Coffee shops wikipedia

April 14, 2007

Little Saigon has seen a surge in coffee shops “Quan Ca-Fe” which are the equivalent to American bars where Vietnamese men go to spend time with male friends and drink coffee. In order to attract customers, shops employ scantily clad women who in true LA-style surgically enhance their appearance to appeal to the male customers. With such a proliferation in coffee shops, the City of Westminster has limited the number of new coffee shop business licenses.

t. There are approximately 200 hundred restaurants in the area of Little Saigon and spilling over to Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana and Huntington Beach. In addition, there are quite a number of Vietnamese supermarkets, small Vietnamese delis and bakeries in Little Saigon specializing in French-style coffee and baguette sandwiches – indeed, a legacy of Vietnam’s turbulent colonial past

Coffe Shops Bolsa

April 14, 2007

These days when you drive down on Bolsa in Orange county you see men and women walking out of coffee shops. SMoking, gambling, Karoke, and probably has intentions of cheating on their spouse.  You see the coffee shops in Orange county is like a bar. More like a coffee bar   Asian teenagers after high school break into partys and going clubbing, having babies at a year age.  What troubles me is to see at seventeen year old girl working at  a coffee shop wearing a tube top and trying to still fit in with a group, while she has a baby at home.  My family doesn’t really how wealthy they are.  Always talk of winning the lottery and buying a million dollar house.  They just refinciance the house and added new lawn to the front yard.  Paint the house fix the windows and backyard.  They now can afford satelite vietnames channel.  My mom has a car, my older sisters have their own car and linda shares a car with my dad.  Yet my mother is miserable. I pray for their souls because their needy.  Not only for family but salvation.  They’re not hungry for truth beecause they rather fill their emptiness with food, fights, grand kids, gambling, chinese/korean series in dubbed, and the vietnamese channel on satellite.

Seats fill for films

April 12, 2007

A celebration of Vietnamese moviemaking is turning three, and organizers expect its biggest audiences yet.

Seats fill for films

Seats fill for films
ALL IN THE DELIVERY: Johnny Nguyen delivers a punishing kick to a villain in “The Rebel,” which makes its world premiere Thursday in Irvine at the third Vietnamese International Film Festival.

“THE REBEL”: Johnny Nguyen, left, and Ngo Thanh Van star in the movie, the third feature film from Buena Park resident Charlie Nguyen. The movie was a special accomplishment for Nguyen because of the troubles the cast and crew endured in Vietnam, he said.

Seats fill for films
READY FOR THE CROWDS: Actors Johnny Tri Nguyen and Ngo Thanh Van, movie director Charlie Nguyen and film festival co-director Ysa Le, from left. ANDY TEMPLETON, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

The Orange County Register

One of Charlie Nguyen’s big dreams is coming true this week.

The Buena Park resident’s feature film “The Rebel” is making its world premiere Thursday at the Vietnamese International Film Festival. It’s Nguyen’s third movie, and it’s also the third incarnation of the biennial film fest. By all accounts, the festival is getting larger and more influential each year.

The third Vietnamese International Film Festival, called “ViFF” by organizers and participants, runs Thursday through Sunday and April 19-22. Most films screen at UC Irvine’s Film and Video Center, with the opening movie at Edwards University in Irvine.

What started as a joint project between two area Vietnamese-American nonprofit organizations has become one of the nation’s largest gatherings for Vietnamese cinema and a launching pad for aspiring filmmakers.

“ViFF has always been our supporter from the very beginning,” said Nguyen, 39, who grew up in Orange County and graduated from Garden Grove High School.

“To make ‘The Rebel,’ we needed a lot of support from peers and friends, and ViFF was the portal through which all of our support came from. It’s sort of like a cradle for Vietnamese filmmakers in the community.”

The Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association and the VietNamese Language and Culture organization at UCLA started the film festival in October 2003 by showing previously released films. It has grown into a popular gathering for the local Vietnamese community, with 51 films, social events and new movies making world and national premieres. About 5,000 attendees are anticipated this year.

“This is the biggest ever,” said Ysa Le, festival co-director. “There definitely has been growth. We see a younger generation of filmmakers with energy and new work. It’s a very diverse group.”

