Arming the Brats

My friend Heather sent me a link to a NY Times article called In China, Children of the Rich Learn Class, Minus the Struggle. The article talks about the great lengths to which China’s new rich are going in order to ensure their children the cultural education befitting of China’s new elite.

This passage about FasTracKids struck me:

> The private program’s after-school sessions are held in brightly decorated classrooms, where fewer than a dozen children, typically 4 or 5 years old, are taught by as many as three teachers. The program emphasizes scientific learning, problem solving and, most attractively for many parents, assertiveness.

Yes, that’s right, assertiveness. So now that these people have gotten so adept at raising spoiled brats, the next step is to raise assertive spoiled brats.



John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Da Xiangchang Says: October 1, 2006 at 8:25 am

    Damn NY Times Select! I can’t read the article without paying, and I ain’t paying for any internet stuff, esp. from the NY Times . . .

    Well, rich kids aren’t necessarily spoiled kids. I was unfortunately spoiled as a kid, and my parents certainly aren’t rich, and I can’t imagine, say, Bill Gates’s son being spoiled too much. And being assertive is alright in itself.

    I guess the problem with rich Chinese kids is the same problem with rich American kids from established WASPy American families from New England–they’re not only rich, they think they’re all that just CUZ their parents are rich, which is the stupidest idea in the world. And let’s face it, the Chinese are, even after 50 years of communism, waayyyyyy more class-aware than, say, Americans. I don’t mean the working class is better than the business class a la Marx, but rather the same crap that’s existed in China for millennia: just cuz you’re born into a richer class than another person, you’re better than he is. It’s not as bad as India’s class system, of course, but along the same lines; it’s Old World thinking just like in a lot of European countries. And I hate that crap!

  2. Chinese behavior in queues tells me that assertiveness is one quality Chinese people have in spades.

  3. DXC,

    You don’t have to pay to see the content. You just have to log in. I just use BugMeNot.

  4. Da Xiangchang Says: October 1, 2006 at 2:04 pm


    Hey, that’s pretty good. I read news sites all the time, and I never knew there were cracked password for the Times. I thought they only existed for such fine journalistic websites as or something.

  5. DXC,

    BugMeNot doesn’t give out “cracked passwords” for pay sites. It gives out username/password combos for sites which require users to sign up for free before they can do anything. The rationale is that it’s unnecessary and annoying.

    You might want to read the BugMeNot FAQ.

  6. mengtaide Says: October 2, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    This is a personal question:

    Da Xiangchang, why do you not have a blog? I’ve read fragments of your writings in various places on the web, and am curious why you are so assiduous in commenting on other peoples’ websites but do not have your own. If you do have you own, could you post the link? I’d like to read it.

  7. Da Xiangchang Says: October 3, 2006 at 1:23 am

    “I’ve read fragments of your writings in various places on the web”? Really? I ONLY write on Sinosplice, and that’s cuz I know John personally (God help him!). And to answer your question: I’m lazy.

  8. Holy Crap! Is the big sausage actually Emotion Eric?!?! There are only so many Chinese-American former UF students of similar age to John that I can think of.

    p.s. the sausage isn’t far wrong about bugmenot, in addition to public passwords, bugmenot does have some passwords to venues of a more adult nature.

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