Is Your Family Considered a FOB?

This page struck me very much. Perhaps it was the author’s voice when he is asking the question. He is posing a question, but also an opinion of what he sees and thinks of FOBs and ABAs. For those who don’t know what FOBs stands for, it stands for “Fresh Off the Boat” which refer to Asians who have just come to America. They are new to everything and there are a lot of cultural clashes and beliefs that FOBs do not appreciate, or I should say don’t quite understand. ABAs stands for, “American Born Asian” which could mean a person is born in Asia but came to America at a young age and have considered themselves American Korean, American Chinese, etc or one that had family migrate to the U.S.A for a better life and so happened that their kids were born here, making them an ABA.  ABAs are usually fluent in English and have a good understanding of the Western culture and therefore have somewhat adapted if not fully adapted to the American culture and beliefs.

The author or writer in this blog post, poses a question but also states her/his opinion and thoughts of what she/he thinks FOBs are. The writer mentions that many are have come here and look down on all the ABAs because they don’t think that we, I state “we” because I consider myself an ABC, American Born Chinese. He states that “No less insulting are the images held by FOBs. ABAs are the descendants of the lowliest of peasants forced to flee their homelands to become indentured servants, sniff some FOBs.” I must state my opinion here. I truly think that this author has experienced some things in his or her life that he/she is very unhappy about. There is a lot of relation between us ABAs and that is all of our parents, if not most, had a rough life or some even because they wanted to escape war, like mine also known as “first generation parents” who feel the same way towards FOBs. I do think that this writer has exaggerated a bit in her/his thoughts, though a lot of it is true. I do not that that the images held by FOBs are insulting, some of it maybe because they truly had a culture back home. Coming to America does not mean to lose all that authenticity. There is a culture behind our last names. The way FOBs look at us and judge us is because they think that we have dismissed our homeland and forgotten where we came from, but is that to blame? Some of us, like me, have not experience first hand culture. The only culture that I was exposed to was this American culture – where I was free to do whatever I wanted. The only restrictions that I had were ones that my family would put on me.

The writer continues and states “Born and bred to accept second-class status in a white society, sneer others. Slackers who don’t know the meaning of ambition and sacrifice — and who lack the guts to do anything about it in any case.” I definitely agree with this part, but I also think that coming from a first generation family, I was looked down in that way. Many FOBs believe that because they had us here, we are copying, mocking, trying to fit in the American culture when we are just trying to see both worlds, but is that us to blame? I was an unplanned child so my family did not expect me. I always tell my parents, I DO understand the meaning of ambition and sacrifice…because you came here for ME. You came here so that you could have a better life and for me to have a better life. Then I would question myself, “but do I?” Of course I don’t completely understand because I was never there. I don’t agree with the part where the writer states, “…who lack the guts to do anything about it in any case.”  Though I have jumped around in college and left my family to and from to accomplish my goals, I have always had my family in the back of my mind – to always work hard and harder and give back the life my parents deserved to have – not because they forced those beliefs on me, but overtime as I grew into an adult, I understood why those Ngo values were also values for me. I truly believe that those are struggling with the FOBs are the younger generation of ABAs. I’d like to add to this piece that I too have grown up in two very different worlds, two worlds that expected different of me. Until today I struggle to find out who I really am but I have never once threw where I came from away. Even though I have trouble finding ways to please sides, I have always found a way to put myself first, though for FOBs it’s the opposite. We must pursue the greatest for the family first, and then yourself.

To be completely honest – I think this writer is missing is the appreciation piece. Obviously I have times where I question why my family was so pressuring, why I had to do things this way, but today I feel very lucky because I came from family that had different values and beliefs that I would no longer have or carry when I have my own kids. I grew up with a family where I heard war stories every night. I had the opportunity to be born from somewhere that I cannot offer my children except for the stories that I can carry on. Sometimes, it can be a very complicated life for any culture to be born in America because like me, they have not experienced poverty or war first hand. 


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