Opening picture “The Rebel” is a rare Vietnamese action and martial arts drama set in the 1920s. The film, in Vietnamese with English subtitles, was shot in Vietnam last year and stars Johnny Nguyen (Charlie’s younger brother), Ngo Thanh Van and Dustin Nguyen (no relation), whose first breakout role was in television’s “21 Jump Street.”

“I have been wanting to work in Vietnam,” said Dustin Nguyen, who plays the villain Sy – his first turn as an antagonist and his first acting job in Vietnamese. “It’s extremely important there are festivals to promote and encourage Vietnamese-American artists to make films. Otherwise, there’s really not an outlet to learn or see films.”

“The Rebel’s” cast and crew shot for 80 days in Vietnam, whose film industry is still playing catch-up with Hollywood’s and Hong Kong’s. They had to deal with a number of obstacles, including crew members who got sick, actors who got hurt and cultural police officers who monitored every move.

“We overcame a lot of difficulties,” Charlie Nguyen said. “There were tons of disasters and obstacles. It was a labor of love for a lot of people. So it’s something that we all feel very proud of.”

Other new films that have been attracting buzz include “Dust of Life,” “The White Silk Dress” and “Journey From the Fall,” a saga about re-education camps and refugees that had a national release last month.

“We’ve seen the success of ‘Journey from the Fall’ in the theaters,” Le said. “Vietnamese cinema is getting attention. Other films will follow and get the spotlight as well.”

And the filmmakers attending this festival are ready for their chance to shine.

Contact the writer: 714-796-6026 or

16:56′ 09/04/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – The US$1.5 million sale of Vietnamese movie The Rebels to a foreign distributor suggests to some the possibility that many more high-quality, made-in-Vietnam films can be sold abroad.

Screened for free

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One piece of good news is the sale of Chanh Phuong Film’s million-dollar movie Heroic Blood to the American distributor, Weisteins Co.

For years, many Vietnamese films such as Chi Tu Hau (Ms. Tu Hau), Canh dong hoang (Wild Field), Bao gio cho den thang 10 (When Will October Come), and Thung lung hoang vang (Deserted Valley) have been screened at international film festivals, film fairs, and during Vietnamese film weeks and cultural days abroad, receiving international attention and support. Yet, they have only been screened for free.

In recent years, several films with foreign investment like Me Thao thoi vang bong (Glorious Time in Me Thao Hamlet) have improved technically. For instance, thanks to director Viet Linh’s efforts, Glorious Time in Me Thao Hamlet was screened in several small private theatres in France. But ticket sales were insignificant.

For the past 5 years, due to import relationships with foreign film distributors, Vietnam Media Corporation has regularly sent Vietnamese films to international film festivals and fairs. The company has sold several products of TFS, VTV, and Giai Phong Film such as Vu khuc con co (Stork’s Dance), 39 do yeu (39 Degrees of Love) and Gai nhay (Dancing Girls). But as a representative of Vietnam Media Corp said, “loss has been bigger than profit.”

Technical problems

Though the themes of Vietnamese films are interesting to foreign audiences, it’s difficult to sell them abroad for many reasons, one of which is low technical quality.

It costs at least $25,000 to make a film metre that meets international technical standards. Yet, the highest production cost of a Vietnamese film produced by a state-owned company has only been VND2 billion ($125,000) so far. With low investment in technical quality, Vietnamese films abound in light, sound and image errors.

Most of the few movies successfully sold to foreign distributors had to be re-produced. Last year, Thien Ngan Film sold Dancing Girls to Sony, which had to re-do the movie’s sound and other technical parts.

A good omen

One piece of good news is the sale of Chanh Phuong Film’s million-dollar movie The Rebels to the American distributor, Weisteins Co.

To open the door to Hollywood, The Rebels’ makers including directors, producers and scriptwriters, who are all Vietnamese Americans, had to research how to make a Hollywood-style product. And they reached a final decision: an interesting script about Vietnamese martial arts, known actors such as Dustin Nguyen who starred in award-winning movie Con ca nho (Small Fish) and minimising avoidable errors like inappropriate costumes.

