Fresh Off The Boat!

6 Mar , 2015 Mindset,Thoughts

Fresh Off The Boat!

Did I stumble on a gem or what!

I was looking for something to watch the other day and decided to look at what was hot on Hulu. I think it’s the “trending” column or something and I came across a show called “Fresh off the Boat”. I clicked in and saw Kim Jong Ung from “The Interview” (Randall Park) and was like.. wow what’s this.

Click into the pilot episode and was hooked.

Fresh off the Boat

fotbA new, fresh and funny show!

How often do we ever see Asians as the protagonist in any show or movie. It’s so awesome to see an Asian family as the main characters, growing up in the 90’s and speaking English. It really reminded my of my childhood and what it was like growing up in the 90’s.

Basically, “Fresh off the Boat” is about an Asian family who moves from DC to Orlando Florida. The family has Lewis and Jessica (the parents), Eddie (Eddie Huang, whom is a celebrity chef that I haven’t heard of until this show), Emery and Evan and their grandmother. The show is like a cross between “Everybody hates Chris” and “Modern Family” – family styled humour about what it was like growing up as an outcast in an all white community.

A lot of the stories told, and even props used, were very similar to my own childhood (esp them asian bowls with red Asian patterns). Growing up in the hoods of Dandenong (it wasn’t really as bad as everyone puts it out to be) I didn’t feel very isolated or an outcast because of how multicultural Dandenong was. I definitely got the “Ni Hau Ma” and “Ching Chong” here and there but it definitely not as bad as some of my older friend’s have told me. Maybe I got the better end of the deal?

Who is Eddie Huang?


After watching the episodes, I started doing more research of who this Eddie Huang dude is and found that he is an awesome dude. What I like about him is that he is outspoken, comfortable with himself and comfortable with his identity. I can definitely relate to what he says about being Asian and feeling like you are “fresh off the boat” or like you’ve got no home and being fresh off the boat. Being a second generation Asian, and especially the Pauline Hansen days, I really did feel like I didn’t have a home.

“Go back to your own country”

My country is Australia. I was born and raised here. I don’t know anything else but Australia.

I thought if Pauline Hansen ever came into office, where would I go?

I speak cantonese, so does that mean I should be going to Hong Kong or South China like Guang Dong? Or should I be going to Vietnam where my parents were from? How could I though, I have no family or friends or have anything to do with China or Vietnam.


Another thing that Eddie was talking about was bringing asian food to school. He’s lucky. My mum never made me asian food. I always ate white food. I had sandwiches or lunch orders. I had juice boxes, chips, shapes, tiny teddies.. Maybe my mum tried to assimilate to the Aussie culture.

In an interview with Eddie, he mentioned that people tell him that he’s trying to act black because of the way he speaks, the things he likes, music he listens to and basketball. He rebuts by saying why is it so wrong to behave in that way and questions how an Asian-American SHOULD be. Should Asians just be loving math and are quiet and smart and that’s all?

I thought that was a great point. And the funny thing is that Asian-Australia is exactly that though. Asian-Australians are smart, nerdy, quiet, fair skinned because they don’t like sport and they must either be avid readers or watch a lot of TV. If any Asian was a little bit different to that description then they would immediately be labelled “White-washed”, for instance an Asian who liked to play a lot of sport or an Asian that did non-Asian things.

Asian Community

I think another thing that we had different with the Huang family was living close to an Asian community called Springvale. I think most of our Vietnamese families lived and worked in Springvale, so much so that I don’t think they know much about what else is out there besides Springvale and maybe Clayton if they were adventurous. Living in Dandenong was already like WOAHH.. If it wasn’t for Springvale, I don’t think my parents would have lived as comfortably as they did and they didn’t have to try so hard to assimilate to the Aussie culture or try to speak English really well. I guess it was different.

Maybe if we had lived in a much more white community, it would be very different.

That’s why I love “Fresh Off the Boat” – it’s so good to see Asians doing it on the TV screen on ABC prime time! I really hope they keep doing more and more seasons!

I also hope to see more and more Asian actors, chefs, designers, lawyers, doctors, you name it make it big!

Final Thoughts

I think everyone should watch this show and rejoice in the celebration of Asian-Americanism or Asian-Australianism. It makes me proud to be an Australian with a Chinese and Vietnamese background.

It doesn’t matter where I go now, when I speak in front of groups, I don’t think anyone sees me as Asian. They just see me as me. I do get the odd, “Does your dad go out drinking a lot too… I mean a lot of Asians drink a lot” sometimes.. I just think it’s funny. lol.. Now I think everyone is much more culturally aware that they do not ever bring race to the table. They don’t even bring gender to the table. I don’t even remember the last time someone brought up my age to the table.

Only experience and smarts comes to the table. I’m proud to be who I am. I’m as Asian as Asian can be in Australia because I still watch TVB shows, I still watch Asian movies, eat Asian food, live with Asian cultural traditions and values and still speak Cantonese when I can. I shouldn’t feel ashamed to be an Asian and to like Asian things – I think it’ll feel really direction-less without these things.. I can definitely say that I need to go to Chinatowns when I visit a new country because I need to see another fellow Asian to feel like home! lol

How to watch it

“Fresh Off the Boat” will come to air in Australia hopefully really soon. Watch the show. If not to just feel proud being Asian, watch it for Randall Park or Constance Wu – dangg that girl can sing!!

Karen x



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