Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

I was intrigued by Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” because of a review posted on the website of a leading daily in the U.S., wherein there was much outrage in the tone of the reviewer, pegging Chua as a self-righteous, holier-than-thou Chinese mother.

Perhaps the book was taken out of context in the review or that the writer of the said piece missed the entire point of the book. “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, first and foremost, was not an instructional, this-is-how-you-should-go-about-parenting manual. It’s a memoir—and a decidedly compelling and relatable one at that.

I would be quick to admit that I enjoyed reading through the vignettes—maybe because I see a bit of myself in Amy Chua (hello, Type A personality) and maybe because I understand that there’s something that’s distinctly Asian in how she chose to raise her kids.

My mother was never a Tiger Mother. In fact, she was one of the more liberal types—the kind that would let us do whatever we want, the kind who would encourage us to (literally) go out into the world, the kind who would respect our choices.

Here’s the deal, though. When my brother and I were much younger, we only lived with our parents during weekends. Our first (tiny) house was a few streets from where my grandparents lived, and I spent most of my weekdays throughout grade school and most of high school living with my grandparents and unmarried aunts.

Let me tell you something about my grandmother and unmarried aunts—they were pretty regimented. There is a routine schedule that governs the day: wake up, have breakfast, take a bath, go to school, get back from school, do homework, and it’s lights out by 9 p.m. The television may not be switched on prior to 11 a.m., and the radio could not be switched on to the FM band (and I only had my own radio/tape deck on weekends). Looking back, I never really thought that the routine was stifling. I guess it helped me develop a great sense of self-discipline, being able to tune out from distractions and having a sense of order in an environment without rules (which pretty much describes college).

I guess it’s partly because of this upbringing that I really appreciated “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” (yeah, I’m like Chua’s first-born Sophia that way). A strict upbringing can have its benefits. Of course, such traditional, authoritarian parenting style is not suitable for every child, and it’s the battle that Chua engaged with her second daughter Lulu that perhaps makes the most compelling parts of the book. Maybe some people will gasp in horror at the extremes that Chua resorted to get her way, but hey, is it any worse than making the television and remote control babysit one’s kids?

Most importantly, as a memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is a coming-of-age story of a mother. I suppose this is when it has to be said that growth will never stop once we reach adulthood. Self-deprecating, sharp, ridiculous, and insightful, the book presents a peek into the life of Chua and her family and a mother’s journey through parenthood.

As for me, let’s just say I’ll be imposing a culture of excellence to my future kids.

(P.S. Fangirl alert—Amy Chua retweeted my tweet to her!)

Cross-posted on Communique.

Here’s one thing I’ll admit. I’m a Star Wars nut. I grew up watching the movies on betamax, VHS, and Laser Discs. There’s a VCD set here at home, and about four DVD sets (having different versions) of the entire series. Yes, there are differences. There’s definitely a set that includes those never-before-seen scenes that are now part of the extended version.

When you’re in my place, it’s a bit hard to find girl friends that share my enthusiams for Star Wars. Darth Vader who? Boba Fett what? Jabba the Hutt—is that another Pizza Hut? You get my drift. To this day, none of my girl friends understand that magnificent world that George Lucas created. I’m tempted to host a Star Wars marathon at my place.

Or I could convince them to do some Star Wars crafts with this book:

Totally adorable, right? I need to have this for my future kids as well, because I’ll be brainwashing them with Star Wars (apart from grooming them to be future football stars, that is). I’m just gushing at the pictures on the cover, so if anyone can find this on bargain bins in the future *cough*Bloo*cough*, you know where to find me.

I just think—hey, we can create a cute Star Wars universe without having to involve midi-chlorians!

I must admit I’ve been devouring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows once again, in preparation for the movie. I saw it last night, and I was very satisfied overall. The cinematography was beautiful, and the movie’s screenplay was generally faithful to the book (give or take a couple of subplots deleted to condense it into a little over two hours), and the added elements served their purpose well (I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say those were visual elements to explain certain events in the book, plus throw in a couple of moments of romantic tensions and hilarity). Of course, the cliffhanger ending means another long wait for the last installment of the movies!

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In other news, here’s what Blooey got me last Wednesday:

I will leave the explanation of Alice Kuipers’ “Life on the Refrigerator Door” on a separate post, but here’s the inscription on the inside of my copy of Q&A:

It’s signed by none other than Vikas Swarup himself. OK, I must admit I haven’t read Q&A yet, but I am such a big fan of Slumdog Millionaire. I remember the thing that impressed me most about the movie (apart from the soundtrack, that is) was that it had such a simple, yet powerful story. Here’s the unlikeliest of quiz show winners battling against all odds, drawing out knowledge from his personal experiences, to win the grand prize.

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I dropped by the sale at National Bookstore in Market! Market! just this afternoon, as alerted by my best friend who saw a “Stars of the World Cup 2006” book for only P100. And I quote: “It has spreads of Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Iker Casillas, Raul, and Jose Antonio Reyes.” I passed up on the book, but got these instead:

A cheap copy of Kiran Desai’s “The Inheritance of Loss” and a dated guidebook to Paris (so what if it’s two years old? I bet it will still be very helpful!).

I just want to share that there was a lady who cut in front of me on the line at the cashier (woman, just because your friend is in front of me doesn’t mean that your pass to pay before me!). She saw the Spanish workbook I was holding and wanted a copy for herself. I told her it was the last copy already, so she pestered the cashier about it. I did my best imitation of Fernando Torres’ bitchface on her. Puta, por favor.

Here’s another one for the La Roja fangirls.

Pepe Reina (oh bless him, that numero uno crack) will be coming out with a book on November 16 (if I understood it correctly) that details a load of juicy secrets about the Spanish National Team, as they competed in the World Cup. I can only hope to get a copy of that book… unless a friend from Barcelona is able to get me a copy!

Hoho, I see a drunk Xabi on the cover. Gotta love this book!

Thanks to a friend who was in Spain for a couple of weeks, I finally have a copy of Miguel Angel Diaz’s “Los Secretos de La Roja”! My copy is hardbound and in the 3rd edition. I’m not sure what the updates on the third edition are, but I suppose it would be the parts on the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa. (OK, I’m now wishing Señor Diaz would come out with a World Cup edition of this book.)

As I’ve said before, my Spanish is nothing beyond basic, so it will take quite a while before I can finish the book with full comprehension. (I can understand bits and pieces so far, so as Sergio Ramos puts it, “some help [needs to be] going on.” If you want some juicy tidbits from the book, Con La Roja has generously translated parts of the book for us, which you can read here.

So for now, to appease you all, loads of photos:

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Despite running on less than a handful of hours’ worth of sleep, I’m more than wide awake, alert, and ecstatic over Spain’s win over Germany, booking them a place in the finals. My main blog has been a shrine to La Furia Roja, who have been playing beautiful football throughout the World Cup (OK, so some games were major nail-biters and the Swiss beat them during their opening match, but hey, the tiqui-taca style works wonders). Bonus points that they’re a hot team and a fun bunch to boot.

And for every Spanish victory, here are some book recommendations for the fieles (faithful) a La Roja:

Los Secretos de La Roja (The Secrets of the Red) by Miguel Angel Diaz. Con La Roja has been translating portions of this book—very interesting! And it provides a nifty insider’s look at the dorkiness of the team that won Eurocopa 2008.

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