The psychology of “Crazy Rich Asian” on children learning Chinese

It’s such an exciting time to be an Asian American kid these days! New possibilities and slow but growing acceptance! Of course, the new movie “Crazy Rich Asians” is the all the buzz recently.  DD#1 read the book back in March (though I did buy her the book back in 2016) and loves it.  Our whole family watched the movie today and we all loved it! 

In my opinion, the movie ties in with the psychological aspect of empowering children of Chinese cultural heritage in their willingness to learn the Chinese language and culture.  It is uplifting for kids like my own and makes them feel that being of Chinese cultural heritage in an Anglophone country can still be cool, which can make them more willing to learn the language.  This psychological part is just as important as the Chinese language instruction itself, particularly as the children get into the tween and definitely teen years and their willingness to continue more intensive Chinese language learning wanes or simply drops off the cliff.  

 

Fellow members of my FB group on “Raising bilingual children in Chinese & English” asked DD#1 to write her thoughts or insights on the movie.  The following is her quick thought on the movie:

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As an Asian American, I think that Crazy Rich Asians is a must watch, being the first movie in over 20 years to feature an all Asian cast.  The movie’s plot actually follows the book pretty well, and everything, from the outrageous style to the expensive cars to the extreme spending habits in the film really illustrates the posh and glamorous lifestyle of the characters from the book.

Even though Crazy Rich Asians only focuses on the life of the exceptionally wealthy in Asia, I think the overall Asian representation in the movie is something to be proud of, since it was almost unheard of to have an Asian actor/actress as the main lead in a Western film until now.  After finishing the movie, I felt empowered by the progress that the Asian community has made in America, and hopefully in the future more is to come.  As a kid, it was always thrilling to have an Asian actor/actress featured in a Western film, even though in action movies they were still the first ones to die/be killed off.  Another point is that finally, Asians were not stereotyped as being the nerdy, quiet, or shy character in Crazy Rich Asians; instead, they were loud, they were lively, and they were crazy.

How much can one feel connected to a culture/ethnic group without speaking the language?

Do most second or third generation Indian American children attend special schools for one of their parents’ mother language?

Reflecting on Indian and Indian American attitude toward English and their regional language

 

Why India Must Move Beyond English

2014

A couple of weeks ago, a major (though seemingly contrived) controversy broke out in India over the increased use of the Hindi language on social media. Language is a contentious issue in India, and has been since Article 343 of the Indian Constitution declared “Hindi in the Devanagari script” the official language of India in 1949. English, which was official during the British Raj, has remained co-official with Hindi, despite efforts to phase it out.

English remains entrenched in India and is widely used by India’s elite, bureaucracy, and companies. It is particularly important in its written form, as the official versions of most documents use English. Most pan-Indian written communication as well as many major media outlets use English. However, at the spoken level, English is much less prevalent and Indian languages are more widely used, with Hindi serving as a lingua franca for most of the country except the its northeast and the deep south.  It should be noted that English is spoken or understood by about 150 million Indians, or about 10 percent of the population. This means that around 90 percent of Indians do not understand or speak English.

English’s association with the elite and corridors of power and its status as the language of documents and serious literature has led to a craze for English-medium schools across India. Proponents of the English language in India argue that English will serve as the vehicle of India’s economic growth and lead to the empowerment of hundreds of millions of individuals. Nothing, however, could be more incorrect. India’s obsession with English holds back both its economic development and the quality of its education.

(Click link above for the rest of the article)

Here is a Quora entry I found:

Why do Indians prefer to send their children to English medium rather than Hindi medium school?

2016

Gopalkrishna Vishwanath

Let’s face it. The bitter truth (sweet for some) is that English has conquered all the other languages of the world.

Even those countries that were traditionally hostile to English and shielded their people from gaining knowledge of English have started opening out to English and accepting it as a language that one must learn and know to survive and make progress in the world.

Traditional rivals of the English, like the French and the Germans are learning English, while most Englishmen and Americans are not learning German or French. The former realise it is necessary. The latter don’t feel knowing French or German is necessary. The same is true in China. More Chinese people are learning English than English speaking people are learning Chinese.

It is not just Hindi speakers in India who prefer an English Medium education in India.

This is the situation in every state in India. Those who study in regional language schools do so because they could not get admission in English medium schools or could not afford it. Given a choice every parent will like to admit his child into an English medium school.

