It’s funny how perspectives and opinions change as we get older. I thank my experiences and the knowledge I have gain throughout my 22 / almost 23 years of life. I am hungry for more knowledge, about my people, about our struggle as a community, and our roots.
Fresh of the Boats. FOBS. A term used in my high school to create a division between my Vietnamese brothers and sisters. Separating those who spoke Vietnamese, who spoke Vietnamese and English, and those who forgot their native tongue and recited only the English language.
FOBS. A term used to degrade and devalue people who knew little English and nothing about the American culture. Who knew nothing about fashion and wore clothes that were hand me downs or handmade by their mothers. Pieces of different fabrics to create a protection of their body and skin.
FOBS. A term used for those who spoke Vietnamese with pride and continuing conversations out loud regardless of knowing little or fluent in English.
FOBS. A term used in disgust because “they” brought shame to the Vietnamese community in this American society. “We,” Vietnamese Americans, judge them for not matching up to American morals and values.
FOBS. Referring to our parents who were the real “Boat People” that fled the communist homeland for a better life elsewhere. Who, survived treacherous water of the sea with scarce resources of basic human necessities of food and water. Who waited in camps to find refuge in other countries who are willing to take them. Some, waited 6 months – 1 year while others never left the refugee camps.
FOBS. My mother. My Brother. My Family. Who lived in Hong Kong. Who Lived in Philippines for two years. Who stayed in PRPC, Philippine Refugee Processing Center. Who had little space to sleep, and literally fetched water with a bucket. Who stood in line for food. Who’s trip to California was delayed because of my due date. Born in a refugee camp, I will not forget what my family has gone through for my well being and survival.
Anyways. Just a little something I was thinking about. I need to do some more research about this / gather anecdotes from my family ahha!