by: Amy Lee
The workshop “Empowering Our Next Generation,” hosted by Dr. Michi Fu, started off in a somewhat rainy afternoon. Unfortunately Jennifer Kuo could not co-host due to the weather. Michi started off with introducing the term “empowerment” with a discussion of “what empowers you?” Empowerment is the ability to make decision, access information or resources, and assertiveness. Tsuann came in and helped translated the term into Taiwanese and Mandarin to help the first generation participants comprehend the concept. Michi asked everyone for experience of the feeling of empowerment, and a few inspiring stories were exchanged- A few NATWA I members shared the experience of being an immigrant and being a caregiver to a sick husband. The women expressed the sense of accomplishment and empowerment in the end. Michi then explained what a “caregiver” usually refers to unpaid relatives or friends who help out other individuals.
Michi introduced an activity to help everyone better understand the concept- the Bahzhang activity. Everyone was given a slip of paper with an ingredient of Bahzhang: peanut , water, bean, rice, bamboo leaf.
Everyone had to find their ingredients to complete a wholesome bahzhang. All the women were having fun finding their ingredients! Everyone was singing the bahzhang song. Each ingredient is just as important, and if we lack a certain ingredient, we simply make the best of it–tsou tofu, mi gon,
The subject of tiger mom was raised- Michi told the story of Amy Chau talking down to her daughter when she feels that her daughter didn’t put enough effort into the making of Chau’s birthday card. Each bahzhang team engaged in a discussion of Chau’s parenting method. Most teams expressed that they can see where Chau’s techniques are coming from, but the methods are too extreme too adapt. Every parent wants their children to succeed and accomplish things in their lives, but how much can we push our children? what parenting techniques are valid? What do we as children need from our parents? Many second generation expressed that they need space, trust, and communication. My bahzhang group expressed that parenting is a never ending discussion and a learning lesson for everyone- both the parents and the children.
*Photo credits: Shu Jon Mao