The Connection between Asian Parents and Marks

The Connection between Asian Parents and Marks

How the marks that matter to your parents may not necessarily be yours alone. 

Fei Li – Contributor



Back in high school, whenever I got my report card I had to go through the whole procedure of approaching my mom and explaining each mark to her.  

You see, I didn’t do well in English, and I had to explain to my mother that my teacher is biased towards her favourite students, which I was not part of. Not to mention that she could not teach at all.  

But my mother then asks me, “So, what did all your friends get in English?” 


Is that what you’re asking me? Is that what’s important?  

I know this doesn’t apply to everyone who has the same background as me, but, even though I grew up in China, I never cared about what other people’s marks were. In fact, I couldn’t care less. I mean, how could you seriously have enough time to be worrying about other people’s marks, as well as your own? The following year, I went to University for first year, and I still stand by what I said back then – at least for myself. I still don’t have time to worry about other peoples’ marks.   

What’s more, in University, if they’re not going into the same program as you, it doesn’t matter. 

My mom goes on further to ask me who failed their exam. Well first, this isn’t China, where the teachers throw your exam marks all over the place for everyone to see and compare. Ever since I started doing examinations in school, our teachers have told us specifically not to show anyone your marks. Because honestly, your marks are your marks. What do they have to do with the marks of others? If you get a bad mark, does it affect them? No. So why do you want to know other people’s marks? I understand that there is some degree of competition, but, people will always have their different strengths and weaknesses, and we should be learning how to be and do our best, not in relation to anyone else.  

Everyone is at a different stage in their life, and everyone has different situations at home. It’s like saying, whatever happens in your family at home, everyone in your class should know about that too. That’s not right. And the exact same thing can be said about your exam marks. It’s personal, and it depends on a whole lot of backstory, and it only affects you. Bragging about marks or comparing them to other people’s, most of the time, is simply to find a way to feel superior to them, and that’s stupid. Get a life. A life that’s uniquely your own, no matter what your parents tell you is most important.