Canada Aiming to Pass April 30, 1975 Commemoration Legislation, Known as the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

Harper in Toronto Tet 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to a large crowd at the Tết 2015 Festival in Toronto in February. In his speech, the Prime Minister announces Canada’s intention to pass the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act. Photo via Vietnamese Association of Toronto

The Government of Canada is in the process of passing a new law commemorating the arrival of the Vietnamese “boat people” refugees to Canada after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Known as the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act, or Bill S-219, the legislation honors all of the Vietnamese people who escaped South Vietnam in the wake of the Communist takeover. If passed, April 30 will be known every year in Canada as “Journey to Freedom Day,” an official day of remembrance, recognizing the courage and sacrifice of the Vietnamese boat people and their incredible journey to freedom.

Originally put forth by Canadian Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, the law has already been passed by the Canadian Senate in December 2014, and has since been referred to the House of Commons for further consideration.

According to Senator Ngo’s website:

“I am extremely honoured to announce that Bill S-219, known as the Journey to Freedom Day Act, passed the Senate on December 8, 2014, and has now been referred to the House of Commons.”

“The bill regarding Journey to Freedom Day, alternatively known as Black April Day by the Vietnamese-Canadian community, establishes a day to commemorate the thousands of refugees who fled Vietnam in pursuit of freedom, and it pays tribute to Canada’s humanitarian tradition of welcoming thousands of refugees during and after the Vietnam War.”

“For the past 39 years, Vietnamese-Canadians have gathered on April 30 to remember a new beginning and to thank Canada. In 2015, the Vietnamese-Canadian community will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the boat people’s resettlement in Canada. I envision the Journey to Freedom Day Act as a way to mark this milestone year, to thank Canada for saving our lives and to commemorate the Vietnamese refugees’ new-found freedom.”

As expected, the Vietnamese government in Hanoi is not happy about this development. According to The Globe and Mail, Nguyen Tan Dung has written directly to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in protest of the new bill. In Dung’s letter, he claims that the legislation presents “a distorted version of Vietnam’s history,” and will likely “damage the bilateral relations both countries have worked so hard to build.” Moreover, a Vietnamese diplomat in Canada claims that the new bill “hurts” Vietnam, as April 30 is described by Hanoi as a day that marks the end of the war and “the beginning of reconciliation.” The Communist government has also accused Senator Ngo of “dredging up the past” in introducing Bill S-219, among the aforementioned and other similar complaints.

In response to Hanoi’s objections, members of the Canadian government have stated clearly that this is a private member’s bill, and does not signify Canadian foreign policy. Furthermore, Senator Ngo reaffirms the fact that the Journey to Freedom Day bill has nothing to do with Vietnam’s current regime, but rather with the Vietnamese refugees, and Canada’s warm welcome of these refugees after April 1975.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Minister of Multiculturalism, and Member of Parliament, explains that he supports Journey to Freedom Day because it celebrates the 60,000 Vietnamese who “risked their lives in search of freedom and found it in Canada.” Mr. Kenney also adds that, “Canada continues to have respectful relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo sums up the purpose of the bill in a simple statement: “Freedom is not free, and the boat people paid for their freedom with their perilous journey.”

There are many reasons to support this bill, it delivers a positive message and commemorates that incredible and terrifying journey which made today possible for so many of us. It also celebrates the significant role that overseas Vietnamese have played in building up their new home countries after leaving Vietnam in 1975 and the years onward. This bill may be introduced in Canada, but the significance is not just in Canada alone. Across the western world, Vietnamese refugees have braved the ocean waves in their search for freedom.

As Vietnamese people who love freedom, democracy, and human rights, and this includes not just those of us in Canada, but also the U.S., Australia, Europe, and everywhere else, it is important that we support this bill and what it represents. This law marks an important epoch for people of Vietnamese origin living overseas, and can set an example for other nations if they so desire to pass similar legislation in the future.

