Ask An Asian: Are You Really Good At Math?

Ask An Asian: Are You Really Good At Math?

Dear Arthur,

Are all Asians good at math? Or is it that the Asians lacking in mathematical talent simply couldn't cross the Pacific, thus no Westerners were exposed to calculus-flunking Asians?

Jared


Jared,

I must applaud you for a surprisingly intelligent, coherent question! Given that Asia is across the Pacific Ocean from you and you're typing in English, probability dictates that you are likely an American, and thus every Asian you've ever known except for maybe one has been beastLy at math. As for myself, my B+ in 9th grade geometry confirmed that math was not going to be my special gift to the world.  

Are there Asians who are bad at math? A few. Are those Asians who are bad at math still better than most non-Asians? Yes and here's why...

First off, in Asian culture most parents still move in with one of their adult children when they become too old to live on their own. Since any mom or dad would want to spend their golden years in a McMansion over a trailer park (Go Team America!), or a castle over a council estate (yes, there are Asians in Europe), raising a dumb child is above all, retirement suicide. Many Asians are prodigies. For those of us who aren't, we've just been conditioned to work, study, and push ourselves harder than you.

Secondly, in Asian languages, systems of counting are much more logical than in English. In Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, a number such as 14 translates to 'ten-four' and a number such as 65 to 'six-ten-five.' Likewise, a fraction such as 3/5 translates to 'of 5, take 3 parts.' Thus, the superior logic of our ancestral languages allows both prodigy and non-prodigy Asians to grasp and master counting at a much younger age, setting the stage for advanced calculus by the age of 12, and higher standardized test scores for otherwise average schools.

Thanks for the question Darren,

Rhee

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Arthur

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