Typical business models by Viet Kieu
17:24′ 25/03/2008 (GMT+7)

J. Le Trinh

VietNamNet Bridge – Overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu) have invested their brainpower and capital in projects in Vietnam. They currently invest in more than 2,000 projects totalling over US$1 billion. Through these projects, Viet Kieu not only contribute their brainpower, capital but also their hearts to the home country.


There are many bright examples of Viet Kieu who return home to do business and succeed. In this article, we would like to introduce four outstanding models of business.


1. Assisting local garment producers


A Vietnamese French couple, Tran Van Phu (Doctor of Economics) and Tran Moc Lan, returned to Vietnam in 1988. Seeing that many Vietnamese garment companies only process for foreign partners because they don’t have quality material, good designs and export markets, the couple decided to make a change.


They established a company named Scavi, and built two factories in the southern province of Dong Nai and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to produce lingerie to export to France and Europe. Scavi has also cooperated with many garment enterprises and helped them make garment products for direct export.


2. Composite model to protect forest


As a Vietnamese Australian who majored in construction, Tu Ngoc An returned to Vietnam in 1993 with an Australian expert in composites to invest in a plastics company in HCM City named Phong Phu. This company produced plastic products made of composites, which was a strange technology for Vietnam at that time.


Authorities of Kien Giang province invited An to come to Kien Giang to set up the Kien Giang Composite joint venture. From this firm, many composite products, especially plastic boats that are efficient for residents in the Mekong Delta, have been produced and helped reduce the use of timber.


3. Advertising service


J. Le Trinh, a Vietnamese American, returned to Vietnam in 1995 to seek business opportunities. At that time the advertising industry was in its infancy. Based on her relationships with foreign partners, Trinh established Baby Advertising Company. Within a short period of time, Baby had over 200 clients, including big names like Omega, Samsung, Longing, Konica.


Trinh’s secret of success is advertising foreign products through Vietnamese culture. Baby is an example for local advertising firms.


4. English teaching


Responding to former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet’s idea about professional training of English, Hoang Ngoc Phan, a Vietnamese American who was involved in import-export and tourism business, opened an English teaching centre in cooperation with the Vietnamese American Association.


At present, the Vietnam-US Training Company has 16 branches nationwide and 20,000 students. The company also provides training courses on business administration, accounting, tourism computer sciences, etc. It is preparing to open vocational training services, using English.

Awards flood Vietnamese artists
23:22′ 24/03/2008 (GMT+7)

The Golden Album Awards Ceremony

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese artists are honoured by a lot of awards annually, but do these awards bring them fame and audience recognition?


The field that has the record for the number of awards is perhaps music, with Blue Wave of the HCM City People’s Voice Radio, Yellow Apricot of the Labourer Newspaper, Morning Star and Morning Star – Rendezvous of Vietnam Television (VTV), Sing on TV and TV Music Star of HCM City Television (HTV), Platinum Star of Screen – Stage Magazine, New Generation Diva of Movie – Stage Magazine, Dedication of Sports and Culture Newspaper, VTV – The Songs I Love, Vietnamese Song, Golden Album and others.


Meanwhile, movie awards include the Golden Lotus of the Vietnam Movie Agency, Golden Kite of the Vietnam Movie Association; and stage arts have the Tran Huu Trang Awards, the Awards of the Vietnam Stage Art Association, VTV’s Funny Gala, HTV Awards of HTV, etc.


Why are there so many awards? Because any agency can present awards. Most media agencies in Vietnam have their own awards. Big TV stations like VTV and HTV regularly organise music contests. Newspapers also hold music, art, and beauty contests.


However, is there any award that is internationally prestigious? Perhaps not.


There are many problems associated with the existing awards. For a very long time, organisers invited experts in each field to be jury members of awards. When award winners didn’t become famous after receiving awards, organisers invited journalists as jury members. Some organising boards give the audience the power to select the winners, hoping that the winners will be more famous and successful after receiving the audience’s support (by sending messages through mobile phones). But their expectations have failed.