To my readers in Canada, if you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign this petition and share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who may be interested. The petition is put forth by MP Jason Kenney, and lets Canadians show their support for “Journey to Freedom Day,” also known as Bill S-219.

It only takes a second to sign, and every signature counts.

>> Click here to sign the petition! <<

Let’s make this happen!

Sources:

Joan Bryden (The Canadian Press), Kim Mackreal (The Globe and Mail), Member of Parliament Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Canada, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo (2), Vietnamese Association of Toronto

Footage: Protesters in Saigon Fight Back Against Government Crackdown, Police Forced to Flee

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2015 by Ian Pham

Saigon Protest, April 2015

Photo via Dan Lam Bao

Earlier this month, the city of Saigon and its surrounding areas were swept by a series of major worker demonstrations. The protests lasted more than a week, and sparked a confrontation between communist authorities and protest participants. Resistance to government crackdown was so fierce that members of the VCP police were forced to flee, with protesters giving chase.

For eight consecutive days, workers took to the streets to protest against the Vietnamese Communist government in response to a new law passed last November that limits citizens’ eligibility to claim social insurance. As a result of the new legislation, the people of Vietnam are unable to collect the social insurance money, which they have been paying into all their working lives, until the ages of 55 and 60, for women and men, respectively.

The social insurance fund is paid for by the working population of Vietnam through taxes, and is supposed to be available to the people during periods of unemployment. However, because of the new law passed by the Communist government, the people will be unable to claim any of this money until they are well approaching the age of seniority. This presents some obvious problems, such as the fact that the majority of Vietnam’s working population is well below the age range of 55-60, and are therefore the largest age group that will need to claim this money.

Another pressing issue that workers identify with this social insurance legislation is the fear that there may not be any money left in the fund by the time they reach ages 55 and 60. As one may or may not know, the VCP has a tendency to appropriate money inappropriately, allocating funds that do not belong to them right into their own pockets. Corruption within the VCP is a widely known reality, and like the many cases in the past, it is suspected that the government is siphoning money from the social insurance fund, just like they do in so many other areas of the treasury. The age restriction is believed to be a ploy by the Communist Party to bide time and prevent citizens from claiming money that no longer exists as a result of government corruption.

Thus, in reaction to the new law and all its implications, the workers in Southern Vietnam assembled in the streets of Saigon to protest against the VCP. The protests lasted for eight days between late March and early April, 2015, and drew as many as 90,000 participants on its first day alone. It would eventually expand to nearby cities as well, sparking strikes in Binh Duong, Long An, Tay Ninh, and Tien Giang.

In typical communist fashion, the police were called in to terrorize and crackdown on the protesters, with the ultimate goal of crushing the demonstration. However, in an unprecedented twist, the protesters in Saigon turned against the government forces and fought them back, causing many policemen to flee from the scene.

The event is captured on video and can be seen below, via Dan Lam Bao:

As can be seen, the VCP police force attempted to surround the protesters using their typical crackdown tactics. Only this time, the protesters pushed them right back, and in the end, caused the police to break up and run like a pack of ducks. Just goes to show how cowardly the communist forces actually are. They are trained to surround, isolate, and terrorize people who don’t fight back. When met with fierce resistance however, as exemplified by the video above, they just drop everything and run.

Communist Police Running Away From Protesters

Communist police. Bunch of pathetic losers.

DMCS.

Sources:

Ban doc Dan Lam Bao, Ban doc Dan Lam Bao (2), CTV (Dan Lam Bao)Hoang Tran (Dan Lam Bao), Ngoc An (Dan Lam Bao)

According to This Esteemed Communist Party Official, Fireworks Help Combat Poverty

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on March 26, 2015 by Ian Pham

FireworksQuotePhoto via Dan Lam Bao

“Những người nghèo, họ cùng khao khát được xem bắn pháo hoa. Những lúc thưởng thức bắn pháo hoa giúp họ quên đi cáo nghèo, cái khó.”

