Zhang Dai on Civil Service Exams (And South Korea Today)

As I continue reading the book I mentioned the other day, Jonathan Spence’s Return to Dragon Mountain, I keep running across little passages that scream out to be shared, along with a little commentary. Here’s one, comprising the observations of Zhang Dai and his contemporary Ai regarding the horrors of the Imperial examination system, the civil service exams […]

Would Your Dad Make a Good Superintendent of Education?

What do you do when your father is running for the position of Superintendent of Education in Seoul?  That depends: was he a deadbeat dad who never supported your education, who in fact cut you off as a child after he divorced your mom, never called, never emailed, never had anything to do with you […]

The Bloom Effect, Part 1: Context, Context, and More Context

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Bloom Effect

This post is the promised follow-up to my earlier post titled “Two Disconcerting Trends: Korean Kids, School Systems, And Parental Appraisal.” I have split the follow-up into two parts, as 10,000 words seems too long for a single blog post. This is a sprawling essay discussing: The idea of the Tiger Mom, and some thoughts on Amy […]