A 28-month-old Vietnamese baby who has not been taught even the alphabets is reading newspapers and books.

Dong Ngoc Han discovered last February that her son Pham Duc Thuan, born October 2003, could read when he began reading a signboard while walking along the road one day.

News of the strange child, who lives with his farmer-parents in Thuan An commune in the Mekong Delta’s Vinh Long province, spread bringing curious neighbors and xe om (taxi motorbike) drivers to gawk at him.

A Thanh Nien reporter visited the family this month and saw the baby reading a newspaper.

The child could correctly and fluently read a Vietnamese-language newspaper though his pronunciation sounded like a foreigner’s.

“My son is eager to read words he sees on television, newspapers, and books but he does not understand their meaning,” his mother said.

He is otherwise normal and, like all children, is fond of playing with others.

Other similar cases

But baby Thuan is not a unique case. Local media reported about three other babies in the country who could also read at an early age without having been taught.

They are Nguyen Hung Son, born February 2002, of Long Binh hamlet, Tra Vinh city; Nguyen Dong Quoc, born September 2002, of Tan Uyen district of Binh Duong province; and Nguyen Anh Tu, born April 2003, of Pleiku city in Gia Lai province in the central highland.

All of them began to read when they were around 30 months old.

Reported by Nhu Lich – Translated by Minh Phat

  Posted on Sun, May. 07, 2006



By Nerissa Pacio
Mercury News
There is one piece of advice Chloe Dao would give to aspiring Asian-American artists: “Don’t listen to your parents.”

That is, after all, how the 34-year-old Vietnamese-American refugee became a successful fashion designer, entrepreneur and winner of last season’s “Project Runway,” the Bravo channel’s popular reality series that takes place in New York’s fashion world.

“Don’t get me wrong,” says Dao, whose traditional parents urged her from a young age to become a doctor, despite her call to fashion, “I love my mom and dad. But you have to follow your dreams. You have to live for what you want to do.”

Dao, who lives in Houston, was in San Jose recently making an appearance at the Museum of Quilts and Textiles’ opening of its latest exhibit, “Ao Dai: A Modern Design Coming of Age.”

Wearing a layered green chiffon cocktail dress and open-toed platforms that boosted her 4-foot-11-inch frame to just over 5 feet, Dao toured the gallery of traditional Vietnamese garments with her mother, Hue Thuc Luong.

A crowd of about 50 people, mostly from the local Vietnamese arts community, eagerly greeted Dao, who later took center stage for a Q&A about her stint on reality TV and her flourishing career. Many of the guests, dressed in colorful ao dais, snacked on fresh spring rolls and took photos of the guest of honor.

“I’m the superstar of the Vietnamese community right now, the golden child, and it’s very cool,” says Dao of her newfound role model status. “When I talk to young people, I tell them I’m living proof that this is what it’s about in America. There are so many career opportunities here — you should let your passion lead you. My mom jokes around saying, `You literally defied my wishes, and now look — you’re popular!’ ”

Dao not only followed her dreams, but she’s also living them with her win on “Project Runway.”

The victory gave her $100,000 in seed money toward her own clothing line, an apprenticeship with the design team at Banana Republic, a spread in Elle magazine and a $24,000 Saturn Sky Roadster. It has also presented a flurry of national media attention and increased traffic into Lot 8, the Houston boutique that carries her designs, co-owned by her sister and business partner, Sydney Dao.

“Things haven’t drastically changed, but they’re not exactly the same,” Dao says. “People recognize me now. I have to brush my hair when I go out of the house.”

The cult show, which is now casting its third season, is a behind-the-scenes look into the fashion industry. It follows a group of aspiring designers in various creative challenges. In each episode, a panel of industry insiders — including designer Michael Kors, supermodel Heidi Klum and Elle magazine fashion director Nina Garcia — deems who did the best job and eliminates the weakest contestant.

Dao’s memorable designs and professionalism kept her in the running week to week, Garcia says. “She was very consistent with her work. It was always impeccable and always delivered. I don’t remember one episode where she didn’t make a good impression.”

The show has attracted a loyal following because “it’s about genuine talent,” Kors says. “It’s not about eating bugs.”

It also mimics the fickle and harsh reality of the fashion business, he adds.

“It’s really about each challenge. You could be floating along doing well, but if you do something that’s just not right — then it’s goodbye.”