State Government politicians pay lip service to the regional language and pretend to be in favour of the local languages as medium of instruction at the primary school level but their own children go to English medium schools.They know the standard of education in regional language schools is not up to the mark.

English medium education gives you a status in society that you don’t get when you study in regional languages. The regional language is studied in addition to English not instead of English.

The standard of Education in English medium schools in India is vastly superior to the quality of education in the majority of schools that teach in the local languages.

English medium education facilitates entry into the elite sections of society. You are taken more seriously, when you are dressed in a pant and shirt and speak English rather than in a Dhoti and speak the local language. Those who speak English well do better in job interviews.They find it easier to do well abroad.

Nearly all the people who matter in India speak, read and write English as their first language.

The middle classes know this. Some grudgingly admit it. Others unconvincingly deny it.

Only in politics, arts, religion & culture and during elections are the local languages more important because you need to have mass contact, which is not possible if you speak to the masses in English.

 

Debjit Banerjee

My take:
1. ) There is not an iota of doubt that English is the global language when it comes to the professional world. So proficiency in English gives an edge when it comes to career.
2. ) The only language that binds India is English. Especially, it has been very successful in bridging the great South and the North India divide. So today a north Indian can communicate effectively with a south Indian without knowing any south Indian language and vice-versa. And in today’s fast developing India, our kids are not restricted to her or his own state. I have been living and working very comfortably in southern India for 9 years now without knowing any south Indian language.
3. ) Some may disagree but we still have hangover from the British rule. Many parents still think that knowledge of English makes their kids look smarter and more presentable to others.


Nandha Kumar

You don’t have to investigate deep into this to find an answer.

That English is the preferred language of progressive Indians is well established though not all will agree on this. English is nowadays considered as much Indian as Gujarati, Tamil or Telugu, and more importantly it helps to find good jobs all over the world.

Competing languages like Hindi especially is artificially propped up by the central government in India to give advantage to north Indians over south Indians. This makes English unpopular outside the southern states. More over, those unable to acquire even a working knowledge in English wish to pull down others to the same level to make it easy for them to compete in the job market, but seldom succeeds.

Having realized that English is the future of India, Indians prefer English because it a language suited best for communication within the country and at international level as well.

In short we can summarize that Indians prefer English over Hindi because it gives them special position over native language speakers and parents want this advantage for their children.

 


Yash Agrawal

Because they think that Hindi medium schools will not teach English properly. They know the importance of English, but they don’t know the importance of education in one’s mother tongue, that it is more effective for their children. It is also that English is not taught in a good way in some Hindi medium schools but this is not so in all the Hindi medium schools.

 

Do second and third generation Indian Americans take interest in learning any Indian language?

 

演講和演出 Presentation and band performance

I was invited to give a presentation this weekend on heritage children in the US learning Chinese at a Southeast region Taiwanese American summer retreat in Georgia.  Our band was also invited to play a few songs late afternoon.  It was a great opportunity for every one of us to sharpen our public speaking and Chinese linguistic skill.

 

Our family band 「杜ㄧ無二」 performed four songs at the early evening music program: 周杰倫的「甜甜的」, 蘇慧倫的「檸檬樹」, 梁靜茹的「小手拉大手」, 四葉草的「好想你」.  Here are short clips for two of the songs.

 

I will share details of my talk in time, after I have a chance to put it together in appropriate format.

At the mean time, below are two videos I showed at the presentation as well, the first one highlighting aspects of my family’s Chinese Language Ecosystem and the second one highlighting the Chinese proficiency of a few children whose parents are in my FB group [Raising Bilingual Children in Chinese & English], co-administered by Virginia Duan, including one ten-years-old girl who is of third generation and half-ethnic Chinese heritage.  I hope you find their accomplishment as inspiring as I do.

 

 

讀報紙 Reading newspaper

Update: Since DD#1 is away for summer camp, I had to satisfy my zeal on the matter by instructing poor DD#2 instead!  可憐的小女兒 🤣! She is a real champ and worked on it for several hours over three, four days.  By the end, she was enthused with getting the reading right.  (She did miss reading one character.  Can you figure out which one she missed?!)  I am very much certain that her Chinese proficiency will move up to the next level after doing similar read-alouds on ten similar short articles.

 

 

………………………………….