Some artists say they cannot refuse to be nominees of some awards and these awards have no meaning for their career because the awards themselves are not prestigious. They also say art awards in Vietnam are spiritually meaningful, not materially.


(Source: TN)

University of Southern California rejects request to remove Vietnamese flag from campus

Associated Press

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if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”; } WESTMINSTER, Calif. – Vietnamese-American activists are asking the University of Southern California to take down a Vietnamese flag that flies on the campus because it represents a communist state. Activists Hung Nguyen, An Son Tran and Tung X. Nguyen want the university in south Los Angeles to remove the flag or replace it with the yellow-and-red flag of South Vietnam.

“The red and yellow flag is the official flag of the Vietnamese-American community,” Hung Nguyen said. “The university has hundreds if not thousands of students from our community and they should honor our sentiments about the flag.”

USC doesn’t plan to remove or replace the flag, said James Grant, a university spokesman.

“The flags have been in our main building for a long time,” he said, adding that no USC students have complained. “They were made to conform to state and United Nations standards. We see no need to take them down.”

The activists said they may consider a protest against USC if the school doesn’t respond.

Irvine Valley College took down an entire display of 144 miniature flags last month after activists spotted the Vietnamese flag in the mix.

Vietnamese man, on anti-abortion mission, opens home to moms and babies

By Margie Mason
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.25.2008


NHA TRANG, Vietnam — Sitting cross-legged on a straw mat in the middle of the living room, Tong Phuoc Phuc sings a soothing Vietnamese lullaby. For a moment, his deep voice works magic, and the tiny room crammed with 13 babies is still.
Phuc giggles like a proud papa. He’s not related to any of them, but without him, many of these children likely would have been aborted. And to Phuc, abortion is unimaginable.
The 41-year-old Catholic from the coastal town of Nha Trang has opened his door to unwed expectant mothers in a country that logs one of the world’s highest abortion rates. In 2006, there were more than 114,000 abortions at state hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City — outnumbering births.
Most pregnant, unmarried Vietnamese women have few options. Abortion is a welcome choice for many who simply cannot afford to care for a baby or are unwilling to risk being disowned by their families.
The communist government calls premarital sex a “social evil.” Abortion, however, is legal and performed at nearly every hospital. And unlike in some Western countries where the issue is hotly contested, the practice stirs little debate here.
But shelters for women who want to keep their babies are rare. Phuc promises them food and a roof until they give birth, and then cares for the children until the mothers can afford to take them. In the past four years, he’s taken in 60 kids, with about half still living in his two houses.
“Sometimes we have 10 mothers living here … sleeping on the floor,” says Phuc, a thin man with dark, weathered skin and teeth stained brown from years of smoking. “The problem is that a lot of young people live together and have sex, but they have no knowledge about getting pregnant. So they get abortions.”
Phuc says he made a deal with God seven years ago when his wife encountered complications while in labor with their son. He vowed that if they were spared, he would find a way to help others. As his wife lay recuperating after the difficult birth, he recalls seeing many pregnant women going into the delivery room but always leaving alone.
“I was wondering, ‘where are the babies?”‘ he says, cradling an infant in each arm. “Then I realized they had abortions.”
Phuc, a building contractor, started saving money to buy a craggy plot of land outside town. He then began collecting unwanted fetuses from hospitals and clinics to bury in graves on the property. At first, doctors and neighbors thought he had gone mad. Even his wife questioned spending their savings to build a cemetery for aborted babies.
But he kept on, and now some 7,000 tiny plots dot the shady hillside, many marked with bright red, pink and yellow artificial roses.
“I believe these fetuses have souls,” says Phuc, who has two children of his own. “And I don’t want them to be wandering souls.”
Vietnam was ranked as having the world’s highest abortion rate in a 1999 report by the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the statistics. More recent reliable data for both public and private clinics are unavailable. Aid agency Pathfinder International says abortions remain high in Vietnam but appear to be declining slightly.
