Stereotypical Chinese style of parenting, as defined in the article, by the way, is not without its merits, especially when practiced within limits and coupled with genuine love and understanding. Of course, not everyone is going to agree with this. But one thing is clear -- emotions run strong among believers and non-believers. The positive-negative online comments on the excerpt and the 50-50 split between 5 and 1 starred Amazon reviews indicate as much.
Leaving aside the controversy and apparent clash with western values and parenting style, I think this discussion does bring the idea of parenting and its relationship with education to a society much obsessed with its education system alone. Parents play a very critical role in development of their children, either directly by approving or disapproving specific behavior or by being a role model and creating a learning environment at home. This is equally, if not more, important in raising children who are going to better prepared to face the world and compete with the best.
Updated on Jan. 18, 2011: The WSJ published another article last Saturday titled In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom by Ms. Ayelet Waldman, reflecting the intense interest generated by Amy Chua's book excerpt, and talking about a more relaxed and carefree parenting style. Ms. Waldman is author of book Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. I think most parents, even the Indian and Chinese ones, are more like Ms. Waldman than Ms. Chua, but could easily wear a different hat. In fact, here is the excerpt that I liked most from Ms. Waldman's article: