The brilliance of the Internet (besides self-promotion and e-endorsing presidential candidates – I like to think all those Obama pins I sent out on Facebook did some good for his campaign) lies in its ability to make even the most boring day seem exciting, or at least marginally interesting enough to care about. Why else would people create blogs that chronicle their lives or to follow things like random street fashion?
Case in point: Mydadisafob.com, an online outlet where people can share all the giggle-worthy anecdotes concerning their Asian dads. The site launched on Oct. 24 after the success of its predecessor, “My Mom is a Fob.“ The posted items aren’t out of the ordinary occurrences or contrived like scenes from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” – they’re just your sincere, run-of-the-mill happenings. Anyone with a story to share can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being that my own father is a fob – fresh off the boat, to be extra clear – born and raised on the island of Cebu in the Philippines, this website hit especially close to home. One would think that 30-plus years as an American citizen would help him with the poor grammar, at the very least. If anything, his English has worsened (or maybe mine has gotten more betterer!)
With my minimal online presence (I had a short-lived blog on Xanga.com and an even shorter lifespan on Livejournal), I read through pages of text messages and e-mails from Asian parents as if I had posted them myself. They reminded me of my own Asian father, otherwise known as the man who taught me invaluable life lessons using indirect – if not completely bizarre – disciplinary approaches, stilted logic and unfounded statements that he would try to pass off as fact.
For example, when I was little, I liked to stick my hand out the window during car rides so I could feel the wind rush through my fingers. Once my father caught wind (har har) of this activity, he immediately put a stop to it by telling me that Michael Jackson got his arm cut off by a car window doing the same thing. Being young, stupid and easily impressionable, I believed him.
Considerably more understandable than my father’s scare tactics were his answers to my never-ending slew of questions. I was fascinated with the concept of hiccups. After asking my dad multiple times the reasoning behind hiccups, he finally let me in on a secret gem of knowledge: Hiccups mean that you’re growing, he said. Consequently, I was convinced that I would grow to be six feet tall after every hiccup episode I had.
Even more unnecessary: When I saw my first rainbow in the sky at the age of five, I pointed to it and shouted to my dad, who promptly told me that if I pointed to a rainbow, my finger would burn off.
After reading through stories of varying degrees of ridiculousness, I wondered who was more to blame – my dad’s strange sense of humor or an innate fob mentality?
Of course, as the creators of mydadisafob.com assert, “fob” is used in the best sense possible, a tongue-in-cheek term of endearment. The point of it is not to make fun of our dads or moms, they say on the website, but to share those moments with “a community of second-generation Asian American kids who know exactly what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that amazing, unconditional and sometimes misspelled love.“
I must add: Ironically enough, it was my non-Asian, non-first generation American citizen roommate (I’ll call her Shmolivia), who first alerted me of the website, proving either the far-reaching scope of the Internet or maybe that fobiness isn’t so exclusive after all.
If you think you’re more interesting than RACHEL FILIPINAS, she’d be more than happy to hear it. Hey, maybe she’ll even make a column out of it. Promote yourself at email@example.com.