Dr. Vo Thi Kim Loan has run her own clinic just outside Ho Chi Minh City since 1991. She says the number of young, unmarried women seeking quick, discreet abortions has increased with more teen girls having sex before marriage. She also still sees a steady stream of married women coming in for repeat abortions because their husbands disapprove of contraceptives.
Preference for boys is another factor. Vietnamese women with access to ultrasound sometimes terminate pregnancies after discovering they’re carrying girls in a country where couples are encouraged to have just two children.
Phuc isn’t sure why so many Vietnamese choose abortion and says more women need to understand safer forms of birth control are available.
He says word of his unusual graveyard eventually spread, and women who had undergone abortions started visiting to pray and burn incense. Phuc urged them to tell others considering the same option to talk with him first.
Phan Thi Hong Vu looks lovingly at her chubby 7 1/2-month-old baby boy sucking on a pacifier surrounded by all the other babies on Phuc’s floor. She shivers at the thought of how close she came to losing him.
“I actually went to the hospital intending to get an abortion, but I was so scared,” says Vu, who was 3 1/2 months pregnant at the time. “I decided to go home and think about it. Two weeks later, I met with Phuc.”
She moved into the 904-square-foot house soon after and remains there with seven other new or expectant mothers. They spend their days washing, feeding, burping, changing and playing with the babies — all but one are under a year old. The constant chorus of crying, coughing and cooing fills the living room, which is lined with pink and blue cribs and adorned with a crucifix, the Virgin Mary and a photo of the late Pope John Paul II.
It’s a full-time operation that involves Phuc’s entire family. His older sister manages the chaos, mixing vats of strained potatoes and carrots and preparing formula for bottles, while shushing crying babies and chasing crawlers. The entrance to the single-level cement house tells the story: rows of bibs, booties, jumpers and spit rags hang drying in the sun.
It costs about $1,800 a month to care for all 33 babies and the women. Phuc gets donations from Catholic and Buddhist organizations and from people who have heard about his work. On a recent day, a local family dropped by with an envelope sent from their daughter in California who had read about Phuc on a Vietnamese Web site. Two years ago, he even got a letter from Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet praising him for caring for women and children scorned by society.
Health authorities say they support what he’s doing, but also keep a close eye on him to ensure everything is legitimate in a country where baby selling and child trafficking are a problem. Some people accuse Phuc of condoning premarital sex.
Phuc’s operation is not a registered orphanage, which means he cannot put any of the children up for adoption. But even if he could, he shakes his head and says his goal is to reunite each child with its mother or to raise them as his own. So far, 27 babies have gone home.
“I will continue this job until the last breath of my life,” he says. “I will encourage my children to take over to help other people who are underprivileged.”

Film producers thirsty for studios
05:54′ 25/03/2008 (GMT+7)

Most scenes in films are private houses or offices

VietNamNet Bridge – The only studio for film producers in the north is Co Loa. It is called a studio, but actually, it is a devastated area, which was built under assistance of China and Germany three decades ago.


There is no real film studio, so movie directors have to run everywhere to seek real scenes to add to their films. Villages around Hanoi and Ha Tay provinces have become “studios”.


Director Dang Nhat Minh is the one who discovered “Hollywood villages” of Phu Cuong in Soc Son district, Hanoi, when he went to shoot his film named “Thuong Nho Dong Que” (Nostalgia for the Countryside). Since Dang Nhat Minh, many movie directors have gone to Phu Cuong to shoot films.


The Vietnam Film Centre (VFC) of the Vietnam Television (VTV) annually produces around 350 films but it doesn’t have a studio. Thanks to this shortage of studios, many “Hollywood villages” have appeared, among them an old collective quarter on Thuy Khue street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi. This quarter has been the studio for over 100 TV series.


The quarter is typical of collective quarters in the past with old tile-roofed houses, a collective water tank and toilet, etc. so it is suitable for films about the subsidy period or war time.


