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Families In Asia

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Being the biggest continent in the world, Asia contains about 60% of the world's population and growing each year. Though China, and India are two of the most populated countries in the world, having about 30% of the world's population, there are about two-fifths of the countries that have less than five million habitants. Though forty-two different countries make up this great continent, much of the similarities are family values. Customs and traditions might be different, however, western ideas and influences have wiped out many of those customs and created new ones in most of the countries in Asia. Even in comparison from country to country, the new ways and ideas are similar.

The basic Asian family would be the same as in any family in comparison to the rest of the world. Patriarchy families are more popular amongst many Asian families. It is believed that the man is in charge of the house in most if not all the countries in Asia. However, there is some form of equality between men and women in Asia. Some countries have more equal rights than others. Some countries such as the Middle East countries give very minimal rights to women. Even a great country like the United States doesn't have full equality between men and women.

Because of urbanization, western ideas and influences are reaching the average Asians. Asians are moving into cities with phenomenal speed. In an article by Michael Sivy of Time International Magazine, Malaysia's Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim states, "Today, half of all Malaysians live in cities." Sivy adds, "the result is an irreversible change in the family structure that has prevailed in Asia for thousands of years." The urbanization of these families helped to promote further growth in all aspects. It has "converted the extended family into a nuclear one," says Richard Robison, director of the Asia Research Center at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. Because of this new change, "people are relying less on the family, which in turn is creating new relationships between old and young and women and men." The change has promoted a lot of social change and economic change in many of these countries, such as Malaysia.

By urbanization, many of these people are being influenced by the modernization and western technological advancements. These influences include democracy, education, communication, economical developments, medical advancements, employment, and individualism. Though individualism is present, family values are treasured. Unity is preserved and family name is heavily cherished. "Asians strongly believe that problems must be kept within the family," and that "problems are a blemish upon the family name" as quoted by Lien Roberts, a Vietnamese mother.

Immigration is also very popular amongst Asians. Many immigrate to democratic places such as the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. Many believe before they emigrate, that their new land will be much better than the one they currently occupy. Just in the Greater Toronto Area, there are about 380,000 Chinese-Canadians as reported by Tony Wong from The Toronto Star. As reported by Mr. Wong, "China is the major source of immigration to Canada." However, China isn't the only place where immigration comes from. Place such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and even India, Mauritius, and Jamaica also has emigrants to Canada.

Three point four percent of the entire population of the United States is Asian and each year, that number is getting greater and greater. Because the United States gives them a better opportunity for growth, much if the Asia's immigration goes here. After battling racism for about a century, the Asian population in the United States is the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. "Today, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing U.S. minority, increasing at fifteen times the rate of non-Hispanic whites, and doubling in just the past ten years." The growth is phenomenal. Sociologist James M. Henslin states that most of the population is concentrated in major cities such as, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City.

However, even though they are in a distant land, they often preserve their customs and traditions while also taking on things from the American Culture. In an article written by Julie Zhou, a Chinese immigrant who is currently a student explains that she is "determined for [herself] that [she] would fit into American society while still displaying the positive influences of [her] culture." Things such as clothes, music and shopping didn't interest her as she explains in this article. Most importantly, she values the understanding of her parents that told her it was okay to be like that.

"Chinese culture recognizes that personal achievements outside the classroom is pursuits such as academic activities and community service lead to a well-balanced life. Qualities such as honesty and good judgment contribute to a peaceful life. Important aspects such as social involvement and willingness to make sacrifices contribute greatly to success. Balance, peace and success are the very foundation stones on which we lay our culture,"

is what Miss Zhou believes in. Many Chinese people if not all, also believe in this philosophy.

The opportunity that lies in the United States is so much greater than that of countries such as China. With Communism in China and a recession in Japan, immigration one way Asians can escape and come to a place such as the United States to expand. In an article written by Karen Ma in Time International Magazine, she tells a story of an immigrant of Hong Kong named Eric Tsang that came to the United States seven years ago, with nothing but $3,000 in his savings account and a sister here that gave him a place to live. He worked as a "busboy in a New York City Chinatown restaurant...eleven hours [a] day, six days a week, and clear[ed] plates, emptying the garbage and scrubbing toilets." However, today, he "not only owns part pf that restaurant, but is planning a second. He and his wife...own their home and are already preparing their two young children...for college." By working hard and saving, Eric became very successful. The American dream became reality for this immigrant. Most immigrants from Asia tend to show similar characteristics as Eric. They all work hard, and conserve their money, hoping one day to own a house and run a business, giving them extra money to send their children to college and helping them live an easier life than themselves.

In an interview with my father Kwok Kwong Lee, he explains the



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