The Reality of Asian Expectation

If you have any Asian friends, you’ve probably heard them talk and joke about how crazy their parents of Asian decent are – and you’ve probably seen the stereotypes around that they are to only become doctors or lawyers. In fact, Cassey Ho of Blogilates, which I have talked about in multiple articles, but more specifically, this one – is a prime example. No one really believes the reality of Asian expectation, unless they are living in it.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the line between your parent's expectations and your own. (photo by FreeVerse Photography)

Sometimes it is hard to tell the line between your parent’s expectations and your own. (photo by FreeVerse Photography)

I’ve kind of got the best of both worlds – being Asian American, born and raised in the USA, I’ve been Americanized to an extent. Nonetheless I still have seen what I will now refer to as Asian expectation since I was a child. For whatever reason, Asian parents hold their children to a standard that most of them feel crushed under the weight of.

Now, this is not to say that the parents are poor parents or that they are wrong. The motivation is for the child to have a good life, to not have to worry about finances, and to have them grow in their potential. But there comes a point in every Asian’s life when they have to ask is it too much? Am I being crushed under the implications of who my parents want me to be? Am I not free to pursue my passions? Am I chain-linked to the notion that I have to become a doctor or a lawyer?

Basically, in my experience, school has been the single most important thing in my life that I could ever do during my childhood. It did not matter anything else, other than my behavior and my grades. The things I excelled at. The things that parents could hold up in their minds to actually be proud of their child.

The problem with this is that we are constantly striving for our parent’s happiness – in a sense, a sort of conditional love. Although I do not doubt that my mother loves me regardless of what I do – it is no question that she certainly has made me feel like I needed to follow her goals to make myself happy.

This is why, in countries like Korea and Japan, students and adolescents commit suicide. I can only imagine what it would feel like to have both of my parents with the same mindset as my mother. Especially since mathematics and science based courses aren’t my forte (esp. why I’m a writer and not tutoring some kid in math right now) – this would break my heart.

This article isn’t a plea for sympathy – but a way to show the reality of what the Eastern culture expects from you. It’s important to note, to be more empathetic, and to grow. Some people can handle things better than others.


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