I found a relevant article in the free local Chinese newspaper for my 15 year old DD#1 to do read-aloud today.  It is about Trump administration’s rescinding Obama era guidance on race in college admissions.  So, we had a good discussion on both side of the arguments, including NYC mayor De Blasio’s proposal to change how students are admitted to eight of the city’s specialized high schools.

DD#1 and I often have intellectual conversation on various topics in Chinese.  Though I do most of the talking, she does enjoy our discussions.

Nevertheless, she is less than thrilled to have to do Chinese read-aloud on more advanced topics, 🤣.  There are obviously a number of vocabularies for her and it does take a little while to go through it with her.   I will have her read the article to fluency in the next couple of days.

歐巴馬政府曾發布「平權」指引,建立大學在審核入學申請時,考慮種族因素,以促進校園多元化環境。美國很多頂級名校,為了防止亞裔學生比例過高,一直在悄悄限制亞裔比例,表面的平權政策,成了事實上的「種族歧視」。

這種持續多年的不公平現象,現在得到川普政府的正視。美國司法部部長塞申斯7月3日宣布,廢除歐巴馬政府的這個指南。司法部和教育部,將同時公布新的準則。川普政府官員表示,歐巴馬政府發布的指南,超越了最高法院對該問題的判決,並且誤導了學校。

紐約中華總商會執行長于金山,7月4日說,川普政府撤銷歐巴馬執政期間的「平權」指引,對華人社區是很好的鼓勵。任何學校的錄取,不看膚色,而是根據學業成績,這才是真正的平權。聯邦司法部,廢除大學招生考慮種族的平權入學的指導方針,這是正確的道路。

他舉例說明,亞裔學生上大學問題上,遭受的不公。在實行「平權法」的一個州,競爭同一所大學的錄取線,亞裔學生的SAT考試成績,必須達到1540, 白人需要1400分,而非裔需要1090分,就能被錄取。亞裔學生的成績就算是A-,也可能不被錄取,而非裔的B-成績,就可以夠格了。同樣成績,非裔被醫學院錄取的機會則是亞裔的三倍。

這是歧視性「平權」,于金山說。按照民權運動領袖,馬丁-路德-金,五十多年前的代表性演講,「我有一個夢想」,其中最重要的精神是:他夢想有一天,他的孩子不會因為他的膚色被評價,而是他的人格與內在。
現在按族裔給入學配額,與「白人優先」有什麼不同?如果你是黑皮膚,棕色皮膚,你就優先?完全不對。這不是公平、公正、公義的做法。

 

 

 

 

華語流行歌樂團 (Chinese pop band)

幾年前從未想過在美國自家可聽到現場的華語流行歌樂團!簡直是什麼的什麼啊!我們父女三人趁暑假儘量每晚練些,她們把樂團稱為「杜ㄧ無二」。我剛買了錄音器來玩玩,請大女兒彈ㄧ段來試試。

這樣來加強中文生態環境有夠酷吧!

I never thought a few years back that we will get to listen to live Chinese pop band right at home! It’s out of this world!  The three of us try to practice some every night this summer.  I just bought a recording audio interface and ask DD#1 to record a short piece for me to try it out.

How cool is this, as part of our CLE (Chinese Language Ecosystem)?!

 

More summer read-aloud

Today’s Chinese read-aloud (with zhuyin added) by 15 year old “Charlotte”:

長大後…

爸爸當上領導後,從來不敢多說話,生怕給別人帶來壓力。上個月,爸爸的下屬小李叔叔到我家來玩,爸爸隨口說了句:「家裡沒空調,比較熱,見笑了。」
第二天,小李叔叔帶師傅給我家安裝了5匹的大空調!怎麼也不肯收錢。

上個星期,爸爸看到老張伯伯在辦公室吃午飯,其中有煎的魚,隨口說了句:「哎呦,真香!」!

當天晚上。老張伯伯給我家送了一箱鮮魚來。
有天晚上在路上,碰到單位的小王叔叔和他老婆逛街,爸爸隨口稱贊道:「哎呦,小王,你媳婦真漂亮!」
第二天晚上,媽媽不在家,卜有人敲門,打開門一看,小王叔叔的媳婦站在門口,見到爸爸就滿臉的微笑說:「領導,我們家小王說嫂子不在家,讓我來陪陪你!」
當領導真好,我長大以後也要像爸爸一樣當領導。
當領導真好,怪不得那麼多人喜歡當領導! 兒子對他當局長的爸爸說:「我很喜歡樓下周副局長家的女兒!」

局長偷偷說:「不行,那是你同父異母的妹妹!」

兒子又說:「那我也喜歡隔壁王科長家的女兒!」

局長又說:「那也不行,亦是你同父異母的妹妹,千萬別對你媽說。」

兒子只好偷偷跟媽媽說了。

媽媽安慰兒子:「你喜歡誰就娶誰,別理他,市委黃書記才是你親爹!

