Documentary film honors Vietnamese diplomats of “Camp Davis”
13:21′ 15/10/2007 (GMT+7)

Colonel Vo Dong Giang (L) and major-general Hoang Anh Tuan (C) of the revolutionary government of South Viet Nam take part in a press conference at the Camp Davis.

Colonel Vo Dong Giang (L) and major-general Hoang Anh Tuan (C) of the revolutionary government of South Viet Nam take part in a press conference at the Camp Davis.

VietNamNet BridgeDirector Mai Bang and the Nguyen Dinh Chieu Film Studio have just finished the documentary entitled “Camp Davis: Shotless Battlefield” honoring Vietnamese diplomats in the resistance war against the U.S Army. The film reminds us of the unforgettable historical events in those years.

 

Camp Davis, stuck in a corner of Saigon’s sprawling Tan Son Nhat air base (Tan Son Nhat International Aiport at present), was the place where military delegations of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV, North Vietnam) and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRGSV, National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam) set up under the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement until the last day of April, 1975 to implement diplomatic missions.

The delegations took offensive campaigns to force the U.S Army and Republic of Vietnam (RV, former Saigon puppet regime) to execute terms of the Paris Peace Agreement.

 

Based on true events, the documentary tells about the military delegations’ activities before the 1975 general offensive campaign, battles of wits and exchanges of prisoners of war between DRV and PRGVS delegations with US Army and RV officials.

 

There were many difficulties in making the film, according to the film staff members. The sides agreed with each other on restricting the use of cameras to take photographs or shooting on the base. Therefore there are few pictures of the area. Meanwhile the witnesses of the “Camp Davis” event are mostly old and have difficulty remembering, or dead.

 

The film staff members had to ply between North and South to look for rare and valuable documents in archives, and meet all witnesses who are still alive to get more information.

The film shows uncompromising struggles of brave and intelligent Vietnamese soldiers on the diplomatic battlefield.

 

The film was scripted by Le Manh Thi is expected to debut in not-distant future.

 

(Source: SGGP)

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Cassidy: ‘Little Saigon’ has a ring to it
By Mike Cassidy
Mercury News Columnist
San Jose Mercury News
 
Everybody else has an opinion, so here’s mine: When the San Jose City Council votes next month on a name for a one-mile stretch of Story Road, it’s got to go with Little Saigon. The name conjures up a place. It stirs emotion. It’s about history and roots and, yes, politics.

More than that, it sounds good. Nice ring, as they say. The problem? No name is going to please everyone. In fact, any name for the area of hundreds of Vietnamese-American-owned businesses is likely to leave one faction or another furious.

Nobody knows this better than Councilwoman Madison Nguyen. She started the name sweepstakes without intending to do anything of the sort. Nguyen wanted to honor the mom-and-pop businesses that grew up along Story Road between Highway 101 and Senter Road.

“The objective behind the business district that I proposed was to kind of celebrate the achievement and accomplishment of the Vietnamese folks who had contributed to that particular area,” Nguyen says.

Yes, a pat on the back for the architects of a “vibrant marketplace.”

“I never thought the name was going to become an issue,” she says.

You could argue that Nguyen should have known better.

“There is nothing more political than place names, especially names of regions or things that people have a lot of emotion around,” says Susan Russell, whose Albany-based Russell Mark Group helps businesses name products and companies.

The lives of many Vietnam immigrants were molded by war and diaspora. Many who came to San Jose lost their country to the communist government of North Vietnam. They lost their capital, Saigon, to the same forces. It is Ho Chi Minh City now.

And so, Little Saigon had instant traction for the busy stretch of groceries, gift shops, restaurants, nail salons, noodle houses and bakeries.

But there are those who want to look forward, not back. There are those who say “little” is dismissive. There are those who don’t want to be “Little Saigon” because there already are Little Saigons elsewhere.

They’ve suggested: Vietnamese-American Business District, Saigon Town, Vietnamese Business District, New Saigon Business District, Saigon Business District, New Saigon.

