Vietnamese trademarks win wide national recognition
   03/21/2006 — 19:56(GMT+7)

Ha Noi  (VNA) – Vietnamese trademarks account for 50 percent of the 500 most famous trademarks that are circulated in the country, according to a market survey published on March 21.

The survey, jointly conducted by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Life Media Company and the market research company ACNeilsen Viet Nam, showed that real estate, fashion and non-electrically durable consumer goods are the most famous industries among 10 large sectors.

The research was conducted in Viet Nam by interviewing 3,000 people, aged from 15 to 60, on 1,000 trademarks belonging to 10 large sectors.

The organising board is scheduled to announce the “Vision 2006” prize on April 5 at the Ha Noi Opera House. -Enditem

Britain cracks down on forced marriages

By Robin Millard

London – Troubled by the number of youngsters of South Asian origin being forced into marriage, Britain has launched an assault on a practice that is pushing many vulnerable teenagers into a living nightmare.

Marriages without consent, or their refusal, have led to suicides and honour killings in Britain, shocking a nation generally deemed to have successfully absorbed immigrant communities and practices.

“Younger British Asian women are increasingly self-harming and attempting suicide at rates two to three times above the national average,” said Jasvinder Sanghera, 40, who helped found a refuge for South Asian women years after fleeing her own family rather than accepting a forced marriage.

‘It’s an absolutely horrendous wrench’

“My family said: ‘Marry him or be dead in our eyes’,” she recalled.

As part of the British government’s campaign, ministers this month unveiled emotional film clips, in English and Hindi, to raise awareness on the issue.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government argues that such forced – as distinct from an accepted arranged marriage – is a form of domestic violence and child abuse and a transgression of human rights. It is even considering whether to criminalise forced marriage.

Most of the cases concern people of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. But there are many others in Britain with ties around the world, notably to Arab states, the Balkans and West Africa, being forced into marriages.

“The people coming forward for help know the perpetrators are the people who are supposed to love them. It’s an absolutely horrendous wrench,” Sanghera said.

‘She said she had been taken against her will’

She said there was a “strong preference” within families of victims she helps to look for suitable husbands “back home”, with the young woman easing the groom’s passage into Britain as part of the deal.

Her Karma Nirvana refuge in Derby, central England, takes an average 40 support calls a month, and over 70 percent of her clients have issues relating to forced marriage.

She advocates warning children of the dangers in schools before they start to come under family pressure.

Sanghera recalled how, at the age of 14, she was shown a photograph of the man she was due to marry.

“They deprived me of my freedom. I suffered the emotional and physical abuse, and I ran away.

“You feel guilty, depressed and very isolated. You lose your family overnight and you are a victim made to feel like the perpetrator,” she said.

The only current legal recourse concerning forced marriages is arresting people for offences such as rape and kidnap.

The Forced Marriages Unit – set up by the Home Office and Foreign Office – has dealt with more than 1 250 cases brought forward by troubled spouses or relatives since it started in 2000.

However, the FMU, which undertakes rescue missions in extreme cases, fears the true number may be far higher.

Sufian Miah said he was 20 when a cry for help from his terrified girlfriend Shipa landed in his letter box. It had been written on a tissue in an aeroplane toilet as her family took her to Sylhet in eastern Bangladesh with a view to a forced marriage.

Now his wife, Shipa, from west London, was 18 when she was bundled on the flight. She secretly handed the tissue to an air hostess as a desperate last resort.

“She said she had been taken against her will, her life was in danger and she didn’t want to go back,” said 31-year-old Miah, from Bromley in south-east London.

“Her mental state was absolutely gone. Her independence had been taken away.”

“Devastated, angry and frustrated”, he called every number he thought could help, from local MPs to Amnesty International, and flew to Bangladesh in a bid to rescue her.

He found her by chance at the house of one of her cousins and spoke to her through a window, vowing to get her out.

He said the Bangladeshi police issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of kidnap.

He took her case to the Bangladeshi Supreme Court. “Eventually her family had no choice but to give up,” Miah said.

British Asian actor Ameet Chana, 30, who starred in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham and the BBC television soap EastEnders and helps campaign on the issue, was shocked that 15 percent of the Forced Marriages Unit’s cases were men.

