Live television debut at Pauw
As some of you might know, I made a Dutch television appearance on Jeroen Pauw’s live show on Thursday, alongside Pete Wu and fellow 'bananas'. We were invited to talk about Pete’s newly released book De Bananengeneratie, the diversity within the banana generation (yellow from the outside, white from the inside). My secret love story is included in Pete’s book. My phone exploded after the show with supportive messages and also logical remarks. So I like to explain my version a bit if I may
It was our first time on live television and for our segment I wish we had some media training beforehand. Overall, we were pleased with the show. Yet, afterwards we were all evaluating everything and realized that we kind of missed the point. The conversation was focused on the Chinese stereotypes of the past generation. However, we wanted to highlight the personal stories from Chinese-Dutch bananas that Pete covered in his book. Those stories prove the opposite which, we wanted to confirm.
Our parents indeed have a restaurant or toko and are often incapable to express emotions, but this was not necessarily the message we wanted to convey. With our rookie experience, we didn’t switch the conversation, instead we goody-goody answered what was asked during the interview. It was also challenging to fit such an item in only 10 minutes, because we could talk for hours about this topic.
No one is to blame. Can’t change the past. Learn from the experience and look forward.
Still, with this bittersweet feeling and all the messages that I received, I do have this platform to share my opinion and the full story of what I (we) wanted to achieve that day.
What Pete succeeded to do with his book is sharing personal stories from Chinese-Dutch bananas that connect us and simultaneously showing us as individuals instead of “you Chinese” or “you Asians”. For example, I have never met my fellow bananas, Jonnah Bron, Lia Lu and Renjie Luo before so we decided to meet each other over dinner first.
We couldn’t be more different in our interest and lifestyle, yet being a 'banana' was the only thing that really bonded us, which created an instant connection. We got each other’s back and were genuinely interested in each other's stories. I think this is so powerful!
The banana generation is not the next trend, nor is it to be petty (which I hear so often). It’s about raising awareness of racism. This generation will be more vocal to educate ignorant people. It’s about feeling connected with people who don’t know where they belong. It’s about using the banana generation to shape yourself to be the best version by combining the values and believes of the two worlds. Everyone does it in their own way.
How I combine the best of two worlds being a banana?
These are the valuable aspects I get from them:
- I have learned to be open-minded
- The freedom to create
- Say what is on your mind
- Respect is huge in the Asian culture
- Don’t complain, work hard
- Food is important =D
Sni.. Nai.. Nigel.
The funniest part of the show was probably the moment I forgot my own fiance’s name. I was caught off guard when Pauw confused me with Lia. I had to correct him twice that I was not married but engaged nor is Nigel Dutch but half Surinamese, half Chinese. Plus I never call Nigel by his full name, so this was a confused mixtape of Niek, schat and ‘Naigol’, resulted in Sni.. Nai.. Nigel (pronounce it as Niguel). I will probably hear this for the rest of my life and I will defeatedly take it lol.
Things I wish I had said:
Is it true that your parents have a restaurant?
I said “yes, they indeed have a toko”. And the others said yes as well.
I should have added: BUT this generation is so much different. Our parents had to sacrifice that part of their lives to work hard to be able to give us the very best. Our generation in general is very fortuned with that, which I will be forever grateful for.
I am able to follow my heart to work in the creative industry and starting my own business as an entrepreneur. I don’t take that for granted.
-After watching a serie of funny stories of Chinese kids saying ‘I love you’ to their parents – Is it true that you never say ‘I love you’ to each other out loud?
I said “It’s true, we don’t say this, but we know it”.
I should have added: they show it in other ways, e.g. in food and being someone you can rely on. Love is about actions over words in the end.
I was thinking about this before my sleep that night. I just wanted to get this whole thing off my chest. Supporting the banana generation has become a big part of my passion, hence we started Crazy Dutch Asians last year. After the grand opening of Base Create Collab, we will invest more time to take that to the next level.
I think it was pretty amazing that we got the opportunity to be on Pauw’s show. For all the Dutchies, please read Pete’s book (get it here). He is such a talented writer and you will enjoy his humor of approaching this serious topic in a genius way. Every Chinese (and who wants to understand the bananageneration), from all generations should read this book. I am honored to be a part of it!
At last, I am thrilled to see that this generation is growing with communities like Crazy Dutch Asians, Leading Asians, Panasiancollective and more. Representation is so important. Even though there is still a long way to go, it makes me happy to see more diversity and inclusion.
I am a proud banana!