analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

9 April 2001 Monday





When my sister told me that she enjoyed receiving hate mails and later even published them in her book of political cartoons, I was aghast. She must have a thick skin to endure criticism so scathing.

Last week I received an email deploring the way I compared this diary to that of Anne Frank's. I replied indifferently that when Anne Frank wrote her diary, she didn't know she wouldn't live to tell it or that she would become famous posthumously.

True, I am writing in an affluent period of choice and racial equality. And I can be blissfully unaware of the plights of the more unfortunate. By no means am I mocking Anne Frank. Would it make any difference if I titled this Anne Ku's Diary (like Bridget Jones - whose cigarette smoking is not my cup of tea)?

Such criticism came at a time when I'm getting rather tired of all the compliments about my web site. How can I improve if not for criticism? Chinese education, traditionally, was based on memorisation and concensus. The teacher is always right. Punishment steers the student in the right direction. American education, on the other hand, is more Socratic and interactive. Praise is used to reward students for their efforts and lead them to aim high. I am Chinese, but I'm not always right. Give me praise, and I will aim higher. But, critise my work, and ignite me to think.

From Father:
I read your new guestbook message and find for the first time your web diary was criticized for your having unjustly treated the late Anne Frank's diary. whether you agree or partly agree to this web visitor's criticism, the very fact that you let the criticism be read on your web shows you are liberal-minded and mature enough. i recall your sister's cartoon book also carries negative comments from her readers in Taipei. Actually, there were thousands upon thousands of Chinese Anne Franks during the days when Japan invaded Nanking and other places of China in 1937-1945, only their diaries were never finished or discovered.