But the ring factor? Vietnamese-American Business District sounds like something the census bureau came up with, not a place you’d want to zip over to for a bowl of pho.

Vietnamese Business District has the same problem, though VBD sounds kind of hip. Saigon Town sounds like a theme park. New Saigon Business District, endorsed by a consortium of 14 Vietnamese social, political and religious groups, is better, though it makes me wonder what we did with the old one. Saigon Business District has potential.

And New Saigon, which is supported by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Story Road Business Association, is pretty good.

But I come back to Little Saigon. Yes, there are others. But once San Jose’s Little Saigon is established it will be instantly recognized here as the Little Saigon. “Little” doesn’t have to be dismissive. It can be a term of endearment. And of the relatively few merchants along Story Road who answered a city survey on names, “Little Saigon” came out on top.

Russell, the branding expert, says even those who initially oppose a name often come around.

“Everybody kind of gets on board and then they start to see meaning in it,” she says. “And then they can’t imagine that it was ever called anything else.”

It’s an interesting theory. One that might be sorely tested along a one-mile stretch of Story Road.


Contact Mike Cassidy at mcassidy@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5536.

  

Vietnamese seek Czech “Eden”

Fear of crackdown motivates crush of new applicants

By Kimberly Ashton
Staff Writer, The Prague Post
October 17th, 2007

KURT VINION/THE PRAGUE POST
Legal assistant Phan Kien Cuong says he feels rooted and likes “Czech women … and historical buildings.”

Phan Kien Cuong arrived in the Czech Republic in 1993 to join his father, who had studied electrical engineering here and owned a business.Now, Cuong says, “I don’t feel as if I am in a foreign country.” He’s fluent in the language, has studied at local schools and appreciates “Czech women, beer and historical buildings.” He works as a legal assistant and says he feels respected by his native colleagues. “I feel rooted and integrated into Czech society,” Cuong, 28, says.But as a growing number of Vietnamese immigrants move to the country, officials worry that fewer and fewer will have experiences similar to Cuong’s. “There is a difference between the applicants [then and now],” says deputy foreign minister Jaroslav Bašta. “Now there are Vietnamese who come [here] to do business … [But] also the phenomenon of recruiting unqualified Vietnamese people for labor and manual work is on the rise.” Before, he says, applicants were more likely to be educated and to have connections to the country.In recent years, there has been a crush of Vietnamese visa applicants.In 2001, about 900 Vietnamese citizens applied. So far this year authorities have received 10,041 applications from Vietnamese people, Bašta says.Since 2000, the local Vietnamese population has risen 73 percent; it has quintupled to about 46,000 since 1994, according to numbers provided by the Czech Statistical Office. Vietnamese are now the third-largest group of foreigners in country, behind Slovaks and Ukrainians. Bašta says he thinks the rise of Vietnamese applicants comes from a combination of a few factors: the fear that the Czech Republic will crack down on visas after it joins Schengen, organizations in Vietnam that promote visas as well as an image of the country as a good place for Vietnamese people to live.“Someone told them that the Czech Republic is Eden for them,” Bašta says.This “someone” is often a representative from an organization that sees a money-making opportunity in offering assistance to secure a visa. “Migration is a very similar business to smuggling drugs,” Bašta says. One common ploy people use to improve their chances at getting a visa is to join what Bašta calls “so-called cooperatives,” since membership in such groups is one criterion on which applicants are judged. The problem is that some of these organizations are charging upwards of 10,000 Kč [$500] — or ten times the average monthly salary in Vietnam — for this dubious membership, he says.Applicants have also been scammed by people who claim to be organizing queues outside the Czech Embassy in Hanoi and charge them $100 to stand in line, according to Bašta. Recently, he says, Vietnamese police has cracked down on this operation. He notes that the area in front of the embassy is not under the control of Czech authorities.Dismal prospectsDespite these schemes, Vietnamese citizens in general have a worse chance of getting a visa today than they did a decade ago, when the visa-refusal rate hovered around 10 percent: Today it’s about 50 percent, Bašta says. He thinks this high refusal rate is reflective of the type of applicants who are applying. “I’m afraid that the people waiting for visas in Hanoi are people without a chance for success in the Czech Republic,” he says.Those who do make it here are still often “young, uneducated, have the wrong type of visa [to work] and have no money to return,” Bašta says. “It is now a big problem for the Vietnamese community … [and] it could be an economic and security risk for the Czech Republic in the future,” he says.What the country needs is a clearly defined immigration policy, he says.“In fact, we have no immigration policy,” and instead just react to pressure from applicants, according to Bašta. He says he hopes that the country’s inclusion in Schengen next year will help define immigration policy and that in any case the country will reduce the number of visas it grants.But those who work with Vietnamese immigrants say they are far from being a potential burden on the local economy: the country needs the labor new arrivals provide.“More and more people come here to work manually. Many factories struggle with the lack of manual workers and they impatiently await the arrival of Vietnamese workers,” says Eva Pechová, chairwoman of the Club Hanoi Civic Association in Prague. Also, she says, an increasing number of Vietnamese students are also coming here.The Vietnamese community overall, and in particular those who have lived here since infancy, is well-integrated into local society, she says.“This group of people is trying to improve the impression of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic,” Pechová says.— Naďa Černá and Hela Balínová contributed to this report.

