Chinese students, Ivy dreams

Obsessed with prestigious U.S. universities, middle-class Chinese parents have made Harvard Girl a best-seller, reports the Boston Globe. Other books on raising “high-quality children” include Stanford’s Silver Bullet, Yale Girl and Creed of Harvard.

“Harvard Girl,” written by the parents of one of the first Chinese undergraduates to enter the university on a full scholarship, chronicled Liu Yiting’s methodical upbringing, which the book says instilled the discipline and diligence necessary for academic success. The tome has a place in many urban households with high school-age children, and new parents receive the book as a present from family and friends.

All the parents’ hopes rest on their only child.

Liu’s parents challenged the young girl to hold ice in her hands for as long as she could bear it to improve her endurance and made her jump rope every day for increasingly longer periods until she won a school contest.

They put toys out of her grasp when she was a baby to make her work harder for them, timed the girl’s studies to the minute as soon as she entered elementary school and made her do school work in the noisiest part of the house to develop her ability to concentrate.

Liu was graduated from Harvard in 2003 with a degree in applied math and economics; she works at a New York investment firm. Last year, 484 Chinese students applied to Harvard; five were admitted.

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  1. I believe that’s a Dalek’s idea of good parenting.

  2. Sounds pretty sick to me.

  3. Sounds like it was taken from G. Gordon Liddy’s biography.

  4. This is the kind of thing that happens when parents live their lives through their children. I’ll never forget the night my Chinese roommate confided in me how unhappy he was and how lucky he thought I was. He had no freedom. His parents chose his major, funded his education and expected him to tow their line. Ken was such a great guy and we did a lot of things together, but up until that time I had no idea that he was so miserable. The same occurred when I taught composition to a group of Asians at Cal Poly Pomona. There was a lot of anger in their essays, and one evening we talked about it. These kids’ parents had directed them to take engineering against their will, and the anger manifested itself in sometimes violent and self-destructive ways.