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:


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


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?


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.




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。






華語流行歌樂團 (Chinese pop band)



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”:




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!」










最近,尼康(Nikon) 退出中國,裁員兩千人!

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。










[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 










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

The Governess by Stefan Zweig


「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。


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。

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

Dead Poet Society


The girls and I watched “Dead Poet Society” over the weekend.  It was one of my favorite films almost thirty years ago.  “Charlotte”, who is 15 and a rising sophomore, really liked the film.  Before her bedtime, I engage her in an half hour discussion, in Chinese, on some of the themes in the movie, on parenting, passion, individuality, pursuit of happiness, etc..  I am glad we’ve got to enjoy watching this movie together.

As is written in the second clip, “Thank you, Robin, for making us laugh, for making us cry, for touching our souls.”  RIP.


暑期朗讀和討論 (Summer read-aloud and discussion)

A new friend we got acquainted with in Atlanta kindly agreed to be the girls’ summer Chinese reading and discussion guide/tutor.  She is quite an educated lady with decades of life experiences and seems to enjoy spending such time with my girls.

In an hour and half, “Charlotte”, who is 15 now, read aloud the following two articles which was recently sent to me online by my family for my own reading.  I figure that articles covering contemporary social issues would serve as great readers for Charlotte and she can learn a ton.  I do print out the article with zhuyin 注音 added in, to facilitate her reading.  I ask that they have a little discussion on the topic afterwards.







澳洲的「菁英中學」稱為selective schools,有點像是台灣的明星學校,如北一女、建中、附中等。不同的是,澳洲是12年義務教育,學生不用考試就可以直升家附近的高中,但若想念所謂的菁英學校,則要特別參加「菁英學校聯招」,填志願。說到考試和填志願,大家一定不陌生,不需要我再說下去了…..























大學擠不進百大、人才不願意留下、畢業學生素質不好、專業下降、技職遭到淘汰、產業產能不佳….. 大家都在問:我們的社會出現了什麼問題?










「醫師荒」 2022年國衛院:內科缺3527人


過去10年來,形容台灣醫療困境名詞就是「五大皆空」,不外乎工時長、手術風險高、醫療糾紛多甚至是健保給付低,導致沒有年輕醫師有願意投入,不過衛福部研擬對策,在2013年起開始補助五大科住院醫師,一年12萬元津貼,2017年五大科招收率,外科與婦產科、急診醫學科100%,兒科也有96% ,值得注意的是最不理想就是「內科」只有8成招收率,國家衛生研究院推估,2022年面臨醫師荒,光是「內科醫師」不足將達3527人,預期心理之下,內科已經開始拉警報!







一句偏鄉的偏鄉,道盡醫界的困境,現在醫療人員也經常遇到醫療糾紛訴訟 ,甚至是醫療產能不對等諸多問題。






Summer fun! Back to Spanish and more!

Summer is here!  School is out!!  Hurrah!!

Guess what!  The girls will not be making their 4-6 weeks trip to Taiwan this summer, as we just moved last summer and started our new jobs a few months ago.

Instead, it is back to homeschool, with lots of fun added in of course 😀!!  (I can almost hear my DDs cringing in the background! 😂)

DD#1 “Charlotte”, who just finished 9th grade, will have her hands full with online Chinese IV (to get it out of the way for some Spanish), some science and SAT prep, guitar-band, babysitting, and tennis league games.  She is also working on two summer projects, writing and illustrating her own Chinese-English children’s books, and preparing a speech in Chinese on her own bilingual upbringing.  She will be going to a creative writing camp also.

Charlotte loves art and here is her first summer sketch.  She imagines herself to be the fox and her taller friend (a girl) in real life, the smaller owl, touring Italy on a scooter! 😄


DD#2 “Georgia” (funny, since we moved to the state of Georgia last summer) who just finished 6th grade taking either 7th grade courses or gifted courses, have her hands full also.  We talked about her taking 8th grade math over the summer so that she can just move onto Algrebra I/part of Geometry sequence next year, as she has done some pre-algebra already.  But, what’s the hurry?  According to that sequence in this state, she will finish Calculus B/C in 10th grade and will take two years of college math afterwards.  But, she “only” wants to follow our footsteps and, really, few physicians need that much math background – ever.  I know, since I majored in Chemical Engineering as an undergrad and took much more math than I ever needed later and nobody cared!!!