Since the series ended for the season, Dao has been hard at work creating an online sales business for her boutique, negotiating a pending deal for a line of special-edition jeans with a yet-to-be-named premium denim company, and making rounds on the press circuit.

She has appeared on the “Today” show with Katie Couric and has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, People, Forbes and Lucky magazines, among others. Still, Dao has made it a point to stay true to her roots.

The weekend after her appearance in San Jose, she spoke at a conference on women in leadership at the Vietnamese American National Gala in San Francisco.

“Vietnamese people aren’t afraid of hard work,” Dao says. “It’s how we have succeeded in this country. Ultimately, it’s why our parents came.”

Born in Laos, Dao, her parents and seven sisters fled the war-torn country and spent time in a Thai family prison before moving to Dallas in 1979 with sponsorship from an uncle. A year later, the family settled in Houston, where her parents owned dry cleaning, food service and tailoring businesses. Seeing her parents’ example instilled a solid work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit in her, she says.

So far, Dao’s drive has paid off. What began as an after-school hobby of making jewelry, Barbie outfits and her own prom dress evolved into a full-fledged fashion design career.

She opened her boutique, named after the eight Dao sisters, in 2000 and is already planning for an expansion. She’s also working on more of her own designs, which she’ll sell in Lot 8.

But even after racking up accomplishments — from a degree in pattern-making from the Fashion Institute of Technology to an eight-year run working at fashion houses in New York to her “Project Runway” win — Dao says she still has a ways to go.

Everything is next,” Dao says. “I’m working on my next collection. I’m dying to do a sportswear collection. Eventually I could do menswear. You’ll definitely see me in fashion for a long, long time.”


Contact Nerissa Pacio at npacio@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5827.

 
By JASON BISSELL/For the Lincoln Journal Star
Sunday, May 07, 2006 – 10:11:40 am CDT
“I’ll take a Big Mac with some fries,” says a customer in the McDonald’s drive-through. Inside the restaurant, a 19-year-old Vietnamese employee turns and uses hand gestures to signal to her co-workers.

Her English is improving, but not quite there yet. She can’t pronounce some words, so instead she points to the menu.

That’s how Anne Dinh was introduced to American business.

Today, the 34-year-old Dinh spends her days at the U.S. Bank at 13th and L streets. Nine years ago, she started as a banker and moved to sales before becoming a service manager. In 2001, she became the branch manager.

She manages a staff of 14, which includes tellers, bankers and managers. She emphasizes customer service to her staff and exemplifies it in her daily dealings with those who walk through the bank’s doors. And while she speaks English fluently now, her native language allows her and the bank to reach out to Vietnamese customers.

But for Anne Dinh, professional success represents more than just a job title — it symbolizes an important milestone on a very long journey.

In 1989, a 19-year-old Dinh, her parents, youngest brother and youngest sister left their home in Vietnam and flew to Switzerland where two of her other sisters lived. They stayed for 2 ½ months before the five of them moved to the United States.

The plane ride to America took 24 hours and the food, Dinh recalls, did not taste good.

“I couldn’t eat at all,” she said. “The food was different … but now I can eat anything.”

They came to Omaha to reunite with two older brothers, who left Vietnam shortly before they did.

No one in the family spoke English fluently and none had jobs arranged for their arrival. They found a home in a small Vietnamese neighborhood in Omaha. Her mother took a job at a

Chinese restaurant while her father found a job with a business that produced computer disks.

To learn English, Dinh attended Benson High for a couple of years. Although she was the oldest student in the school, nobody knew, she says, because of her small stature and youthful appearance. She spoke choppy English, which made school and work difficult. Although she learned English grammar at school in Vietnam, the lessons didn’t prepare her to use the language in every day life.

After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she majored in finance and business. She worked hard to overcome cultural and communication challenges because getting the opportunity for a higher education had always been a dream.

“If I lived in Vietnam I didn’t know what I could be,” she said. “If I dreamed to be a banker there, I don’t know if I was capable or allowed to be. In the United States I can do whatever I put my mind to.”

Dinh moved to Lincoln in 1997, to join U.S. Bank. Coi Dinh, her husband of eight years, also works with the bank as a mortgage loan officer.

Family photos surround her desk at work. She has two sons, Dillon, 6, and Derek, almost 2, with whom she spends a lot of time, she said.

It’s a luxury her parents didn’t have.