Kimberly Ashton can be reached at kashton@praguepost.com


 
By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune

 
Posted: 5:15 PM- A West Valley City company that prepared immigration petitions for U.S. citizens and their Vietnamese sweethearts had some unusual requirements for its clients.
In addition to forking over $30,000, the couples were obliged to write at least two letters a month to each other and send post cards on U.S. and Vietnamese holidays, according to federal prosecutors.
“Often mail each other on a weekly basis. Write at length and express love with each other,” Multi-Services Office allegedly said in an addendum to its contract.
The clients – who were petitioning immigration authorities to allow the Vietnamese spouses or fiances to live in the United States – also were instructed to talk on the phone several times a month, send gifts engraved with both parties’ names and exchange photographs.
An indictment issued last year against two dozen defendants claimed these “relationships” were all a scam designed to bring undocumented foreign nationals into the country. Authorities allege that Vietnamese citizens were paying $30,000 to marry Utahns in the hope of being allowed to live in the United States.
On Thursday, a man described by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as one of the ringleaders was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Henry Ngoc Nguyen, operator of Multi-Services Office, which also has an office in Ho Chi Minh City, earlier had pleaded guilty to six counts of aiding and abetting the illegal entry of people into the United States. The 46-year-old, a naturalized U.S. citizen, apologized for his actions.
“I have shamed my family name,” Nguyen told U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell. “I will do the right things in my life from now on.”
Prosecutors say recruiters got citizens to participate in the scam and to travel to Vietnam to bolster the claim that the marriages were legitimate. They say document preparers, such as Nguyen, filled out the immigration paperwork and submitted love letters and photographs as supporting documents.
About 20 of the defendants have been sentenced, all but two of them to probation or home confinement. Nguyen has received the harshest punishment so far and another defendant received a six-month term.
Defense attorney Richard Mauro said Nguyen, who fled Vietnam on a small fishing boat in 1979, felt he was giving others the opportunity for a better life. He said there is no evidence that his client’s activities undermined national security.
However, Dustin Pead, an assistant U.S. attorney, said Nguyen’s actions were not altruistic, but an abuse of the immigration process.
More than five dozen U.S. citizens were charged separately this fall with misdemeanors for allegedly lying when they said an immigrant was their bona fide spouse or fiance. They face up to six months in jail if convicted.
pmanson@sltrib.com
  

hi friends!

October 21, 2007

hi friends!
i am so proud to be a part of the Viet Film Wave… the First Wave of course, being Tran Anh Hung, Tim & Tony Bui… and now there is an insurgence of more Vietnamese diasporic films being made… the following 3 films are playing this week (sorry, they played last weekend but i was in singapore and forgot to send out an email! ah!  but hopefully you guys can come down to san diego this week to check these out):  i have a few tickets for each screening, but not many, so email/call me 310 873 7333 !

