Generation Gap in Vietnamese Community



Nguoi, News feature, Diane Duyen Cu, Posted: Apr 09, 2008

They sit alone in the house after finishing their daily household tasks, staring at a television show in a language they barely understand and wonder when the rest of the family will be home for dinner.
This lonely experience occurs more often than not to a large number individuals in the elderly Diaspora of Vietnamese, who are living out their senior years in the surroundings of a new country. Immigrating to a country of newer opportunities and a better life isn’t necessarily embraced by all refugees.

The main challenge facing many of these older and elderly Vietnamese immigrants is the ability to adapt and acclimate their lives in their new host country. As more families bring the older members of the of the family unit to America, so do a series of social issues that often arise as a result of this immigration.
This older generation of parents and grandparents, as with most ethnic aged populations, faces challenges with adapting to a new language, changing cultural values, limited independence, and most importantly, a loss in social importance. In Vietnam, where the older grandparents are highly respected and relied upon for integral roles of support, guidance and wisdom, they often find themselves in social isolation in a new country.

In a social study of Australian Vietnamese grandparents by James Vo-Thanh-Xuan and Pranee Liamputtong, they discuss the difficulties of this elderly generation. ” … they (grandparents) encountered difficulties in the settlement, adaptation and integration into … society. Loss of personal identity, loss in social status, serious economic setbacks and unfulfilled expectations put many elderly immigrants at risk.”

While most Vietnamese American households have both parents working all day and the kids away at school, many grandparents are left at home to occupy themselves until the family returns home. For those who are limited in English and who are unable to drive, they have found it even more difficult to assimilate to their surroundings.

”In Vietnam, there was always something for me to do, someone for me to visit and everything was close by,” says Trung Quang, 71, who immigrated to America in 1995. ”But here, everything is so far away and no one asks me for help with anything anymore. My children are always away and busy with their work or school.”

As their children and grandchildren become increasingly independent, more accepting of America’s lenient cultural values, and less tolerant of the home country’s stricter traditions, the older immigrants find these new ideals and lifestyles harder to accept.

Phuong Van, a 68-year-old retired educator from Vietnam, says she feels threatened that there will be a loss of Vietnamese language and culture.

”My grandchildren only want to speak English and eat American foods,” she says. ”I want to teach them the ways of the old country and our Vietnamese culture, but they can’t really understand what I say and I don’t understand them. We don’t communicate very much.”

She says she feels like she has a big responsibility to teach and educate the youth, but feels as if no one wants to listen.
This generational divide and difference in lifestyles are also recognized by the younger population, but they also find it difficult to try to change the minds of their respected elders. They feel that their elders resist cultural change and just don’t want to make an effort to acclimate to their new cultural surroundings.

Although it may seem a slow and arduous task to assist recently immigrated elders to adapt to their new country’s lifestyle, it’s not impossible. With a new awareness and concern for the widening divide of both generations, many children and grandchildren are directing more effort and concern toward caring for the elders.

Some younger individuals often find hurdles to overcome but are making efforts to incorporate new American values into the household without forgetting the traditional Vietnamese culture. New parents who balance their household with caring for both their young children and parents feel the responsibility of being the bridge between both generations.

Jennifer Dang, a 32-year-old mother of a baby boy, says she believes in raising her son with the guidance of her own parents and allowing them to play a key role to her child’s upbringing.
”I want my parents to help me raise my child. I need them to help teach my child the Vietnamese language and remind them of our culture,” Đang says.

City-sponsored activities such as those at the Westminster Senior Center programs in Westminster, Calif., provide events that have helped Vietnamese American seniors ease their way into mainstream American society.

Classes such as Counseling for Medicare and yoga are well received by older Vietnamese. ”We have many senior Vietnamese Americans participate in our activities,” says Mary Andruski, director of the center. ”They love the exercise classes because it’s fun, and it doesn’t require them to speak a lot of English.”

Then there are inspiring and successful examples of assimilation like Mit Pham, an independent and positive 83-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War, now living in Orange County, Calif., with his wife, also 83. After immigrating to the United States in 1991 at the retirement age of 66, he seems to have transitioned himself rather smoothly into the American life.
”We don’t want to live with our kids and grandkids. It’s too noisy and busy.” he says, ”They can come visit us and I keep myself busy and healthy by taking a walk every day.”
It just might be his daily walks, or his 10 children, 28 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren that keep him youthful, positive and more American.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Vietnam’s football plagued by illegal gambling
Le Huynh Duc coaches his Da Nang football club players before their clash with Binh Duong on April 15

An early curfew and a lack of entertainment have caused many Vietnamese footballers to resort to gambling for fun – an illegal activity in Vietnam.

