Asian Air 


(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:03:49 PM)

y FOBs we mean anyone who has ever been called an FOB. -- "fresh-off-the-boat", anyone not born here. In other words, half the AA population. Even the 2 million AA who immigrated as kids and speak English like -- or in some cases, better than -- native-born Americans rarely escape the sting of being dismissed by American-Born Asians (ABAs) based on real or imagined differences.
     The stereotype of the hopeless FOB who just doesn't get American culture is all too familiar. But intra-Asian prejudice is a two-way street.
     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. 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.
     FOBs run the socio-economic gamut. A significant minority (perhaps a tenth) are highly successful trans-Pacific business families seeking a safe haven for their fortunes. The vast majority are engineers, scientists, physicians and academics braving the uncertainties of new lives for a chance to work hard for more money and better opportunities. A few are refugees and illegals risking their lives to escape hopeless, grinding poverty.
     It's safe to say few FOBs feel in any respect disadvantaged relative to American-born Asians. In fact, given a dozen years most do as well or better than ABAs financially, if not socially. They can be excused, then, for harboring some less-than-flattering assessments of ABAs. By the same token, in their struggle to acculturate, FOBs often come to appreciate the trails blazed by the ABS, or at least, by their ancestors.
     Assuming you're FOB or straddling the FOB-ABA fence, what's your image of ABAs? Let's hear the good as well as the bad.

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I'm a FOB who just came here last August. I am currently studying here and have been mixing with many Asian Americans, FOBS or not. The interesting thing is that although I am from Asia I have family here and I would have very nearly been born here had my parents decided to settle in the US. My parents eventually decided to go back to Asia and I am glad because growing up in Asia and now studying here, I really get to see both perspectives. The Asians here generally possess the strong Asian work ethic but what is sad is not that they know so little about their culture but the fact that they don't bother to embrace it or find out more about their culture. It is totally acceptable to accept western culture but do not neglect your own culture because there are so many positive things about asian culture. Make use of the opportunities you have to embrace the best of western and eastern cultures, starting with your own language. But generally, ABCs who look down on FOBS( I personally haven't encountered any) are stupid because at the back of the FOBS minds is the fact that they know more than you do having been exposed to vastly different cultures first hand.

   Monday, March 31, 2003 at 01:31:14 (PST)    []
i think sometimes ABAs a little more sensitive than FOBs on the subject of "ethnic jokes".

I'm a Singapore-born Chinese and lived there till I was 17 before coming to the US, where I have spent the last 15 or so years. I'm fortunate to have lived in both "majority" and "minority" situations and feel that in the end, the key factor is not to generalize by ethnic group (easy to say, isn't it?) and not to take things too seriously.

Often I find myself guffawing at self-referenced ethinic jokes (of the "ching chong" variety) and my ABA friends are aghast that I would find such humor acceptable.

Anyone have similar experiences or an opinion to share?
Roamer    Sunday, March 30, 2003 at 16:49:08 (PST)    []
I'm a FOB living in Las Vegas, NV for almost 8 years now, (I'm now an American citizen and married an ABA). I get along with both ABAs and FOBs. In my opinion, ABAs have more confidence than my fellow FOBs (one of the reason: English fluency). Some ABAs thinks they are better than any FOBs, and are even ashamed to hang out with FOBs. It's a sad fact that some of these "better" ABAs forgot that their great-great-grandmothers or fathers were used to be FOBs.
   Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 23:58:04 (PST)    []
Well eventually the FOB becomes a ABA and then you still will have to deal with the racism together.

WE all be a ABA in the end by living in the USA.

Something to think about.
Non-anomalous FOBABA
   Sunday, March 16, 2003 at 23:37:09 (PST)    []
you know you're OTB when...
1.) you watch t.v. sitcoms to copy their accents
2.) whenever someone mentions the word fob, distress u, and try to change the topic
3.) you wear sunglasses indoors
4.) you think there are more fobs in canada then in south asia
5.) your favorite movie theatre is WOODSIDE
6.) you consider salman khan to be your idol
7.) when someone makes fun of a bollywood actor (example: "SALMAN KHAN HAS HIS RIGHT EAR PIERCED, WHAT A FAG!"), you get all offended, and say that its cool
8.) instead of saying "film" you say "reel"
9.) you use the words choydo and think you are cool
10.) you wear the tightest pants imaginable... sometimes even define the odds
11.) you tried harder in E.S.L. than calculus
12.) if someone asks where you were born, you say, "RIGHT HERE IN USA, SCARBOROUGH GENERAL!"
13.) you think saying man after every sentence is cool
14.) you have a mustache and bruce lee side burns
15.) you wear a leather or jeans jacket with over 50 pockets, all year long, including summer
16.) your clothes smell like nehari and biryani
etc you get they point...
HINLO    Saturday, March 15, 2003 at 10:08:04 (PST)    []

I think this board should be relegated to the chinese. We koreans don't even use terms like "ABC" or "ABA" - the so called discrimination simply does not exist in our culture as much as it does in chinese american culture.

