Archive for the IV. Columns Category

Brief Thoughts on President Diem, November 3, 2018

Posted in Modern History, Opinions with tags , , , , , , on November 3, 2018 by Ian Pham

Ngo Dinh Diem Memorial(OC Register)

I will start this brief discussion off with an excerpt from “The Lost Mandate of Heaven,” an important book by military historian Geoffrey Shaw (2015):

On November 2, 1971, the eighth anniversary of Ngo Dinh Diem’s assassination, several thousand people gathered in Saigon to commemorate the death of the former president of Vietnam. “A yellow-robed Buddhist monk offered a Buddhist remembrance, and Catholic prayers were said in Latin. Banners proclaimed Diem a saviour of the South. The previous day, All Saints Day, Catholics had come to the cemetery from the refugee villages outside Saigon, carrying portraits of the slain president.

Indeed, ever since 1970 the loss of Ngo Dinh Diem has been publically mourned throughout many communities in Vietnam, albeit secretly at times. His memory has been kept alive more openly by the Vietnamese diaspora around the world. (p. 23).

The excerpt above illustrates very well the view of President Diem from the eyes of us Vietnamese people. Ngo Dinh Diem was a bold and inventive genius, who saved half of Vietnam from being swallowed up by the communist plague. He built his nation up from nothing, and turned it into a Southeast Asian powerhouse within the span of a decade. By any measure, Ngo Dinh Diem was a patriot and a Vietnamese hero.

Since his assassination on November 2, 1963, Vietnamese communities from all over the world have come together to honor and remember him. Whether inside or outside of Vietnam, whether Buddhist, Catholic, or Atheist, we Vietnamese know the truth about him, and commemorate him every year for his service and sacrifice to the Vietnamese nation.

President Diem has been treated egregiously unfairly by leftist journalists and historians, then and now. They have lied, slandered, and wrote volumes upon volumes of fake histories about him, telling tall tales that could not be further from the truth.

Little by little however, the leftist lies are being exposed, and those who contributed to this great fiction are steadily finding their rightful place as the liars and frauds of history. While it is unclear how long it will take to bring the liars to justice and fully exonerate the name of President Diem, I can say with confidence that the movement has already begun.

For the last five and a half decades, the Vietnamese people have kept Diem’s memory alive. Furthermore, we are beginning to speak out and set the record straight. Thanks to all of your dedication and patriotism, we not only remember President Diem, but are more empowered than ever to tell of his accomplishments and carry on his legacy. Let us never forget his sacrifices, and let us never stop fighting for freedom and independence.

For further reading on President Ngo Dinh Diem, click here.

 

Work cited:

Shaw, Geoffrey. The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2015.

*****

Typo Correction: The initial headline read, “November 2, 2018,” when it should have been, “November 3, 2018,” marking today’s date. This error has been corrected, and I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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A Solemn Thank You.

Posted in IV. Columns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2018 by Ian Pham

Vietnamese Memorial(Breitbart)

Hello All,

I’ll be honest here. I tried writing a few feature pieces for this April 30th, but none of it panned out. I wanted to do something big, bit off more than I can chew, and simply didn’t have enough time to make it good enough to share. There are certain standards that I hold myself to as a writer, and I would not put anything out unless I believe it was good enough. This is even more so on Black April, a solemn day of mourning and commemoration for a nation lost. I wanted to do a lot for this day, but in the end, this year, I came up empty.

But, it didn’t feel right to say nothing. I have to say something. How could I not?

And so, with no research or notes on hand, or a poem, or anything, all I got is what is on my mind right now, right this minute, and the only thing I can say is this:

Thank you.

Thank you to all the heroes who fought, bled, and died to defend the freedom of the South Vietnamese people and their nation. This goes out to all of the veterans. South Vietnamese veterans, American veterans, and all of our friends and allies who laid down their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and independence. To all of the heroes, living or dead, I thank you. We thank you, and pledge to never let your sacrifices be forgotten.

