My siblings and I were raised in a home with a Taiwanese mother and Korean father, though he grew up in Taiwan, which is where he met the missus. Spending the majority of our childhood being raised by our stay-at-home mom meant we spoke Mandarin at home, which was reinforced by the fact that my dad could speak it as well. It gets pretty exasperating later explaining to people why we spoke one and not the other: “We’re half Korean, and half Chinese. It was a 50/50 chance, folks.”
This blog is not the saga about how we are striving to bring honor to our family name in hopes of fulfilling our parents’ American Dream as they built a life for us out of a dry cleaning business or a faux Chinese restaurant that served things like orange chicken or sweet and sour pork with fortune cookies.
First of all, our last name is Kim. As far as I’m concerned, there are 20 million other people on this planet that can carry on our family name. The second part is that my parents were like John and Jane Doe, except we don’t buy houses whose address ends with a number “4” and a “B” on a report card stood for “Bad.” In fact, my dad is a computer engineer and my mom was a stay-at-home mom until one day she decided she was going to get a job and now she’s a barista at Starbucks that somehow manages to take more vacations than she actually seems to work.
No, this blog is about the dialogue and actions that transpire among the five of us (and sometimes six, when my cousin Tiffany visits from San Francisco) as we live between the world of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Growing up, my Asian peers were generally divided into three categories –
- AzNs (the wankster, Americanized ones),
- Fobs (Fresh Off the Boats, generally from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong/Macao), and
- Whitewashed (Asians who chose football & cheerleading over orchestra & debate team).
I like to think that the five of us are kind of like Twinkies, as I fondly call my Asian friends that fall in the 3rd category – “white on the inside, yellow on the outside” – but still in the factory – almost there, but not quite yet. I mean, we weren’t oppressed by a deranged Tiger Mom but we certainly weren’t allowed to go Winter Formal if our SAT scores from the last exam were looking a little shabby.
It seemed unfair that nobody else around gets to share the love, so welcome to the Twinkie factory and hopefully you’ll be able to keep up with us.