Brain Drain – Tiger Moms – Is that so bad?

Go Lean Commentary

Have you heard of retirement panning – pensions, Social Security, National Insurance, etc.?

Of course you have; but did you know that all of these concepts are new concepts – emerging for everyday acceptance only in the 20th century.

What did people do before?

Two things: Savings and Children.

Most ironic, before the Second World War (1939 – 1945) the middle class was very sparse; there was mostly only rich or poor. So for the majority: the retirement plan was their children.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – The Bible Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

In modern times, and in the advanced democracies, people are facilitating their old age with the Art and Science of retirement planning. But for some ancient cultures, they still adhere to the ethos of “training children” for future success. This is the case for the Chinese Diaspora in America. They have the practice of strict upbringing and regimented discipline to the point of …

Tiger Moms

Tiger parenting is strict or demanding parenting. Tiger parents push and pressure their children to attaining high levels of academic achievement or success in high-status extracurricular activities such as music, using authoritarian parenting methods.[1] The term “tiger mother” (or “tiger mom”) was coined by Yale Law School professor Amy Chua in her 2011 memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.[2] A largely Chinese-American concept, the term draws parallels to strict parenting styles typically enforced throughout households in East AsiaSouth Asia and Southeast Asia.[3][4][5][6][7] – Wikipedia

This is not a commentary on reforming or transforming Asian cultures. No, our focus is limited to the Caribbean only. But we can learn best-practices from studying this tradition. We want our children to achieve; we want them to be “all they can be”.

As related in a previous blog-commentary in this series, the song “The Greatest Love” (see Appendix VIDEO below), cast a light on an important directive that stewards of society should work towards – in fact, this should be a  Community Ethos (spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices).

“I believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way”.

If Caribbean parents can push and guide their children to be high achievers, would that be so bad?

If Caribbean children advanced to high achievement status, does that mean that they have to leave the Caribbean? No! Not any more…

This is the assertion of the 2013 book Go Lean … Caribbean, a roadmap for elevating the societal engines (economics, security and governance) in the region to make the 30 member-states better places to live, work and play. Now there is the opportunity to foster genius children and engage them for the betterment of our society. The opportunities will be here.

No more “fattening frogs for snake” – a Jamaican expression relating the actuality of the Brain Drain.

Speaking of the Brain Drain. This is the continuation of this February 2020 Teaching Series; this is entry 4-of-5 from the Go Lean movement. This entry asserts that we can defy the previous trend of losing our best and brightest to foreign destinations. The Go Lean book presents 144 different missions (strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies) for elevating the Caribbean homeland. Other entries in this Brain Drain series includes the following:

  1. Brain Drain – Where the Brains Are
  2. Brain Drain – Brain Gain: Yes we can!
  3. Brain Drain – Geeks and Freaks: Ultimate Revenge
  4. Brain Drain – ‘Tiger Moms’ – Is that so bad?
  5. Brain Drain – Live and Let Live – Introducing ‘Localism’

As for the references to Tiger Mom’s or Tiger Parenting, it is advisable to fully consider (study) the context in that aforementioned 2011 book. See details here:

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Paperback (2011)
By: Amy Chua
An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother’s exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards—and the costs—of raising her children the Chinese way.

“This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.” —Amy Chua

All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way—the Chinese way—and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:

  • have a playdate
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • not play the piano or violin

The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.

Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:
“According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:

  • Oh my God, you’re just getting worse and worse.
  • I’m going to count to three, then I want musicality.
  • If the next time’s not PERFECT, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!”

But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices—the exacting attention spent studying her daughters’ performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons—the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting—and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.

Source: Retrieved February 28, 2020 from:


“[E]ntertaining, bracingly honest and, yes, thought-provoking.”—The New York Times Book Review

At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ignited a global parenting debate with its story of one mother’s journey in strict parenting.  Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children’s individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future.   Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way – and the remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking  results her choice inspires.  Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is one of the most talked-about books of our times.

“Few have the guts to parent in public. Amy [Chua]’s memoir is brutally honest, and her willingness to share her struggles is a gift. Whether or not you agree with her priorities and approach, she should be applauded for raising these issues with a thoughtful, humorous and authentic voice.” —Time Magazine

“[A] riveting read… Chua’s story is far more complicated and interesting than what you’ve heard to date — and well worth picking up… I guarantee that if you read the book, there’ll undoubtedly be places where you’ll cringe in recognition, and others where you’ll tear up in empathy.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother hit the parenting hot button, but also a lot more, including people’s complicated feelings about ambition, intellectualism, high culture, the Ivy League, strong women and America’s standing in a world where China is ascendant. Chua’s conviction that hard work leads to inner confidence is a resonant one.”—Chicago Tribune

“Readers will alternately gasp at and empathize with Chua’s struggles and aspirations, all the while enjoying her writing, which, like her kid-rearing philosophy, is brisk, lively and no-holds-barred. This memoir raises intriguing, sometimes uncomfortable questions about love, pride, ambition, achievement and self-worth that will resonate among success-obsessed parents… Readers of all stripes will respond to [Battle Hymn of the] Tiger Mother.”—The Washington Post

Source: Posted December 27, 2011; retrieved February 28, 2020 from:

VIDEO – Kids of ‘Tiger Mom’ speak out (from Harvard and Yale), 5 years later –

Posted Jan. 29, 2016 – She was one of the most controversial figures of 2011: Mother of two, Amy Chua, better known as “Tiger Mom” after she authored the book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” and ignited a firestorm with her strict parenting methods. Five years later, her children are speaking out from Yale Law School and Harvard and say they plan to raise their kids the same way, TODAY’s Tamron Hall reports.