I also want to thank the Boat People refugees, the Children of the South, who took that leap of faith, and faced the vast and mighty Ocean in the pursuit of freedom. To everyone who made that impossible choice to depart from Vietnam after the communist takeover, braving unthinkable danger, and enduring unspeakable pain and suffering, all for that beautiful idea, freedom, I thank you. Without you, there would be no us. Without you, there would be no hope. So thank you. Thank you for keeping it all alive. The legacy, the heritage, the roots of the Vietnamese people, all of it lives on to this day, because of you. Thank you, for giving us something that we can never repay. We will carry it with us, and pass it on to future generations, so that it may live on. Forever.

Lastly, I want to thank all the nations of the free world who took in the Boat People refugees. To the countries that took us all in, at a time when we had nothing, we thank you. You gave us freedom, you gave us hope, you gave us strength, and you gave us a future. You gave us a home. And, like the gift that the Boat People refugees have given to the future generations, we can never repay the gift that the nations of the free world have given to us all. But, we will try, every minute, every second, of every day to make the most of that gift that you have given us: Freedom. Thank you America. Thank you Canada. Thank you Australia. And thank you to all the nations of the free world who took us in and made us your own. Your kindness and compassion will never be forgotten.

And to you, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and musings, and thank you for standing with me, as a proud, freedom-loving Vietnamese person. What’s more, thank you for keeping the South Vietnamese legacy alive. We are all in this together, and one day, Vietnam will be free again. Thank you for fighting the good fight.

Thank you.

CNN is Losing Money, Viewers, and Laying Off Employees, Because Evidently People Don’t Like Fake News

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , on February 17, 2018 by Ian Pham

Fake News CNN(YouTube/CNN)

Earlier in the week, news outlets reported that CNN, the left-leaning, major multibillion-dollar media corporation, often labeled as “Fake News” by President Donald J. Trump, has been yielding disappointing revenues, and as a result, is taking countermeasures to deal with the money troubles.

Despite trying to put a positive spin on the overall situation, an article from Vanity Fair, another left-leaning publication, reports that there are “as many as 50 jobs around the globe scheduled to be eliminated this week… the exact number could still be in flux.” Furthermore, the report states that those employees affected will include “CNN Money, video, product, tech and social publishing,” as well as “Several high profile initiatives” such as “CNN’s virtual reality productions and its efforts on Snapchat.”

The situation is also reported by Mediaite, who adds that as part of the cuts, CNN has shut down the $25 million video startup Beme, which was acquired from YouTube star Casey Neistat a little over a year ago. According to Buzzfeed, CNN purchased Beme and hired on its creator, Neistat, in late 2016, with hopes of bringing “a new generation of news consumers” into the CNN viewership. However, shortly after one year of the purchase, Neistat would become frustrated with the company, CNN would struggle to meet their ambitious plans, and, as recent events show, the entire project would be shafted.

As described by the cited Vanity Fair and Mediaite sources, the year 2017 saw missed revenue projections for CNN, as well as news companies Buzzfeed and VICE. Though “still profitable,” according to Vanity Fair, CNN had fell short of its profit goals “by tens of millions of dollars.”

This period of unsatisfactory numbers aligns with a time of widespread criticism of CNN, who, in the previous year, has been exposed repeatedly for spreading either false, distorted, or unsubstantiated information, most often with the explicit and malicious intent of slandering, discrediting, and generally damaging the White House under the administration of President Donald Trump.

It is no coincidence, as argued here, that this period of weak profits is happening in tandem with declining viewer confidence in a once reputable news corporation.

To provide some perspective on the woes of #FakeNewsCNN, in the week of Feb. 5, 2018, according to Adweek, the network ranked #9 in the Total Day (Total Viewers) category with 674,000 viewers, getting crushed by Fox New, which ranked #1 with 1,529,000 viewers in the same category. In the Prime Time (Total Viewers) category, CNN did not even crack the Top 10, ranking #13 with 888,000 viewers, once again getting destroyed by Fox News, which captured 2,605,000 viewers, and taking the #1 spot in this category as well.