For some, this has had an extremely negative effect on their career and home life.

Gambling has become an insidious problem in Vietnamese football with some players involving themselves in match fixing and others finding themselves deep in debt.

The most notorious case of match fixing occurred at the 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines where two star players, Van Quyen and Quoc Vuong, admitted they had fixed a match out of desperation to pay off gambling debts.

Vuong is now in prison serving a four-year sentence and Quyen is suspended from playing football until 2009.

The latest case

It has been reported that Da Nang club coach Le Huynh Duc recently caught several of his players gambling for money before an 11th round V-League game against Southern Steel Saigon Port.

Coach Duc allegedly found them gambling in the room of captain Hong Minh and assistant coach Hung Dung.

According to reports, midfielder Duc Nhat attempted to jump out a window to escape getting caught, but was stopped by the coach who ordered him back inside saying “I’ll be in big trouble if you die.”

Duc apparently reprimanded assistant coach Dung as well, telling him he ought to be more responsible as a senior member and role model to his young players.

Coach Duc reported the incident to city authorities and Da Nang Club Deputy Executive Nguyen Quoc Hung who manages the club footballers.

Dung has now been removed from his post as the club’s assistant coach and central defender Cao Cuong has stepped in to take over the position.

Team captain Hong Minh has also been made to hand over his title and signature armband to defender Quoc Cuong.

The penalization of so many team members has thrown the Da Nang club into chaos with some saying that coach Duc was biased in handing out punishments.

He has been accused of disciplining only those players that he could find replacements for.

For example, Cao Cuong received only a warning and some say it was simply because Duc couldn’t find anyone else to cover his central defense position.

Midfielder Phan Thanh Hung received the most severe punishment.

He was demoted to the B-level team without being told when he can return to the A-level.

Whatever the reason for Duc’s decision, it is yet another example of how the Da Nang Club has suffered troubled times and poor management.

Club Deputy Executive Hung admitted he had heard several negative rumors about the team before taking the job.

“That’s why Hien, the club boss, had asked me to keep a close watch over the players.

I had been here just 20 days, and the gambling incidenthappened,” Hung said.

Last year, Da Nang City authorities arranged for an experienced supervisor to work with the team and to help encourage better management, but it has so far failed to prove an effective measure.

The Da Nang football team has been notorious for years for its poor management and every year there are new reports of illegal gambling activity amongst players and coaches.

And the problem is not limited to the central city.

Illegal gambling has marred the reputation of several footballers nationwide and some players have even gone flat broke betting on international football matches.

Reported by Ngoc Hoa

Vietnam vet reunites with pilot he shot down in ’72

By JIM GAINES, The Daily News,
Saturday, April 12, 2008 9:45 PM CDT

John Fleck/Special to the Daily News
Former Vietnam War adversaries Dan Cherry (left) of Bowling Green and Hong My of Vietnam meet for the first time earlier this month in Vietnam.

Click here to purchase reprints of photos featured in the Daily News.


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On April 6, Dan Cherry and Nguyen Hong My were back in the air near Hanoi, capital of Vietnam.

Almost 36 years before – on April 16, 1972 – Cherry shot down My’s MiG-21 fighter in the same area.

My parachuted as his plane crashed, breaking his arms in the process; and now Cherry’s plane, an F4D Phantom II, is restored to its wartime colors and parked in the Aviation Heritage Park on Three Springs Road.

Last week, the two men flew together past the scene of their earlier encounter, chatting in the comfortable seats of a jetliner on their way to My’s home.

“It was, I guess, the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime,” Cherry said.

Cherry volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia in 1966, then for a second tour in 1971. He flew 295 missions, most of them over North Vietnam. He retired as a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force and went on to a career in Kentucky state government and managing the Kentucky TriModal Transpark.

But, Cherry said, he often wondered what happened to the pilot he shot down. When the Aviation Heritage Park was in its planning stages 2 1/2 years ago, one of its local backers half-jokingly suggested trying to find the MiG pilot.

