Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My B Year

If you have an Asian parent, you know that sometimes they can be a bit cray-cray.

Okay, that's an understatement. Sometimes they're fucking insane.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the memo when I was born. I had to learn that shit on my own.

One of those ways was by going to school.

When I was little, my dad had this motto: "You get all A's in school...or else."

I never really understood what the "or else" meant, but I wasn't dumb enough to want to find out. He said it with such a menacing glare, I could easily imagine five or one hundred things that it could mean.

For a few years, it worked. Kindergarten through fourth grade was easy as pie. I didn't even have to try that hard.

Fifth grade was the killer.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I struggled. Math and science and history all seemed a bit harder. No matter how long I studied, I just wasn't completely grasping the subjects at hand.

And then it came, my first B. I was beyond horrified. I took the graded quiz home to my dad, my head lowered in shame. The scene was awful. How could I be so "stupid"? What was "wrong" with me? Did I "care" about my studies? Was school a "joke" to me?

The next morning, I thought his wrath was over. I went to school, vowing to work harder.

I had just gotten back into class from orchestra rehearsal, when a friend of mine ran breathlessly into the classroom.

"Your dad is in the hallway screaming," she told me. I was confused. Surely, there must be some sort of mistake. My dad was at work.

But sure enough, five minutes later, my dad burst into my classroom as my teacher was telling us to open our books.

My dad marched over to the teacher's desk and threw my B quiz on the desk and barked, "What is she doing wrong? Why is she not understanding the material?"

All my classmates turned to stare at me, with their mouths open. My entire body felt like it was on fire. I wanted to die.

"TELL ME WHY MY DAUGHTER ISN'T UNDERSTANDING THE MATERIAL!" my dad screamed at my stunned teacher, who just stared at him, mouth open. "WHY IS SHE GETTING B'S NOW?"

My teacher eventually calmed him down and promised to schedule a meeting with him. Some kids gave me looks of sympathy. Some laughed in disbelief.

It was a moment I will never forget.

But his scene didn't suddenly make me smarter. I kept getting B's. No matter how hard I tried. So, I realized that unless I wanted to endure another humiliating scene at school, I needed to get rid of the evidence.

I decided to stash all my B tests and papers in the Fancy Room, which is the room in the front of my house where nobody is allowed to sit on the furniture, because it's expensive.

So, I started placing all my B's underneath the cushions to the ivory Victorian couch. When that got full, I did both matching chairs. It was a nice little system. I was pretty pleased with myself.

But then one day, my dad was walking past the room and saw something sticking out of the couch. Curiously, he went to go see what it was.

"NOOOooooOOOoooo!" I wailed, running in what felt like slow motion, to the scene.

It was too late. The minute he touched the paper, the cushion fell to the ground and white crisp papers with blood red B's were flying all over the room. He turned over the chairs. It was a sea! A sea of B's!

I had never seen my dad look so stunned, or angry. He was standing practically ankle-deep in graded papers. The screaming and the shouting at me were unbearable. I think the entire neighborhood heard what was going on.

I thought my life was over. I was shamed. My dad was so disgusted, he couldn't even look me in the eyes for weeks.

To this day, almost 20 years later, we still cannot talk about the subject.

It was that bad.

And that, my friends, was my childhood.

PS. I love my dad. :)


Swarnali said...

hahaha...OMG that was hilarious. Ditto here!! The same happened to me when I got my first B :P

The Dainty Dolls House said...

Goodness, a lot of grief. Though, my house was worse, I got screamed at and usually hit for getting bad grades or talking too much in class, which is why I'm not so close to my mom now. I wasn't a good studier, things didn't stick in my head, I was better at art and music :) I think there can be too much pressure, but some parents just want the best for their kids :) xx

Bunny Moreno said...

Not to disrespect your father but dare I say he was WRONG! And I hate that you went through that. I could feel the pain and torture through your words. I'm so sorry that you went through that and for anyone else that did bc screaming at a child does nothing but scare them or have them shut down. I know bc I used to scream a lot around my kids and I have toned it down heaps. Now I just take a deep breathe or walk away....I am still a wk in progress but I have learned through them that yelling and being angry doesnt solve the problem at hand.

I remember my mother being more upset with a B than my father but since I was raise by him he would tell me as long as you studied hard and tried real hard then its okay. He was leaping for joy at a B or C but he knew I tried real hard. Not everyone does well in a classrm environment either and everyone learns differently-I learned that when I taught. With that said, someday when you have your children, how would you approach them about school and grades?

Again, I shutter at the thought of him finding those papers-oh the horror! Giving you a BIG hug! xox

Shannon said...

