Archive for November, 2010

Buddhism: The Religion That Saved Đại Việt

Posted in Dynastic History with tags , , , , , on November 30, 2010 by Ian Pham

First off, let me clarify that I am not about do discredit any other religion in favor of Buddhism.  In modern Vietnam, Christianity, as well as Buddhism, have been major contributors to the development of Vietnamese society.  However, I am looking back, very far back, to the times of antiquity to show Buddhism’s major contribution to the strength and protection of Đại Việt.

For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the strand of Buddhism practiced in Vietnam as Vietnamese Buddhism.  There are numerous teachings in the Buddhist religion that I won’t be covering here.  For now, I will be pointing out the three most powerful lessons that every leader of antiquity have followed at some point in their lives.  These three great teachings talk of compassion (bi), intelligence (trí), and courage (dũng).

These three  great teachings paved the way for the rise of the Đại Việt nation.  The Lý Dynasty, the Trần Dyansty, and the Lê Dynasty were Buddhist dynasties (though the Lê to a lesser extent).  Great emperors like Lý Thái Tổ, Trần Nhân Tông, Lê Lợi, just to name a few, were Buddhists.  Heroes of Vietnam, like Trần Hưng Đạo, Lý Thường Kiệt, and Nguyễn Trãi, were all well versed in the teachings of Buddha.

These heroes all learned from these teachings of bi, trí, and dũng (compassion, intelligence, and courage) to protect the country.  In times of peace, they were benevolent, compassionate, and kind.  In times of war, they fought fearlessly, showing no mercy to the ones who dared to invade the land.  Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, the nation of Đại Việt prevailed in the face of adversity and prospered in times of peace.

The Rescue of 1975, America’s Untold Accomplishment

Posted in Did You Know?, Modern History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2010 by Ian Pham

When South Vietnam fell to the Communist forces of North Vietnam on April 30, 1975, a wave of Vietnamese citizens fled the country in order to avoid persecution by the new regime.  The former South Vietnamese Navy, with the help of the Americans, would succeed in saving an estimated 30,000 Vietnamese refugees.  This accomplishment would go unrecognized for nearly thirty-five years.  The American soldiers didn’t regard the rescue as anything significant, viewing their rescue as just part of their duty.

The USS Kirk, an American military vessel, encountered the Vietnamese refugees on and around Con Son Island, immediately providing them with food, water, shelter, and medical assistance.  The USS Kirk then led the Vietnamese naval vessels, fishing boats, and cargo ships, filled with refugees, to safety, meeting up with other US Navy ships.  As a result of their efforts, approximately 30,000 Vietnamese refugees were taken to safety in the Philippines and out of the Communists’ reach.

It is only recently that this great humanitarian accomplishment became largely recognized.  Since America held a feeling of bitterness towards Vietnam after the tragic conclusion of the war, the public was not interested in the happenings in that general area.  Also, the soldiers themselves never considered what they did to be anything extraordinary, so the story was never widely publicized.  Today, rising interests in humanitarian work have prompted journalists and investigators to explore the American feat in Vietnam, so the story of this great rescue is finally known to the world.

Leadership Change Coming to Vietnam

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on November 22, 2010 by Ian Pham

Rumor has it that Nguyen Tan Dung may be the new number one. He's the Prime Minister right now, not very great at it.

In January of next year, the 11th National Congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party will take place.  The 15 current leaders in the Political Bureau, the top branch of the Vietnamese government, will be replaced by new members.  The posts of General Secretary, President, and Prime Minister will all be occupied by someone else.

There is not much information available about this coming event, since the regime itself is shrouded in secrecy.  How the process works is not exactly known, though it surely won’t be democratic.  Even the names of the “candidates” who are going to replace the current top members are hidden from the public sphere.

What is known however, is that the process won’t be democratic at all, since the leadership posts are decided among the top guys themselves.  For that reason, it is unlikely that any of us can expect a strong leader to emerge.  Even so, we shouldn’t lose the optimism.  Though the leaders of the VCP have become progressively worse over the years, a fresh start is not always out of the question.

Nong Duc Manh won't be the General Secretary for much longer. Come January, someone else will take his place.

Rumor has it that the current Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, will replace Nong Duc Manh as the new General Secretary of Vietnam.  Since the two basically do the same things (kiss China’s ass), a change will not take place if the rumors are true.  However, he is a weak person, incapable of ruling. Under any regime, cowardly men are never capable of winning the loyalty of their subordinates.  Therefore, it might not be he who will become the new number one.

That’s the rundown on what will be happening in January.  New leaders will be chosen, but we do not know who.  It is possible that someone can bypass this system and take Vietnam into a new era, but the chance of that happening… you know.  Even so, we shouldn’t completely dismiss that hope.  Vietnam has taken some steps to better the country, maybe other members of the Party have smartened up.  What do you think?

Stay Out of Senkaku! Protests in Japan

Posted in Politics, Videos with tags , , , on November 20, 2010 by Ian Pham

This is a very recent event, happening less than a week ago.  The people of Japan will not stand idly by while the Communist Chinese terrorize innocent civilians in the Senkaku Islands.  I have to say, it is very admirable what the Japanese are doing, raising their voices and making the issue known.

The students in Vietnam have staged similar protests in the past, only to get crushed by the Communist government in Vietnam.  Whatever the Vietnamese people are trying to do in Vietnam, the Japanese people are able to do in Japan.  This just goes to show what kind of garbage government the Vietnamese Communists, and Communism as a whole, really is.