“If you’re a bloke, a bit macho, how can you come forward and tell someone you’re in a forced marriage?” he said.

“They are taking place under our noses in this country. It’s good to stay traditional, but forced marriage is not part of any culture.”

“The older generation need to realise there’s a way of doing things in the West – and it’s not always the way that it used to be back home.” – Sapa-AFPQuickwire

Published on the Web by IOL on 2006-03-22 06:50:52

© Independent Online 2005. All rights reserved. IOL publishes this article in good faith but is not liable for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information it contains.

Exclusive: M:i:III‘s Mysterious Maggie Q!

Source: Edward Douglas

March 21, 2006

I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t know very much about Maggie Q when I was offered the chance to interview her. Despite having dedicated many hours of my life watching Hong Kong action films, I wasn’t very familiar with her work, but apparently, the Hawaiian born actress is a bonafide Asian superstar having modeled and starred in films in China and Japan.

Under the guidance of Jackie Chan, Maggie got prominent roles in some of his Hong Kong films, as well as a small part in his 2001 sequel Rush Hour 2. Maggie’s upcoming role in the J.J. Abrams-directed threequel Mission: Impossible: III, once again starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, will probably do for Maggie’s career what the last movie did for Thandie Newton. With her martial arts background, she’ll certainly be getting more into the action, and as we can see in the pictures, she’ll do it while being dressed to kill!

Check out this exclusive interview with the Vietnamese-American beauty as she answers some of’s Q’s. If she’s as lively in action as she was in this interview, then America should get ready to welcome this Asian action star back home!

CS: You have an interesting background, born in Hawaii to a Vietnamese mother. So how did you end up going to Japan and China for modeling and acting?
Maggie Q: It was just a simple matter of I graduated from high school and I needed money to go to university, and the only way to do that was not to go to school and work 9 to 5. I had a scholarship across country and I had a lot on my plate. So simply, I couldn’t make ends meet, so I had to find a way to make some money and come back home, but I ended up not going home. I’ve been over there for about nine years.

CS: And when you went there, you didn’t speak any Chinese or Japanese so how did you get along over there?
Maggie Q: No, nothing at all. Well, in the beginning, it was really difficult. Obviously, when you uproot and go anywhere, it’s going to be difficult, but then it not only was a language barrier, but kind of a culture shock, too. It took a lot of work to ingratiate myself into this culture that wasn’t innately mine, but somehow, Asia managed to embrace me, and I was lucky enough to get in there. I don’t know how that happened, but it just did. It was very strange.

CS: Did you start as a model and then get into acting?
Maggie Q: Well, a little bit. I never really had photos or anything like that. I kind of did it on a whim because I needed extra money, and then I only really modeled for a year. Then, in ’98, got my first TV series in China, and then after that, I’ve been acting ever since.

CS: How did you end up getting a role in “Rush Hour 2″? Was that through Jackie Chan?
Maggie Q: That was a real fluke accident. (laughs) Well, Jackie is my boss in Hong Kong. He’s the person who manages me and I’m under his company, and I’ve been trained by his people for action films and stuff. That was Jackie’s film, and because Jackie was our boss and we knew all the people he worked with, the director had asked me if I would do a little cameo for the Asian audience, and I was like, “No, I don’t want to do it!” and then he kind of told Jackie on me that I wasn’t going to do it, and then he was like, “Maggie, you have to do it!” So that was how I had to do that little thing.

CS: Getting into “Mission: Impossible: III,” were J.J. Abrams or Tom Cruise familiar with your Asian movies or were they fans?
Maggie Q: Mmm… I don’t know how familiar they were with what I had done previously. The funny thing that I’ve noticed in Hollywood now that I’m here is that a lot of people really don’t care what you’ve done before they meet you. They want to see what you can do now. And so, when I came into that audition, it really wasn’t about anything that I’d done… “Oh, we’ve seen that or we’ve seen that, and we think you’re great!”… It was like, “This is what we want you to do right now, can you do it? Can I see in you what I want for the character?” It was really more about the audition.

