Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
The opinion piece The expiring Asian contract laments that Asians do not take care of their elders anymore while the “real white people are turning Asian.” The author highlights this cultural shift by using the example of a friend – a white working-class man, from a working-class area of Birmingham, England – who moved back to his hometown to look after his parents at the expense of, among other things, reduced work hours. While I do not disagree with the author’s overall point, I believe that the piece does not focus on the cause of this cultural shift. My thesis, on the other hand, is that abandoning one’s elders is simply a sign of a culture’s economic and cultural advancement and, therefore, abandonment is something that pleases the parents of these successful Asian children.
Asian parents are notorious for being involved in every aspect of their children’s lives. Indeed, it is rare to find an Asian child who even breathes without getting approval from his/her parents. This is a good thing because it teaches the children to work hard, understand the true value of freedom, and resent their parents. In a recent study, scientists found that western parents teach their children that their success comes from some inherent ability while Asian parents teach their children that their success comes from hard work. In an experiment, Asian children continued to work on an impossible problem for the entire allotted time because, to them, the joy was in the effort while the western children gave up on the problem within five minutes because the problem was too hard. This is a profound difference between the two cultures and a basis for the economic success of the Asian societies and its people; success that comes from the parents who are essentially slave drivers in their zeal for their children to achieve success and fortune.
I’d argue that these parents would, therefore, be disappointed if their children did not achieve all possible success – something that does not come from sitting at home and taking care of the parents but from working hard, eliminating a personal life, and focusing on that ultimate goal. Reducing work hours to take care of one’s elders, while admirable, is antithetical to this goal and, given their efforts, would be unacceptable to the parents. Hence, a parent that gets abandoned by a child who is more interested in economic success should hold that abandonment as a source of pride. In addition, since these kids did not get any freedom during their childhood, now that they have this freedom, there is no way they’re coming back so the parents might as well accept the abandonment.