Thanks to a good marketing campaign, The Rebels is one of the 2 Vietnamese movies ever to have a trailer and poster on the American website And on April 14, 2007, the film will be screened on the opening day of the International Vietnam Film Festival in California, the US, before being widely introduced in Vietnam and throughout the world.

With only 50 major theatre complexes concentrated in urban areas to serve a population of over 80 million, the domestic market for Vietnamese films isn’t big. Thus, many producers don’t expect to cover production costs by distributing their products in Vietnam.

A representative of Vietnam Media Corp said, “The goal of exporting films is an incentive for Vietnamese producers to invest more in their films.” Most of the films which have been produced in 2007 received unusually high investment. For instance, Phuoc Sang Film has spent more than US $1 million on modern production equipment, and new studios like Anh Viet Green Post that meet world technical standards are being built.

(Source: SGGP)  

21:13′ 08/04/2007 (GMT+7)

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Better relations between Vietnam and the US are the hope of everybody.

VietNamNet Bridge – VietNamNet has received many letters from readers at home and abroad expressing their discontentment against US Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s inappropriate words and activities during her stay in Vietnam. Among those letters is one from a Vietnamese American who has voted for Sanchez. This is the full text of the letter.


Spokesman responds to US Congresswoman’s comments on Vietnam

Terrorist group works out plan for Sanchez’s visit

As a constituent in the district where Loretta Sanchez represents, I am disappointed about her ineffective way of working. Vietnam is not a perfect country so it has many things that still need improvements, including freedom and democracy. 

However, the showing-off, undiplomatic, and insensitive working style of Sanchez doesn’t help promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam, but drives a wedge between the US and Vietnam. We should ask ourselves, who would benefit when a deep ditch exists between the two nations? It would not be the community of Vietnamese Americans. So whom? 

What has Sanchez done for extremists in Vietnam? Has she helped any of them get out of jail? Or she has only exploited them to have an opportunity to ‘go on the stage’ and sold us illusive cakes?

Meanwhile, there are congressmen who do not make somuch noise but have solved difficulties and differences between Vietnam and the US, and helped the two sides get closer to each other. As Vietnamese we want Vietnam to be more friendly to the US or to other countries? Sanchez’s holier-than-thou attitude doesn’t help solve any problem but makes things difficult for many people in Vietnam. 

As voters, we have the right to raise our voice. Sanchez needs to understand that we are not kids to eat her cake picture. Her acts only bring her kudos within a few days and make a deep hole that many others must fill up for her in the upcoming many months. 

Let’s raise our voice to show Sanchez that the community of Vietnamese Americans in the Orange County is not silly. We are able to replace her by young and bright faces. Let’s raise our voice by sending emails to Sanchez’s office through, calling to 202-225-2965 or sending letters to 1230 Longworth HOB. Washington D.C. 20515. 

Our direct voice is the strength of community. Let’s express our opinions to this loudmouthed but ineffective Mexican-origin congresswoman. 

Tran Duc Anh / Tony Nguyen
Orange County, California

11:20′ 12/11/2006 (GMT+7)

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Teacher Presley and students of the Hanoi University.

VietNamNet Bridge – The teacher stands with his face to the wall pretending to cry. Another teacher plays the part of an employer interviewing students. Teachers and students make pizza, research ancient poems, eat bun cha, drink sugarcane juice… together. Foreign lecturers are ‘conquering the hearts’ of Vietnamese students with their whole-heartedness and friendliness.


Everything in modern style


In the classroom of class 10A – 06, English Department, Hanoi University, in a corner, an American lecturer, Mr Presley McFadden, is facing the wall and crying while his Vietnamese students are laughing.


Nguyen Thi Hoa, a student, explained: “The teacher is giving an example of the form of punishment that parents often give to their children. His class is always interesting and joyful like this because he often performs hilarious dialogues or humourous actions like this to help us understand and remember the lesson”.


Most of the first-year students of the Korean Faculty of the Hanoi University worried because they would have to study with Korean teachers while they didn’t know one word of Korean. However, Ngoc Mai, a student from H2-06 class, said: “Ms Song, my Korean teacher, often sings a short song in Korean, and then she explains the meaning of all the words. Sometimes she gives us quizzes or crossword puzzles to teach us new words. After each class with Ms Song, our vocabulary has improved remarkably”.