CS: How did you hear about the role? Was it an open casting call that your agent found for you?
Maggie Q: Well, initially, I sent a tape to them and then didn’t hear back for weeks, so I thought it was over. I thought that was it. Oh, well, it doesn’t really matter. And then weeks later, after traveling all over Europe, I get back to Hong Kong one day and they’re like “We need you in L.A. tonight.” I was like, “Oh My God!” so I had to fly over, within hours of getting the call, and I went in for my audition, and they had me do three scenes, and they were like, “Welcome to the film!”

CS: Isn’t that like a 24-hour flight?
Maggie Q: Oh, my God, it’s like ridiculous! When you come to L.A. from Asia, you hit jet lag at like 3:00 on the dot. You hit a wall that you can’t come back from. And guess what time my audition was? 3:00 the next day, so I went in with jet lag and fever, and it was not a good situation, but luckily, somehow we were able to pull it off.

CS: Well, that’s certainly grace under pressure. Maybe if they figured you were that good when jetlagged, you’d be even better with some rest.
Maggie Q: Exactly! (laughs) J.J. was like, “I’m sorry I have to do this to you. I can’t believe I’m doing this to you, but Paula Wagner needs to see if you’re good enough.” Because Tom was off promoting “War of the Worlds,” so he couldn’t see my audition directly, so he needed Paula to tell him, “Okay, yeah she’s good,” or “No, she isn’t.”

CS: Gotcha. So what exactly is your role in the movie?
Maggie Q: I play one of the team members along with Tom and Ving Rhames and Johnny Rhys Meyers. We play an IMF team.

CS: Does that mean you’re able to use some of your action training?
Maggie Q: Totally! Well, the great thing is that I’m able to use a little bit of that, but the wonderful about working with a director like J.J. is that you get to do so many things. I mean, what you can expect when you see the film is not just to see action, but you’re going to be really involved in these characters, ’cause I think he’s really great. Everybody is going to stand out and do their own thing. You’re going to see so many sides to these people. It’s going to be cool.

CS: So you get to go undercover and play different characters, too?
Maggie Q: Exactly! Different languages, different looks, blah blah blah… things like that. It’s going to be like what you would expect to see in the old black and white TV series. It’s going to be a really great team effort.

CS: Had you had a chance to see the other movies before you got the part?
Maggie Q: Oh, yeah. Who hasn’t? (laughs) I think the first one was more of the team thing, and then the second one kind of came away from that a bit, and then the third one, we’re going back to that again, which I think audiences are going to enjoy a lot.

CS: How has it been working with J.J., considering he has the action experience with Jennifer Garner on “Alias,” so how has he been directing action scenes with you?
Maggie Q: J.J.? Period. Whether it’s action or acting or whatever, J.J.’s the man! He is an unbelievable person, and he’s so frickin’ talented that you can’t even stand it! Know what I mean? He’s got talent comin’ out of all areas! He’s the easiest person to work with… he’s calm, he’s entertaining, he’s kind. I mean, it’s kind of a hard act to follow after working with J.J. He kind of just makes everything happen. This is his first feature and you’re going to be BLOWN AWAY that this is his first feature.

CS: Very cool. And how’s it been working with Tom? I assume you do a lot of scenes with him since you’re on his team.
Maggie Q: Oh, definitely. Yeah, yeah. He’s the greatest! I think a lot of the misconceptions about Tom is that whenever I see things or read anything about Tom that’s not positive, the only thing I can think of is that they just don’t know him. There’s nothing that I could see or have experienced while being around Tom that has been negative. He’s a really great guy, and he’s a generous person to work with, and you couldn’t ask for a better co-star. You really couldn’t. He treats everyone as his equal, and I appreciate that a lot, because we’re lucky to be there.

CS: I assume because you work together and he’s married at this point, there isn’t any romance between the two of you in the movie.
Maggie Q: Nah, I don’t get any kind of action.

CS: Not even anything between you and Ving Rhames?
Maggie Q: Noooooo… the Vingster? No! Ving is like my brother! If there’s any joking any kind of anything going on, it would be between me and Johnny Rhys Meyers.

CS: That’s not bad. You could do worse than that.
Maggie Q: No, not at all. Johnny is the greatest. I love him! It’s just kind of joking, because the team members all act like brothers and sisters.