“The poor people, they all dream of the chance to watch a fireworks show. Those moments of enjoying fireworks help them forget about their poverty, their hardship.”

A real quote from a real Communist Party member, Phan Dang Long

Yep, that was a real quote from a real life Communist Party official in Vietnam. According to website Dan Lam Bao, Phan Dang Long, high-ranking official of the Vietnamese Communist Party, made this statement in front of state-run media in response to the question of why the city of Hanoi spends so much money organizing frequent fireworks shows. As shown above by his comment, this VCP official honestly believes that fireworks are a viable method of alleviation to the major poverty issue plaguing Vietnam today.

I don’t know about you, but if I were starving, with no place to live, barely any clothes on my back, and no idea how I am going to support my family or even myself in the immediate future, I highly doubt that some flashing lights in the sky are going to change any of that.

I don’t really have too much left to point out here, the guy thinks that fireworks are the solution to the crippling poverty issue engulfing all of Vietnam right now. This Communist Party official, in a public statement, I must add, thinks that FIREWORKS are the cure to the Vietnamese population’s pain and suffering. Let me reiterate. In an OFFICIAL STATEMENT to the press (government-run media, but still), this senior member of the VCP claims that FIREWORKS, not better education, not better social programs, not healthcare reform, not more employment opportunities, not the curbing of the extreme corruption present in all levels of the VCP, but FIREWORKS, are the remedy to the impoverishment and deterioration of Vietnam’s standard of living.

Wait, maybe I’m not being fair here. I forgot to ask how long the fireworks shows last for. A longer show must distract all the people from being poor and sick for a longer period of time, thus helping combat the poverty epidemic more effectively, right? This must be taken into consideration. Fifteen minutes of forgetting about the fact that you’re sleeping on concrete tonight is much better than ten minutes of the exact same fact, right? RIGHT?! Better than zero minutes, RIGHT?!?!

As comical as Phan Dang Long’s comment is, the sad reality is that brainless statements such as this are not uncommon for the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Mr. Phan Dang Long is the esteemed Deputy Chairman of Propaganda for Hanoi City. He is also an idiot.

DMCS.

This New Song by a Vietnamese Rapper Bashing the Communists Will Make You Want to Dance Like No One is Watching, Yell Out “F**k Communism!” With The Windows Down

Posted in Current Events, Entertainment & Media, Poetry, Songs of Freedom with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by Ian Pham

D.M.C.S.Okay, maybe not exactly, but there is in fact a new song out there that has been making waves on the internet. Written and performed by Saigon rapper Son Nah, “DMCS,” or “Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản,” which in English means, “Fuck Communism,” is an aggressive lyrical onslaught that completely tears the Vietnamese Communist Party to pieces. Corruption, cowardice, being morons that are unfit to govern, all of the things that we so often cover on this website in regards to the communists, Nah covers it all in “DMCS,” with his own poetic style, backed up by a hard and catchy beat.

Born and raised in Vietnam, the young lyricist Nah is currently studying overseas in the United States. Before coming to the U.S., Nah had already made a name for himself in Saigon’s hip-hop music scene. Even prior to his departure from Vietnam to the U.S., Nah had created music that brings to light the social decay that is rampant in Vietnamese society under the current regime. It was not until his arrival in the United States however, with the freedom of the press and absence of authoritarian censorship, did Nah see just how repressive and self-destructive the state of Vietnam currently is. With the free-flow of information, news, and unabated coverage of how corrupted, cowardly, and depraved the Vietnamese Communist Party truly is, Nah became inspired to speak about the matter in his new controversial track, “DMCS.”

The powerful and provocative subject matter in Nah’s song is reminiscent of our courageous brother Viet Khang. The key difference however, is that Viet Khang’s lyrics, though equally passionate and forceful, are more restrained, elegant, civil. Nah’s lyrics on the other hand, are just straight up nasty. If I could use one word to describe his work, I would simply state it as raw. And man, is it ever raw. With the lyrical versatility that a musical genre such as hip-hop music provides, our guy Nah just unloads on the Communist Party in his rhymes, saying what we’ve already been saying all this time, but with a fearless and defiant flow.