These statistics represent the most recent happenings on cable news, but is very telling of the trend that has been developing since last year.

An analysis of Adweek statistics by the Daily Wire during the summer of 2017 reported similar findings, with CNN struggling to crack the 800,000 viewer territory during that time period as well.

Over the last year, with its dishonest and malicious reporting on the Trump presidency, frequently launching personal attacks on the president himself, his supporters, his friends, and even members of his family, many viewers of CNN, such as myself, became disillusioned and fed up with the media giant’s blatant bias and lack of respect for its audience and the general public. It is for this reason that I, through no conscious plan of my own, have found myself not watching CNN on television for nearly ten months now.

From its disappointing numbers, its cuts, and its layoffs, it seems I am not the only one to stop watching CNN. I had no clear intention of actively boycotting CNN, but incidentally, that is what happened. Although there is no time frame for this convenient boycott, I simply do not see myself tuning in to CNN again anytime soon.

I know I’m not missing much.

 

Merry Christmas! 2017 Edition

Posted in Art, IV. Columns, Music with tags , , , , on December 25, 2017 by Ian Pham

freepikproject_template(Freepik)

Seasons Greetings, dear readers!

I know I haven’t been around as much, but I had to drop in to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

If you are wondering if this blog is still active, and whether I am still active, fear not, because the answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES! Blogging time has been sparse over this last long haul, but I see some opportunities to change that as we go forward. More on that soon!

And so, in this brief Christmas letter, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year!

I hope all of you have the opportunity to take some time and appreciate the things that are important to you, whatever they may be. Remember to take care of yourself, love yourself, and know that whoever you are, your are enough, and you are worth it.

Best wishes,

Ian

❤️🎄🎁🎵

Viewers Beware: Brief Thoughts on the Upcoming PBS Documentary “The Vietnam War”

Posted in Film, Opinions, Politics, Society with tags , , on September 10, 2017 by Ian Pham

Novick and BurnsLeft to right: Lynn Novick and Ken Burns, the duo filmmakers of the upcoming PBS documentary, “The Vietnam War.” The first episode premiers next Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (David Burnett / Vanity Fair)

I got a bad feeling about this. That’s my take.

The reasons I am sharing my brief thoughts, and not a full-on analysis on the subject, are because: 1) I haven’t watched the documentary series, which, spanning 10 episodes, will be 18 hours in total, and; 2) The news articles out there that talk about the documentary don’t really tell you much, besides how great the liberal mainstream media thinks it’s going to be.

That’s why, based on my findings from a few articles I’ve read, I can only say that I do not have a very good feeling about this upcoming documentary.

At a glance, I would say that this new documentary is the political left’s latest multi-million dollar effort to screw us (the Vietnamese freedom community) over. Before I watch the whole documentary, however (… all 18 freaking hours of it), it would not be fair for me to write the whole thing off. With that said, given the track record of the liberal media, I have much reason to dismiss this documentary as the latest leftist hatchet job against the U.S. and South Vietnam, designed to further bury the truth and turn the more gullible of the millennial generation against us as well.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, interviewees of the documentary range from U.S. soldiers who served in Vietnam, to deserters of the U.S. forces, as well as “North Vietnamese and Vietcong fighters.”

The prominent attention given to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong interviewees is a red flag (pun intended) in terms of possible biases. Acknowledging that I have not seen the documentary yet, I have concerns that a major focus of the film will be devoted to telling the side of the communists and viewing them in the positive light so typical of the leftists since the 1960s.

Not mentioned in the Daily Mail source, The New York Times claims that the documentary will also include some South Vietnamese soldiers as interviewees. Though that may be reason for optimism, I suspect that the “South Vietnamese” speakers chosen for the documentary may not be authentic South Vietnamese, but are actually traitors, communist sympathizers, ARVN deserters, Vietcong or Northern spies, and others of the sort. I am concerned that they are fake South Vietnamese, South Vietnamese in name only, who were specially selected by the creators because they hold views that fit the liberal antiwar narrative.