“In Vietnam, parents don’t have time for kids because they struggle with living,” she said. “They have to be working constantly to bring shelter and food to their kids. It’s totally different here.”

She said the relationship between her and her parents is much closer now, because life in the U.S. affords them more time together.

Her ethnicity has attracted Vietnamese customers and staff to the bank. Along with Dinh, two tellers also speak Vietnamese. The staff also includes Latino and African-American employees.

“U.S. Bank is very committed to other cultures,” said Dinh, who serves on the board of the Asian Community and Cultural Center.

Employee Araceli Castro said she looks up to Dinh because of the way she treats her clients.

“I’m a banker because of the training she has given me,” she said. “The way she treats her employees, as a boss, but also as friends, makes it easier for us to learn about her.”

Dinh’s top job responsibility is to maximize the branch’s profits. But if the job causes her stress, she doesn’t show it. Her smiling face greets customers as they walk into the bank. She walks briskly, with a purpose, but doesn’t forget who she’s helping.

Her optimism and outgoing personality don’t go unnoticed at work. Teller Stephanie Romero said Dinh relates well with her staff.

“I really like how she doesn’t necessarily treat you as a boss,” Romero said. “She works well with you. She doesn’t have that separation between boss and employee. It’s more of a team here. She creates that team spirit.”

Her connections with the Vietnamese community, her sales capability and her customer service skills are why she has succeeded professionally, said Lynn Larson, U.S. Bank’s district sales manager.

“She was promoted because of her integrity and for always doing the right thing for the customer,” Larson said. “She is a self-motivated individual who believes in doing the right thing for the company.”

It’s been 15 years since she came to Nebraska and used hand signals to make it through those early days at McDonalds. Now just a tinge of an accent can be heard in her voice when she speaks English, but her friendliness and appreciation for others translates to any language.

“My parents always made sure we were good people, had a good heart, and cared for others,” Dinh said. “We came from a country where there is little opportunity. When I came to the United States there are so many things I look at and appreciate more.”

Jason Bissell graduated in December from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in journalism and will soon start as sports editor for the Papillion Times. He wrote this story for a feature writing class at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. He can be reached at jasonb_1222@hotmail.com.

 
   

Two Vietnamese girls sold by a people trafficking gang to brothels in Malaysia returned home Saturday, the Ministry of Public Security reported.

The two, aged 19, are from the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang and were lured into traveling to Malaysia to get married but ended up in brothels instead.

They had to serve five to six customers a day and were ill-treated by the pimps.

Before being repatriated the two were in Malaysian police custody for four months following a crackdown on the sex trade and illegal immigration.

Vietnamese police recently sent investigators to Malaysia to collect evidence against an international human trafficking gang busted last month in Ho Chi Minh City.

Source: Sai Gon Giai Phong – Translated

  C B C . C A   N e w s   –   F u l l   S t o r y :


Last Updated Mon, 08 May 2006 20:56:27 EDT

CBC News

Seventeen years after he fled Vietnam, a resident of a Philippine refugee camp was finally reunited Sunday with his brother in Vancouver.

Lam Nguyen was one of eight people who arrived in British Columbia on the weekend to join their relatives as a result of changes to Canada’s immigration rules.

“I feel emotional and happy,” said  Lam Nguyen. “I couldn’t ever imagine one day I could see my brother again.”

Nguyen, 39, left Vietnam by boat in 1989, and ended up in the Philippines.

When he was denied legal entry into that country, Nguyen found himself in a legal limbo that would last almost two decades. Instead of immigrating to Canada, as his brother Dien had, Nguyen lived in a refugee camp, where he eventually married a Philippine-born woman and had a daughter.

Meanwhile, Dien Nguyen, now 45, was given refugee status and eventually relocated to Canada, settling in Surrey, B.C.

He tried to sponsor his brother as a new Canadian but was unsuccessful: For one thing, Lam didn’t have UN refugee status. For another, he was too old under Canadian family reunification rules.

Those rules were changed last year, in part due to lobbying from a group called SOS Viet Phi.

“We were able to talk to the minister,” said group spokesman Max Vo. “We were able to get through to his department and let them understand these people were indeed in need of Canada’s protection.

“Before, there was never an organized group to come up and bring the issue in front of the Canadian government.”

Lam Nguyen says he’s thankful for all those who helped him join his family.

He says he hopes about 140 other stateless Vietnamese who were in the same position as he was will be able to someday enjoy the same kind of welcome in Canada.