Cherry worked through friends to contact a reunion show on Vietnamese TV, which worked through the Ministry of Defense to identify Nguyen Hung My.

In December, a producer of the show – called “As If We Never Parted” – e-mailed Cherry with the news and asked if he’d appear on the show .

After flying to Vietnam for his first visit since the war, he went to the TV studio April 5. According to Cherry, the show’s host introduced him and told the audience about his life. After showing pictures of Cherry’s family, she introduced My.

Cherry said he was nervous, wondering how he’d be received. But My smiled as he came out and shook Cherry’s hand. Through an interpreter, My said he was glad to meet Cherry. The anchor told about My’s life, his four years of flight training in the Soviet Union and his war service.

Thanh Nien News, a major newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City which publishes in Vietnamese and English, reported on the pilots’ meeting. According to that story, My said he’d never thought about looking for the pilot who once shot him down. After the war, he studied English and finance, and worked for an insurance company, the paper said.

My flew for two more years after recovering from his bail-out injuries, speaks Chinese and Russian, has a great sense of humor, and is obviously highly respected by friends and family, Cherry said.

After the show, the two sat down backstage and talked about flying and their respective families.

“We hit it off really well,” Cherry said.

Later, they and the TV staff went to a rooftop restaurant in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Over dinner, My asked if Cherry would visit his home in Hanoi. Cherry – already planning to go to Hanoi the next day as a tourist – thought My meant some indefinite time in the future; it turned out he meant the next day. When Cherry agreed, My changed his own travel schedule so they could be on the same flight.

My’s house, it turned out, was within walking distance of Cherry’s hotel. That night he and his friends Larry Bailey and John Fleck made their way to My’s house along streets teeming with motor scooters, Cherry said.

They had dinner with My’s family, and Cherry got to hold his former opponent’s 1-year-old grandson, he said.

“It was just a tremendous experience to be welcomed so completely,” Cherry said. “I’ve made a good friend in Mr. Hong My.”

In return, he gave My a bottle of bourbon and invited him to visit Bowling Green, perhaps later this year, he said.

My offered to guide them around the city the next day, showing up at 8 a.m. in a car with his son-in-law and friend. He took them to one site after another, including a number of military museums that ordinary tourists wouldn’t get to see, Cherry said. They saw past displays of Soviet-built fighter planes, including MiG-21s like the one My flew in 1972, he said.

Cherry also visited the “Hanoi Hilton” – the building made notorious as a prison for American pilots shot down over North Vietnam. It’s now a museum. Most of the exhibits, though, are devoted to the Vietnamese who were held there during the decades of French rule, Cherry said; there’s only one small room describing its time as a prison for American.

The overall impression he had of Vietnam is that what the Vietnamese call the “American War” has been put far behind them, he said.

“They’re moving on to the future. They don’t hold any grudges,” Cherry said.

My also asked for help with one task: He shot down an American plane, too, but believes that pilot was killed, Cherry said. So he asked if Cherry could help him find that pilot’s family. He would like to express his respect and condolences, Cherry said.

Nick Ut, Exactly 35 Years Later

When word broke a few minutes ago that Paris Hilton was headed back to jail, we were stunned. Not because Paris was back in custody, but because the Associated Press photo of her crying in the back of a police cruiser was taken by the one and only Nick Ut. Nick, of course, was the photographer who shot young Kim Phuc, the girl wounded during a napalm  attack near the village of Trang Bang, thus creating one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War.

Just to note how funny life (and careers) can be, get this: Nick made his famous war image on June 8, 1972. Who would have imagined that 35 years (to the day) later he’d be photographing an unhappy hotel heiress being shipped off to jail and getting front-page coverage for doing so?
—David Schoauer

Frozen moments burned into memories

By Yao Minji 2008-4-15
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NICK Ut has a sharp and sensitive eye – especially when it comes to major events and celebrities.

The Vietnamese-American Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was in Shanghai at the weekend to participate in a group photo exhibition of American photographers at Shanghai Library.

Ut’s photos fell into two categories – pictures of Vietnam War survivor Phan Thi Kim Phuc and of Hollywood celebrities. They are his area of expertise.

Ut is renowned for his timeless picture of Kim Phuc following a napalm bomb blast as well as a picture of Paris Hilton being taken to jail last year. The shots were taken exactly 35 years apart.

