Two lives

Speaking of which: three things that I particularly liked in The Double Education of My Twins’ Chinese School, Peter Hessler’s piece on education in Chinese primary schools in The New Yorker:

First, the confidence of Chinese teachers, the respect they inspire. “The dignity with which they carried themselves”.

Second, the confidence of Chinese schools. “The fact that nobody cared what I liked—along with every other Baba and Mama, I was welcome to flush any nervous parental energy down the whirlpool of WeChat”. Of course, this can be controversial, etc. But it does sound refreshing when clientelism is taking over many school systems.

Third, unrelated to education, the actual impossibility of the in between (of combining cultures, systems–or, in my case, professional realities) that ends up making it necessary to have two lives:

Like many people with experience in both China and the United States, we wanted something in between. But each country had a tendency toward extremes, and deeply entrenched systems resisted reform. Solutions tended to be at the individual level, like the classmate whose parents sent her overseas every summer. In order to combine the strengths of both places, it seemed necessary to have two lives, two educations, two names.