About 145,000 Vietnamese people came to Canada in the years after the Communists took over the country in 1975.

Copyright ©2006 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – All Rights Reserved

NEW ORLEANS, May 8 (UPI) — Hundreds of Vietnamese-American families in New Orleans fear their neighborhood is about to be hit by Hurricane Katrina again — this time by its debris.

Some 7.2 million tons of hurricane debris needs to be dumped but the Chef Menteur landfill can only accept 2.6 million tons.

More than a thousand Vietnamese-American families live less than two miles from the edge of a new landfill, opened on April 26, and representatives told The New York Times they fear dumping the debris there will threaten their existence.

Environmental groups are also angry, accusing local and federal officials of ignoring regulations, comparing it to the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy in 1965, after which one dump became a Superfund site.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers are both working on the cleanup that Joel Waltzer, a lawyer representing landfill opponents, says includes “cleaning solutions, pesticides, fertilizers, bleach.”


Photographer Le Hong Linh stands first in the Photographic Society of America (PSA)’s list in black and white photos with 52 international prizes in 129 accepts.

This was from a PSA Journal issued in May, 2006.

This is the first time since 1975 a Vietnamese ranks first in the list. In top 25 world photographers in black and white genre of PAS, another Vietnamese photographer, Dao Tien Dat stands 14th with 49 accepts.

Since the beginning of the year, Le Hong Linh has won 18 international prizes at four contests held in the US, India and Spain.  His latest prize has been won at the 73rd Wilmington International Photo Contest in the US which attracted 2,728 entries of 432 artists from 33 countries. All his four photos sent to the contest were awarded prizes, including one gold medal for ‘Time No 7’, one silver medal for ‘Mother and Child’, and two certificates of honour for ‘Summer Day’ and ‘Wave’. In addition, Hong Linh also won another two certificates of honour in colour photo.

From 2002- 2004, photographer Le Hong Linh had been ranked continuously among top ten of PAS with year-on-year increased points.

 
http://www.chinaview.cn 2006-05-08 11:55:40
HANOI, May 8 (Xinhua) — An official at Vietnam’s Transport Ministry has spent 2.6 million U.S. dollars on betting international soccer matches, and he has tried to bribe influential figures with over 62,600 dollars for lighter charges against him, local media reported Monday.

Bui Tien Dung, general director of the Project Management Unit No. 18 (PMU18) under the Transport Ministry, which implements and overseas major transport projects, has made soccer bets via two international gambling rings to the tune of some 2.6 million dollars, Transport newspaper quoted initial conclusions of the country’s Investigation Agency as saying.

Before being arrested in January for the charge of gambling, Dung has asked his underlings to use 59,500 dollars and 50 million Vietnamese dong (VND) (over 3,100 dollars) to bribe several state officials so that charges against him would be lessened.

To date, the Investigation Agency has had no evidence about bribery taking, although the underlings, all detained, have allegedly tried to approach some officials of the General Directorate of Police under the Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Supreme Procuracy, and the Government Office.

According to the initial conclusions, Dung’s superior, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Viet Tien has intentionally acted counter to state regulations in economic management, and had slack responsibility. Dung and Tien lent 34 automobiles of the PMU 18 and seven other vehicles, which are temporarily imported for re-export, to other local organizations, causing a total loss of more than 14.8 billion VND (930,800 dollars) to the state budget.

The Vietnamese government has recently asked the National Assembly of Vietnam, the country’s highest legislative body, to relieve Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh, who has already resigned, partly for his slack responsibility for the PMU 18 scandal.

The World Bank and the UK Department for International Development plan to send an inspection team to Vietnam in June to review implementation of the bank-funded projects, including those carried out by the PMU 18. Enditem

Editor: Pliny Han

Two of the four new entrants to the list of the UK’s 10 richest Asian businessmen run an online gambling operation based in Gibraltar. Anurag Dikshit, 34, took third place in the table with an estimated wealth of £1.7bn – thanks to British dependency being included in the list.

Partygaming’s Vikrant Bhargava ranked seventh, with a net worth of £592m.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, worth £14.8bn, remains the richest UK Asian.

Other new entrants in the top ten were Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways, and Felix Grovit, founder of foreign exchange firm Chequepoint.The new list – published by the Sunrise Group – was compiled by Dr Phillip Beresford who developed The Sunday Times rich list.

