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The Humble Brag Battle in China

谦虚(Qiānxū, humble)
自夸(Zìkuā, brag)

Humble or Brag?

Humility should be a very important virtue in many Asian cultures. Yet Asian parents always felt like the betting booth of a horse race. And the children, the race horses that were being bet on, under a superficial sheen of nicety.
This is often at odds with the belief held by most parents that their kid, for all his or her faults, is the center of the universe. There are many types of humble bragging. Some examples:

“I have to take a week off from work because my spoiled daughter wants to visit all the universities she got accepted into, but at least I hear New Haven and Cambridge are both lovely this time of year.”

“My daughter’s so fat. She’s been eating through her anxiety since she got selected to compete in the semi-finalist round of the Intel Science Talent Search. I told her, it’s only semi-, take that cookie out of your mouth.”

“We told our son to take a break in between studying for his AP exams but he refused to listen to us. He got perfect scores on all six of them, so that just gives him yet another excuse to be a brat.”

Some humble brags are a little bit more subtle, but an objective observer can usually see where they are going:
“My daughter’s skin is so tanned and coarse and her shoulders are brawny like a man’s.”

Translation: “Did I tell you that my daughter broke a statewide record in the 200-meter butterfly? I didn’t? Well, did I tell you about the scholarship? DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP?”

“I asked my daughter to come home for Christmas but she’d rather fly to Taiwan to meet her boyfriend’s grandparents. I broke my back to raise her and this is the thanks I get in return.”

Translation: “My daughter’s not marrying a white guy!”

“My kid doesn’t really work that hard. She just kind of coasts along…”

Translation: “… on her natural talent, which she inherited from me.”

It seems that Asian parents Pretend to be humble but brag about their kids’ achievement. The truth is : we’re in a brave new world of bragging, people. Everyone does it everywhere! Facebook, Twitter, the Internet in general.

So looking at it from a different angle, I prefer to believe that Asian parents never totally taken humble as brag, maybe they simply hoped to brighten the future of kids and they just could think of no better way to encourage their kids.

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