Friday, August 22, 2008

Being fob

FOB means Fresh Off the Boat...A term that many people get labeled with when they come to a new country (USA, UK, Australia, etc.). I am a fob...I mean I was born in Bangladesh, raised in Oman and then I came here to the US just for my undergrad and grad education. Yeah, so I mastered the american accent quite well, discovered frizz ease, flat iron, lipgloss and bronzer within the blink of an eye, learned all the cool slang words like 'snap', 'score', 'watchamcalit', 'thingamjig' , etc. faster than you can spell cat and so I understood american humor real quick (I mean not to forget that back in Oman we were always watching a lot of american movies and watching popular prime time tv shows.) In spite of all of that, I am still a fob because I still love my coconut oil hair massage very much, I still love my spice rack and all the 500 spices it holds, I still love eating with my hands and licking my fingers after it and most importantly, I love where I am from because that is who I am. I know I have changed in ways but not in a way where I would look at someone with a derogatory look saying 'eww he/she is an international student'. No. That is just unacceptable. I see former fobs do it all the time. Makes my blinis boil. I mean just because you became a permanent resident or a citizen 10 years ago, does not make you something you're not.
Back to all the things that I learned as I stepped into the US... I am not saying that I learned all the things out of angst or sort of to win a competition as not be labeled a fob. I did it because I wanted to...It makes it a lot easier if you can roll your r's, spell color without a u and spit out a 'have a good day' every second...I think it is important to understand a country's culture if you are going to stay there for a while (or forever), but by no means does it mean you have to completely abandon the traits and characteristics of where you came from in the process of doing so. Those people never cease to amaze me...they are so eager to ape the host country's culture, be it in any way possible, viz. marry or pair up with someone from the host country and also they almost start hating their own kind (this is nothing against white, black or any non-south asian people). Like many call them..coconut: brown on the outside, white on the inside-lol.
Y'all wondering where this sudden burst came from right? Just thought of it after I came across some people making fun of fobs. So mean. The funniest part is it is usually people of color using that word...I don't think caucasians are much aware of it. So there you go, the same kind hating on each other. Aesthetically, it probably isn't appealing when that boy from india, wearing unimaginably tight (in the wrong place) jeans, bluish white sneakers, hair smeared with oil and a look of cluelessness on his face steps into class or that girl from bangladesh wearing a jacket two sizes too big for her, face covered in talcum powder and a head full of frizzies comes in as your roommate. But he/she is a human being and unless he/she does something completely unethical or completely wrong...there is absolutely no reason for you to judge him or her just based on their accent and fashion faux pas.


Anonymous said...

Nafisa out of all your posts till date this is one of my favorite!!! This is just mind blowing and awesome!!! It's a fact and something we all have to accept that's actually happening. Great entry. I'm sorry but this is going to 'posted items' in FB. Cant resist and want everyone to read it....

Astrin said...

Hi Nafisa... Your post made sense big timE! Well written, with just the right amount of everything.. there is something for everyone to learn from it specially those who are yet to be called FOBs!! Cheers...Keep it going!