Having worked for the Associated Press for more than 40 years, Ut says he loves taking news photos and is proud of both pictures.

On June 8, 1972, then 21-year-old Ut captured the most iconic image of the Vietnam War when he snapped nine-year-old Kim Phuc running down a road in terror after a napalm explosion had burned off her clothes and much of her skin. The picture drew the world’s attention to the horror of the Vietnam War and won Ut the Pulitzer Prize.

On the same day in 2007, 56-year-old Ut focused his camera on Hilton’s blond hair as she was ordered to go to jail. The exclusive picture was just another assignment for Los Angeles-based Ut who has taken pictures of many celebrities in trouble, including O.J. Simpson’s murder trial and Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial.

The Saigon native adopted his English first name from a French photographer friend who was shot during the Vietnam War. He says he developed his love of photography partly through his brother, also a photographer who was killed while taking war pictured for AP in 1965. Ut essentially took his job in order to financially support his family.

Ut has always claimed “luck” was responsible for him capturing the shot of Kim Phuc 36 years ago instead of any of the other photographers on the scene.

“There were many other photographers there that day but they were either changing film or batteries in their cameras because they have taken so many pictures before that moment,” Ut tells Shanghai Daily. “I just happened to have film and a battery in my camera.”

Ut holds a similar view to the Hilton picture he took last year.

“I was not the only one on the scene, but I got the best moment thanks to luck. That is the best part of news photos – the moment eclipses very quickly.”

Contrary to the current stereotypical image of paparazzo who care only about their pictures, Ut says he and other photographers poured water over Kim Phuc’s burned body.

As soon as he had taken the picture, Ut dropped his camera and nursed the girl as she was transported to a provincial Vietnamese hospital in Cu Chi in a car. He even used his media pass to beg doctors to save her as there were so many other patients in the hospital in need of urgent help.

He only left to transmit his film after he made sure Kim Phuc had been sent to surgery. Later he went to the girl’s home to report her condition to her parents as soon as he had finished his work.

Ut and Kim Phuc have remained in touch ever since and Ut also helped her and her family to relocate to Canada. They call each other weekly and Ut has taken many pictures of her and her two children. Kim Phuc calls Ut “uncle” and Ut considers her “like my daughter.”

This is Ut’s first visit to China and he is impressed by Shanghai’s old buildings. He hopes more people can “visit such amazing architectures.”

“I go back to Vietnam quite often. It has been developing rapidly and many old buildings were torn down to make room for modern Western-style buildings,” says Ut. “But it’s the traditional and different style that is precious to us.”


April 20, 2008

*SEARAC has no additional information about this opportunity. *

Project SEA (Southeast Asian) Art is an undergraduate research
project by a group of students at the University of California,
. The aim of the project is to gather, document and feature
the different forms of artistic expressions of second generation
Southeast Asian Americans of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and
Hmong ancestry. In so doing, we hope to give voice, form and
resonance to the poetics and politics of young Southeast Asians in
America. Visual art works collected through this project will be
displayed at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian graduation on May 24,
2008. We are also collaborating with the Southeast Asian Student
Coalition (SASC), who plan on compiling an anthology of selected
writings and literary expressions.

All forms of art – including literature, poetry, spoken word, music,
film, drawings, paintings, etc. – can be submitted for consideration.

The deadline for submission is May 1, 2008

Submissions may be mailed to:
Project SEA Art, 249 Cesar Chavez, Berkeley, CA 94720

Or, submissions may be emailed to the following email address:

To receive a submission form, please visit our website:
<http://projectseaar t.googlepages. com/home>http://projectseaar t.googlepages. com/home

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Project SEA (Southeast Asian) Art is an undergraduate research project by a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley.  The aim of the project is to gather, document and feature the different forms of artistic expressions of second generation Southeast Asian Americans of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong ancestry. In so doing, we hope to give voice, form and resonance to the poetics and politics of young Southeast Asians in America.  Visual art works collected through this project will be displayed at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian graduation on May 24, 2008.  We are also collaborating with the Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC), who plan on compiling an anthology of selected writings and literary expressions.

All forms of art – including literature, poetry, spoken word, music, film, drawings, paintings, etc. – can be submitted for consideration.