Hanoi University currently has around 30 foreign lecturers from the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and China. The Hanoi Foreign Trade University also has five lecturers from Japan, Canada and the US. Some other universities like the Open University Institute and Thang Long People-founded University also cooperate with some foreign lecturers.


The classes of foreign teachers are often very joyful, interesting, but are also very serious. Students must study at the highest level to meet the requirements of foreign lecturers.


Pham Hoang Lan, a student of the Thang Long People-founded University in Hanoi, described a class on human deeds and social environment of an Australia teacher: “After teaching the theory on mobilising resources and building projects, Ms Pauline introduces sample circumstances and divides students into several groups to discuss and seek solutions. She plays the role of the authorities and we have to present our projects to convince the authorities to agree to invest in our project”.


After studying a subject on self control taught by a French teacher, Mr Feredric, Nguyen Huong Ly, K15, Thang Long People-founded University, said: “Mr Feredric has taught us the way to control our anger and to refresh ourselves to keep balance in a life full of pressure”.


At the Commercial English Language Faculty of the Hanoi Foreign Trade University, the teacher David, who is in charge of the import and export subject, asks his students to make market surveys and design import export projects.


Diem Anh, a student of K24 course, Hanoi Foreign Trade University, said: “Foreign lecturers not only impart professional knowledge to us but also skills necessary for our lives and jobs; for example, how to search for and process information on the Internet, skills to answer interviews and make presentations.”


For the unit on American culture, David asks his students to go around Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi to interview US tourists about their origins to learn about racial diversity in the US. Meanwhile, Ms Susan divides her students into groups to perform short plays in English to test their accents.


“Mr Peter often instructs us in how to write an impressive job application. He even plays the part of an employer to interview us; we play the roles of job applicants. Thanks to his instruction, we are now confident in our job application skills,” Diem Anh added.


At the end of each term, David also organises a contest in which students compete for an international business cup among classes. Each class appoints four students to attend each round of the contest. All questions are related to the knowledge that he taught during the term. The winning class receives a special prize – a cup full of chocolate. The contest is not only a chance for exchanges and studying among classes but also promotes healthy competition among students.


Foreign teachers + Vietnamese students = friends + families


Vietnamese students become friends and family to foreign teachers, who have come from far away to Vietnam, leaving their families and friends back home.


Many students are very surprised when foreign teachers remember the name of each student, even after several years.


“In the first class, the teacher Presley took a photo of each student and added them to an album, with their names and classes under the photo. In the following classes, he brought the album to class. After only several weeks, he knew the face and the name of all students,” said Thanh Hang, first-year student of the English Faculty, Hanoi University.


On Christmas day in 2003, two Santa Clauses appeared at the English Faculty of the Hanoi University. They held very big bags of presents, came to each class to present each student a red head and a candy box. They were a couple of teachers, Mr Bob and Mrs Ginny Morstay.


“We were first-year students at that time and as newcomers, we had never felt such warm sentiments between teachers and students like that. Mr Bob and Mrs Ginny Morstay also organised games for us. Our teacher Bob played guitar while Mrs Ginner sang. That was the most special Christmas for me,” said student Thuy Linh from 2A-02 class.


During their three years in Vietnam, Bob and Ginny paid attention to each of their students and understood their strengths and weaknesses as well.


Nguyen Thanh Thuy, a student in the talented bachelor class of English Faculty, Hanoi University, recalled: “Has leadership capacity, is good at communication and is brisk. These are the words that Bob said about me at the farewell ceremony. On that day, Mr Bob gave each student a poem and three groups of words describing exactly their personality. His advice will surely be valuable luggage for each student”.


Tuan Anh, a student in the German Faculty, Hanoi University, was very happy when teacher Berndt Dilp wrote a recommendation letter to help him attend a two-month course in Germany last summer.


Foreign teachers often invite students to their houses to cook for them or meet them. Students of the Hanoi Foreign Trade University sometimes visit their teacher Sherman’s house to participate in a poetry club, during which teachers and students read and analyse English and even Vietnamese poems together. After that they cook Vietnamese and western cuisine.


