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Jan. 13th, 2011 @ 06:48 pm entire republic of china attempts to get laid, fails
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Friends. I am very, very tired. Long story short, both MIT and Georgia Tech grad school deadlines are coming up soon, and Murphy's Law of Recommendation Letters has been kicking my ass.

Somehow I've been able to find the energy to get involved in that whole Amy Chua debacle, in which a second generation Chinese-American professor of law at Yale managed to piss off the entire Chinese diaspora (and then some) with a Wall Street Journal article about the superiority of an authoritarian, abusive, high-expectations, stereotypically Asian parenting style over the self-esteem obsessed, basic-human-rights mollycoddling that supposedly turns other American kids into underperforming idiots. Cue screaming from thousands of second-generation Asian-Americans raised this way, many of them now grown up, who note the ruinous effect this parenting style had on their lives. We didn't get our higher suicide rate, our negative stereotypes, and our spate of bizarre cultural neuroses from having warm, loving parents who didn't lock us in our rooms if we didn't get straight As. But at least we're all lawyers and doctors now, right? Mama knows best. We should be thankful.

I've responded to the article at length on Facebook and on other people's journals, and I don't have the time or the energy to continue the discussion further. If you really want to know what I think, follow the comments on that original article, this Quora discussion, this blog post, this old but relevant video from the Onion (the WSJ seems to endorse her position!), and this Phillip Larkin poem; through that scatter plot is where the curve of my opinion lies. Don't miss Jeff Yang's followup article on SFGate, in which Chua either exonerates herself or tricks you into buying her book, depending on how cynical you are of her motivations.

But let's not talk about that right now. You know what worries Taiwanese people even more than raising kids? Making them. Population growth in Taiwan has fallen by a whopping 12% since 2009, lowering the average number of children born per woman to 1.15. That's something like the third lowest population growth in the world, and, needless to say, not at all sustainable. Economically or ecologically.

The infamous Taiwanese tabloid animators at NMA chime in, as this is a subject near and dear to their, uh, hearts:





A slogan contest? Oh, Taiwan. This is exactly the kind of thing that you do.

President Ma's war on celibacy is even more hilarious when you consider how most Taiwanese people are less than seven generations removed from mainland Chinese, who are the undisputed world champions in getting knocked up. How did we lose our way? Perhaps a little soul-searching is in order. The mainland has outproduced, outconsumed, outgunned and outfucked Taiwan for long enough! It's time for a change.

I reiterate my old pickup line. Save an endangered species: Have sex with me.
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dd2guy
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From:aesvir
Date:January 14th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
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I recall when Taiwan first surpassed (?) Japan in low population growth. There were some snide headlines from the Japanese newspapers alas.

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From:erf_
Date:January 14th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
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It's hard to talk about this subject, serious as it is, without some degree of snickering.

The scene in the NMA video where Ma dresses up as a 7-Eleven clerk and punches holes in the condoms is golden.

But, yeah. When Japanese anthropologists start waxing poetic about their own race's extinction (what was the simile--"like the Aztecs and the Mesopotamians before us," I think?) I am compelled to slap them silly, and quote at them my favorite Engrish line from one of my favorite Japanese animes:

NO! BE ALIVE, YOU!

Man, we are so fucked. (Or not fucked, as the case may be.)
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From:retch
Date:January 14th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
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so... have you actually TRIED that pickup line? I can't imagine it working out, but I think you have a moral obligation to use it from now on simply for the humor value if somebody takes you up on it. Yes I know that's adding an additional hurdle, but sorry, humor must be served.
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From:elentiriel
Date:January 14th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
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There's one slight problem with the last paragraph - Mainland China has always had more land, more people to start with... so their birthrate and people carrying capacity has always been higher. It'd be more worrying if China's birthrate dropped below Japan and Taiwan's. Having kids isn't just sex either, it's the next 18-20 years of your life taken away, and a huge money drain. Unless you propose dumping your children and making them wards of the state? Why would you purposely have children if you couldn't take care of them, didn't know anyone who has the financial, mental, and emotional capability to, and know that the government taking care of them would make their life more miserable than if they hadn't been born in the first place?

I'm not against having children, it's just that a person or a couple needs stability and responsibility in their life before they can in the modern world. In an agricultural-based society, children earn their worth back fairly early in their lives by working in the fields or house, but in an industrial & knowledge society with child work laws, children are not really a good investment until they're past 18 at the very least, and college is a huge financial drain and gamble. I'm probably biased against this, but the "little emperors" of Mainland China kind of point to anecdotal evidence - if you have one kid, you'd better have two so they'll be more socially adjusted and learn how to share and argue and so on with another before in the family first.

And then there's the problem of child care, women wanting to have careers that understand maternity leave, men in government being total dumbasses about child rearing and stuck in the 19th century at the best, etc. A one-time gift of some cash is barely a drop in the ocean when compared to the total costs of child-rearing, including college costs, especially if you want your kids to have an excellent education and send them overseas.

I'm probably taking this more seriously than I should, but making more people to live on a planet that's nearing peak carrying capacity is something that I'm worried about. If we continue at the global birthrate, we're going to hit peak carrying capacity within our lifetime, have a HUGE population crash due to war, famine, or disease, and our future generations will live in much worse conditions than ours.
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From:user_undefined
Date:January 17th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
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You and Spock both, man. (The "endangered species" comment brings to mind his similar line in STXI.)
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From:erf_
Date:January 18th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
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Spock is my homeboy.