Saturday, January 25, 2014

Reading These

Last week I was at my local public library branch and saw Crazy Rich Asians displayed prominently in the new reads section. Look at that cover, how could I not check it out?

Something I hear quite often in Vancouver is how rich overseas Chinese come with their money and buy up all the land, driving up real estate prices. I don't know how true this is because no-one has done/published a rigorous analyses of the Vancouver real estate market by race and nationality, however there is a very strong sentiment amongst Vancouverites that this is true.

This book is over the top and just too unbelievable. From my lens as an Asian American, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, not because the situations and character motivations are true to my experiences, but precisely because they are not. I mean who even flies first class and charters private planes to private islands. I'm wary of this new set of stereotypes of crazy rich asians, but at the same time appreciate more representations of asians/ asian americans in literature.

I'm also reading Amy Chau's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is beyond aggravating. After reading all the commentary on this book, and taking care of many children of "tiger mothers" in our work, Dzung and I decided to read it ourselves. We are halfway through and Dzung has given up. He says he is too angry to continue on. I'm going to keep on trucking just in case there is some little bit of insight at the end or some act of redemption. So far, Amy's account of her parenting tactics (that she generalizes, even though she claims she doesn't, to all Asians) are mean, abusive, and goes against our grain as positive youth development advocates. Here is a book that does do damage to the Asian American community by reinforcing awful stereotypes. At one point of the book she basically implies that uncouth asians eat dogs. When I get to the end of the book, if she is reflective and less crazy, I will report back.

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