“I was very surprised and happy when students organised a birthday party for me at a small café near our university. Sometimes we go on a picnic together or visit the hometown of a student, where I can enjoy the rural life in Vietnam,” Presley said.


Ms Susan Lucasse, a teacher at the Hanoi Foreign Trade Univeristy, was also very happy when Vietnamese students made bun cha to celebrate her birthday.


“Many Vietnamese students come to me to talk about their love stories, their jobs, their lives and ask my advice. As the lifestyle and the way of thinking between Vietnamese and Americans is sometimes different I don’t always have really useful advice, but I always encourage my students to do what they think is right,” Ms Susan said.


I love Vietnam


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Teachers Bob and Ginny sing for students of the Hanoi University during the Christmas.

The love for Vietnam is a common thing that foreign teachers have. Each of them comes to Vietnam for a different reason but they all have something in common: they love their Vietnamese students and this country.


Teacher Miyahara Akira of the Japanese Faculty, Hanoi Foreign Trade University, recalled: “On April 30, 1975, the day your country re-gained independence and unification, I was teaching at the Foreign University. Returning to Japan, I and many young Japanese people at that time admired the will and the spirit of Vietnamese people. So after 30 years, I’ve returned to this country to pursue my half-done job”.


As a Japanese lecturer for international students at big universities in Japan such as Nagasaki and Tokyo, Mr Miyahara has taught many foreign students. But he loves Vietnamese students for their simple style, obedience and assiduity.


Presley shared: “I came to HCM City on a tour in 2001. Attracted by the life and the people there I planned to return to Vietnam. Immediately when REI recruited volunteers to Vietnam to teach English, I registered, and so far, I’ve taught English in Vietnam for two years”.


He revealed that he has many times been surprised by the intelligent questions of Vietnamese students. They voiced issues that he had never thought of and to answer them, he had to read books and refer to documents, which in term helped him learn something more.


“But the most popular question is, do you have girlfriend? I’m asked this question every day. People in the US don’t ask such a question, but in Vietnam, it shows attention and love,” Mr Presley said.


To avoid such ‘culture shock’, apart from six months of training in pedagogical skills, foreign teachers coming to Vietnam have to study some Vietnamese words and something about Vietnamese culture and habits, said Truong Van Khoi, Head of the International Cooperation Department of Hanoi University.


Ms Susan immediately became addicted to ‘sugarcane juice, boiled snails and bun cha” when she came to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Mr Bob loves dog meat and Mr Miyahara likes fried rice.


Presley read a 600-page book on President Ho Chi Minh. “When visiting Uncle Ho’s mausoleum with us, we were very surprised because Mr Presley told us stories about President Ho that we had never heard before,” said Khanh Linh, a student in the talented bachelor class, English Faculty, Hanoi University.


Lan Huong

The Streets of Orange County

By LiMin Lam

APA reflects on Journey from the Fall — this time from the perspective of its premiere in Orange County, where the Vietnamese American community helped give the film the weekend’s biggest per-screen average at the North American box office.

I grew up hearing stories that came from another world — a world that belonged to my parents and the memories they had of their once-home in Saigon, Vietnam. For my father, these memories were some of the few things he had left from his past — pirates had pillaged the boat that he and his brother were escaping on en route to Malaysia. Pirates, swindlers, and boats that were cast off into the night. The stories that I would hear when my parents were in a mode to reminisce sounded like chapters in fairy tale books that I used to read. Except these stories were profoundly real: my parents recalled how they and their families were forced to flee from a war-torn country.

When I learned of Ham Tran’s latest film, Journey from the Fall, I knew immediately that I had to bring my mother to see it. For myself, I wanted to match pictures to scenes that I could only previously imagine. For my mother, I wanted to let her know that she lived a history that now would be captured on film for others to understand.

