Levels of Asian-ness

Fobby fashion, imported from Korea!
Fobby fashion, imported from Korea!

There’s an interesting thing that happens to us Asians in the western world. We are stereotyped as perpetual foreigners in the media, but we actually get ‘categorized’ by our fellow Asians, generally into two groups: the Fobby group and the ABC/BBC/CBC group. What are these two groups I will explain.

If you are a fob it means you recently immigrated here from Asia… you are an international student, or been here for a short time. Your style of fashion is most likely different, you prefer to speak your native language and your English is less than great. You find Western culture fascinating but you stick with your own culture for the most part. You tend to be conservative minded, and have traditional values. You love Karaoke. You love to watch Korean, Taiwanese or Japanese dramas and listen to Kpop, Jpop or Mandopop.

If you are an ABC/BBC/CBC, you are American Born Chinese/British Born Chinese/Canadian Born Chinese (If you are Korean or Japanese just replace the letters C with K/J). You were born and raised in Western culture. You are more or less the same as a white person. You speak English fluently and your native language less fluently. You enjoy the same type of culture and values as do Western people. Your sense of fashion is the same as anyone who was born here. You tend to be liberal minded, independent and date out of your own race frequently. You like to watch Dexter, House, The Office, Family Guy, etc. You like to listen to pop, hip hop and rap.

Thing about me, is I’m neither of those two groups. I’m in between… the rare type of Asian who was born in Asia and raised in Western society. What does that make me? Half and half? I feel awkward hanging around my CBC friends, and I feel awkward hanging around my fobby friends. I speak English fluently, and Mandarin semi-fluently. I enjoy both types of culture. My sense of fashion trends towards the fobby side, but not completely. I guess my hairstyle reflects this… I hate having the same short spiky hair as other people who grew up here, nor do I have the long permed, waxed hairstyle of kpop singers. It’s medium length and I love my side swept bangs! I also don’t go crazy on dyeing my hair like most fobs; I’ve dyed my hair before but its since gone back to black and I don’t want to keep re-dyeing it. I am socially liberal minded, I listen to all kinds of music, I watch Asian dramas AND western TV shows, yet idealistically I am conservative.

This puts me at odds against myself in some ways. Maybe I can’t decide for myself whether I am Western or if I am Chinese. Yes you can call me a Chinese-American-Canadian and I guess that will reflect just how diverse I am as a person. Whether or not you are in the same situation as me, I still want to hear your thoughts on this! So please comment! 😀

中文翻译:
首先要介绍这日志的主体:在西方世界里面,一般亚洲人都被分为两组;一组叫做‘Fobby’,另外一组叫做’ABC/BBC/CBC’。这俩组是什么意思呢,我来解释。

如果你是前者,所谓‘Fobby’,那意思就是你最近移民到北美洲了,或者你是留学生。你在北美洲的期间很短。你的时尚风格大概跟西方人不一样。你比较喜欢讲你所母语,而且你的英语相对薄弱。你虽说发现西方文化很有趣,但是你还是喜欢相处自己的文化。你的观点比较保守而有着传统的价值观。你爱唱卡拉OK,喜欢看亚洲电视剧,并喜欢听亚洲音乐。

如果你是后者,所谓‘ABC/BBC/CBC’,那意思就是American Born Chinese (美生的华人)/British Born Chinese (英生的华人)/Canadian Born Chinese (加生的华人)。你基本上是个老外,因为你对西方文化很熟悉。你的英语很流利,不过你的中文有可能不善。你或多或少与西方人享受相同的文化和时尚感。你的思想比较开放,你重视独立,并会看上自己民族以外的人。你也喜欢看美国电视秀,也听美国流行音乐 (嘻哈,说唱之类的)。

关于我自己的形式,我可不属于这俩组,而是我夹在中间了。我是中国出生的,加拿大养的男孩。可以说一半一半。我的英语比我的国语流利。我喜欢中国文化,也喜欢西方文化。 我的时尚感往往走向’fobby’的一面,而且我发型是中等长度的。我的思想比较自由,开放的。我喜欢听各种音乐类型,喜欢看亚洲电视节目和西方影片。可是某些方面是对自己有矛盾的。。。也许我决不断到底是中国人还是西方人。无论我是中国人或是西方人呢,我觉得自己的背景和观点是挺多样的。

总之,是否你的境地跟我一样,我还想看你们的想法!所以请给我留言!!

Status of my goals and end of undergrad

Last year, I outlined a list of several goals that I had set for myself this year to achieve.

Let’s check back on the status of these goals now.

1) Graduate on time
I just finished writing my last exam today, and am confident of passing all my courses. As for my GPA, hopefully it will be improved.
Edit: Finished with a 2.75 GPA, achieving my goal of having my GPA >= 2.7!!

Status: Done

2)  Eliminate three quarters of my debt
If you take a look at my spending levels compared to last year:

Spending May 2009 - Sept 2010
Spending May 2009 - Sept 2010
Spending Sept 2010 - present
Spending Sept 2010 - present

Comparing the two, it’s easy to see that without a car or eating out everyday, I saved a lot of money. The increased tuition and fees in this period is because of full time school plus cost of attending conferences and events this year. I’m happy to say that I took a lot of money out of my stock account this year and paid down $14,400 of my debt, that’s 77%. So yes, I achieved this goal.
Status: Done

3) Secure a job by graduation time
After many interviews, I managed to get the job offer from the company I was interviewing with in San Francisco. What a relief for me! I’d like to thank everyone who supported me, including those who comment on my blog, my family, friends, my professor for my CSC490 CS Education course, my AIESEC VP of Communications and my  former manager from Environment Canada for serving as my references. I worked hard and I will continue that way.
Status: Done

So all of that is done and it feels rather surreal to me. Seems that college went by rather fast, a lot of all nighters, and maybe not enough socializing. Still, I think it helped me evolve as a person. Even this year, I am quite different than a year ago. I don’t have a car anymore, no steady source of income yet, no $20k in stocks, and no girlfriend once again. Yet I feel more mature somehow. Maybe cause I have tangible achievements now. Anyways, I thank the University of Toronto for causing me to become a stronger person, and feel quite relieved to end off my 17 years of education (since kindergarten). I still don’t know about grad school yet (GPA too low), but I am ready to move on to the real world now.

I hate how there’s this animosity between Chinese, Koreans and Japanese.

Because there exists historical issues between our races, our countries teach us to hate each other. Think about it, does it make sense to hate an entire race based on what you were taught to believe? Why can’t we all get along? Instead we are breaking up families, partners and relationships because of our ignorance. Love transcends racial barriers, and it should not be forbidden because of something that happened in the past. Today’s Chinese, Korean and Japanese have little to do with past generations. Whatever differences we may have with each other, we all breathe the same air, cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal. We should remember that.