I tend to limit the use of profanity on this blog, but in this instance, I will make an exception. And, if I do say so myself, even though it may or may not make you want to dance like no one is watching (it might), and/or yell out, “Fuck Communism!” with your windows down (it will), I would just like to say that this track is, and I’m not even sarcastic here, straight fiyaaa!

It’s pretty damn good, folks. Just check it out for yourself.

(Note to my non-Vietnamese speakers: This song is in Vietnamese, but Son Nah has included the English subtitles, so that all of us can appreciate what he has to say. Just click on the “cc” button at the bottom right corner of the video (after pressing play) to enable the subtitles. Alright, now just sit back, relax, and enjoy.)

This won’t be the last we’ll hear of Nah. From the looks of things, it’s only the beginning. He’s spoken in an interview on SBTN, he’s made an insightful video on Youtube commenting on why he believes Vietnamese society is in serious trouble, and in terms of music, he has been and continues to come out with fresh new material. This guy is going places.

On a related note, I just can’t help but think of this after listening to Nah’s song.

Flag Pull Down

Fuck Communism.

Another Year, Another Merry Christmas!

Posted in Editor's Note, Entertainment & Media with tags , , , , on December 25, 2014 by Ian Pham

Candlelight ChristmasHey there everyone,

I just wanted to drop in and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! It is a busy time for all of us, and although I have not been able to generate as much content as I would like, I could not just let the holidays go by without sending my best wishes out to all of my wonderful readers.

Thank you all for you continued visits, feedback, and overall support. Hopefully the holidays have been good to you and the ones that you love, and that you all find some time to just relax and enjoy the little things. It’s always the little things. Whether you’re a huge fan of the holidays or not, it only comes around once a year, so you might as well enjoy it!

Stay warm, stay strong, and stay smiling. From me to you all, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Much love,

Ian

P.S. Just because I love music, I would like to share another beautiful song that I hope will lift your spirits this holiday season. Performed here by country music group Lady Antebellum, here is the classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which I hope you all do.

Enjoy!

Rice to the Refugees: The Untold Act of President Ngo Dinh Diem

Posted in Modern History with tags , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by Ian Pham

President Ngo Dinh DiemHere’s something a lot of you probably didn’t know about President Ngo Dinh Diem. During his time in office, the South Vietnamese President contributed a substantial amount of humanitarian aid in the form of rice to Tibetan Buddhist refugees in the late 1950s-early 1960s. It was then that many Tibetans were exiled from their homeland by the invading forces of the People’s Republic of China, led by the iron fist of the ruthless Mao Zedong.

In the year 1950, with the consolidation of the PRC, Mao Zedong officially pointed his guns towards Tibet, sending the People’s Liberation Army across the border into Tibetan land. Throughout the 1950s, through false treaties and suppressive military force, China would gain control over all of Tibet, turning that part of East Asia into another region under Chinese control. The invasion would be complete by 1959, with the outbreak and bloody suppression of the Tibetan Uprising.

Many, many Tibetans were expelled from their homeland during this time and sought asylum in other nations around the world. The young Dalai Lama and many tens of thousands of other Tibetans would escape to India through the Himalayas, becoming refugees in the process. In reaction to their plight, many nations around the world held out a helping hand to the Tibetan refugees. One of these nations was none other than the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), under the presidency of Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem.

According to an old issue of the Chicago Tribune (December 11, 1959), President Diem offered to supply the Tibetan refugees with “surplus rice for a year.” Though the sources are currently sparse for this topic, at least for me, it can be asserted that part of the rice offered by President Diem amounts to 200 tons, as illuminated in the Indian Parliament’s “Rajya Sabha Debates, 1952-2005,” published by the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre (2006: 71). However, further examination suggests that the total volume of rice donated by South Vietnam is much more than that.

