Singapore

Tiger Mum Amy Chua launches tuition centre in Singapore

Ms Amy Chua, better known as the original Tiger Mother, will bring her brand of "tiger" parenting to Singapore with the launch of an enrichment centre here.

Aside from offering tuition classes for six subjects, The Keys Academy – which was launched on Thursday (Aug 20) with Ms Chua in attendance to deliver a keynote – aims to help secondary school and junior college students reach the university of their dreams through enrichment activities and admissions guidance.

She told CNBC: "What I love about it (The Keys Academy) is that it kind of tracks my own philosophy for parenting and education - that is to try and combine the best of east and west.

"It's easier said than done, but I believe it's the best thing - to preserve these traditional Asian values of hard work, self-discipline and perseverance, but that's not enough any more. You can't just be rote and memorise, so I like the way The Keys Academy brings in ideas on how to generate creativity, initiative and soft skills in young people to really prepare them better for increasingly competitive global economy.

"(Asian systems) are so good at making our kids drilled, work hard and concentrate, but we lack a little bit of letting our kids have some space and interaction with other kids and some fun."

In Singapore, more than 70 per cent of parents in Singapore sending their children for extra tuition classes to the tune of an estimated $1 billion a year.

Here are a few things you need to know about the woman behind the rise of the Tiger Mum and her controversial approach.


1) WHO IS AMY CHUA?


Born in Illinois to Filipino-Chinese parents, Ms Chua studied law at Harvard University and is now a professor of law at Yale.

The 52-year-old married fellow Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld and the couple have two daughters, Sophia and Louisa.

Ms Chua is also an author who is best known for her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.


2) WHY IS SHE FAMOUS?


In 2011, Ms Chua was thrust into the limelight when excerpts from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother were published by The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitled Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

In it, she highlighted her belief in the strict, traditional Chinese parenting methods she adopted while raising her two daughters while putting down the "Western" style which she perceived as weak and ineffective.

While the piece was written with some self-deprecating humour in mind, the article drew a huge amount of praise and criticism for what people perceived to be Ms Chua's cruel treatment of her daughters.

The release of the full book, which shot to No. 6 on the Amazon sales ranking the day it was released, served to add to the heated discussion which even saw Ms Chua receive death threats.


3) WHAT'S SO CONTROVERSIAL ABOUT HER?


In Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, Ms Chua took aim at several activities US children are accustomed to doing as they grow up such as sleepovers and participating in school plays.

Aside from banning her children from partaking in them, Ms Chua said she also forbade her children from watching TV. She also expected them to get only A grades and had to be top student in every subject (she made exceptions for gym and drama).

Ms Chua believes that parents should be brutally honest with their children and demand that they reach their goals instead of trying to protect their ego.

In the article, Ms Chua told the tale of how she successfully taught – or, in her own words, coerced – seven-year-old Louisa (Lulu for short) into perfecting the piano piece The Little White Donkey.

 

 

After endless scolding, threats, insults and repeated practising, Lulu finally managed to get it right – much to the delight of both mother and daughter.


4) IS SHE REALLY A CRUEL, HEARTLESS MUM?


The obvious answer is no, she isn't.

After all, Sophia is in town with her mum for the launch of The Keys Academy and the two of them look pretty happy together judging by this photo.

 

 

Amy Chua and Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld at MediaCorp on the set of First Look Asia on Channel NewsAsia Singapore with Timothy...

Posted by The Keys Academy on Wednesday, 19 August 2015

 

In an interview with CNBC, Ms Chua said: "I'm really proud of both my daughters. We're really good friends, they are happy [and] well adjusted.

"Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done; no one should pretend it's easy.

"You have to constantly try to keep adjusting, listening to your kids, doing your best."

At the end of her interview, she added: "I think unconditional love has to come first, but I think the message is look, strive high and I believe in you more than anybody else."

Her daughters certainly looked to have benefited from that – Sophia graduated from Harvard earlier in the year while Louisa is set to follow in her footsteps.

Source: CNBC, The Wall Street Journal


The headline in an earlier version of this report stated that Ms Chua set up the tuition centre. She was in Singapore to launch the tuition centre. 

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