Tiger Mother Revisited: Mary in The Library


So after my laptop had some major problems few weeks ago, I spent most of my dissertation time in the library. Yes I am so proud that I actually (finally) became a little bit productive (in a lazy student standard) and finished the dissertation. Was not so bad, my supervisor approved, and revision is on its way.

Believe it or not, with a little observation, apparently library was not that boring. Of course, after 1 a.m, there would not be so many people around. But there was Mary.

Mary lives in the same building with me. Basically she is one of my smoking buddies; we regularly meet up downstairs to have a puff. She is a Chinese girl with a long hair and a happy attitude; I just did not expect seeing her so late at the library. However, after some accidental meetings in the library, we started to go to library together. It’s not so bad to have someone around to accompany you having a smoking break every one hour.

Few days before her Mathematics exam she was so frustrated, and when we were having a cigarettes break she told me her story:

When she was in China she got scholarship ever term, but she felt she was only average here and that frustrated her. She believed it was because she had been very lonely, and nobody as her support system; unlike when she was in China.

So what she did to improve herself was to get as many mathematics practices by doing the sample of previous exams. When she told me this story she had already done 3 years of exams. Holy crap.

It just reminded me to what my mother did when I was in the primary school. She would make mathematics problems for me to practice, and wanted me to score a perfect point; which I have never made. I was thinking, Mary is being a Tiger Mother for herself.

That is interesting.

Based on the articles I have read (since this is a part of my dissertation), the practice like this would train your brain to be calm and confident while doing your real exam. And although the strict parenting would usually ends when the children reached teenage years, the habit of pushing themselves to the limit is staying in their mentality.

People can sneer at this kind of ultra strict parenting, and accuse this as a type of abusive behaviour; but believe it or not it works. The character building was never easy. You have plenty to do to make children became tough and independent.

I remember my sister and I went by ourselves to register to our uni, and saw so many kids were with their nosey mothers hanging around telling them what to do. I remember how I chose going to UK, and came here by myself while the others are coming in groups and sometimes even with their parents assisting. I remember confidently chose not to take the IELTS preparation course, and did it by myself at home; and my parents did not say a word – not because they don’t care, but because they knew they’ve done enough to make me capable to understand how to get my own standard.

Yes I am lazy, for the Tiger Mother standard, but I managed to finish my dissertation two weeks before the deadline. I stayed at the library until 4 am in the morning. Yes I am lazy, and I can see the surprised reaction when my friends knew I was still in 2-1. I got the books before anyone thought of borrowing those from the library. Yes I am lazy, yet I am still this determined to get PhD in the future. I couldn’t pass one day without thinking of the topic I am going to propose.


The crazy Tiger Mother parenting might scare some people that it might scar the child psyche, but apparently with the right dose, it works as expected.

I am not a mother, and maybe I would not be one. So, I am not going to say what is right and what is wrong in parenting. However, I had a Tiger Mother and I am the result of one particularly strict and obviously not “favoured by kids” kind of parenting. I am not saying that being raised in the opposite way wouldn’t bring children to succeed in their life, or vice versa. But hey, this is something to be thought about.


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