Archive for the Society Category

Annotated Bibliography: “Education in Viet Nam,” by Berry E. Morton

Posted in Modern History, Modern History - A.B., Society with tags , , , on April 24, 2016 by Ian Pham

La San Taberd School in Saigon, South VietnamPhotograph via Flickr

Morton, Berry E. “Education in Viet Nam.” Contemporary Education 45, no. 3 (1974): 201-208.

This article examines in detail the growth of South Vietnam’s education system during the nation’s lifespan. From the evidence presented, one will learn that from the nation’s birth in the 1950s up to 1974 when this article was written, South Vietnam’s education system achieved exponential advancement that was nothing short of extraordinary. From elementary, through secondary school, all the way to post-secondary, South Vietnam invested heavily in its education, increasing rapidly its number of schools, student enrollment, as well as its teaching staff, with the active support and assistance both from friendly nations and international organizations from all over the world (p.202).

Morton’s article is filled with valuable statistics and information. This brief entry will only highlight a few, to illustrate just how much value South Vietnam placed on the educational development of its people.

Notable points presented by Morton include South Vietnam’s vast expansion in higher education. According to Morton, “there were no colleges or universities in all of South Vietnam” in 1954. However, by the 1973-74 academic year, South Vietnam had established nine universities, and enrolled a total of 86,000 students to these institutions (p. 201). Moreover, by that same 1973-74 academic year, South Vietnam had also developed “sixteen post secondary two-year teacher training schools, enrolling 9,000 elementary teachers in training; plus two newly operational junior colleges which are part of the recently planned system of two-year post secondary institutions,” (ibid).

At the top of South Vietnam’s priority list was the development of its elementary schools (p. 202). “In 1954,” Morton explains, “there were 8,191 elementary classrooms scattered throughout the nation; very few classrooms were built between 1954 and 1960,” (ibid). With the South Vietnamese government’s investment in education, a staggering 17,000 classrooms were added by the 1970-71 academic year, “making a total of approximately 25,500 classrooms… housing 2,490,246 elementary students,” (p. 203).

During the 1960s, the South Vietnamese Ministry of Education undertook a massive task to reform and develop the country’s secondary school program (junior high and high school), changing the system from an elitist French-colonial structure into a more accessible, “viable and truly Vietnamese secondary school system,” (p. 203-204). This initiative was carried out through the widespread building of classrooms, changing of curriculums and administrations, increasing of enrollment, and an abundant array of other developments. The astronomical growth in South Vietnam’s secondary schools is illustrated by the following information:

In 1956, there were 69,700 students enrolled in the nation’s secondary schools. By 1960 this figure had increased to 165,000 students or about six percent of the youth of secondary school age. By 1970 this figure had increased to 710,541 or about twenty-one percent and during the 1973-74 academic year the total secondary school enrollment is 1,062,000 or about twenty-eight percent of the population group (p. 205).

These statistics of the rapid increase in secondary schools is an indicator of South Vietnam’s success in overhauling its system for schooling youth of the adolescent age group. As a whole, the information presented thus far, regarding the whole South Vietnamese educational system, from elementary all the way to post-secondary, presents a clear representation of the South Vietnamese nation’s emphasis on education, improvement in the quality of life, and the development of its people.

Another interesting point worth noting from Morton’s source is that in South Vietnam, education for the nation’s public universities is free (p. 206). In addition to this, it is also noteworthy that education ranks second among the desires of the South Vietnamese people, with “security from insurgency” ranking first (p. 201).

Morton’s article is lengthy and detailed, containing many more relevant information and statistics regarding South Vietnam’s educational development. This brief annotated bibliographic article only presents some notable highlights. In all, the information presented here should demonstrate South Vietnam as a nation that greatly valued education, and went to all the possible lengths to deliver education to its people.

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Communists Are Afraid of Books, Arrest Phuong Uyen Again for Holding One

Posted in Books, Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

Phuong Uyen Holding BookPhoto via Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo

As comical as that headline may be, one might find it even more comical, and sad, that it’s actually true.

If you recall, Nguyen Phuong Uyen is the feisty and highly intelligent young democracy activist who, in 2013, was arrested by the Communist Party for speaking out against the VCP’s despotic, corrupt, and cowardly governance. One of my favorite messages from her was, “Đi chết đi, DCS VN bán nước,” which roughly translates to, “Kill yourselves, treasonous Vietnamese Communist Party.” She was released in August of 2013 due to international pressure, but was still terrorized by the Party thereafter. Well, she is still here, she is still fighting the commies, and she is bolder than ever.

Just over a week ago, the young activist and former prisoner of conscience Phuong Uyen met up with a few friends at a café somewhere in Saigon. In her possession was a newly published book titled Ước Mơ Của Thủy, which translates to The Dreams of Thủy, or Thủy’s Dreams in English. The book is written by a young author, Ms. Le Viet Ky Nhi, with the preface written by Ms. Phuong Uyen herself. For her involvement with the book, as well as for simply having the book on her person, Phuong Uyen was arrested again by VCP police and held captive for several days.

Ước Mơ Của Thủy is a very important piece of literature that is causing quite a stir within the communist dictatorship system. In only 100 pages, the author Le Viet Ky Nhi is able to present some very powerful ideas that are more than scaring the shit out of the communists. Both historical and political, the author starts out by examining the long and deep history of the Viet people, before moving on to contemporary times, and how the country needs to change to rebuild itself.

Naturally, the communists view this as a threat, and have banned the book from circulation in Vietnam.

