Teachers don’t give compliments, they give criticisms. Teachers mostly give criticism for two reasons: First, because they don’t want you to get comfortable where you sit. They what you to know that unless you try hard, you’re not going to end up in the same spot for long. Second, in Asia, we promote the idea of unity. Because we believe that for a perfect machine to work we have to have a perfect gear for every part to put into a machine. It’s very different from Westerner individualism. Teachers don’t give compliments; the only compliments given is as a group. It’s so we all know who’s smart, but we all know we’re in the same zone. No one is going to be safe, and any second, anyone can be back to the bottom, anyone can be back top.

They generally don’t want students to be different, because when someone is different they either get ostracized, or they brake the whole system. So they don’t want it. You know how in America they label students ‘Joker?’ and people like to joke around class? Those are really really frowned upon, because you don’t want to be ‘that guy,’ because that guy we target. You know, there’s a saying in Asia,

“The taller the tree, the more wind you get.”

And there’s another saying,

“Usually the weakest dog is the one barked loudest.”

So, if you have the answer, you usually keep it yourself. You don’t answer the question, you keep it to yourself, you do your own work, and push to be in first place. You have no contact with each other and basically have to be very modest, because you don’t want to get targeted again.

Since I was born, my parents wanted to come to the U.S. My grandma wanted me to do: the ‘American Dream.’ They saw it as where people go to get successful. My parents wished that when we studied here– they know that people in the U.S. are not very, I don’t want to say racist, but not very accepting when they can’t really pronounce people’s names. They sometimes will butcher or make fun of it. So my parents just gave me a Chinese name and an English name to make it easier for me to get into American society and be successful. I kind of agree with them because a lot of U.S. people butcher my name and make fun of it a lot. It’s very inappropriate.

Parents would still require a lot from the students. Especially the standard Asian parents: you know how a tiger always protects their cubs? We call it tiger parents. Our principal in Thailand was Asian so he still required a lot of stuff from students. I just went up to high school, and high school is similar between Taiwan and Thailand, except there’s a huge question going around (once you start thinking about college), whether to stay in Asia, or go to United States, or another foreign country. Because generally people want to go back home, because those are easier in regards to functioning in society.

The Wang Family - Fred, Vincent, Sonia, Vivian

The Wang Family – Fred, Vincent, Sonia, Vivian

My dad was, according to himself, he’s apparently, I don’t know if it’s true or not but, but according to all my uncles, my dad’s the smartest kid in the house, But due to the Taiwanese school system, he did well, he just lost interest. It was the same situation as me: he got resentful towards his teachers, and so he started to skip class and just didn’t go to class. His grades dropped so he didn’t go to the high school he wanted to go to. Then he was really pissed off and started working really hard, and then he got to the U.S. Basically the idea is that he didn’t want me and my sister to go through the same thing, so he wanted to give us the best education he could.

I know he means well, but sometimes it puts huge pressure on me. He keeps saying that, “You guys are lucky, back when I was a kid I didn’t have anything you have. Your grandfather would beat me up a lot. I don’t even beat you up that much.” My dad is really strict about my grade and still very disappointed that I came to Drake, because Drake was not my top choice. Drake was one of my bottom choices. So he was really pissed off about that. He said, “Drake is a really big, not good school. you didn’t even have the 4.0 or 3-point-something GPA and you’re in Drake? What did you expect?” He literally told me, “What do you want to do for your life? Are you just going to stay at home? Am I just going to keep paying your stuff until I’m dying or what?” My dad is a really traditional, Asian male.

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