243. Second Generation Taiwanese Americans in Austin, Texas (1980’s to 1990’s) 徳州奧斯汀台美人的第二代(1980’s to 1990’s) / Pearl Wu 楊碧珠 /08/2016

徳州奧斯汀台美人的第二代(1980’s to 1990’s)

Second Generation Taiwanese Americans in Austin, Texas (1980’s to 1990’s)

by Pearl Wu 楊碧珠

Most Taiwanese parents strongly value education and due to Taiwanese history and culture, they often encouraged their children to become doctors.  This may be one of the reasons why there are so many Taiwanese American doctors in the United States now.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there were very few Asians in Austin.   For example, Pearl Wu’s (楊碧珠) daughter, Chen-Chen Wu(吳貞貞), was one of only three Asian students in her class at Westlake High School in the late 80’s and more than 97% of her class was Caucasian so there was very little ethnic diversity in general.  With so few Asian students let alone Taiwanese, most of the Asians were lumped together in one category so it was understandable that most Asian students had difficulty differentiating themselves.  Chen-Chen felt that she was very different and lacked confidence in her own appearance.  Pearl would try to boost her confidence by telling her that she was genuinely beautiful, but Chen-Chen just took this as something a mom has to say to her daughter and that she was the only one who thought so.

At the time, almost all Taiwanese parents forced their children to learn a musical instrument.  Orchestra instruments were by far the most popular, perhaps because classical music is considered high class and most Taiwanese parents did not have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument in Taiwan.  The parents were very competitive, pushing their children to be the best and many of them excelled.  To put this in perspective, in 1992, there were just a handful of Taiwanese American students at Westlake High School.   Chen-Chen’s younger brother, Ryan Wu(吳南輝), was one of them.  Yet despite their small percentage, they still dominated the orchestra.  In fact, eight out of the ten selected to the All-Region XVIII orchestra (attached) were Taiwanese American.   Ironically, as much as the parents push their kids to be the best in orchestra, none of these parents wanted their children to actually pursue music as a career.

The second generation were not only disproportionately represented in music but also in science and math.  The computer competition teams at Westlake High were comprised entirely of Taiwanese American second-generation.   This again is in a school that was overwhelmingly Caucasian.   In fact the only non-Asian member of the computer competition team was the teacher!

1990 Mother’s Day Concert. From left-Luke Fu, David Yu, Ryan Wu, Daniel Fu, Chris Lin, Karen Lin, Patricia Chiang


243_徳州奧斯汀台美人的第二代(1980's to 1990's) 1992 Region XIII orchestra winners at Westlake High School
1992 Region XIII orchestra winners at Westlake High  School
1992 Playing ‘思親吟’ at Mother’s Day concert: Ryan Wu-violin, Chen-Chen Wu-piano


Source from Pearl Wu 楊碧珠 08/2016

Posted in 08/2016