CS: And you’re the only woman on the team?
Maggie Q: I am! Ever! I think. I don’t think they’ve had one in any of the films! So I’m kind of happy, and I’m pretty excited about that!

CS: Where did you end up filming your scenes?
Maggie Q: I shot in Rome, actually all over Italy, and we shot in L.A, and then we shot in China, so we’re all over for this one.

CS: And you’re done shooting everything already?
Maggie Q: Oh, we’re totally done! I just finished doing some ADR, and the film is really coming together and it’s almost done. We’re really excited. It’s coming out really soon and we’re going to start premiering it next month. They haven’t confirmed where, but I know they’re going to start promoting it and everything in April.

CS: Any idea what you’re going to do next once you’re done promoting the movie?
Maggie Q: Well, that’s a good question. There’s a few things on the table right now that I have not really committed to yet, but a few really fun things that I’m actually really excited about. But once that happens, I will definitely talk about it the minute I can.

CS: Are you pretty much doing American movies now or will you be going back and forth to China like Jackie does?
Maggie Q: I’d like to do both, to be honest. The point of the matter is to just kind of do good work and enjoy what I’m doing, and wherever that is, that’s what I’m going to do.

CS: Have you gotten comfortable enough with your Chinese that you don’t have to do it phonetically any more?
Maggie Q: Well, yes and no. It’s kind of like… at the end of the day, I am American and that is what I am. This is the first time where I’ve been in a market where I can be completely comfortable and confident with my language, because in the past, it’s always been a huge struggle. I think that’s one of the things that excites me about being here is that I can actually intellectualize things that I couldn’t before. That’s a big plus for me and that would be a reason to stay here. also has your exclusive first look at a new Stunt Featurette, which you can view in QuickTime here! Mission: Impossible: III kicks off the summer on May 5.

Hoa Hao Americans impressed with home welcome
   03/21/2006 — 20:44(GMT+7)

Ha Noi  (VNA)- A Vietnamese American couple that follows Hoa Hao Buddhism expressed wishes to revisit their homeland following a warm welcome by authorities during their first return after 30 years abroad.

Mr. Le Phuoc Sang told President of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Pham The Duyet during their recent meeting in Ha Noi that he and his wife were impressed with rapid growth of the national economy, especially in his native town of Long Xuyen in the southwestern province of An Giang. Sang also said it touched his heart to see the local administration’s great efforts to improve the material and spiritual living conditions of people from all walks of life, including Hoa Hao Buddhists.

For his part, Fatherland Front Leader Duyet said that the Government has issued a number of policies in favour of overseas Vietnamese and ethnic minorities as well as to encourage freedom of religion.

Duyet said he expected that the visit would help the couple better understand the national situation, especially the Government’s non-discriminatory policies for Hoa Hao Buddhists.

“You are always welcomed here in Viet Nam,” said the chief of the nation’s largest mass organisation.

During their return home, Sang and his wife were warmly welcomed by representatives of the Hoa Hao Executive Committee in An Giang province, visited the Hoa Hao Buddhist Holy Temple, and went sightseeing in HCMC, Ha Noi and other places across the country.

The couple expressed their thanks to the Government and local administrations for creating favourable conditions to make their stay in Viet Nam comfortable.–Enditem,0,7553833.story?coll=cl-books


For scriptwriter, the fairy tale continues

By Susan King
Times Staff Writer

March 20, 2006

Seven years ago, Russell Gewirtz and his father profited handsomely from the sale of one of the family’s clothing stores in New York City. “We made a lot of money from the property,” said Gewirtz, a former attorney. “So when I was 33, I found myself with a nice nest egg and no real career in front of me.”

For the next few years, he lived a life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams as he traveled between Cannes, Brazil and Miami Beach: “I basically didn’t have to wear socks for three years.”

It was during his travels that he began to write the screenplay to the heist thriller “Inside Man,” which opens Friday.

Directed by Spike Lee — “Inside Man” is one of the few films the filmmaker didn’t write or co-write — the film revolves around a New York detective (Denzel Washington) called in to negotiate a hostage situation at a bank. Clive Owen plays the thieves’ ringleader, and Jodie Foster is a manipulative power player.

