Letter to Vietnamese American Community of Washington State & Federation of RVN Arm Forces Associations

In Cộng Đồng, LittleSaigon - Seattle on 2008/09/14 at 07:00


In spite of unexpected yet induced disruptions caused by Mr. Sanh Pham, Trong Tang, and Rang Phan at the community meeting on September 13, 2008, we still held our ground and started our meeting with the Mexican popular folklore “Tale of Five Friends and Five Enemies” (Câu chuyện 5 người bạn và 5 kẻ thù) as planned.

Subsequently, we sent the below official letter to the Vietnamese community and these two groups whose representatives revealed disturbing behavior–their irrational insistence to occupy the meeting as if it were theirs!

These individuals’ disrupted action inevitably helped the disappearance of 100 flyers regarding the Dearborn Mall “investment” news posted on Tuoi Tre Online in Vietnam . These flyers were intended to share with the meeting audience but stolen immediately at the beginning of our meeting.  So here is our question: Why did Vietnamese investors in Vietnam receive the “investment” news (which was misleading however) before the merchants and other residents who would be affected the most due to their work and/or living in Little Saigon Seattle?

This public meeting also indicated the official switch from Mr. Tang who then testified at the Examiner Hearing on 9/22/2008 as if he represented and spoke on behalf of Vietnamese American community. He stated that he totally supported the developers and Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce (WaVA). On September 30th, 2008, about one week after our hearing, Mr. Tang went ahead to join WaVA who hosted an evening party at Saigon Bistro restaurant for City Council Members Tim Burgess, Jean Godden, and Bruce Harrell. Advertising as the Council talks on Public Safety, Economic Development, and the City Budget, it was in fact the chance for WaVA to lobby for the street vacation money for themselves.


Neighborhood Activists for Democracy & Social Justice – Northwest Region

Seattle, September 14th, 2008

To: Mr. Trong Phuoc Tang1 & Mr. Sanh Huy Pham2

1 President, Vietnamese American Community of Washington State

2 President, Federation of the Republic of Viet Nam Arm Force Associations

Dear Mr. Tang and Mr. Pham,

At the end of your meeting on September 6, 2008, we, Hieu Nguyen and Quynh-Tram Nguyen, had the extra 15-minute opportunity to brief everyone about some critical issues related to the two City of Seattle urban development projects. We were then encouraged by you and all other meeting participants for a thorough follow-up meeting we would organize on Saturday, September 13, 2008. Subsequently, we announced our letter of invitation to all merchants, concerned Vietnamese community members, your organizations and all other mutual associations of the Vietnamese American community via various means of communication—email, newspaper, and radio.

Based on our mission for non-partisan activism since the beginning, we organized this gathering as our own meeting. Yet, an incident occurred in that meeting. You came to the meeting and announced yourself as the recognized organizers, and imposed on us the presenter’s task. You refused to understand our mindful intent even after more than a dozen of participants’ expressions and proposed solutions for mutual agreement were revealed, and certainly, in spite of our wide-and-large public announcement and our official registration with the Columbia Public Library prior to our meeting. We decided not to proceed with a futile argument (or a shoving match), or even consider the use of external intervention from the library rules and regulations, because of our due respect for the engaging presence of all meeting participants. We had acted in even-tempered and self-respect manner the best we could for thoughts of both sides to be revealed, and at the same time, allow the participants to make their own observation and judgment on our rightful stand.

Eventually, we presented the two urban planning projects and proposed our preliminary action plan. This was our third attempt presenting to the public after sending community announcements via email and other mass media means, and of course, regardless of our own individual capacity and limitation. As always with grounded intent, we never act as the representative of the community, but the messenger. Just like the villager whose drum is used as an emergency call when the village is on fire. Extinguishing the fire requires the communal effort and collaboration of all villagers. We pursue social justice in this serious matter based on an awakening assumption of being the responsible and active community members, but never thinking and acting as for the community.

The Vietnamese community issues do belong to all members and groups, not from a single individual or a “commissioned” group. Our individual responsibility as the self-initiated messenger and doing the best we could is over. Our drumming call for emergency to alert everyone about the fire was carried out and done. We packed our things and left the library after completing our presentation regarding the two urban planning projects. We did not involve in your presumptuous “voting process”, or “delegation” in forming a “committee”.

We do believe that your groups and the Vietnamese American community have gained enough facts/information, and would have appropriate strategies and human resources to protect our community well-being including rights and benefits.

Respectfully yours,

Hieu Nguyen

Quynh-Tram Nguyen

Vietnamese Version

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