Breaking the Mould
2nd November 2012
First and foremost, allow me to introduce myself – my name’s Francis, and I’m the latest addition to the Red 24 presenters family. Things are already going well and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!
As this is my first blog, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my background… and a little about my family’s reaction to my choice of career.
The story begins in the early 70s, when mama and papa Vu met each other in London. My father was an engineer, and my mother a credit controller. Both of them had left their families in Vietnam so that they could study and work abroad, and things were going alright. They fell in love, and got married – BUT ONLY once they had obtained masters degrees, solid jobs and a mortgage. First things first (right? Maybe).
Fast forward a decade and half, and my sister was born – a smart, angelic little girl with the world at her feet. Three years later, along came another child – me. My mother often recalls that I was the crucial factor in her decision not to have any more children. Home truths aside, I was actually a pretty good kid. Despite being a bit lippy at times, I generally did what I was told and wasn’t too much of a little horror.
Now if you’ve ever had the privilege of getting fairly well acquainted with some traditional oriental parents, you’ll know that all the stereotypes, however farfetched, are COMPLETELY TRUE. The strictness, the focus on education, the irrational hatred of all friends – I could go on forever about what this involves, but I’ll give more detail another time. The main thing that I’m going to talk about is the ridiculously high expectations. And not only high, but in a very traditional sense.
I’m not one of those lucky people who’ve always known their career aspirations from an early age. Growing up I went through wanting to be a pilot, then an astronaut, then a footballer (of course), then a lawyer, then a footballer, then a newsreader, then a banker. That brings me to today, and you’ll be pleased to know I’m pretty certain I want to be a presenter for the rest of my life! My parents’ expectations were slightly different for me, to say the least. Here’s a short list of professions that they would’ve been happy with, in order of preference:
- Don’t care anymore, you are no longer my child.
They weren’t best pleased then, when I decided to do my degree in English. HOW do you become a doctor with a BA in English?!!? NEWSflash: You don’t. So when I broke the news to them that I was going to pursue a career as a TV Presenter, you can imagine the backlash I experienced. My parents have tried almost everything to stop me from following this path, from complaining about the uncertainty it brings, to telling me I’m rubbish at my job. Bless them, they just want the best for me – only they have a very narrow notion of what that means. Luckily, I’ve built up a bit of resilience over the years – so I’m out to prove them wrong, but make them happy at the same time. I love my family to bits, but I think I’m a bit of a black sheep.
I’ll give you one guess at what my sister does for a living. Got it yet?