all the wonderful things that come with being a child/teenager (outside of the music rooms).

I identified with the book, like many other Asians would and/or have, because I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt. There were times when I got so angry at her (yes I was getting angry at the book) that I had to take a break and disconnect with her story because it brought back some bad memories. The hours spent on playing piano and the kicks in the backside for not playing the piano. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad childhood. Far from it. At least my parents realised I was more of a tomboy than a girl (my sister is the girl) and let me play heaps of outdoor sports. But I have seen my fair share of different music rooms and performance halls. Be it performing myself, or in the audience of one of my sibling’s performances.

These Asian mother practices have been going on for centuries, and although this book exposes Westerners to the strict rulings of the Asian mother, one should not be so harsh on them. They do it because they want the best future for their children as their children are the light of their life (like any parent of course!). They do it because they care so much so, it hurts.

Just ask my friend *A.


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