“Oh Mommy!” (Me Oi) news plus other Viet Film Wave news:

“Oh Mommy!” is a claymation short that i wrote/directed/ animated thru VC’s Armed with a Camera Fellowship


San Diego Asian Film Festival (www.sdaff.org)

Thurs, Oct 11, 6:45pm – Bolinao 52 (documentary feature by Duc Nguyen on the Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines)
Sat, Oct 13, 3:15pm & Tues, Oct. 16, 6pm- The Rebel (action romance drama by Charlie Nguyen… I was the 1st Assistant Director on this one) … for those of you who missed it, come watch!  it’ll be coming to theatres in the near future, but if you can’t wait, then come on down! www.therebelmovie. com
Sun, Oct 14, 1:45pm & Wed, Oct 17, 5pm- my short, “Oh Mommy!” is going to open for Owl and the Sparrow (heartwarming feature by Stephane Gauger which i also was an Assistant Director on….) www.owlandthesparro w.com
http://sdaff. bside.com/ ?_view=_filmdeta ils&filmId=35327740

the next screenings for all these films will be for the Hawaii International Film Festival (including “Oh Mommy!”) at the end of the month… i don’t know my screening time yet but i’ll let you know… i’m not going to be able to afford to fly out to Hawaii tho, so sad… tho TRUST me.  i am tempted.

see you there!  i’m going to san diego tomorrow!
jenni trang le

Vietnam JUMP brings int’l students to Vietnamese AO victims
16:38′ 17/10/2007 (GMT+7)

 

VietNamNet Bridge – “Join to Understand, Memorise and Pave the way” is the slogan of a project named Vietnam JUMP of Vietnamese students at the National University of Singapore, which aims to bring international friends to Vietnam to live with Agent Orange victims.

 

More than 50 foreign students at the National University of Singapore have registered to participate in a two-week trip to the Friendship Village in the northern province of Ha Tay in Vietnam, where children affected by AO live, to learn more about the consequences of the war that American troops left in Vietnam.

 

Tuan Minh, 20, Chairman of the Vietnamese Student’s Sub-committee at the National University of Singapore, said: “Our association has organised many voluntary activities in Vietnam. We want to gather international friends to do something in our country.”

 

Vietnam JUMP is the result.

 

Phuong Thuy, 19, who has been in Singapore for just three months, has been appointed the project manager thanks to her experience in doing social activities.

 

“My classmates know a little about Vietnam as well as the prolonged consequences that America left in our country. Vietnam Jump will help them to know more about Vietnam,” she said.

 

Vietnam JUMP will bring around 15 foreign students to Ha Tay during their winter and New Year holiday, from December 9-23, 2007. The student volunteers will share themselves with disabled children at the Friendship Village and do other social activities as well as visit some landscapes in Vietnam. Participants will be selected through two interviews.

 

However, funding is a problem for the organisers of this project. According to Phuong Thuy, Singapore’s Great Eastern Insurance Company and Vietnam’s Golden Key Education Vietnam & Training Investment Company have agreed to fund this project.

 

“We will still have to seek other sources of sponsorship besides the committed funding from the two companies,” Phuong Thuy said.

 

(Source: TN)

More than 16 percent of Vietnamese adults obese

 
   

A total of 16.3 percent of the Vietnamese adult population is obese, and 32.5 percent of those living in urban areas are over-weight, according to 2005 statistics.

These figures were announced in a conference entitled “Overweight and Obesity: Facilitator of Modern Diseases” held recently in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the National Nutrition Institute, the number of overweight and obese people worldwide is one billion. 24.1 percent of Asian adults suffer from obesity.

The US, with 100 million overweight and obese people, has the highest percentage of obesity in the world.

Overweight is defined by Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI gauges total body fat by dividing weight by height squared. A BMI over 23 is considered overweight, and over 30, obese.

Obesity is linked to such problems as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, according to reports announced at the conference.

Reported by Khanh Vy