vietsoul21

Critical Reflection with Vietnamese Young Readers

In Cộng Đồng, Chính trị (Politics), LittleSaigon - Seattle on 2009/09/12 at 20:45

Note: Why a letter to the International Examiner Editor?

A recent article (Little Saigon takes a walk with the Mayor), written by Quang Nguyen as an International Examiner contributor, appears to be a serious concern to those who have engaged in the transnational, ethnic and local politics. It was published on page 5 of Volume 36, number 15 (August 5-18, 2009).

http://www.iexaminer.org/archives/2009/3615/3615lsta.html (Note: This link to the particular page of the International Examiner became inactive even before our letter was published on September 2nd, 2009 )

To read our rebuttal to Quang Nguyen’s article, please go to:

Letter to the International Examiner Editor: “People in media can help facilitate democracy or participate in its betrayal.” — A response to Quang Nguyen’s August 18, 2009 article

Critical Reflection with Vietnamese Young Readers:

Dear young readers,

If you belong to the Vietnamese-American second generation, you may not feel any unease or discomfort after a quick reading of Quang Nguyen’s article, “Little Saigon Takes A Walk with the Mayor” . Please read it again. Really. We hope by inviting you to read the article again—at a deliberate pace with a more critical mind and heart.

We would like very much to have a dialogue with you all. Now, if you are not sure what we meant and curious about our perspective, please consider our below thoughts as preliminary and as a willingness to engage with all of you (including the author).

We certainly love to receive your feedback or question here or at our email address as the following: Vietsoul21@gmail.com. Thank you for your engagement in advance.

Here are out thoughts…

The article appears to be a serious concern to those who have attempted and/or engaged in the transnational, ethnic and local politics.

First of all, the author seems disregarding the anti-communism movement by judging it as a negative “discourse”. He even compartmentalized this phenomenon with a narrow-minded reasoning. He stated:

“There is a cultural aversion in the Vietnamese American community to get involved politically because it is often associated with rancor, antagonism, and bitterness due to the emotional nature of the anti-Communism discourse.”

Why only anti-communist discourse? If you look at the anti-war discourse in this country, especially when the middle class were drafted for Vietnam/American War, it was very emotional as well. Nobody was aware of Vietnam War protests when the poor and the ethnic were shipped out to the fighting first. Only later when the middle-class sons were drafted then there was fever-high protests and demonstrations. Anti-communism discourse could not be judged as negative due to the restructuring of neoconservative and enhancing of neoliberal discourse, especially for trading and exploiting people of free-market communist developing countries such as Vietnam.

In contrast, according to the author, the anti-communist engagement of the Vietnamese living outside of Vietnam such as in Seattle, USA—as a transnational movement—has become a hindrance for the Vietnamese American’s integration process into the city life, especially politics. His additional intolerant comment about the Vietnamese American socio-political engagement as “notoriously consensus-averse” reveals a biased investigation and escorts the internalized racist view.

Such overall apathetic outlook carrying disrespectful yet intentional self-serving actions has become demeaning and counterproductive not only toward the Vietnamese American small merchants but also the community at large. And it was not only about our recent history. The author carelessly compared Vietnamese as “tribesmen” in fighting “the mighty Han Dynasty of China”. He seems to be ingorant of the context in current geopolitics where China has exhibited hegemonic behaviours including claims of eighty percent of the East Sea and exerting military powers in the dispute of the Paracel Islands (Battle of the Paracel Islands) and the Spratly Islands. China history textbook even claims that Vietnam used to belong to China and ignores the fact that Vietnam as a independent country had rised up against their domination/occupation. (Nam Quốc Sơn Hà or “Mountains and rivers of Southern country”)

In spite of his numerous chances in taking advantage of these faceless names and numbers (in order to ensure his secret deal with the Mayor, DPD, developers, and the coopted groups such as Sage), the author has turned around to dismiss the community desire to promote their multiple complicated voice. Ingrained in left-wing elitist coaching and absorbed by material support from the rich (developers/landowners/real estate brokers), he became a loyal co-opt contesting the Vietnamese demand to be heard as lack of “a common vision and platform”.

The question for all who genuinely cares of and pursue social justice and democracy work would be the following:

“How could one individual and their associates’ conceited acts be privileged as the idealistic image for the “refugee discourse” paralleled with the “Asian model minority” trap[1]? Why aren’t there any progressive interventions from the media, land-use planning key players and associates, co-ethnic group representatives, nor the Vietnamese self-claimed group spokespersons?”

Reference:

[1]

Naomi Ishisaka, Hot Button: The Fall of Little Saigon – Big development is coming to Little Saigon. Will the community survive intact?, Seattle Magazine, March 2009.

Cherry Cayabyab, Community Voice: Alumni Spotlight – Quang Nguyen, ACL 2004”, Asian Pacific Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF) Newsletter, June 2009, vol. 7, issue 2, p. 4

 

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