Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Can't Say Hello?

A co-worker forwarded me this article from CNN
Lee Min kyong stretches on the ballet bar in the dance studio. The 12-year old is a little awkward and nervous in front of strangers, until the music begins.

Min-kyong moves to the classical tune, springing easily onto her toes, the very picture of childhood grace and poise. But when the music stops, she falls back into an awkward stance.

She lacks confidence, explains Min-kyong's mother, a problem she hopes will be solved when her pre-teen undergoes plastic surgery, to westernize her eyes.

"If I get the surgery, my eyes will look bigger," explains Min-kyong. Everyone, she says, points out her small eyes. It's why she doesn't think she's a pretty girl. A surgery which cuts a fold into her eyelid to create a double fold will widen her eyes. The effect will also be to give her a slightly more western look.

Arg... 12 years old?! There's not much difference between the "before" and "after" photo.
Her mother, Jang Hyu-hee, says her daughter didn't ask for the surgery.

"I'm having her do it," says Jang, "because I think it'll help her. This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She's my only daughter."

Dang! At least Tiger Mom didn't force plastic surgery on her kids. Here is the really stupid part:
A global ideal doesn't stop at the face, says dental surgeon Jung Hak. Dr Jung says he's been fighting a trend. Korean mothers who have been bringing in their toddlers to have the muscle under the tongue that connects it to the bottom of the mouth surgically snipped.

The belief, explains Dr Jung, is that it will help a Korean speak English more clearly. People from the Asia Pacific region have difficulty in pronouncing the "L" sound, says Dr Jung. But he calls the surgery, if it's only for pronunciation, misguided, and caused by the hyper-competitive drive in Korea.

"For 10 years, there's been this crazy drive for early English education. Mothers long for their kids to have better English pronunciation," says Dr Jung.

That's the first time I've heard of this nonsense. So how do Asian Americans speak English properly without this surgical procedure? Sigh...

Sindy wanted to do the eyelid surgery in Beijing. I think I've managed to convince her to put it off for now. :(

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