Another worrisome possibility is that these South Vietnamese interviewees, who may actually be legitimate and devoted citizens of the Republic of Vietnam, will not be fairly represented in the documentary. I am here concerned that these people, true to the South Vietnamese republic, may appear on the film with pure intentions, but get deliberately misquoted by the film’s creators, with their words twisted and distorted to fit the liberal antiwar narrative. Manipulation of words and facts was a major tactic of the liberal media during the war, is still frequently used up to this day (just look at the mainstream media coverage of Donald Trump), and is something we should be watching out for when viewing this documentary.

Furthermore, Vanity Fair says that, on top of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, the film will also be presenting interviews with “an anti-war protest organizer,” as well as “journalists who covered the war.” Neither of these interview subjects seem like they will be particularly friendly to the non-communist side.

In regards to Vietnamese interviewees from the North and the South, via the same Vanity Fair source:

It [the documentary]… includes South Vietnamese veterans and civilians, and, most strikingly, former enemy combatants: Vietcong guerrillas and North Vietnamese Army regulars, now gray and grandfatherly (or grandmotherly), many of whom showed up for on-camera interviews in their old uniforms, gaudy yellow epaulets on their shoulders.

The passing mention of “South Vietnamese veterans and civilians,” followed by a more detailed introduction of the communists, with humanizing depictions such as how “gray” and “grandfatherly (or grandmotherly)” they look, or the fawning observation that they “showed up for on-camera interviews in their old uniforms, gaudy yellow epaulets on their shoulders,” leads me to believe that the the author of this Vanity Fair article is much more enthusiastic and reverent of the communist side. By extension, I fear that these pro-communist sentiments echo across all creative fronts relating to the project, whether they be news outlets covering the documentary, or producers directly involved with this documentary.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like, intentionally or not, but almost certainly intentionally, this new PBS documentary “The Vietnam War” will most definitely skew to the side of the communists, Ho Chi Minh, and the antiwar “movement” that the liberals, even up to present today, still cling to as some sort of shining achievement.

The Daily Mail reports that the makers of the documentary “hope viewers will draw their own conclusions – while opening a dialogue about the controversial war.”

My concern about this above statement is that the makers of the documentary will bombard the viewer with 18 hours of pro-communist bullshit propaganda, flushed with $30 million-worth of gripping production value and epic “storytelling,” before “encouraging” the viewers to “draw their own conclusions.”

In summary, no, I do not have a good feeling about this upcoming PBS documentary. However, I am not worried about the negative impact this documentary will have on our freedom-loving Vietnamese community.

We will need to brace ourselves. It might hurt at the start, but we’re strong, we’re smart, and we’re resilient. We’re children of the Republic of Vietnam, and we didn’t brave the crashing ocean waves of the Pacific, become successful in all fields including sports, medicine, law, academics, government, military, etc., etc., to be undone by some bullshit liberal propaganda documentary.

It might not even be that bad, but in the event that it is, we’ll handle it. We are the freedom-loving Vietnamese community. We are children of the Republic of Vietnam, and we will handle it.

President Trump Just Approved Plan for U.S. Navy’s Increased Flexibility in the South China Sea, Which is Great

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by Ian Pham

Donald Trump, South China Sea(Sunday Express)

Yes, I fully support this move, for obvious reasons.

It’s no secret my views on China. The rude, disrespectful, and uncivil conduct on the international stage, the constant blatant violations of international law, the groveling, whining, and playing the victim when they get caught and called out for expansionism, espionage, and encroaching on other nations’ sovereignties, and so much more. Plus, China is a totalitarian dictatorship that kidnaps, terrorizes, and murders anyone who speaks out against the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity. And, there’s also the little matter of them evidently trying to invade Vietnam, doing so by currently destroying Vietnam’s environment including forests, highlands, coastal waters, etc., killing off Vietnam’s food supply, poisoning Vietnam’s water supply, sending in staggering numbers of undocumented Chinese “workers,” and many more things beyond the scope of this article. There’s also that. So, yes, I am not a fan of China.