Throughout his movie, Tran vividly depicted three aspects of the war and its aftermath: the escape of the boat people, the savage re-education camps that enslaved defiant anti-communists, and the final arrival of Vietnamese immigrants to a free but foreign America. Because my parents were able to leave Vietnam prior to America’s detachment to the war, they circumvented the horrors of the re-education camps and the complete takeover of Southern Vietnam by the Northern communists. Despite that, I still associated many of the same scenes to what my parents had previously told me. “Ma, was that the size of your boat?” I whispered to my mom midway through the story. “No, ours was a little bigger,” my mother replied — but in the back of my mind, I remembered her telling me about the long, tolling journey and how a few bags of dried noodles had to be rationed to feed several mouths.

Actress Kieu Chinh, who plays the role of a resilient grandmother in Journey to the Fall, spoke to me before the premiere of the film. Chinh recalled how she had to become a refugee twice in her life. Once in 1954 when she left her home in Northern Vietnam to find refuge in Southern Vietnam, and after that, to journey half way around the world in 1975 to find sanction in America. Certainly, this personal experience was reflected in Chinh’s spectacular performance in Journey to the Fall. Her character’s staunch refusal to let war dissolve her family exposes emotions that are raw and fundamental, emotions that can be understood in all languages and by all cultures. Such is the story of the boat people, a story to which Chinh says with firmness, “Yes, it is my story.” But it should also be a story that most Americans sympathize with, as Chinh remarked, “Most of us are refugees coming, America is the melting pot.”

As this pot melts, however, each generation becomes more and more removed from the endeavors and realities of their immigrant parents and/or grandparents. With this distancing, there leaves a void in understanding how there came to be a Vietnamese American community. Determined not to let the story of the boat people fade with each new generation of immigrants to America, Tran insisted that his movie be told from the viewpoint of the boat people themselves. Finding talent from within the Vietnamese community, most of the actors in Tran’s cast were people who had lived and breathed the struggles that came with the Vietnam War. Paying close attention to these details, Tran’s intentions are two-fold: for younger members of the Vietnamese community, he says, he hopes to foster new dialogue between generations, and allow parents who had previously kept silent about their past to use the film as an occasion to discuss their history with their children; for those not in the Vietnamese community, Tran wants them “to finally get how come there are Vietnamese people [living in America]” — that for many in the community, they came “by circumstance, not by choice.”

But the history of the boat people does not end with their arrival to America. In the wake of each new generation of Vietnamese Americans, there continues to be stories untold, and to this, Tran eagerly hints that we wait for his next film. As to the successful production of Journey to the Fall, Westminster Mayor Marie L. Rice says that she is “very proud, very honored” to host the premiere of Tran’s film in her city. With Westminster being home to one of America’s largest Vietnamese American populations, Rice says, “Our Vietnamese community has brought so much talent, and has given so much to our city.” And indeed, Tran’s film has done all of this in its very own genuine, heartfelt fashion.

Read APA’s interview with Ham Tran here.

By Ben Voth

Vietnam Vietnam Vietnam.  These are words we here with some regularity in today’s media.  The metaphorical lens through which all contemporary military conflicts must be viewed is Vietnam.  For anyone championing a notion of American defeat, this metaphor is indispensable.  Vietnam is taken to be a case study in American military failure.  It is interesting to carefully examine this metaphor’s relationship to current conflicts.

In 1975, the United States Congress voted to cut off funding to the democratic government of South Vietnam.  The political decision of the Congress constituted the final renunciation of the war in Vietnam for which 58,000 Americans and thousands of South Vietnamese soldiers gave their lives in a decade long struggle.  Images of the American choppers lifting off from Saigon have become emblematic of war the US could never win, even though the military never lost a battle on the ground of Vietnam.

Congress accomplished with its vote to end funding of the South Vietnam government what Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnamese communist had been unable to accomplish on the battlefield– the end of democratic governance in Vietnam. 
The Congressional vote in 1975 signaled the North Vietnamese government that it was finally safe to launch an overwhelming military attack on the young democratic government of South Vietnam.  What ensued in Vietnam was cataclysmic.  Close to one million people in Vietnam were executed in “re-education camps” instituted by the now unified Communist government.  These killings did not go unnoticed in Vietnam and elsewhere.  The unified Communist government sought to kill anyone deemed a traitor by their cooperation with the American power that previously sustained the democratic government of South Vietnam.

