Archive for November, 2011

UFC 139: Cung Le Makes UFC Debut Against Wanderlei Silva

Posted in Politics, Sports with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2011 by Ian Pham

So, this does not have much to do with politics in Vietnam, but I am such a big fan of Cung Le that I just could’t resist.  Hours from now (the countdown has begun), Cung Le will be making his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva in UFC 139.  Cung Le and Wanderlei Silva will be the co-headliners of the night, while Shogun vs Hendo will be the night’s main event.  Much respect to Shogun and Hendo, we know their fight will be epic, though I am still looking forward to the co-main event, just a little more.

Cung Le made his MMA debut in Strikeforce in 2005, going undefeated for five matches, before defeating Frank Shamrock for the middle-weight title in 2008.  The only loss that he ever received in MMA came in 2009 against Scott Smith, a loss that Cung Le later redeemed in 2010, when he won in the rematch.  In 2007, Cung Le fought in the Shan Shou tournament, defeating Na Shun of China, and winning the fight for team USA.

Like many of the Vietnamese in North America, Le and his mother were refugees from the former South Vietnam, fled the country in the wake of the Communist takeover.  As a Vietnamese kid in the U.S., Cung Le was discriminated against and bullied by his peers.  For these reasons, he started training in martial arts, becoming extremely good, extremely quickly.  Cung Le picked up on wrestling in junior high, got more involved in martial as he got older, and well, the rest is history.

When I said earlier that this article has nothing to do with politics in Vietnam, I lied.  Cung Le’s fighting shorts are decorated with a golden stripe, with red stripes down the sides, clearly signifying his connection to the former Republic of Vietnam, and his pride in his Vietnamese roots.  The MMA champ sports these colors every time he steps into the ring.  In all of his Strikeforce bouts, waves of golden flags can be seen through his fans in the stands, it is quite a beautiful sight.

Wanderlei Silva will be a formidable opponent, reigning as the undefeated champ in Pride for the longest time (18-0, 2001-2007).  Even so, Cung Le is also a formidable adversary, with a unique style that most other fighters are not used to seeing.  He has been labelled as one of the most dynamic fighters in MMA, with a kick that no one could match.   He’s going to kick Silva’s ass, that’s the only point in trying to make.  Less than 6 hours left, see you at the fight.

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Chinese Vessel, In Vietnamese Waters, Rammed by Vietnamese Ship (Footage)

Posted in Politics, Videos with tags , , on November 13, 2011 by Ian Pham

The following video shows how a Chinese ship, while trekking into Vietnamese territory, gets pursued by the Vietnamese coastguard, warned, and subsequently rammed by the Vietnamese ship.  There was some skepticism at first on whether this video is authentic or not, but after some careful deliberation, it is more likely than not that this footage is real.  The Vietnamese did chase after a Chinese boat, this is their footage.

I’ll say right off the bat that the Vietnamese are probably the aggressors in this video, as they were the ones to chase down and collide with the Chinese ship.  However, to what extent can we call the Vietnamese the aggressors?  After all, this is just a response to what the Chinese have been doing for years now.  For the longest time, the Chinese have been committing these rimes with no response by the Vietnamese Communists at all.  Furthermore, the Chinese not only rammed the Vietnamese boats, but went as far as to confiscate, kidnap, and murder the civilians on board as well.

This is just a kind response from the Vietnamese government to Beijing, one that has been long overdue.  For too long, the government in Hanoi has remained silent about China and the piracy that they have been committing.  From the looks of things, the new leaders of Vietnam’s Communist Party are less tolerant of China’s belligerence and bullying tactics.  They are willing to call the Chinese out on the crimes they have been committing, which puts them above their predecessors.  However, they are still totalitarians, they are still corrupted, so they are still not that great.

Gang Attack on Vietnamese Pastor was Ordered by the Government

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2011 by Ian Pham

Earlier this week, gang members stormed the church-house of pastor Thien An, beating him and members of his family with pipes and wooden clubs.  The pastor was attacked by the thugs for his important role in Vietnam’s Catholic community, as the government considers religion a major threat to their legitimacy.  It is widely believed that the thugs were hired by the Vietnamese police and were acting under their instruction.  Pastor Thien An and his family were attacked by hired gangsters twice that day, once at 1:00 p.m., and then again at 8:30 p.m.  In both cases, when calls were made to the police department, nobody answered the phone.

The connection between the gang attacks and the government police are fairly obvious.  One week earlier, the pastor was visited by Vietnamese police, claiming that they needed to “investigate” his property.  In one religious service not too long ago, the police barged into the pastor’s church-house and cut the sound system, preventing him from completing his service.  During the intrusion of the pastor’s sermon, members of his family were terrorized and threatened with violence by the policemen involved.

The gang ordeal left many members of the pastor’s family with some severe injuries including cuts, bruises, and broken bones.  Videos of the pastor and his family member’s injuries have been posted on Youtube, showing us just how brutal the gang/police attacks on the civilians really are.  This attack on pastor Thien An and his family took place in Central Vietnam, in the province of Quang Nam.

Using hired thugs to terrorize the people is a common tactic of the Vietnamese government.  When they want to cover their tracks or avoid getting their hands dirty, the Vietnamese Communist Party hire gangsters and criminals to do their bidding.  Not only does the government fail to enforce laws, they actually encourage and participate in the criminal activities in Vietnam’s underworld.  It is extremely disheartening, but, as one church pastor put it, “this is still our country’s rule-of-law.”