Director Do Thanh Hai, VFC’s Deputy Director, said most scenes in VFC’s films are private houses or offices.


In 2001, a movie development plan was submitted to the government, in which compilers proposed the construction of a national studio at a cost of VND75 billion ($4.68 million). However, the project was not implemented for a long time because of controversies over the most appropriate site for the national studio.


Film Director Lai Van Sinh, Head of the Movies Agency, said Dong Mo in Ha Tay province was the most appropriate place to build a national studio. Meanwhile, Tran Kim Luan, Chairman of the Vietnam Movies Association, said many members of the association expected that the studio would be built in Nha Trang city in the central province of Khanh Hoa. However, Co Loa was finally the number-one option because it is not far from Hanoi and there is an old studio there.


Recently, a real studio totalling 700sq.m was opened in the northern province of Hung Yen, serving the first TV series named “Jolly Singles”.


(Source: NLD)

‘Little Saigon’ banners allowed

By Joshua Molina
Mercury News

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“Little Saigon” supporters wait outside of the San Jose City Hall… (Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News)

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if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”; } After months of protests, rallies, even a hunger strike, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday voted to allow “Welcome to Little Saigon” banners to informally recognize a Vietnamese retail area on Story Road.

The 10-0 vote brought an end to the unprecedented uproar over the past several months after the council voted to call the area “Saigon Business District,” enraging thousands in the community who wanted “Little Saigon.” The original vote was recently rescinded after the wave of protest.

The council’s Tuesday vote paves the way for the community to raise money and then get city approval for temporary banners on Story Road between Highway 101 and Senter Road. The banners are likely to be made permanent once the city comes up with a new process for naming business districts – to ensure that the ideas come from the ground up and to avert future political disasters over naming.

Officials don’t know how soon they could mount the banners, but approval of the design could take up to 45 days.

At the center of the months-long firestorm was Madison Nguyen, the only Vietnamese-American on the council. Activists called her a traitor and a liar for initially opposing the name Little Saigon. On Tuesday, Nguyen, who had repeatedly insisted that she would not change her mind on the name, said she was “filled with optimism.”

“It is only through productive dialogue and communication that we are able to work together,” she said.

Nguyen preferred


the name Saigon Business District – even though an official city survey conducted last summer showed Little Saigon was the preferred name. As the weeks went by, the Little Saigon movement picked up momentum.

The outrage was fueled by several missteps by the council. Councilman Forrest Williams (who was absent from Tuesday’s vote because he was visiting China) said in an interview on Vietnamese television that he had promised prior to the council’s Nov. 20 vote to support Nguyen’s decision to designate the district as a Vietnamese retail area. His comments forced the city attorney to recommend that the council rescind its original vote because of a perception Nguyen had spoken to a majority of council members before the vote – which would have violated the Brown Act, the state’s open meetings law.

One man, Ly Tong, also went on a hunger strike for more than a month, saying he would not eat until the council named the area Little Saigon.

The ordeal sapped time and energy from the city and sparked unwanted international media attention.

“This is the first positive step to solve the conflict and reduce the tension between the city and the Viet community,” said Barry Hung Do, spokesman for San Jose Voters For Democracy, the main group pushing for the Little Saigon name.

Still, on Tuesday some people were not happy. They want the city to make the temporary signs permanent.

‘If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, why don’t we just call it a duck?” said Councilman Kansen Chu, a Little Saigon proponent.

Contact Joshua Molina at jmolina@mercurynews.com or (408) 275-2002

Vietnamese Language and Culture (VNLC) in collaboration with
Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA)
proudly presents

Cinema Symposium 4

“Filmmaking: the good, the bad, the Ugly”

Sunday April 13, 2008 at 2:30p.m.