And so, on December 13, 2015, while meeting a few friends at Chieu coffee shop, and carrying the book in her bag, Nguyen Phuong Uyen was apprehended by a gang of communist policemen and hauled off to the police station. According to Dan Lam Bao, she was detained for two days and one night by the communist police. She is still being monitored and harassed by authorities after her release.

Keep fighting the good fight, Uyen.

You’re not alone.

DMCS.

Sources:

Dan Lam Bao (Collaborator), Dan Lam Bao (CTV), Dan Lam Bao (VRNs and translated by Ngu Ngoc), Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo, United Press International, Youtube (VanHoaNBLV1)

Viet Khang is Officially Home

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang ReturnsPhoto via Radio Free Asia

It’s official, folks. Viet Khang, the renowned musician and democracy activist, has returned home safely to his family.

In his interview with Radio Free Asia, the musician explains his long trip back home after being released from communist imprisonment. Being provided a group to drive him, Viet Khang did not arrive home until 3-4pm, having left at 7am earlier that morning. He cites the fact that his drivers, taking their sweet time, had to stop for food and refreshments and whatnot, while he was anxious to get home and did not eat at all.

From the same interview, the musician explains that he will be under house arrest for the next 2-3 years, that he is very grateful for all the love and support that he has received throughout this time, and, that he has no regrets for the things that he has done. He is a musician who speaks from his heart, and he is a man who loves his country.

Welcome home, Brother Viet Khang.

Listen to the whole interview at Radio Free Asia.

Musician and Human Rights Activist Viet Khang Released From Prison Yesterday

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet KhangPhoto via We Heart Music

Yesterday in Vietnam, Viet Khang, the musician and human rights activist who has been imprisoned by the Vietnamese communist government since late 2011 because of his music, was finally released after four years in jail.

Brother Viet Khang, as many of us like to call him, wrote two songs in 2011: “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where Is My Vietnam)?” and “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?” Both of these tracks ask some serious questions about the Vietnamese Communist Party and their governance, namely, “why are you selling our nation to the Chinese?” and, “why are you suppressing and terrorizing our people for defending the country?”

As you may know, it is illegal to ask questions in Vietnam, especially if they bring up how stupid or cowardly the communist leadership is. And so, for his courage and the willingness to ask questions, Brother Viet Khang was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail.

Vietnam. Where asking a simple question such as, “why don’t we just defend our country?” can get you sentenced to four years in prison. But, I digress.

As of yesterday, December 14, 2015, it is reported that Viet Khang has finally been released from captivity. According to SBS, Viet Khang’s mother is awaiting his return home. There is not yet news of his safe arrival at this time of writing.

Let us all pray for Viet Khang and his family, and hope that the brave musician returns home to his family soon, if he is not home already.

One More Version of “DMCS” That You Need to Hear, It’s the Remix

Posted in Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2015 by Ian Pham

DMCS Remix Performed by LDleKINGImage via Youtube

I’ve shared two versions of the popular song “Fuck Communism,” or “DMCS,” on this blog already, so it only makes sense to share the last version for you all to hear. There’s one more out there, it’s the remix, and it’s performed by LDleKING, a fellow rapper and friend of the original version’s author, Nah.

This is technically the second version, since it was released shortly following the original back in January of this year, with the English version by Mondega released several months after that in April.

There are no subtitles for this one, unfortunately for my English listeners. But fret not, for the subject matter is still the same, and I will make a little summary for you all below the video. Vietnamese-speaking listeners should not have a problem understanding this song.

Here is “DMCS (Remix),” and since it is performed by a rapper from the same circle as Nah, and is recognized by Nah, I guess we can call it the “Official Remix.”

Summary: In terms of lyrics, the subject matter is similar to the other versions. LDleKING rips the communists apart, pointing out how stupid they are, how pathetic they are, how they are traitors to the nation, and how they are absolute losers. Like the other versions, LDleKING doesn’t pull any punches in verbally destroying the Vietnamese Communist Party, which makes this song fun to listen to as well. It’s fantastic.

Well, there you have it, people. Another fire track by another talented Vietnamese musician. Keep fighting the good fight, fellas.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

… And remember: Fuck communism.

I Don’t Know Who Mondega Is, But He Performs “DMCS 2,” It’s in English, and You All Should Listen

Posted in Music, Politics, Society, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2015 by Ian Pham

DMCS 2 Performed By MondegaImage via Youtube

The headline pretty much speaks for itself. Rapper Nah’s Youtube channel has this alternate version of “DMCS,” aka “Fuck Communism” on it, performed by a rapper who goes by the name Mondega, and, great news, it’s all in English.

This track has a different beat and different lyrics than the original, but the subject matter is still the same. The communists are garbage, they ruined the country, and they deserve to die. It’s a good listen, and for my people overseas, the song, like I said, is in English, so you can all enjoy it! Sadly, there is no Vietnamese translation for those of you reading from Vietnam, but if you’re already reading this, then you can understand it anyways, so it’s all good!

(Note: I wouldn’t use the close captions (CC) button for this one, it’ll just make you laugh.)

Here’s “DMCS 2/Fuck Communism 2,” performed by Mondega. Enjoy!

Some notable lines from the song:

“… Communism sounds good until you grow up in this shit.”

“This is the predicament, underneath the politics.

I just think democracy’s a better way to live.”

“It’s about to be a war, I’m just raising my army.

I check my website and Hanoi seems to be on it.”

“If I should die a martyr, I just hope you see my vision.

I’m just a freedom fighter, disguised as a musician.”

Keep spittin’ that truth, Mondega.

Fuck communism.

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

Posted in Politics, Society 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)