Fresh Off the Boat!

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Fresh off the boat a.k.a. ‘Fobbie’ a.k.a. ‘FOB’.  According to , this term is commonly used when immigrants from foreign countries have not yet to U.S. , and behavior.  An FOB usually has a distinctive foreign .  An FOB usually has a different sense of humor. An FOB usually has a different mannerisms and styles of fashion.

You can be qualified as a FOB if:

  • You throw up after eating Mexican food for the first time (I did…).

  • You think a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is strange (I still do…).

  • You think bringing a 6-pack to a party means bringing 6 packs of cigarettes instead of beer.

  • You think the phrase ‘What’s up?’ means there is something over your head.

  • You believe calling your parents by their first name is rude.

  • You don’t believe in tipping or still don’t understand how it works.

Some immigrants may find this term offensive. As for me, an original FOB from Hong Kong, I actually find this term quite funny and interestingly, profound.

Remember the story of the ugly duckling?  When the mother duck first found the ugly duckling, she thought to herself ‘Why is this child so strange, so gray, so large and so clumsy?’ The ugly duckling tried to fit in among the others. Even though the mother duck and the other normal ducklings tried to accept him, he knew that he didn’t really belong.  FOBs are the ugly ducklings.  When I first came to the U.S., I spoke with a Chinese & English accent (Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 for those who didn’t know.)  I was really conscious about it.  I didn’t want to stand out from the crowd.  I didn’t like to be embarrassed because I could barely come up with the right words to say.  I prayed no one would pick on me. I didn’t want to say anything so people could hear my accent.  I was quiet.  I was shy.  I just wanted to be like everybody else.  I happened to be an exchange student in Indiana of all places, and I was the only Chinese within a 50 miles radius.

After my first year, I slowly realized that I would never be the same.  I would always be different with my dark hair, brown eyes and yellow skin.  But so what?  I am different.  I am unique.  I was born in different country.  I am one of those special ones who made it to the U.S. and strived for success.  We will never be like everyone else because we are just different and it is absolutely okay.

It is never about your hair, your accent or your skin color. Focus on things that you can change and will truly make you extraordinary.  It is your attitude, your actions and your behavior that truly define who you are. You can stand tall and live large without being just like everyone else. Embrace who you are and believe that you can make it too.

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One Response to “Fresh Off the Boat!”

  1. on 01 Jul 2007 at 12:40 pm

    […] Misguided Reform: The Problem of the Guest Worker posted at Frozen Toothpaste. Edith Yeung presents Fresh Off the Boat! posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. […]

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