New Memoir Reveals the Realities of Growing Up in a Traditional Asian Household

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In her new book “Secrets of a Fortune Cookie” author Vanessa S. Yang critiques traditional Asian parenting

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The intersection between time-honored ideals and modern influences is a unique and colorful one. As a Chinese Singaporean who was raised in a traditional Asian household, yet who also attended an international school ripe with Western ideals, Vanessa S. Yang knows well this unique balancing act. In her new memoir, “Secrets of a Fortune Cookie: A Memoir” (published by Balboa Press) Yang describes coming of age in two vastly different worlds and provides a scathing critique of traditional Asian parenting.

“Good parenting has always been a controversial topic,” says Yang. “There will never be a true right answer. But, there can be considerations for the better, and this book was published with high hopes that some considerations would be made by parents or aspiring parents who treasure the future happiness of their children.”

Like Amy Chua’s New York Times bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, “Secrets of a Fortune Cookie” provides a thought-provoking portrait of traditional Asian childrearing. But unlike Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, it provides the most obvious of analytical necessities — the child’s point of view.

“While most people find reasoning behind the strict parenting of their parents, not many third-party people realize just how detrimental it all is to a young child seeking love and encouragement,” says Yang. “When I was younger, I often swore to myself that I’d one day raise awareness about the terrors of Asian parenting – what is only revealed behind closed doors and rarely exposed to the public.”

In “Secrets of a Fortune Cookie” Yang describes her mother’s relentless Eastern upbringing, dominated by an isolated focus on academics alone and how it was not a productive fit to a teenager’s growing desires to fit in and find encouragement and love.

“Asian parents produce academically achieved children,” Yang admits and then adds, “but at what costs?”

Yang is aware that her book “is likely to spark some controversy” and labels her book “a direct and rather accusative memoir,” but, she says, if her book helps one family, she’d gladly accept the controversy.

“The book urges readers who are parents to consider the importance of self-esteem in a growing child, and encourages them to think twice when faced with the possibility of gambling away their children’s self-esteems in a game of education and restriction.”

About the Author
Vanessa S. Yang, a Chinese Singaporean, was born in Singapore in 1988. Her family left Singapore when she was 1, and she and her two sisters grew up as children of expatriates around the world, living in the United States, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany and China. While her sisters opted to study and live in Boston, Massachusetts, Vanessa completed her tertiary education in Sydney, Australia, where she now lives and works.

Balboa Press, a division Hay House, Inc. – a leading provider in publishing products that specialize in self-help and the mind, body, and spirit genres. Through an alliance with indie book publishing leader Author Solutions, Inc., authors benefit from the leadership of Hay House Publishing and the speed-to-market advantages the self-publishing model. For more information, visit To start publishing your book with Balboa Press, call 877-407-4847 today. For the latest, follow @balboapress on Twitter.

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