In the end, regardless of how they felt or their intentions, I was made out to be nothing more than an ornament, a product for the glory of the family name.
I get the impression you were not on the receiving end of this sort of treatment, and I mean the real receiving end. The constant drumbeat of criticism, the cutting remarks, the dread of never living up to the horizon of expectation, never catching it.
I hate my family for what they did, and frankly, I hate you for advocating it, for encouraging a parent to make some other child's life miserable beyond imagining so you can placate your ideal about overachieving.
I am a real god damned human being. I am not "just one of those cases" that didn't work out.
PS: The real shit-kicker is that eventually I did get it together on my own terms, with just OK grades by even my own standards and graduated from some out-of-state land grant university. Some of those other kids who got straight As or whatever, some whom went to Cal or Stanford, whom spent their youth jumping through hoops for their parents' affections, work at the same place I do, writing shitty enterprise code.
I am personally disappointed in my parents because when I decided it was easier to just skate by in life as a teen, they let me get away with it. Things are sharper now, but I wasted a huge portion of my life and they were more concerned that I didn't want to go to church any more and were placated by my athletic achievements.
So, showing your kids no love is bad, but giving in to them for short term happiness sucks too. The self-esteem movement is overdone. I know people who are afraid to tell their kids that they are fat. Honesty and direction communication among family is enabled by strong family bonds, and, particularly in East Asian cultures, Confucian values that clearly establish the roles of parent and child. It's just hard to find the right balance to get kids to maximize performance.
When you grow up learning to coast along it is hard to transition when you cant coast any more.
"Chinese mom" style helps with this. And this:
Only if he'd say it to lionhearted in person, over a dinner conversation, per the HN etiquette guide. He's certainly within his rights to feel strongly about this, and to convey his belief in the harm caused by the demanding, uncompromising style of child-rearing; but there should be a way to do that with a modicum of tact.
It would seem odd if someone said "wow, this hurts would you mind backing your car off my leg" to the point where you might wonder if you had actually driven over them. However, "Back your @#%$ car off my #%^@&^ leg is less ambiguous". So, if your having dinner with the queen it's probably not appropriate but "I was deeply hurt by their actions" is somewhat emotionally ambiguous.
If I went back in time or have an opportunity to tell a kid like me growing up, I'd tell him that don't look at all of the kids who are jumping through the hoops for parents or for the Asian sub-culture. If you do your own thing, you'll be the envy of everybody else who is secretly insecure to buy into the crap.
Kinda of like in a night-club/bar, 99% of people there only hang out with people they came with; but everyone envy that one guy who came by himself to strike up conversation with strangers and don't give up a fuck about other people think.
PS: I second and confirm also the phenomenon on the East Coast. Some people who went to MIT or CMU, have resumes that Chinese mothers could only dream about, work at the same place I do along with people who went to state/community college, writing enterprise shitty code.
All societies have their pathologies. Witness the stuff women had to go through in the 50's and 60's in the US. There's always ugliness under the surface. People just adapt and accept things as normal. It will always be the case that some part of "normal" is messed up if you look at it the right way.
Thanks for revealing your biases so cheaply and easily.