Of course, the reference to Tiger Mom (Mother) is a metonym for parent, guardian, grandparents, teachers (Music teachers), coaches, youth pastors or anyone else who takes the lead for guiding youngsters “in the way they should go”. This is one way we “teach them well to let them lead the way”. This is true even if it’s just “teaching some of them”, not all. (Also, consider the follow-up book in the Appendix below).

This is not the first time we have addressed the subject of teaching and tutelage for young people. In fact, any focus of guiding young people is actually a focus on the future. Of those 144 advocacies presented in the Go Lean book, one of them was specifically addressing the future. That advocacy is found on Page 26 of the book; see here some of the specific plans, excerpts and headlines, under the title:

10 Ways to Impact the Future

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market Confederation Treaty: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU)
This will allow for the unification of the region into a single market economy of 30 countries, 42 million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion (based on 2010 figures), thereby creating the world’s 29th largest economy. The CU will then forge multiple Agencies to foster technology growth and garner benefits from the economic “Catch-Up” principle. This should double the GDP after 5 years and help create the structures for the meaningful future that past visionaries had foreseen.
2 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The 3-word phase “Return On Investment” imply investing time, talents and treasuries to a cause, though the rewards may not be immediate. History has shown (i.e. US during WW II) that people will postpone immediate gratification and endure hard sacrifices – if they must — so long as they are convinced the future can be better than the past. This is the ethos for communities that invest R&D dollars. This is the ethos that the CU must adapt in order to impact the future.

3 Cannot Only Consume, We Must Produce As Well
4 Learn Lessons of Oversight
5 Count on the Greedy to be Greedy
6 Need People Too – Not All About Money, or is it?

The quality of life for the citizenry is very important, otherwise, people leave, and take their time, talents and treasuries elsewhere. Family, cultural pride is more important than economics, and yet when the economics are bad, people leave. This is evident by the large Caribbean Diaspora in foreign lands – where they re-assembled their culture and civic pride.

7 Include Everyone in the Plan
8 Grow from the Middle
9 Add Priority to Energy as a basic need – like Food, Clothing, Shelter
10 If Not Now, Then

The purpose of this commentary is not the ideology of Future Planning, rather it is about the Brain Gain. The current Brain Drain rate for the Caribbean has been reported to average 70 percent – that is 70 percent of all college-educated citizens have fled the region and now live in the Diaspora. We cannot have the same future that we have had in the past.

We must do better. Brain Drains should only be the reality of our past, not our future.

We now have a plan … we don’t even have to engage everyone in order to change society, just some people, some high-achievers that excel in their fields of endeavors. Tiger Moms are hereby needed to teach-guide-foster these achievers.

Consider the many previous blog-commentaries that the Go Lean movement have published related to Future Planning and fostering the development of our youth. See this sample list here-now: What Went Wrong? Losing the Best; Nation-building with the Rest Future Focused – e-Government Portal 101 Future Focused – College, Caribbean Style Future Focused – Personal Development and the Internet Back to the Future: Textbooks or Tablets in School? Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Lower Education Culture and Ethos are More Important than Strategy 10 Things We Want from Chinese and 10 Things We Do Not Want Education & Economics – Need Top Level Attention Lesson from Movie ‘Tomorrowland’: We only need ‘Some People’ Extracurricular Music Programs Boost Students Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right Future Bahamian Astronaut – Not so improbable

“I believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way” …

… this is more than just the lyrics of a song – though music education seems to be a catalysts for achievement among young people – this is a recipe for reforming and transforming the Caribbean future. For many older Caribbean people, it may be too late to forge new values or attitudes (ethos), we may be limited to the next generations. So we need Tiger Moms and Dads … and teachers … and coaches, etc..

This is the heavy-lifting we must do to make our homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history..

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Follow-up Book: Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age (2016)
By: Maya Thiagarajan
How do Asian parents prime their children for success from a young age by encouraging them to achieve academic excellence? Why do Asian kids do so well in math and science? What is the difference between an Asian upbringing and a Western one?

These are just a few of the fascinating questions posed and discussed in Beyond the Tiger Mom, a captivating new book by educator, author, and mother, Maya Thiagarajan. In this research-backed guide, she examines each of the “tiger mother” stereotypes and goes beneath the surface to discover what happens in Asian parenting households. How do Asian parents think about childhood, family, and education and what can Western parents learn from them? And what benefits does a traditional Western upbringing have that Asian parents, too, may want to consider?

Some of the takeaways from this parenting book include:
The best of Asian parenting practices — such as how to teach children math, or raise tech-healthy kids
Teaching your child to broaden his or her attention span
Finding the right balance between work and play, while including family time
Helping your child see failure as a learning experience
And many, many more insights
Each chapter offers interviews with hundreds of Asian parents and kids and ends with a “How To” section of specific tips for Asian and Western parents both to aid childhood education and development inside and outside the classroom. Woven into this narrative are her reflections on teaching and parenting in locations that span the East and West.

In this book, Thiagarajan synthesizes an extensive body of research on child education and Asian parenting both to provide accessible and practical guidelines for parents.



Appendix B VIDEO – The Greatest Love Of All (lyrics) – Whitney Houston, A Tribute –


Published on Feb 15, 2012

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 — February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her awards include two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards in her lifetime. Houston was also one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. … RIP Whitney, you and your wonderful music will always be in our hearts.

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