The combined wealth of the 300 Asian multimillionaires on the list has surged from £24.9bn in 2005 to £35.5bn in 2006, an increase of 42.6%.

Low inheritance

Unlike the British rich list, where two-thirds have inherited their wealth, on the Asian list this figure is only 3%.

The accomplishment of the two Partygaming entrepreneurs is typical of many of the names on the list, who moved abroad at an early stage to make the most of their business know-how.

 

ASIAN RICH LIST TOP 10

Lakshmi Mittal – LNM Group – £14.8bn

GP &SP Hinduja – Sangam Group – £3.6bn

Anurag Dikshit – Partygaming – £1.7bn

Anil Aggarwal – Vedanta Resources – £1.68bn

The Jatania Brothers – Lornamead – £850m

Naresh Goyal & Family – Jet Airways – £780m

Vikrant Bhargava – Partygaming – £592m

Felix Grovit – Chequepoint – £465m

Lord Paul & Family – The Caparo Group – £465m

Gulu Lalvani – Binatone – £450m

Mr Dikshit graduated of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1994, then moved to work for a US software developer a year later.

In 1998 entrepreneur Ruth Parasol took on the 25-year-old Mr Dikshit and asked him to create casino games such as roulette. They launched Partygaming in 2001.

When the company floated last year, Mr Dikshit became a billionaire overnight.

He himself recruited his friend and fellow IIT graduate Mr Bhargava to the company to run its Caribbean operations which focus on the US market.

Elsewhere in the league table, the Hinduja brothers – Srichand and Gopichand – held onto the number two slot with a combined wealth of £3.6bn for their global finance, telecommunications, film and oil businesses.

Only 22 of the richest 300 Asians were women, of which one was Meena Pathak, of the Pathak spices group.

The most important sectors were wholesaling and industry, which had 45 individuals each.

Over half (187) of those who have made the list are from London and the Southeast.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/4918902.stm

Gambling, Addiction, & Asian Culture

The following is a reprint of an article written by John M. Glionna of the Los Angeles Times, entitled Gambling Seen as No-Win Situation for Some Asians, originally published January 16, 2006. It discusses the popularity of gambling among Asian Americans, its ties to traditional Asian culture, and some of the problems of addiction associated with it.

AN EMERGING COMMUNITY ISSUE

In Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean and Cambodian communities, social workers and leaders are pressuring gaming officials and state legislators to recognize a hidden epidemic. “This isn’t a special-interest group overblowing a problem,” said Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, which is conducting an Asian gambling study. “We think this is real.”

Nobody really knows how deeply problem gambling reaches into Asian communities because Asians have not been broken out as a group in national or California studies on the issue. But a 1999 poll in San Francisco’s Chinatown, commissioned by a social services agency, found that 70% of 1,808 respondents ranked gambling as their community’s No. 1 problem.

Vietnamese American woman gambling in a casino © Béatrice de Géa/LA TimesIn a follow-up poll, 21% of respondents considered themselves pathological gamblers and 16% more called themselves problem gamblers — rates significantly higher than in the overall population. Current data suggest that 1.6% of Americans can be classified as pathological gamblers, a condition recognized as a psychiatric disorder. About 3% more are considered problem gamblers.

Gambling has become America’s adult pastime of choice. Each year, more money is spent in the nation’s $75-billion gaming industry than on movies, concerts, sporting events and amusement parks combined. And nowhere is gambling on a bigger roll than in California, with nearly 60 Indian casinos, scores of card rooms, racetracks and Internet gambling sites as well as one of the nation’s most lucrative state lotteries.

Asian gamblers play a key role in that success. Though few statistics on their contribution to the state’s gambling pot exist, some casinos and card rooms near Los Angeles and San Francisco estimate that Asians often account for 80% of their customers. “Asians are a huge market,” said Wendy Waldorf, a spokeswoman for the Cache Creek Casino north of San Francisco. “We cater to them.”

Each day in San Gabriel, Monterey Park and San Francisco’s Chinatown, scores of buses collect Asian customers for free junkets to Indian casinos and to Reno and Las Vegas. Many Nevada casinos also maintain business offices in Monterey Park, where hosts keep in regular touch with Asian high rollers. To reach more run-of-the-mill gamblers, casinos run ads in Asian-language print and broadcast media and conduct direct-mailing campaigns to ZIP Codes with high numbers of Asian residents.

