Archive for the III. Entertainment Category

What Jovie From the Movie “Elf” Taught Me About Courage and Leadership

Posted in Film, Music, Opinions, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Ian Pham

zooey-deschanel-in-elfImage via Fanpop

This is going to be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.

First off, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” there are going to be some spoilers ahead. Secondly, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” you should do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP. Chances are high (basically 100%) that some channel on TV is playing it right now, as we speak, as I type this article, and then actually right now, as you read this article. It’s an incredible movie, full of laughs and whimsy and Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell at his comedic best.

I won’t give too much of the movie away, but there is one scene in the film where Buddy the Elf’s (Ferrell) love interest Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel) steps up on a carriage and sings in front of a mob of people in Central Park. Her purpose in doing this is to bring up New York’s Christmas spirit so that Santa, Buddy, and the reindeers can follow through with their mission to save Christmas. It’s a zany, lighthearted, and adorable film that will surely either cheer you up or make your day even brighter than it already is.

Here’s the scene I am talking about. Give it a watch, and I will follow up with the discussion shortly after. But, before you press play, remember: SPOILERS are contained in the clip.

Pretty cute, right?

I won’t get too deep into the politics that I usually talk about, but I do want to point out this simple message that I received from this adorable movie: It only takes one brave voice to make something happen. It only takes one voice to start a change.

If you read this site often, you already know where I’m going with this.

And yes, I know it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound right now. Singing a song in the middle of Saigon or Hanoi won’t make the communist regime fall just like that. It’ll take more than a song to bring down the totalitarian communist dictatorship and bring freedom to Vietnam.

However, what I want to say is that if you are someone who has something to say to the communists in Vietnam, then go for it. It may not be as simple as singing a song to raise Christmas spirit for Santa’s sleigh, but, and I’m talking real life now, if you have a message that you believe people need to hear, if you want to speak out against the communists, then use your voice to break the silence.

Zooey Deschanel’s scene in “Elf” is just a lighthearted musical number in a fun comedy movie, but to me, it is a beautiful illustration of the idea that, with just one brave voice, something extraordinary can happen. One person with the courage to step up, speak up, and be the guiding light that leads a movement to accomplish something incredible and magical. In “Elf,” this incredible thing is saving Christmas, in our real world, it is saving Vietnam from Communism, and bringing freedom, democracy, and human rights to Vietnam.

In this real life scenario, Vietnam is our Christmas, and Jovie, that voice that breaks the silence, is a person we have not met yet, but is definitely out there somewhere.

To the Jovie of Vietnam, if you’re reading this, the world is waiting for you. Raise your voice, take a chance, and make something incredible happen. You can do it. Believe in yourself.

Well, that’s my motivational speech this Christmas.

Hopefully you’re all doing well, and, while I may not always have the time to write on here as much as I want to, my thoughts are always with you, and with Vietnam. I wish I got paid to write on here, but hey, you can’t get everything you ask for. Still, though, a guy can dream, right?

Merry Christmas, everybody. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

See you in 2017.

Ian Pham.

Christmas Card: 2015 Edition

Posted in Announcements, Music with tags , , , , on December 25, 2015 by Ian Pham

Christmas CandlesImage via Images Buddy

Seasons Greetings, dear readers!

I don’t have much time to blog today, but it still doesn’t feel right to leave you all without a Merry Christmas and a song. So, here I am, wishing you all a Happy Holidays, and a very Merry Christmas!

Whether you’re with family, friends, or spending some time alone this holiday season, I hope that your days and nights are filled with comfort, warmth, and happiness. Appreciate what you have, don’t stop dreaming, and don’t stop believing.

That’s all the time I have, folks. Best wishes this holiday season, and don’t forget to smile.

Once again,

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Ian

P.S. This year’s Christmas song is the famous “Do You Hear What I Hear?” written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker in 1962. Here beautifully performed by Carrie Underwood.

Enjoy!

Here’s a Nice Song That Viet Khang Wrote, Performed by Dan Truong

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 22, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang - Ban ThanImage via Dan Luan

The following is a song that Viet Khang wrote. It started making its rounds on the internet in early 2012, a short while after the musician’s arrest for writing his two groundbreaking and politically-driven songs, “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?” and “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where Is My Vietnam)?” After some brief snooping however, it turns out that this song has been out since 2010, and is performed by a singer named Dan Truong. According to Youtube, in the video’s description, the song is performed by Dan Truong, and written by Viet Khang.

Along with the two famous tracks mentioned above, this single has also become quite popular among Viet Khang’s fans.

The song which I currently speak of is titled “Ban Than,” which means “Good Friend” in Vietnamese. It’s literally all about looking forward to hanging out with your friend, having coffee, and talking about life and other things. I personally enjoyed the song quite a bit, and feel that many of you will like it too. It’s nonpolitical, it’s slow, and it’s just really nice.

Hope you all liked it. I know I sure did.

Once again, welcome back, Brother Viet Khang.

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.