Your stories seem unbelievable at times, but I know you're telling the truth.

That's INSANE. My brother once came home with a failing grade and my mom grounded him for HALF A YEAR.

Things were extreme in our home too.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

I swear I will never know anyone else who has stories like yours. Your B year really was cray cray. Glad that you guys aren't holding any grudges, even if it's still a sore subject.

Sherin said...

Greatest. Story. Ever. I have tears from laughter. I have an Asian dad. I feel for you. I've been embarrassed in public far too many times.

Luckily, I was better at school than my brother, so he got all the anger when it came to grades.

Tanvi said...

I know people, who had parents like your Dad. Though m Mom was pretty strict ... but thankfully didn't embarrass me ever.

Your narration is what makes your story stand out. P.S. Shared it on the InFB Wall :)

∞ © ∞

Mouthwash said...

OMGGG!!!!!! My father humiliated and screamed at me too. Once, when I was in 2nd grade and not understand my multiplations and division (yes, division in 2nd that normal?) he yelled at me. It scared me so bad that I never asked him for help again until I was in High School...and even then...I just preteneded to understand.

The most embarrasing thing he ever did to me was come after a school bully - on the bus, in his house slippers and bright YELLOW terry cloth robe, with no shirt on. And he yelled at the wrong girl (GIRL!!)...on the front of everyone...Which, as I am sure you can imagine, totally backfired.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I can understand.


joei ♥ said...

Haha! I know what you mean! Hang in there! :)

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Bonnie said...

I love the way you write. I hope you know that.

BTW, I totally hid "B" grades from my dad, too.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

A BRIT GREEK said...

Brilliant writing, I totally get the whole Asian parents thing... Refer to 1st pic with the print: "Why you get B?" You not B-sian, you A-sian!" lol!

School was definitely all about getting good grades... I just hope you weren't pushed too hard. In HK, failure is not an option-that and coming anything less than 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in finals which are announced. Eeek!

Ramblings of a Redhead said...

Oh that is terrible!! :( Glad you made it out alive!!!

Gayatri said...

LOL! My (very Indian) parents weren't like that but my aunts and uncles were. My parents adopted a completely different approach. They let me not study, waited to see how low my grades could go and then one day in middle school when I got the lowest grades among my group of friends, I realized this couldn't go on.

They weren't that patient with every aspect of my life though.

PS - I've been so swamped with this move to Texas that I haven't had a chance to go comment on all your posts. But I'm doing that now. So expect about 10 comments from me :P

Alex said...

OMG Sandy. No joke this sounds just like my mom. Specifically the "stupid" part. I also got "lazy," "useless" and "a disgrace." And some of these comments are killing me, because it's one of those things that's SO hard to understand unless you've been in it, you know? Have you read "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother"? I just finished it and highly recommend it to my fellow recovering Asian children ;)

David Macaulay said...

Oh My God - poor you. This is a really funny post, though,particularly the but re the Bs hidden in the chair. Embarassing dad 101. I have now given Zara leeway from my original target of achieving 105 percent in any test. 102 will be fine.

Josie said...

Welcome to my life. I didn't get my first B in a class until college -- and proceeded to cry for weeks. True story.
xo Josie

shooting star said...


you know parents back in India arent so like that..i guess indians when they go abroad are so zealous to succeed that they forget the perspective sometimes...
i really feel bad for you...but i guess every parent has their bad points...but in the end they all want our happiness ans success!!

JustMe said...

And I thought my mom was crazy....

Your Dad wins. He so wins. He's like one whole mile before everyone else in the winning category.

But I'm sure he's still awesome. ;)

Blond Duck said...

I thought my dad was bad.

love jenny xoxo said...

wow!!!! that's crazy! Poor little thing, I can just imagine how embarrassing that would be in 5th grade! funny story now though, sounds like something that would be on a tv show or something!


sherene said...

Still, u should be thankful they give importance to ur grades whether its A's or B's.
Unlike me, they don't care at all.
Their main goal is to put food on our table.sigh.

sherene said...

Still, u should be thankful they give importance to ur grades whether its A's or B's.
Unlike me, they don't care at all.
Their main goal is to put food on our table.sigh.

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Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

omg'd jennifer! our parents want the best for us, but sometimes there is just too much pressure. my parents never did that, but i did feel a lot of pressure to make the A honor roll all the time. i always felt "not pleased" when i made the b one. i got worse in high school through the beginning of college. my latter years in college were ok and i rock n rolled in graduate school. i'm glad you survived the wrath! you are one smart cookie girl! luv ya!