Gewirtz, now 40, admitted that having his first screenplay turned into a major feature starring two Oscar winners is something of a “fairy tale.”

“I had never studied screenwriting,” he said. “I just watched a lot of movies.”

It was while working at his father’s retail business a decade ago that Gewirtz discovered he had a talent for writing. “I wrote a bunch of short stories about things that happened to me, all of which were very funny and tongue-in-cheek.”

It wasn’t long before he thought about writing a script. “I would sit in the movies and know the words before they came out of people’s mouths. You get a taste of what’s good and what works. Eventually, I kind of thought I could write a better movie.”

Gewirtz ran into a producer friend five years ago at Cannes and delivered his pitch for “Inside Man.” “He loved it. He said, ‘Let’s work on it. You write and I’ll guide you through the process.’ ”

Within a year, the script was in good enough shape to take to an agency. Ten days after Gewirtz signed with an agent, the script was sold to Universal. It took three years, though, to hit the screen.

“Ron Howard was to direct at the time [of the sale],” said Gewirtz. “Then it went through ups and downs for a while, but we obviously landed in a very nice place.”

Enter Lee, the outspoken filmmaker who burst on the scene 20 years ago with “She’s Gotta Have It” and received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for 1999’s “Do the Right Thing.” His films, which also include “Malcolm X” and “Clockers,” often explore hot political and social issues.

Gewirtz said the script went through a few changes, adding that Lee “brought more of that New York and Spike Lee feel to it.”
If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at

an Jose Screenings: San Jose Camera 12

March 25, Sat 2PM: The Journey of Vaan Nguyen
The unheard story of Israel's Vietnamese refugee community is told
through the experiences of two members of the same family, separated
by generations but united by a desire for "home." Hanmoi Nguyen, a
man who fled Vietnam and now lives in the "Land of the Jews" with
five Hebrew-speaking daughters, desires to return to his village,
reclaim his ancestral land and confront the man who forced him to
flee. His daughter Vaan, a writer increasingly alienated from
Israeli society, joins her father's journey, hoping to find a new
life, and a sense of belonging, in a land she barely knows.

Balancing surreal archival footage of Vietnamese refugees being
assimilated into Israeli culture with scenes of the affection and
conflict between Hanmoi's four other daughters, THE JOURNEY OF VAAN
NGUYEN conveys the emotional tolls that war and displacement
inflicts upon individuals. As the family's story unfolds through the
poetic voices and writings of father and daughter, their personal
journeys lead them to the most unexpected places, and some
surprising discoveries.

Filmmaker Duki Dror is an Israeli of Iraqi ethnicity; THE JOURNEY OF
VAAN NGUYEN continues his interests in examining the social and
ethnic dilemmas of contemporary Israel, and in exploring the subtle,
yet profound complexities of maintaining cultural identity in an
increasingly interconnected world.

March 26, Sun 4:30PM: Kieu
Kieu bursts open like a flower one colorful Mission morning as the
lovely heroine steps out for the day. Waving to her goldfish, she
flirts with the smitten greengrocer and mulls over the election at
the flower shop. But as day moves into night, and the bus takes her
into the Tenderloin, we see that Kieu works at an "Oriental" massage
parlor, desperately making money to send to her family in Vietnam.
In one 24-hour slice of her life, a shocking encounter threatens to
destroy Kieu's carefully compartmentalized existence, and bring
forth the ghosts of her past.

Director Vu has appropriated the ingredients of a potentially
maudlin melodrama and created a fresh, intensely tender look at one
young woman's experience. Loosely based on Vietnam's epic nineteenth-
century poem The Tale of Kieu , in which the heroine sells herself
to redeem her family's debt, the film re-situates Kieu in the
neighborhoods of 21st-century San Francisco. It's a passionate,
supple work that balances documentary-like footage of massage parlor
life with the occasional apparition of ghostly kindred spirits.
Created by Bay Area filmmaking collective Sycamore Street
Productions, Kieu is an epic fable of yesterday, and a telling
vision of women's survival and perseverance today.


Tickets are available at, outlets, or by phone at 800-225-2277.  Purchasing in
advance is highly advised, as shows will sell out!  Discounted group
tickets for regular shows are available, as well as our special