天黑路滑,社會太複雜。

 

“羊毛出在狗身上,由豬買單”

現階段打敗你的不一定是對手而是一個過路人。

最近,尼康(Nikon) 退出中國,裁員兩千人!
很多人以為尼康是被同行打敗,沒想到居然是毫無相關的行業。
尼康直接宣布破產的真相:受智能手機普及的影響!

有一部很牛的科幻小說,名字叫做《三體》。
裡面有句話,叫做:“我消滅你,與你無關。”
這句話真夠囂張跋扈,但卻充滿大智慧,說明了 大趨勢,揭示了整個人類世界前進和發展的基本規律。

比如,今年康師傅和統一方便面的銷量急劇下滑,不過它們的對手真不是白象、今麥郎,而是美團、餓了麼等外賣。

比如,打敗口香糖不是益達,而是微信、王者榮耀。
在超市收銀台這個消費場景,過去顧客在排隊繳費的時候無聊就往購物籃裡拿上兩盒口香糖,而今天大家都在看微信、刷朋友圈、玩王者。

比如,共享單車,一塊錢,隨便騎,騎到任何地方,停下,鎖車就走,不用管。
這個東西一出來,黑車司機哭了。
賣單車的店鋪、修自行車的小攤子,生意都一落千丈,關門是遲早的事情。

比如,消滅扒手的不是警察,而是微信、支付寶等支付。
讓越來越多的人的口袋裡沒現金。

怎麼樣,大趨勢是很殘酷的,它殺人是不眨眼,也不會流血的,根本不見紅。

說聲對不起?
不好意思,不關我的事,我根本沒關注到你,指是一個不小心,讓你倒霉了。
這就叫:我消滅你,但與你無關。

結語:
在這個跨界打劫、飛速變化的時代,你永遠也無法想象下個競爭對手,你也很難猜到新興的什麼行業就打敗了傳統的什麼行業。
我們唯一能做的,就是保持一個足夠開闊的視野,每當有新鮮事物發生、新興行業的興起的時候,多去發散思考一下,說不定想到的某些點,就串聯成線,就可以比別人早一點看到未來,早一點抓住機遇呢。

你不自我革新,不自我變革,就只能等著別人來革你的命!
既然“羊毛出在狗身上,由豬買單”,同樣““我消滅你,與你無關。”
這是今天的狀況!

 

[台灣人才留不住] 「去了,我怕她就回不來了…」一個高三生父親的告白 

該出國?或留下?17歲的風華,是躊躇的淚眼。鳳凰花開的季節裡,高中校園瀰漫著離情,也彌漫著該國內升學或該海外求學的兩歧徬徨。

一名北一女高三生告訴Yahoo新聞團隊「風向台灣」,因為台灣沒有知名的酒店管理學校,她幾經思量,決定畢業後隻身赴香港理工大學酒店管理系求學。

鏡頭轉到北一女會議室內,一名高三生的父親真心告白,對女兒遠赴香港求學的決定是「百般不願意」,「因為她去了,我怕她就回不來了。她去國外學,學了以後如果台灣沒那個環境讓她發揮的時候,她留在國外這才是人才流失」。

女兒海外追夢的勇氣,卻得拿相隔兩地的相思來換,該放手讓孩子飛?還是打消孩子的海外求學念頭,是為人父母最煎熬的決定。

台灣人才留不住,人數已攀升近年新高。海外工作人數正式突破70萬人大關,等於每100位勞工中,就有6位赴海外工作;甚至這股人才出走的風潮,已經吹進高中校園,攤開教育部統計數據,6年內高中應屆畢業出國的人數大增3倍,私立高中學子畢業後赴海外求學已不是新聞,然而近年北一女、師大附中、建國中學等公立明星高中,海外就讀人數「只增不減」。

