Catching up with: Cha-Hsuan Liu

By Laura Koenders - Mar 15th, 2018

Dr. Cha-Hsuan Liu is a university lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, Utrecht University. Currently, she teaches Youth Study, Multicultural society and Health in society. She spent the first half of her life in the East and the second half in the West, and now she wants to inspire an education that mixes the best of both worlds.

A little while ago we called Cha-Hsuan to ask how she looks back at her journey as a TEDxAmsterdamED speaker. "I shared my talk with family and friends all over the world. Most of my family from the older generation can only speak Chinese, so I don't know if they understood the talk, or what they think about it. However it is nice to hear my Asian friends, who live in the so-called Western countries, say to me, "Thank you for the talk! When my children do well in school, the other parents often say, that's because they are raised by a tiger mom." My friends always felt offended by the stereotype of tiger moms and they appreciate that I'm trying to change this. As mothers, we all want to help our kids get further, and now they share my talk to help the other parents understand."

On our stage Liu talked about the 3 beliefs of a tiger mom and what education style this has led to in the East:

1. Education leads to positive social movement.

2. Every child is talented and their potential can be cultivated.

3. No hard work, no genius.

To Western viewers she stresses: "All the examples I gave about suppressed childhoods in my talk, are not examples of how to parent. It's a reflection on how and why some Eastern parents raise their children like they do, it's because of the beliefs that they have. But we can do better. I support the idea of believing in your child's potential, that doesn't mean I believe in the traditional way of suppressing the child. I want to emphasize the importance of happiness."

Cha-Hsuan hopes her talk will lead to more discussion about different parenting and education styles. "Dutch parents don't want to push their children too much. They want their kids to make their own decisions. However, if they are not given the right to vote before they're 18, apparently we believe they are not ready to make important decisions like that. They need assistance. It's not the fact that the children don't want to work harder on themselves, they are just not aware yet that they can do better that they do now. Parents can encourage and nudge them a bit, to help them develop."

If you want to watch her talk again, Cha-Hsuan has a helpful tip. "A friend told me that I talk a bit slow. Thus when I watch the clip with my boy, we turn up the speed of the video, so it plays faster. Maybe increase the speed with 5 or 10%, it still looks natural and it takes less time."

Watch Cha’s talk here.

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