A TRADITION OF GAMBLING

Many Asians — especially Chinese — consider gambling an accepted practice at home and at social events, even among the young. Chinese youths often gamble for money with aunts, uncles and grandparents. While growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lee took betting to absurd levels — wagering on whether the teacher would assign homework. On rainy days, he bet on which drop would first reach the bottom of the classroom window.

Group of Chinese Americans scratching off lottery tickets © Béatrice de Géa/LA TimesMany Chinese are fascinated by the mystical qualities of luck, fate and chance. The Chinese New Year — this year Jan. 29 — is a time of heightened wagering, when bad luck of the old year is ushered out by the good luck of the new. Numerology also plays a crucial role in many Asian cultures. The number 8, for example, is considered extremely lucky by many Chinese, while 4, when spoken in Mandarin and Cantonese, sounds like the word for death and is avoided.

Though Chinese believe most strongly in such concepts, other Asian cultures, including Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino, hold similar beliefs — depending on China’s political influence in their history or the extent of Chinese immigration there. Experts believe that recent Asian immigrants — risk-takers willing to leave the familiarity of their homelands — develop more aggressive gambling strategies than their U.S.-born counterparts.

Often lacking language skills and advanced education, some gravitate to casinos, where waitresses dote on gamblers with free drinks and cigarettes. “They’re treated as honored guests even though they work dead-end, minimum-wage jobs,” said Tina Shum, a social worker in San Francisco’s Chinatown. “That’s what they long for.” Some eventually engage in “attack” gambling: wagering sums beyond their means in a reckless grab at the American dream. “The immigrant experience is often demeaning,” Shum said. “Many get blinded by the neon lights.”

LOSING MORE THAN MONEY

But such gaming habits come at a cost. “An astronomical amount of money leaves the Asian community for gambling industry coffers,” said Paul Osaki, a member of a gambling task force created last year by the state Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. “It’s not all discretionary money. It’s quality-of-life money, food-on-the-table money, college education money.”

Osaki and other activists want more research and culturally sensitive gambling treatment programs for often-reserved Asians with gambling problems — for whom Western strategies like Gamblers Anonymous rarely work. Kent Woo, executive director of a Chinatown-based health coalition that conducted the gambling polls, said the biggest challenge is to convince the community that it has a problem.

Traditional Chinese cards © Getty Images“Breaking through the denial is the hard part,” he said. Still, activists say, California’s Office of Problem Gambling is under-funded and disorganized. The agency’s $3-million budget is derived from contributions from 26 Native American-run casinos. Thirty other tribal casinos do not contribute. Nor do card rooms, race tracks or the state lottery. In 2003 the office left its entire budget unspent.

Diane Ujiiye, who heads the problem gambling task force, said $3 million wasn’t nearly enough to deal with the issue. “It’s unacceptable,” she said. “What can you do with $3 million? Publish a couple of brochures and run a hotline?”

DENIAL AND DEPENDENCE

When Bill Lee was on a roll, nothing mattered but the gambling, not even family. He fell for the VIP treatment that came with betting thousands of dollars at a casino: free hotel suites and concert tickets, having casino managers know his name. “I was a big shot,” Lee said, “as long as the money lasted.” Angela, 52, a San Gabriel Valley Las Vegas gambling tour guide operator, said that on most trips, she ended up losing her own money and began playing with the company’s funds.

She said she tried to tame her zealous gambling. On one Vegas trip, she gave all her credit cards to a friend and begged her not to return them, no matter what she said. Later, after losing all her cash, Angela threatened to slap her friend unless she returned the cards. “She threw the cards on the floor and I got down onto my hands and knees without shame to pick them up.”

Angela helped start one of the state’s few Mandarin Chinese gambling treatment programs. But she soon realized a hard fact: Admitting an addiction is difficult in any culture. But many Asians find it particularly hard, especially men. “It’s shameful to be emotionally weak,” Lee said. “It’s not acceptable. So you certainly don’t get up and bare your soul before a room full of strangers.”

To save face among neighbors, many families will bail out an addicted gambler, paying off casinos and loan sharks, rather than seek help. Asian American advocates are urging casinos to distribute brochures in Asian languages offering help to problem gamblers. More ambitiously, they want ATMs in casinos closed and overnight hours curtailed to discourage problem gamblers. They also would like the state to require gaming venues to contribute to treatment programs.

Yet casino owner Chu warned that “too many restrictions will kill business.”