Tiger mother parenting? Not in this Filipina's memoir
Former Vancouverite Marie Claire Lim Moore's mother instilled importance of balance and giving back
But, no, this isn’t Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Part Two.
"She would turn the lights off if we studied after midnight," said Marie Claire Lim Moore, of her mother Lenore Lim.
"Very different from the stereotypical Asian upbringing."
Moore’s book, Don’t Forget the Soap: And Other Reminders from my Fabulous Filipina Mother, recounts how her mother wanted her to become a well-rounded person who balanced work and leisure.
It's all about balance and community
These days, Moore has two children of her own and lives in Singapore. She is a top executive for Citi’s Asian banking operations, studied at Yale and regularly speaks about career-family balance for women.
But in the 1980s she was just another kid in Vancouver.
Her mother had emigrated from the Philippines to Canada. Lenore Lim's passion and education were in fine arts, but she paid the bills by becoming an early childhood educator.
Lim was part of a tight-knit Filipino community in those days and stressed to her children the importance of giving back — even on their own birthdays.
"What my mother would do is we’d celebrate with friends and family but she’d put down a donation in our name to a school in the Philippines," Moore said.
"As kids we didn’t get it. All the other kids got presents.
"It’s something we saw early on. On your birthday we learned it wasn’t always about us. It’s these small things that made a huge difference.
Passing on Grandma's values
When Moore was 12 years old, her mother moved the family to New York when she took a job at the UN International School.
Moore blossomed and eventually studied at Yale, before starting a career in finance.
Her mother blossomed, too. Lim is now pursuing her passion for art as a printmaker. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is one of her clients.
Moore wants her children to remember their grandmother’s three values: balance, gratitude and giving back, especially living in wealthy Singapore.
"We were talking about taking them to the Philippines, to the small province where my father comes from where they have a lot less," Moore said.
"I want them to appreciate the smaller things. Their experience will be completely different from mine."