The deadline for submission is May 1, 2008

Submissions may be mailed to: Project SEA Art, 249 Cesar Chavez, Berkeley, CA 94720

Or, submissions may be emailed to the following email address:

To download the submission form, please click the following link: ProjectSEAart.doc

Vietnamese Turtle Myth May Prove to Be True

Morning Edition, April 18, 2008 · For years, Vietnamese children were told of an ancient turtle that lived in a lake. When the turtle appears, it is said to be a portent of an extraordinary event. Now, researchers from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo say they found a rare giant turtle in a lake west of Hanoi. The turtle was thought to be extinct in the wild.

Turtle Holds on in Center of Vietnam’s Capital

Listen Now [4 min 41 sec] add to playlist

The last surviving giant turtle of Hanoi's Hoan Kiem lake, seen in an undated photo.

Hanoi University biologist Ha Dinh Duc, whom locals call “professor turtle,” says this is the last surviving giant turtle of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lake. (Undated photo) Courtesy Ha Dinh Duc

Morning Edition, March 28, 2006 · A turtle weighing more than 400 pounds lives in a lake at the center of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. The turtle, as legend has it, is several hundred years old and is the last of its kind.

Related NPR Stories

“The Last Ghost of War,” a new independent film about long-term health damages from Agent Orange and dioxins, will have its first showing in the Appalachian region Friday evening at South Charleston’s LaBelle Theater.

The 57-minute film interviews American veterans from the Vietnam War, Vietnamese people whose towns were sprayed with Agent Orange in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as local workers who produced the chemicals at Monsanto’s Nitro plant, which is now closed.

Janet Gardner, the film’s producer, met and photographed children in Vietnam who suffer missing limbs, enlarged heads and bulging eyes.

The Rev. Jim Lewis said West Virginia Patriots for Peace is sponsoring the local showing.

“The film depicts wars and the costs of war – the Vietnam War and all wars,” said Lewis, who was rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charleston between 1974 and 1982.

“When I was at St. John’s, veterans came to me and asked me if they could have space for an office for a chapter of Vietnam Veterans for America. We gave them the space and they provided counseling for Vietnam veterans. They also worked on the Agent Orange problem.

“I am always interested in the local connections between war and the people at home – people who fight the war and people who produce the materials to fight the war. People come home battered and bruised and, in this case, poisoned by dioxin,” Lewis said.

“The Last Ghost of War” shows Vietnamese children who had been born with deformities after their parents were exposed to the toxic herbicide used to defoliate jungles that hid the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army.

The film also focuses on people such as Michael and Maureen Ryan, a Long Island couple whose daughter, Kerry, suffered 22 birth defects after her father was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Gardner and Susan Hammond from the War Legacies Project will both be in South Charleston to discuss the film.

Ollin McClanahan, a retired Monsanto worker interviewed for the film, said on Wednesday, “When we worked at Monsanto, we did not know anything about dioxin or Agent Orange.

“The first I ever heard of Agent Orange was in 1972, when Monsanto closed the plant down, dug up everything around it and threw everything away.”

Hammond has been showing the film primarily on college campuses.

“Some of the Nitro workers share a similar connection to Agent Orange through illnesses they have as a result of exposure to Agent Orange,” she said.

“Decisions that are made in Washington to go to war have long-term consequences both in foreign countries and in communities that feed the war machine by making products or by sending their own youth to war.”

Hammond said she frequently travels to Vietnam to help provide medical care for “people still dealing with the consequences of war.”

“Vietnamese families with severely disabled children are falling through the cracks as Vietnam is rapidly changing and developing. Those who are disabled and ill tend to get left behind,” she said.

Lewis will chair a panel and audience discussion after the film is shown.

John Skaggs, a Charleston lawyer who represents workers suing Monsanto for damages to their health, also will attend Friday’s screening.

“This material is very persistent. It doesn’t go away. Two and a half times as many Agent Orange chemicals as were sprayed in Vietnam stayed in the environment around the Nitro plant, and they did not all disappear down the sewer.”

Gardner also has produced other films, including “Precious Cargo,” about 2,000 children airlifted out of Vietnam at the end of the war in 1975, and “Dancing Through Death,” about a Cambodian dancer who grew up under the Khmer Rouge.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. at the LaBelle Theater, located at 311 D St. in South Charleston. The program is open to the public, and there is no admission charge.

To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.