China is a threat to international stability and peace, and is, by these measures, a threat to the free world and liberal democracies everywhere.

For this reason, I argue that U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent approval of a plan that allows the U.S. Navy more flexibility to act and react to happenings in the South China Sea is a very, very good thing.

As reported by The Times of India:

US President Donald Trump approved a plan giving the country’s navy greater freedom in operating in the South China Sea and put pressure on China’s efforts to enlarge its military presence by artificially building reefs and atolls in the area.

The move is seen as a challenge to Beijing’s maritime claims over most of the South China Sea and its attempts to overrule overlapping claims by five other countries, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

The US move will keep China’s expanding navy busy in the South China Sea and make it difficult for Beijing to deal with its territorial disputes with other countries such as India and Japan…

The new plan, which was submitted by US defence secretary Jim Mattis, involves a full-year schedule of when US navy ships will sail through contested waters.

It seems that under the new U.S. president, China will no longer be able to freely violate international law, throw its weight around without consequence, and make a mockery of international cooperation in a shamefully belittling way that only China is capable of doing.

As per usual, China is employing their time-tested strategy of playing the victim and complaining vociferously while at the same time ignoring all claims and evidence of their wrongdoing.

According to Business Insider:

China has responded forcefully to US incursions into the region, telling the US the moves were provocative and that they must ask permission, which doesn’t align with international law or UN conventions.

“China’s military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in response to US bombers flying in the region.

While at the same time (ibid)…

Over the last few years, China has ambitiously built up islands on reefs and atolls in the South China Sea and militarized them with radar outposts, military-grade runways, and shelters for missile defenses.

Military analysts believe China hopes to expand its air defense and identification zone into the western Pacific and build a blue-water navy to rival the US’s, but six other countries also lay claim to parts of the region.

Seriously, how stupid does China think the rest of the world is?

You remember in elementary school, there was that kid who tried to steal your chocolate milk on the playground, but then ran away crying and snitching to the teacher after you got up and broke his nose? That kid is China. China is the crying snitch with the broken nose.

Always plotting, stealing, and sabotaging other nations, then playing the victim when they get caught or called out. That’s China. Pathetic.

I’m glad the United States is finally doing something about this China problem.

I know a lot of you may not be the biggest fans of President Trump (myself included at times), but when he does something right, credit is given where credit is due.

Get ready, East Asia, because America is back.

Viet X. Luong: The South Vietnamese Kid Who Grew Up to Be a U.S. Army General

Posted in I. News, Inspirational People, IV. Columns with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2017 by Ian Pham

Viet X. Luong Viet X. Luong gets promoted from Colonel to Brig. General of the U.S. Army in a ceremony on August 6, 2014 at Fort Hood, Texas. (Bryan Correira / NBC News)

Luong Xuan Viet, or Viet Xuan Luong in American vernacular, was only nine years old when he came to the United States as a South Vietnamese refugee (Bowman, 2015). Today, he holds the reigning achievement of being the first-ever Vietnamese-born person to reach the rank of Brig. General in the U.S. Army (Ghandi, 2014). Currently, he is stationed in South Korea, acting as the Deputy Commanding General of the Eighth Army of the United States (United States, 2017).

His story begins like so many of ours.

It was late April 1975, in the dying days of the Vietnam War. The Republic of Vietnam was on the verge of collapse, and like so many other South Vietnamese at the time, Viet’s family was frantically planning to evacuate the dying country.

During the last days of the war, Viet’s father, a marine in the South Vietnamese Army, called an emergency family meeting. There, it was decided that the Luong family would depart Vietnam before the communist takeover. Following a harrowing excursion to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, which involved sightings of communist artillery fire, Viet and his family entered a Marine helicopter and flew out to the Pacific. Eventually, the Luong family would land on the USS Hancock aircraft carrier, where Viet recalls his father telling him, “… nothing in the world can harm you now,” (Bowman, 2015).