「這對台灣來說是一大警訊!」國政業金會高級助理研究員盧宸緯則分析,高等教育階段的人才培育和就業息息相關,如果愈來愈多高中生選擇到海外就讀大學,畢業後繼續在當地就業,人才留在國外,而政府又無法吸引各國人才前來台灣,這就不是單純的人才外移了。
盧宸緯指出,台灣高等教育因為少子化的影響,加上政府對高教有很大的掌控,讓台灣高等教育失去彈性,無法自主,也就更難發揮優勢。
學生家長何書忠受訪時表示,女兒國中同學有四名上了建中資優班,今年考試考了滿級分,但也都選擇到中國大陸就讀大學。何書忠說,女兒在高二、高三就開始產生危機感,認為再如此安逸下去,將來大學、研究所畢業後勢必會面臨22K、28K就業低薪的問題,經過加拿大遊學的洗禮,正式接觸國外的教育方式後,便決定要出國深造。

走訪幾個高中校園,有不少學生提到,比起國外啟蒙式的教學,台灣的學生幾乎都是埋首在教科書堆裡,聊天的話題也都集中在考試答對了哪幾題,世界未免太過侷限。

一名師大附中的學生也指出,現在大家都在說「台大畢業起薪還是很低」,如果有機會當然會考慮出國念書、工作。多數家長、學生認為,台灣的教育方式及低薪環境,正是讓這些年輕學子離鄉背井的最大「推手」。

 

She read part of the short story “The Governess” by Stefan Zweig.

茨威格:家庭女教師
The Governess by Stefan Zweig

此刻,只有兩個小女孩呆在房間裡,電燈已熄了。
一片黑暗瀰漫在她們之間,僅只兩張床在隱約地發出白色的微明。
孩子發出輕微的呼吸聲,人們還以為,她倆已經進入夢鄉了。

「喂,」這時有一個女孩喊著,這是12歲的女孩,她聲音低微,有點擔驚受怕似地向黑暗裡叫喊著。
「什麼事啊?」姐姐從另一張床上問道。她僅僅年長一歲。
「你還醒著,那好,我想……我想告訴你一件事……」
對方沒有回答,只聽到那張床上響起一陣咯吱咯吱的聲音,姐姐支撐著坐了起來,她投去期待的目光,能看到她的兩眼炯炯有光。
「你知道……我本想告訴你……可是你得先向我說一說: 最近幾天你不覺得我們的小姐有點不同平常嗎?」 另外一個小女孩猶豫地思考著。
「對,」她終於開口了,
「可是我說不清是怎麼回事,她不再那麼嚴格了。
我已經兩天沒做作業,可是她卻沒對我說什麼。
她就是這樣,我也不知怎麼說好。
我覺得,她對我們根本就不那麼操心,她總愛坐到一旁,不像以前那樣同我們一起玩了。」
「我感到,她好像不開心,只是不願說出來罷了。連鋼琴她也不願彈了。」
兩人沉默不語。
一會兒姐姐提醒說道:「你不是要說什麼嗎?」
「好,我說,可是你不能對別人說,真的不能告訴別人,不能讓媽媽知道,也不能告訴你的小朋友。」

「不會的,不會的,」她已經克制不住了。「究竟是怎麼回事呢?」
「情況是這樣的……在我們上床前,我突然想起,我還沒向小姐道『晚安』,儘管我已把鞋脫了,可是我還是去了她的房間,你知道,去時我手腳很輕,想嚇她一下。我非常小心謹慎地推開門。
起初我還以為,她不在房間。燈還亮著。

可是我並沒看到她。突然,我嚇壞了,我聽到有人在哭,看到她穿著衣服躺在床上,把頭埋在枕頭裡啜泣,這可把我嚇了一跳。
她並沒看到我,於是我輕輕地把門關上。我在門口站了一會,這時我一個勁兒地打顫。
我清楚地聽到門內的啜泣聲,接著我即刻就跑了回來。」
兩個小姐妹又默不作聲了。
後來有一位輕輕地說了聲: 「可憐的小姐!」這話聲抖落在房間裡,這是一聲消失了的,深深的嘆惋。
接著又靜了下來。
「我很想知道,她為什麼要哭」小妹妹又開口了。「這幾天她又沒跟人爭吵,現在媽媽也不再一味地說她的不是了,我倆肯定也沒使她感到淘氣。那麼她究竟為什麼要哭呢?」

……..the rest you you read online through the above link.