The Yellow Banana

Rated 4.92/5 based on 12 reviews
"The Yellow Banana" explores the life journey of a 16-year old Malaysian student migrant in Australia. Sent by his family, in the 1970s, with a quest to find success in the new country, he arrived in Australia without knowing where he would spend his first night. This humorous yet poignant book tells the true story of this student’s 30-year life changing experience. More
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About Jian Qiu Huang

Jian Qiu Huang lives in Melbourne. He travels extensively within the Asian region for work as well as pleasure. He has three grown up children. Jian Qiu is now working on his second book following "The Yellow Banana".

Jian Qiu's email address is:

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Christine Chan reviewed on July 21, 2013

“The Yellow Banana” is about a young man who had gone to study for a degree in Australia and the many embarrassing and hilarious experiences he had in the first few years of his life there. He had to learn to change his Menglish (Malaysian English) into perfect Australian accent, lived and behaved like a native Australian. It was hard to be accepted into the Australian society especially for one who had no western influence back at the place where he grew up from. Life was naturally lonely when you feel like an alien in a foreign land. But that did not deter him from studying hard and working part time to pay for his studies. The author did a superb job describing life as a student, a musician, a husband, an employee and a business consultant. He cleverly transposed the moments between the present and the past and made a meaningful connection that revealed the lesson he had to learn in life. He tried to be like a native Australian, only to learn that, after all, he was just a “yellow banana”.
This is a well written book with captivating stories that continuously gripped the reader’s heart. The gradual awakening process in the second part of the book was about the journey of the heart. Life is series of happiness and sadness. The pains that we do not want keep coming back to hurt us. We need to let go of the things that no longer serve a purpose in our life, but this will happen only when the heart is willing to release its grip. The author has learnt the lesson well, but he needs a little more practice to fully integrate it into his life.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
John Li reviewed on June 11, 2013

What a wonderful ebook, I enjoyed it tremendously and read it in one sitting. It is good to know that despite personal challenges, the author shows us that there is a lesson in every situation.

This is a moving, poignant, very funny and thoughtful work which shows Western culture from another perspective and Eastern religion and philosophy in practice in a non preaching way.

All in all, it’s one man’s life. His real experience, told with candour and honesty is both moving and poignant.

As an autobiography it is compelling, as a piece of cultural commentary it is equally significant. It helps you to look at life from the perspective of another person and reminds us that however different we are, at the core, we are all very much the same.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
thomasina burke reviewed on April 1, 2012

The first twenty pages of this novel had me laughing out loud at the wonderfully descriptive passages as a young man was being sent far away to fulfill his family's dream to have a college graduate of a westernized university. The trials and tribulations of "The Yellow Banana" aka the author Jian Qiu Huang continue on to be both hilarious and at times bittersweet as he achieves his dream of graduation, becoming a successful businessman, and an accomplished musician.

The second part of the book deals with interpersonal relationships, cultural differences, and betrayal. In these passages, Jian Qui Huang shows a beautifully perceptive insight into the different psyches of men and women, and of the animal traits granted each of us through Chinese traditions. As a person raised in a totally western culture, with no awareness of these "animal traits," short of reading of them on the placemat at our local Chinese restaurant, it intrigued me that there would be so much emphasis placed on them. Often in the US you hear people speaking of the different personality tributes associated with Astrological Signs, but I never paid much attention to it.

In short, I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks understanding of other cultures, interpersonal relationships, and achieving personal peace and understanding.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Kerry Sin reviewed on March 1, 2012

I can relate to the author's intercultural experience as I was in a similar setting when I went abroad for my undergraduate studies in Clayton, not too far from where the Author's account took place. Thus, on a personal level, I can relate to the settings that was described – the cold winters, heaters, Victoria market, and so forth.

However, what is important from the Yellow Banana is how intricate cultures lie at the heart of personal relationships. I could feel the lifting of burden from the Author’s rather painful description of Nelly’s Chapter and the attempts to pin it down on the natural traits of a Tiger, to the healing process that followed.

From one part, it was a personal journey of discovery and feudal responsibility. The other part followed the spiritual awakening that perhaps would have gained more recognition had it been written in a different mind-set.

All that is said, the Author has provided his clan a legacy of their roots, which may or may never again be revisited unless the pages of the Yellow Banana is peeled layer by layer again in a time of a distant future.

Well done Steve, and may we look forward to more of your works!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Jeff Chan reviewed on Jan. 20, 2012

There were always be happy and sad moments in life. Life is truly a learning curve. Great book, highly recommended.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Matthew Pesce reviewed on Jan. 18, 2012

Very compelling book that uses interesting stories to give insight into Malay culture. I often wonder what it's really like in some other country--not as a broad generalization but through the experiences of individuals. This book fills that need.

That's where I started...but this book provided more. The overarching story is very personal and heartfelt. You share in the author's journey through life, from fear to excitement to soul-crushing sadness to enlightenment to joy...and back and forth and back and forth.

Overall, a moving and entertaining read. I'm looking forward to the sequel!
(reviewed 85 days after purchase)
Albert Crowe reviewed on Nov. 30, 2011

Thoroughly enjoyed it

Wow!! a real page-turner read it in one go. I am in a inter-cultural relationship and this book gave me a fresh perspective on my relationship. I will have to get my GF to read it too.
Thank you for this book, it has shown me a side of my GF which I did not know. I need to be very aware now. I particularly found the last few chapters very relevant and I certainly do not want my relationship to end up like it did in the book. I thank the author for sharing it.
A good read..... excellent!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
New Life reviewed on Nov. 12, 2011


I am also a migrant, a student migrant. The book has captured my life accurately. Thank you, it makes me realise I am not the only one.
The book is simple to read and yet very relevant, it spoke straight to me. It does not use 'flowery' language to communicate, and the straight forward everyday language used just makes it so refreshing. It is a wonderful story of one person's perspective of his life.
I particularly liked the way it looks at the cultural difference - between countries.
Very brave of the author to talk about his personal experience - I too learn from the author's experience. Thank you for sharing your pain.
Great read.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Amy James reviewed on Nov. 10, 2011
(no rating)
Rotten Banana

As a Melbourne writer interested in the experience of trans-continental journeys and the challenges of adaptions to new cultures, I found 'The Yellow Banana' to be a self-indulgent, unbalanced narrative, removed of the complexities of families and relationships that are essential when presenting realism and truth within a story.

Whilst the narrative begins with the charming voice of a young male entering an Australian city and appears to present an intriguing adventure into a new country, it soon spirals into what appears to be a bitter tale of divorce and an inability for the narrator to both realise and admit his shortcomings during the years as a married couple. Instead we are presented with the issues concerning Nelly, the young wife and the baffled husband who is unable to come to terms with her unhappiness.

The appeal of the recent fictional best-seller, 'The Slap' by Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas is that it presents a range of characters' points of view that spring from a diverse cultural background and range of experiences of men and women in relationships. The reader is then allowed to create their own moral code in response to the tension created by the central event.

As a contrast, 'The Yellow Banana' lacks the depth and complexity of human behaviour that is so essential for effective story-telling.

“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Amy James - Melbourne Freelance Writer
(reviewed the day of purchase)
New Life reviewed on Nov. 7, 2011
(no rating)
I read it overnight and cannot put it down.
Easy to read and humourous it draws you in without you even knowing. I like the subtle and innocent humour - we tend to forget that the best form of humour is from identifying with the most mundane events.
I now know what 'Menglish' is all about.
I can now begin to understand the plight of migrants into Australia.
Fully recommend it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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