Instead, Georgia will have a broader summer experience.  Yes, she will do some math, but not as much.  She is jumping back to where we left off five years ago with our Spanish program.  At that time, they read Spanish with our Colombian au pair and later a few South American babysitters.  So, we took out those same books and she is now reading them with their part time summer Colombian “babysitter”.



Georgia loves to learn more cooking and baking.  So, the “babysitter” is showing her how to cook Colombian and Dominican cuisine and bake as well.  Two days a week, an Indian American college student will come show her how to cook Indian food also, plus checking on their academic progress.

Here is Georgia preparing ingredients under the babysitter’s supervision.  You can see that she loves reading her Doraemon comics still!



arroz con pollo…..img_0469.jpg

…. and cooking some Chinese food under my supervision when I have the time.img_0460-e1527741038329.jpg

So, this summer, lunch and dinner are on DD#2 Georgia!  Hurrah!  She wants to learn how to cook and we need to eat!  ¡Perfecto!

At the mean time, Georgia will continue her Saturday Chinese classes as well in extra-summer sessions, focusing more on cultural topics, I think.  She continues taking guitar classes and will try out voice lessons as well, for her role as a lead singer in our band!  Then, there are the tennis practices and time for the pool!

At the mean time, both girls will read and discuss Chinese novels and cultural and contemporary topics with a tutor at home twice a week.

Lastly, we try to practice as a band every night.  Here, Charlotte recorded her part for the song we are working on, so that I can practice bass without her.  Can you guess what Chinese song we are working on?  Hint: it is one of 蘇慧倫’s all time hits, a cover of a song by a German band!

So, that’s that for our summer plan, so far!  I hope you are having a blast oversea or in the US!  Travel on!


More volunteering and band performance opportunities

So, we continue to provide the girls with opportunities to use their Chinese for volunteering and performances.  Last Saturday, almost 15 year old DD#1 “Charlotte” volunteered as a check-in person for the “Minced Pork Rice” 滷肉飯 cook off near Atlanta.  A good percentage of the folks spoke Chinese checking in.  Charlotte also got to meet many second generation young professionals 10-15 years her senior.  Her co-volunteer here is a Malaysian American professional.  She had so much fun, but too many cups of milk tea!

As for me, I tasted no fewer than nine to ten styles of minced pork rice and I was stuffed!!


As for our band, my girls received a gig invite to play at a dinner banquet after a local golf tournament event this past Sunday.  In trying to come up with a Chinese band name, DD#2 “Georgia” proclaimed that we are “獨一無二“, as in unique.  Charlotte and I immediately looked at each other and she shouted out “杜ㄧ無二”, replacing the first character of the expression with our last name, which has the fourth tone instead of the second tone.  So, there you have it, the name of our family band!

For our performance, Charlotte played and sang 周華健‘s 「朋友 」again, as that was the song requested by the organizer.  It is simply a classic song suitable for most gathering.  It was very well received.

Then, Georgia performed Malaysian singer 四葉草’s 「好想你」.  However, this was the biggest sound stage that we have performed in so far and, given our band newbie status without any coach, we weren’t ready for the fact that the sound we heard was reverberated, delayed, and distorted reflections bouncing from the rear wall of the venue.  When we were doing our initial sound set-up, we kept telling the AV guy to turn off the echo effect to no effect.  So, that was what was happening.  So, without stage monitor speakers directed toward Georgia, she couldn’t hear the sound correctly and was singing off tune.  After a few tries, we couldn’t get it right.  So, Charlotte and I performed Ben E King’s “Stand By Me” instead and that went very well.

So, here is the video of our performance, with Georgia’s rehearsal video as the replacement for her part.  All the practices that went into it, including Georgia’s intro, are fantastic in consolidating their Chinese, both in terms of their proficiency and psychic.



Lastly, summer is coming up!  I have been invited to speak at a southeast regional Taiwanese American summer gathering on, what else, raising English-Chinese bilingual children in the US!  I will be asking members of my FB group to provide me pictures and videos of what they have been able to accomplish to include in the talk!!  Guess what, I am going to let my girls do part of the presentation, ’cause they are the presentation!