Right at the beginning, you will notice some yellow flags with three red stripes on them.  That is the national flag of South Vietnam.  It looks like there are some Vietnamese protesters among the crowd, a nice touch indeed.  This video is almost 18 minutes long, a newscast that mostly shows the demonstrations in the streets.  You don’t really need to watch it all, just check it out and see what the deal is!

Check it out!

New Posts Coming, Promise

Posted in Announcements with tags , on November 16, 2010 by Ian Pham

Dear readers,

I am a little busy right now and am struggling to find some adequate blogging time.  In order to create a meaningful and informative post, one needs time, something that is really scarce at the moment.  I could simply throw on some random thoughts that may or may not find very helpful to you, but to me that is not enough.

This is why I am letting you know what the situation is, promising you that I will come out with the new post as soon as I can.  It shouldn’t be more than a few days, I just don’t want you coming back all the time, just to see the same thing.  You deserve better.  Thanks for continuing to visit everyone, your loyalty is deeply appreciated.

– Ian Pham

Political Cartoon: The Piranha

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , , on November 14, 2010 by Ian Pham

Here’s an easy one.  The piranha represents the predatory People’s Republic of China while the pieces of food in its mouth represent the Paracel and Spratly Islands.  Basically, China is swallowing up Vietnam’s islands.  Plain and Simple.

Listening to the Rain

Posted in Dynastic History, Poetry with tags , , on November 12, 2010 by Ian Pham

A Poem by Nguyễn Trãi

With all the tensions in the world, one should remember to take a break once in a while and ease the mind with a little poetry.  This is “Listening to the Rain,” composed by Nguyễn Trãi, great poet and political genious of the 15th century.  Translated by contemporaries, Do Nguyen and Paul Hoover.

Jouissez!

“Alone in a dark, silent room.

Listening to the rain fall the whole night long.

The somber sound is a shock to the pillow.

Drop by drop falling melodiously, endlessly.

The sound of bamboo tapping on the window

And a ringing bell melt gently into my peaceful dream.

Mumbled some poems but can’t fall asleep,

Continually listening, drop by drop, until sunrise.”

Hoover, Paul & Do Nguyen. Beyond the Court Gate: Selected Poems of Nguyễn Trãi. Denver, Colorado: Counterpath Press. 2010.

Real Footage: Chinese Agression on the Senkaku Islands

Posted in Politics, Videos with tags , , on November 10, 2010 by Ian Pham

When China and Japan clashed over the incident on September 7, 2010, both sides had their own story to tell about it.  The Chinese claimed that the Japanese vessel intentionally collided with the Chinese boat, harassing the Chinese fishermen.  Japan’s response was quite similar, only they say that the Chinese were the real aggressors.

In any case, the Chinese “fishermen” were arrested and released after several days.  Even though both sides had their own take on the Senkaku Incident, I myself have already concluded which side was more truthful.  With clear evidence of heinous crimes committed in the Southeast Asia Sea and blatant disregard for international law, my judgement told me that the People’s Republic of China was the one guilty of naval aggression.

It has been two months since the incident and the PRC still accuse the Japanese of being the aggressors who wrongfully arrested the Chinese fishermen.  This video however, tells a different story.  Footage of the incident was recorded and documented by the Japanese Coast Guard, summing up the incident in a very conclusive way.  It doesn’t matter what claims the Beijing government make now, because this video says it all.

Petition: Change the Name “South China Sea” to “Southeast Asia Sea”

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on November 8, 2010 by Ian Pham

This petition was started by the Nguyen Thai Hoc Foundation. I support this petition because I don’t believe the name “South China Sea” accurately represents the geographical location of this area.  This sea is located in Southeast Asia and surrounded by many Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  That is why I signed this petition and encourage many of you to sign it too!  It’s really quick and easy!

This petition will remain on this website for as long as it takes.  You can help make a change too.  Spread the word and recommend this petition to anyone you believe will support our cause.  Let’s make history!

Sign Here!

http://www.change.org/petitions/view/change_the_name_south_china_sea_to_southeast_asia_sea

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Deals With the Free World, It’s a Great Thing!

Posted in Economics, Politics with tags , , , , on November 5, 2010 by Ian Pham

As you may know, Vietnam has made some pretty productive moves this past week.  During the meeting of East Asian ministers, Vietnam struck new deals with Japan, Russia, and the United States.  Being an optimist, I’d hope to see more deals like these made in the near future.

The business benefits of these agreements are clear, international investments, jobs, etc.  What I really like about these agreements is Vietnam’s willingness to cooperate with the democratic countries.  Officials from all sides hint at further improvements in multilateral relations, and that is a great thing.

I’m not naive enough to believe that these deals alone could make Vietnam democratic overnight.  However, I am idealistic enough to suggest that these new deals are taking Vietnam in a positive direction.  Any type of cooperation with a free and democratic country is good in my opinion.

That being said, I am not completely convinced.  Yes, things look good right now, but this is only the start of it.  Though China’ grip on the VCP seems to be slipping, they still hold considerable influence within the Party, and that makes things highly unpredictable.

At this point, my opinion about the Vietnamese government can go either way.  They’ve taken positive steps in moving the country forward, but the old problems still remain.  Only when the Party starts talking freedom of expression, association, and religion will you see my approval.