Protecting meritocracy, even if it’s not a perfect meritocracy, and inspiring families to get involved

Professor Jonathan Marks has been a friend of this blog for some time. Yesterday, he wrote this article for Commentary: Playing Politics with NYC’s Magnet Schools. In the article, he links the NYTimes article that I wrote about here. Marks astutely writes:

The public magnet schools have been a means for non-affluent families to get an education on par with the education they would receive at a first-rate private school. You would think that people on the left would view the success of Asians in the system as a sign of the triumph of merit over racial and, in many cases, economic privilege. But Asians are the wrong kind of minority, and their success, far from meriting celebration, apparently needs to be rolled back.

Playing to be a better coach

Exciting news for me: I joined a chess tournament. It’s a real over-the-board tournament where local chess players battle for supremacy in the royal sport. G90 for the first forty moves, and then…then I don’t know. I haven’t gotten there yet. I played my first real game yesterday…and I won! My opponent was really good though. He skewered my queen against my rook with his bishop, which meant I was down a bit of material for much of the game. I managed to get lucky a few moves later when I pinned his rook against his queen while threatening a back rank mate. He made a wrong move, however, and I took his queen, forking the rook and the bank rank mate. He would have been down a queen and rook, so he resigned.  My second match was today. I played White against an opponent I had faced before, one whom I had beaten many times before, but he prepared a special opening for me which I had never seen before, and I had to settle for a draw when it came to a threefold repetition that I couldn’t escape. He was happy, but to me it feels like a loss. I guess our losses make us better.

Real life vs. computer smoke (new addition to the bigWOWO lexicon)

I was scouring the web to find some good judo videos to help my son on his jiu-jitsu journey. He recently achieved a big personal milestone and has been excited about it. I was specifically looking for videos on o-soto gari, and I happened across the YouTube video above, in which an Asian American dude demonstrates a pretty powerful o-soto gari. I especially liked the video since it also shows a transition to sasae tsurikomiashi, the second of the only two throws my son currently knows. The video linked to the content creator’s totally awesome website:

Learning a language to speak with your parents

MG-LOSINGLANGUAGE_Day 2_Paskova_0011378478467I had written an article about this: Studying Chinese to Reach His Parents. The article is a couple weeks old (it was actually old when I first saw it), and the article I wrote was lost during the server crash. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I was touched with the story about how Daniel Chen’s parents gave up so much so that he could have an education. They had a relatively comfortable lifestyle in China, but they immigrated to become laborers in order to give their son what they felt were greater opportunities. Daniel grew up hardly ever seeing his parents, and it sounds like he basically raised himself. He mostly speaks English, so when he went to college, he decided to study Chinese so that he could converse with his parents.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (Review)


Paul Tough writes an interesting book on teaching kids to succeed. How Children Succeed is based on the idea that character often determines how children cope with the world, and that there are ways adults can best teach children the character traits that will enable them to do well in the world. Tough focuses on the poorest and neediest children in his interviews, but he also talks about how wealthy kids face the same issues on a lesser scale. His thesis is that character traits are often more important than IQ, and that having the “character” to strive and work will often make a person successful

Prestigious colleges begin to focus on careers

Credit: Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times Andy Chan, Wake Forest's career-development guru.

Credit: Matthew Pillsbury for The New York Times
Andy Chan, Wake Forest’s career-development guru.

Coming off our podcast on jobs, Wake Forest University, a prestigious liberal arts, has hired Andy Chan as vice president in charge of the Office of Personal and Career Development. His goal? To teach liberal arts majors how to get a job. Here’s the article: How to Get a Job With a Philosophy Degree. This guy is serious business:

Chinese elites sending their kids to NYC prep schools

Photo credit: Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Photo credit: Ángel Franco/The New York Times

According to the NY Times, more and more wealthy Chinese are sending their kids to expensive New York City prep schools.

Yijia Shi, a freshman, wanted to increase her chances of an acceptance letter from Brown University. And Meng Yuan, a junior, was seeking Western-style independence, not to mention better shopping. When she is not heading to track practice or doing her homework, she is combing Bergdorf Goodman for Louis Vuitton limited edition handbags and relishing in the $295 tasting menu at the celebrated Columbus Circle restaurant Per Se.

New study says tiger parenting doesn’t work

Amy Chua (from Forbes article)

Amy Chua (from Forbes article)

There was an article in Forbes by a white woman named Susan Adams whose son goes to Stuy, where most of the kids are Asian: Tiger Moms Don’t Raise Superior Kids, Says New Study. She wrote the article and read Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom book because she questioned whether her kid would lose out to the Asian students. Now, according to the article, there is evidence that ought to allay her fear. Su Yeong Kim, a professor at the University of Texas, had been working on the same topic before Amy Chua’s book came out, and she has just published her results. According to her, Tiger parenting doesn’t work. The Forbes article says:

The Association of Asian American Studies and the boycott of Israeli institutions

Photo credit: Reuters

Photo credit: Reuters

I recently received an e-mail from Dr. Jonathan Marks, who wrote an article in Commentary Magazine about the Association of Asian American Studies and its boycott of Israeli academic institutions. I became aware of this boycott through FB since I’m FB friends with lots of Asian Americans in academia. Dr. Marks mentioned in his e-mail that he was surprised that there seemed to be a complete lack of discussion regarding the resolution by the AAAS. If you read his Commentary article, he is also (rightfully) surprised by that they would even have a resolution on the Israel/Palestine conflict: