My boss has been living in India (I like to joke that my management has been outsourced), but he is moving back to the United States. One of his concerns is how his daughter will deal with the move. She originally lived in the US, moved to India, and is now moving back again. This article from the Mercury News talks about Asian-American kids who move from the United States to India and their experiences. When I was growing, going back “home” (that’s how the parents called it) was a rare and special event. Asia was a place your parents immigrated from and that you visited on rare occasions. It certainly wasn’t a place to where you moved. With the growth of India and China and other Asian economies, a growing number of Asian American kids are moving to Asia, or at least visiting much more often. In addition, those trips back to Asia were looked at as a pain, a visit to an unpleasant and backward place. Talking to a lot of The Daughter’s friends, they don’t look at it that way, and often talk about what a wonderful time that had going to Vietnam or China.
The article talks about how this new generation of kids will be able to move easily between East and West. Some of the kids profiled spend their summers in the US and the rest of the year in Asia. I have known kids like that. The article doesn’t mention this, but a lot of Asian-American kids I know spend a lot of time in Asia – sometimes going there every Christmas or summer. Philippe Nover, the Filipino-American MMA fighter, did that. This kind of traveling back and forth was practically unknown in my youth, but is common at my sons’ mostly Asian-American school. Those trips generated so many missed school days that the administration asked parents not to take extended trips while school is in session.
A number of Asian Americans have gone back to Asia to start careers, often in entertainment. Yoobin Kim (pictured – thanks for the picture, Jun) of the Wonder Girls spent time in San Jose. Sam Milby is successful in the Philippines. Jero went to Japan to start a career doing Enka. My nephew who does hip hop and electronic music and one of the last people I would expect to go to Asia, goes to the Philippines and other parts of Asia to perform almost every year. I am sure that there are many others that I did not mention.
I have occasionally thought about making that career move to Asia, but never that seriously. I do regret not taking my own kids there. It will be interesting to see how this new generation of Asian American kids evolve. Will they become totally assimilated into American culture, as some people say, or will they start forming a new hybrid global culture combining Asian and American?