It's silly to call someone a "FOB" based on some stupid technicality. I have friends who were quite literally born here but based on your narrow standards they would be considered an "FOB" regardless, it's all ludicrous!!

It would be different if someone came to America on a "higher education boat" but if you were 2 yrs old, are you still an FOB??!
southern korean    Tuesday, March 04, 2003 at 08:35:31 (PST)    []
Bad feelings.
I think a lot of times it's a matter of sour grapes or blaming an internal problem onto an external party. It's just different ways we all use to reaffirm our own identities, although in this case it may come at the expense of others. What do I mean by that? I think most ABC's have felt alienation and confusion over their cultural identities. I don't think American society (including its Asian members) has figured out how to accept and celebrate its minorities. Because of the difficulties ABCs face, they sometimes distance themselves and look down upon anything Asian, including all the "common" FOB traits.
As for FOBs, they are struggling to establish themselves in a new country. They obviously cannot compete on English or fitting into American society. If they kept worrying about it, they'd be miserable people! So in order to feel good about themselves, they have to concentrate on the things they can "contribute" to this country: a superior work-ethic and moral code imported directly from the old country!
The way I see it, everybody is just trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. Of course, sooner or later you have to realize that the real problem isn't with the FOBs or the ABCs. If you imagine somehow that the entire Asian continent disapeared tomorrow, it still would not make life any easier for ABCs. Similarly, if all ABCs disappeared tomorrow, life would not magically become easier for FOBs.
mtwong    Saturday, March 01, 2003 at 14:17:16 (PST)    []
Right on dam'mericans! lol. it is true how centric american culture is. most people i have met think they are superior just because a foreigner (or immigrant) speaks english with an accent. I just want to slap them and say "b!tch, they can speak two languages, you can't even speak one!" I remember back in highschool, a student had made fun of a fob's accent, and our teacher completely put him in his place by telling him that the other person could speak better english than he could of their language, and until he can do the same, he should shut up. lol. you made a great point.
FOB a long time ago
   Monday, February 24, 2003 at 23:48:17 (PST)    []
I agree with the last comment that FOBs/ABAs should be judged independently instead of generalizing. I'm almost 20 (give a couple a months more) and I've lived in 7 states so far (boston, queens NY, Lincoln park NJ, Indianapolis, dayton OH, salt lake city UT, San diego CA, Irvine CA) and so I've lived in different environments in each location. I think generalizing too much is just signifies a person's ignorance (no offense). Because I haven't exactly lived in an asian community long I lost a lot of knowledge about my cultural background and all, and I got pretty bad broken chinese. But once I moved here to california (much higher asian population than the other places) I started to find my place with my fellow asians. I would call my self pretty white washed before (though enduring through a lot of stereotypes while living in Utah) but I built most of my closest freindships with FOBs, why? I don't know, they were nice, I found them interesting, and fun, and I really find the culture that I missed for so long really cool. But just like the cream of the crop, there are those rotten apples (sorry for the cliche), I lost some really good freindships because I just didn't fit in with those FOBs, it sucks to be outcasted by a majority white population, but even then left out by fellow chinese cause I'm not like them? sounds pretty shady to me. but ABA's can be just as bad. I don't think people should limit themselves so much with their freinds, a FOB having just FOB freinds living in America isn't going to get anywhere if he/she ever leaves home, ABA's who don't like FOBs are just... well I don't even bother with them. I consider myself as an ABA that straddles over the FOB and ABA fence, I love our culture and people, but people are people, there are nice ones, outgoing ones, mean ones, stubborn ones, shy ones, and stupid ones. but I think people use FOB with a bad connotation mostly (though I know some freind's who are proud to be FOB). I don't know, I'm babbling ~lol~ hmm... kinda forgot my point... oh yeah, I agree with that last ABC ;P don't categorize/generalize
Another ABC Taiwanese Guy
   Monday, February 24, 2003 at 11:04:16 (PST)    []
Funny how many ABAs who are 100% fluent in English but maybe only 20% fluent in their ethnic language criticize FOBs who are 100% fluent in their ethnic language and yet still 80% fluent in English. Americans are so monolingual and can't say sh*t in other languages, yet are the first to criticize foreigners who speak English with an accent. It's funny.
Dam 'mericans
   Monday, February 24, 2003 at 10:35:24 (PST)    []
FOB who like ABAs:
actually, i'm an ABC myself and so i have the other side of the perspective. Well it's not a good idea in my opinion to generalize too widely in anything. And so there are plenty of Fobs who don't devalue life as you put it and who have positive values, the ones you mentioned. I know a few of those. In any case, it is also true that not all American born will be blessed with positive personalities, etc. People are people and should be judged on an individual basis, not categorized. That only creates more stereotypes.
ABC Taiwanese Guy
   Sunday, February 23, 2003 at 20:34:57 (PST)    []