Standing on the wide deck of that American aircraft carrier, Viet found his life’s calling (Hood, 2014). “I knew right back then that I wanted to serve our country,” Viet said (Bowman, 2015).

After becoming settled in Southern California with his family, Viet would come of age and steadily follow in his father’s footsteps (Hood, 2014).

As an undergrad at the University of Southern California, Viet joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (Bowman, 2015). During his time in the ROTC (1983-1987), he was the only cadet from an ethnic background (Garsema, 2016). Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, and so began his professional military career (Bowman, 2015).

Through patience, hard work, and determination, Viet rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army to become the first Vietnamese-born ever to reach the level of general officer.

This historical moment took place on August 6, 2014, at Fort Hood, Texas, where Colonel Viet X. Luong’s uniform was pinned with the star of an Army Brigadier General (Japanese American Veterans Association, 2014).

As Brigadier General, Luong led the American training effort in Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan, as Deputy Commander of the First Cavalry Division. This training prepared the Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban (Bowman, 2015).

In March 2016, General Luong become the Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Central (United States, 2016).

Earlier this year, in May of 2017, General Luong was assigned to South Korea as the Deputy Commanding General of Operations for the Eighth Army (United States, 2017).

Viet X. Luong’s story, his successful and still-growing military career, and his many personal victories and achievements are an inspiration for Vietnamese people everywhere, inside and outside of Vietnam. He is part of the South Vietnamese legacy, representing the struggle, hard work, and dedication of all Vietnamese people who love freedom, country, and family. His story is our story, and that story is the story of the freedom-loving Vietnamese people.

In the words of Luong himself, “As a Vietnamese American, and as an immigrant, I am a symbol of democracy, of freedom, of justice, of our constitution… I live every day trying to live up to the honor and prestige of one of the owners of that,” (Ghandi, 2014).

Viet X. LuongIn 2015, Brig. General Luong led the U.S. training of Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban. (David Gilkey / NPR)

General Viet X. Luong is a role model, not just for the Vietnamese community around the world, but for people everywhere.

Thank you for leading by example, General Luong, and thank you for your service.

 

Sources:

Bowman, Tom. “The Frightened Vietnamese Kid Who Became A U.S. Army General.” April 30, 2015. NPR. Accessed May 31, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/04/30/403082804/the-frightened-vietnamese-kid-who-became-a-u-s-army-general.

“Colonel Viet Xuan Luong Promoted to Flag Rank.” August 15, 2014. Japanese American Veterans Association. Accessed May 31, 2017. http://javadc.org/news/press-release/army-brigadier-general-viet-xuan-luong/.

Garsema, Emily. “USC Alum, An Army Brigadier General, Shares His Tale of Success With Cadets.” April 1, 2016. USC News. Accessed May 31, 2017. https://news.usc.edu/97768/usc-alum-an-army-brigadier-general-shares-his-tale-of-success-with-cadets/.

Ghandi, Lakshmi. “U.S. Military Promotes First Vietnamese-American General.” August 11, 2014. NBC News. Accessed May 31, 2017. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/u-s-military-promotes-first-vietnamese-american-general-n177936.

Hood, David. “Southern California Man is First Vietnamese-Born General in U.S. Military.” August 18, 2014. The Orange County Register. Accessed May 31, 2017. http://www.ocregister.com/2014/08/18/southern-california-man-is-first-vietnamese-born-general-in-us-military/.

United States. “General Officer Assignments, Release No: NR-088-16.” March 15, 2016. U.S. Department of Defense. Accessed May 31, 2017. https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/694035/general-officer-assignments/.

United States. “General Officer Assignments, Release No: NR-156-17.” March 15, 2016. U.S. Department of Defense. Accessed May 31, 2017. https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1168558/general-officer-assignments/.