These drastic measures unleashed a panicked migration from Vietnam that sent hundreds of thousands of people out into the ocean in feeble crafts.  Sparking this migration were desperate hopes of reaching America– the former ally that had sustained their hopes in the former homeland.  Thousands of Vietnamese people died at sea trying to cross the South China Sea.  Perhaps their drowning in that ocean of ‘peace’ was a fitting end to the disingenuous rhetoric that sent them there.  Tens of thousands did successfully emigrate to the United States and found sanctuary from the violence of the North Vietnamese.
Next door in Cambodia, a man by the name of Pol Pot capitalized on the vacuum of America’s abrupt military withdrawal and precipitous rejection of funding for democratic governance.  Pol Pot instituted one of the most vicious and swift genocides of the modern era.  Killing as many as 3 million people, Cambodia instituted one of the most bizarre spectacles of human hatred, wherein even children were forced to perform the execution of their own parents under the supervision of the Khmer Rouge state.  Though American and international media provided front row seats to the carnage, the outcry for international action was easily subdued by political movements for “peace” in Southeast Asia and an end to “American imperialism.” The American left helped seal the deal on yet another dark chapter of brother abandoning brother into the outrageous public celebrations of human hatred immortalized by the Khmer Rouge. 
And so today, many of us are still wondering what academics and intellectuals are speaking of when they say the magical word of ‘Vietnam.’  Is this the world that you speak of?  When you speak of “peace” and the end of “imperialism,” do you mean to confirm the world of abandonment and unmitigated ethnic hatred ?   Is the world that looks less like Bagdad, a world that looks more like Rwanda or Darfur?  What do your words mean?  I would really like to know.
Dr. Ben Voth is an associate professor of Communication at Miami University, specializing in argumentation and rhetoric studies.

Wall Street in Saigon

April 7, 2007

07:39′ 01/04/2007 (GMT+7)

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Investors sitting at a pavement teashop discussing changes in the stock market.

VietNamNet Bridge – The two words “stock market” have never been mentioned as much as today, at office talks, in restaurants, and during family meals. Along with the ‘movement’ of investing in stocks, the number of people flocking to securities trading companies on Nguyen Cong Tru road in District 1, HCM City, is increasing, turning the quiet streets into a “Wall Street” now.


The heat of the VN-index dance is not only burning investors but also the pavement of “Wall Street”. Securities have made impacts on the people who live on the pavement there, from retired men to tea sellers and vehicle keepers. The life of the residents on “Wall Street” is also very hot like the bourse. 

Taking advantage of each centimeter of land 

Investors flock to the “Wall Street” of Saigon very early, one hour before securities trading floors open, making the narrow Nguyen Cong Tru road even narrower. 

Toan, an investor, said: “The first thing is you must come early to have room for your motorbike. Vehicle keepers here are very picky.” 

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Mr Bui Van Dong, 50, a taxi motorbike driver on ‘Wall Street’, is reading a stock bulletin while waiting for passengers. He said: “I don’t have money to buy stocks but I try to read stock news to be able to talk with my customers. My customers are middle-aged women who love to talk about stocks. If I know stock information, they will always ask me to drive them and on the way they can talk with me about the stock market during the day.

All parking lots are overcrowded. Vehicle keepers frigidly wave their hands to drive customers out of their parking lots though the price for keeping a motorbike here is VND5,000, 150% more than normal. 

The fronts of commodious houses which once were shops have also become parking lots. Owners of houses in alleys are also trying to make their houses become parking lots. They even hire staff to go to the street inviting investors to leave their vehicles in their houses. 

“Land here has never been taken full advantage of like today. I want to lease my house but my wife insists on using it as a parking lot. Such a house can bring about VND500,000 to VND1 million (US$30-60) a day,” said Mr Tai, a retired man on “Wall Street”. 

After the first trading session of the day, investors overflow into cafes near trading floors to talk about securities.  

Ms Tu, the owner of a café near the Bao Viet Securities Trading Company, said: “I have sold coffee here for nearly 20 years but I have never seen such large numbers of customers. Previously my café only served staff of banks.” 

On the sidewalk near the SSI company, Ms Lan made the best of ‘free time’ to read information about the stock market. Hearing what she says to her customers like an investor, nobody would think that she is the owner of a pavement teashop. 