An article by Tran Trung Dao (August 30, 2014) on Dan Chim Viet online further elaborates on the subject. According to Dao, President Diem donated rice to the Tibetan Buddhist refugees through the Government of India not only once, but twice. Dao’s source declares that the amount of rice sent to India from South Vietnam during these two times accumulated to a grand total of 1,500 tons. In addition to the 200 tons of rice provided by South Vietnam in the one donation, another shipment of 1,300 tons was sent to India to feed the Tibetan Buddhist refugees. Given the evidence, it can thus be asserted that South Vietnam under President Diem played a substantial role in the support of Tibetan refugees in India.

This humanitarian act was not widely covered during the time that it happened. Moreover, it was overshadowed by the dirty politics of its day, ignored by the biased media of the west, and eventually lost under the many pages of history.

In writing this article, I wanted to share with you something you may not have known about the First President of South Vietnam. I also wanted to leave you all with something warm and uplifting to hold onto on this day of his commemoration. Furthermore, this act of charity and kindness is a great, yet sadly forgotten story that should be shared with anyone who is interested and wants to know. I’m only doing my part in making that happen.

Today is the anniversary of President Ngo Dinh Diem’s assassination at the hands of a group of treasonous South Vietnam generals, acting under the direction and encouragement of Henry Cabot Lodge and the Kennedy Administration.

President Diem lost his life on November 2, 1963.

For his services to the nation of South Vietnam, and as we’ve learned, for other peoples of the world at large, he will always be remembered.

Dieu Cay Landed in Los Angeles This Week

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on October 26, 2014 by Ian Pham

Nguyen Van Hai arrives in LADieu Cay, Vietnam’s famous human rights/democracy activist and prominent political blogger, was released from Vietnamese prison earlier this week and immediately deported from the communist country. The renowned blogger, whose real name is Nguyen Van Hai, arrived at a Los Angeles airport midday Tuesday, October 21, 2014, to a large and adoring crowd of supporters.

The news of Dieu Cay’s release came as a shock to all observers outside of Vietnam. The Vietnamese government kept his release a secret, with his deportation from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam also being carried out in a covert manner. Upon his release, Dieu Cay did not even get a chance to say farewell to his family or friends. Instead, he was immediately vacated from Vietnam, quickly put on a flight to Hong Kong, before finally arriving in the U.S. on Tuesday. Dieu Cay’s final destination is Canada.

Dieu Cay 2008Dieu Cay was arrested by Vietnamese authorities back in 2008 during the Summer Olympics for protesting against China’s conduct in the seas, as well as the PRC’s occupation of Tibet. In 2012, the Vietnamese Communist Party sentenced him to 12 years in prison for spreading “anti-state propaganda,” which, as we all know, apparently includes any statement that is deemed offensive to China as well. The sentencing was one of the harshest for cases of this kind, which is partly why news of his release and deportation came as such a huge surprise to the public abroad.

While in prison, Dieu Cay subjected himself to agonizing hunger strikes on two separate occasions in protest of the Vietnamese government and the aggression of the Chinese. His health deteriorated drastically as a result of his time in prison, creating a public relations nightmare for the Vietnamese government, who is well known throughout the international community as an abuser nation that does not abide by the rule of law.

Vietnam has long been criticized for its atrocious human rights record, a mark that the communist nation has tried to dispute on numerous occasions, but always failing to deliver. Dieu Cay’s release can be viewed here as another attempt by Vietnam to try to improve its image in the eyes of the world. As it stands, the nation’s human rights record is still detestable, and the situation on the ground shows no sign of actually getting better.

Nguyen Van Hai, Oct. 21, 2014For now, one can rejoice and welcome the arrival of one of Vietnam’s most vocal human rights champions. I imagine this is only the beginning of his new chapter here in the west. However, only time will tell how significant this new chapter will be.

Photos of Dieu Cay’s arrival in Los Angeles via ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers