By Yin Wai for BuzzFeed.
When news broke of Priscilla Chan’s marriage to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, you could hear a collective sigh from every Chinese-American girl in America, myself included. Not necessarily because we were envious of the bride, but in anticipation of the inevitable phone call from our mothers, asking if we heard of “this Priscilla Chan girl” and if so, why couldn’t we be more like her? Her resume reads like every immigrant mother’s dream: bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a medical degree from University of California San Francisco Medical School (one of the top five in the country); soon she’ll begin her a pediatric residency at UCSF. To top off her list of impressive career accomplishments, she’s now married to one of the youngest billionaires in history. In the age of Tiger Mom parenting, Chan is the ultimate success story to be retold to countless Asian-American, and in particular Chinese-American, daughters.
The English-speaking media jumped on the ZuckerChan wedding news — and Chinese and Chinese-American media followed suit. World Journal, one of the largest newspapers serving the Chinese-speaking population in North America,posted details about the nuptials, following up with a translation of the piece that ran on BuzzFeed Shift comparing Chan to Kate Middleton. Apple Daily, a major Hong Kong news organization, also covered it. Should any Chinese mom have missed the papers, Chinese TV news programs seized on the story, too, with every reporter quick to call out Harvard, UCSF Medical School, and the groom’s billionaire status.
Covering education and how the bride and groom met is standard practice in wedding announcements for high-profile couples. Chan stands out as the daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong who exemplifies what sacrifice and good ol’ Tiger Mom-style parenting can achieve — even if we don’t know whether her parents adhered strictly to that style of parenting, she’s being held up as proof positive that the extra hours spent in cram schools (after-school programs designed to drill advanced level math and English coursework), the sleepless nights, and the constant pressure to succeed are all worth it.
My Chinese immigrant parents told me two things my entire adolescence: go to a good school and get a good job. Preferably I’d become a doctor. But whatever I wanted to do, they assumed I would adhere to the Confucian principles of respecting one’s elders and do everything they asked. And so I did. I attended a big-name Ivy League institution and started on a path toward a career in medicine — which I dropped after college. But if I were still in school my mother would have tacked a Chinese newspaper article about Chan to my wall. Instead, she called me to say it’s not too late to change careers to be more like her.
Read the rest of the story at BuzzFeed.
Feet in 2 Worlds stories about Tiger Moms:
- Reflections of an Indian-American Daughter: Amy Chua, Tiger Moms, and Raising the Perfect Kid
- Immigrant Parenting: Tiger Moms, Mouse Mothers and Earning Your Child’s Respect