on discipline

A note about “beating your children” in Asia: As with any culture, the discipline of children (or lack thereof) often takes different forms depending on social status. While it is true that some parents beat their children for even minor offenses here in Hong Kong, the same could be said of parents of lower classes in the United States. We often do as has been done to us.

By comparison, there are many well-off parents in Hong Kong who are too lax. Poor Johnny got kicked out of school? Again? Well, I guess we’ll just have to find him another one.

The biggest cultural difference, then, is the demand for respect for elders and other authority figures. I am your father. You will obey me.