Northwest Auditorium, UCLA

370 De Neve Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

March 21, 2008 
Contact:          Mai Le Hong (408) 705-7485
Helena Hue Tran (714) 260-2308

Los Angeles, Calif. – UCLA’s Vietnamese Language and Culture (VNLC) and the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) partner up to present the fourth biennial Cinema Symposium titled “Filmmaking: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” featuring nine distinguished guest panelists who have contributed in raising the recent Viet Film Wave.  Cinema Symposium 4 will be held on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at Northwest Auditorium on the UCLA campus.  Admission is free and open to the public.
The distinguished guest panelists include: Timothy Linh Bui (Writer/Director/ Producer, “Powder Blue”, “Green Dragon”), Elyse Dinh (Actress, “Green Dragon”, “Running in Tall Grasses”), Abraham Ferrer (Exhibitions Director, Visual Communications) , Stephane Gauger (Writer/Director/ Producer, “Owl and the Sparrow”), Elisabeth Huynh (Fox Film Acquisitions) , David Ngo (Director, “The Queen from Virginia: The Jackie Bong Wright Story”), Ham Tran (Writer/Director/ Producer, “Journey from the Fall”), Bao Tranchi (Costume Designer, “Journey from the Fall”, “America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 7, “Charlie’s Angels”), and Christopher Wong (Composer, “Journey from the Fall”, “The Rebel”).
This multi-dimensional panel will offer different angles on both artistic as well as business aspects of filmmaking.  Cinema Symposium 4 sets on the theme “Filmmaking: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” to focus on the conflicts that artists encounter and eventually resolve them creating valuable contents for the cinema industry and Vietnamese American community. Each panelist will share with the audience his/her own challenges as well as achievements through his/her career pathway.  The panel discussion will open up for audience members to dialogue with the panelists.  Clips from some of the newest works will be shown at the event.
Cinema Symposium was created in 2002 by VAALA and VNLC and held every other year at UCLA to create a network between Vietnamese American professionals working in the film industry and students with an interest in film and the Vietnamese culture. The Cinema Symposium is held alternating between the bi-annual Vietnamese International Film Festival (ViFF).  It seeks to promote works that are by or about Vietnamese Americans.  The event also highlights the achievements of professionals in front of and behind the camera. Their accomplishments in this highly competitive industry help pave the way for other Vietnamese Americans and are an inspiration to many in the community at large.
The program of the event is as the following:
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
INTRODUCTION – Ysa Le & Mai Le Hong
3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
PANEL DISCUSSION with showcase of film clips: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The panel discussion is moderated by Helena Hue Tran and Hong Van Nguyen.
5:30 – 5:45 p.m. Break
5:45 – 6:15 p.m.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS of short films followed by Q&A
“Break-up Therapy” by David Ngo
A documentary that tells one amazing break-up story through the combination of several true stories from real-life people
“Oh, Mommy!” (“Mẹ Ơi!”) by Jenni Trang Le
This is a journey of a Baby Quail to find courage, warmth and… his mommy. 
“Spray It, Don’t Say It” (“Nhu Cầu Vẽ Bậy”) by Tuan Andrew Nguyen in collaboration with Ha Thuc Phu Nam
A documentary that explores the underground graffiti scene and the main characters that make up this first generation of graffiti artists in Viet Nam.
For more information please contact
vnlc@uclacsc. org or events@vaala. org

Asia Pacific Arts at UCLA Asia Institute – http://www.asiaarts .ucla.edu/
UCLA Office of Residential Life – http://www.orl. ucla.edu/
UCLA Center for Southeast Asia Studieshttp://www.internat ional.ucla. edu/cseas/
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern Californiahttp://www.thsv. org/home. aspx
UCLA Vietnamese Student Union http://vsu.bol. ucla.edu/
UCLA Cultural Affairs Commissionhttp://www.studentg roups.ucla. edu/culturalaffa irs/

UCLA Office of Residential Life
UCLA Campus Programs Committee of the Program Activities Board

Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California

Helena Hue Tran
Mai Le Hong
Hong Van Nguyen
Cinema Symposium 4 Directors