A man said recklessly: “You don’t invest in stocks so please don’t pretend to be a professional…” 

Ms Lan burst out, which made the man shy: “How do you know that I don’t buy securities? If you don’t believe I can tell you the price of each kind of stock and tell you which rise and which fall.” 

“I see many people earn a lot of money from securities so I have also poured out all of my savings for the past ten years to buy stocks. I hope to earn money for my old age. Stocks make fat profit!” Ms Lan said. 

Not only tea sellers on the pavement but also Ha, a fruit peddler, earn a lot from “Wall Street”.  

“I could only earn VND20,000 ($1.25) a day from my fruit handcart though I had to go everywhere. Now I earn hundreds of thousands of dong just around securities trading floors. I plan to save money for several months more to buy stocks,” Ha said. 

Moving with “Wall Street” 

Small talk over coffee on “Wall Street” every morning by residents is very boisterous, like the atmosphere inside trading floors.  

“If the stock fever continues this street will sooner or later change completely. A lot of services for investors will be offered,” Hung, a local resident, predicted. 

Not daring to invest all of his money into stocks, Mr Nam, a retired man, hasn’t ignored the opportunity to become rich on ‘gold street’.  

He said: “I plan to mortgage my house to have money to turn it into a café for investors.” 

In the afternoon, when investors who sell their shares in the morning carry bags of money home, conversations between women on “Wall Street” are more boisterous. 

Ms Huong, the owner of a small kiosk in a local market, complained: “I am impatient seeing people carry bags of money from the stock market while my husband is still emotionless. He is so sluggish! I’ll sleep separately tonight to let him know my anger.” 

Not only Huong but several women here use this way to ‘force’ their husbands to go to the bourse. 

Mr N, a victim of securities, lamented: “The spousal relations are also hot along with the burning of the stock market. I’m a state employee and my wife has a small shop at home. We have neither money nor understanding of the stock market. The house is our life asset but she wants to mortgage it to have money for stock trading. I can’t understand her….” 

The wife of Mr M, a taxi motorbike driver on ‘Wall Street’, said: “He has not given me a coin since early this year. I asked him and he said that he saves money to buy stocks. He told me that some people become billionaires in only one day. I want to be like them but I’m very worried.” 

Residents on ‘Wall Street’ are dancing the hourly movements of the VN-Index dance. Family, neighbour relations are also burning along with numbers on the electronic boards of the securities trading floor. 

(Source: Tuoi Tre)

The Vietnamese property market is one of the fastest-growing in it’s region, largely due to greater foreign investment and household incomes.  Although investment in the region is growing at such a rapid rate, there are of course downfalls to consider when investing.

Marc Townsend, the director of CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam), attributes the real estate boom to Vietnam´s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the rapid growth in the stock market.

WTO membership has encouraged more foreign companies to invest in Vietnam, pushing demand higher for mid- to high-grade office space and hotels, with an increasing number of business travellers.

CB Richard Ellis predicts the demand for retail space at shopping centres will continue to rise, with more companies competing in a more liberalised economic environment in the WTO era.

As a result, domestic and foreign property developers are planning to inject millions of US dollars into the market to build five-star hotels, entertainment and shopping complexes, and office buildings in all the major urban centres.

However, these new construction projects are at a premature stage and are years from being completed, causing a short term shortage in available space.

According to HCM City Real Estate Association (HCREA), many high-end office buildings in Hanoi and HCM City are fully occupied and cost about US$35-38 a sqm per month. A booming stock market has also contributed to real estate growth. Along with this, fund managers are also flooding the market.

Townsend noted that the money earned from securities trading is being redirected to the more stable real estate market. This has led to greater domestic demand for high-rise apartments and villas.

VinaCapital controls 70 per cent of Hilton Hanoi after acquiring an additional 50 per cent stake earlier this year. The company also owns 70 per cent of Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, and operates two property funds that expect returns of 25-30 per cent.

Tran Thanh Tan, director of Dragon Capital’s securities investment fund, predicts that the future is bright for property in Vietnam, with the market expected to continue its steady growth in 2007 and the following year.