Archive for the IV. Columns Category

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/.

What is Vietnamese Republicanism? An Introduction

Posted in Announcements, Art, Modern History, Opinions, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2017 by Ian Pham

Vietnamese Republicanism

Image by Ian Pham/Freedom For Vietnam

Editor’s Note: This article was first posted on Facebook late last night, on May 23, 2017. Expect much more in-depth discussions on this subject in the very near future. In the meantime, please read, comment, and share. The short-term objective is to disseminate this information quickly, and to reach as many people, inside and outside of Vietnam as possible. Communism has been destroying Vietnam for far too long. It’s time we started changing that. Thank you for reading, and thank you for the continued support.

Cheers,

Ian Pham

P.S. Please visit, ‘like,’ and ‘share’ the Vietnamese Republicanism Facebook page, and it’s Vietnamese counterpart, Chủ Nghĩa Cộng Hòa Việt Nam.

Vietnamese Republicanism is a political ideology. It is based on the three founding principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense, and its goal is to destroy Communism in Vietnam, bring freedom to the nation and people of Vietnam, and establish a liberal democratic Republic, of the Vietnamese people, by the Vietnamese people, and for the Vietnamese people.

The reason for the creation of this ideology is simple. Currently, Vietnam is in serious trouble. Never before, in over 2000 years, has Vietnam ever been so close to extinction and extermination. A change needs to happen in Vietnam, the thinking of the Vietnamese people who have been affected by Communism needs to change, and this is where Vietnamese Republicanism comes in. Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of change. Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of strength, progress, and resilience. And, at its core, Vietnamese Republicanism is a full-on attack on the cowardly, corrupted, and treasonous ideology of Communism.

As we speak, the Communist Party of Vietnam is willingly handing over the Vietnamese nation to the Chinese invaders, allowing Chinese people to freely enter and live in Vietnam without visas or paperwork, and permitting them to steal Vietnamese jobs, abuse Vietnamese citizens, and disrespect the Vietnamese heritage and way of life. Evil Chinese corporations such as Formosa, Lee & Man, and Bauxite are wreaking havoc and devastation across Vietnamese land, poisoning the waters, wiping out the food supply, and slowly starving, infecting, and killing the people of Vietnam, little by little. In the long run, millions of Vietnamese people will die as a result of these deliberate actions committed by these Chinese corporations. Moreover, the mining operations of these Chinese companies continue to devastate the Vietnamese environment, Vietnamese trees continue to be cut down in staggering numbers, and more broadly, Vietnamese forests, highlands, oceans, and vegetation are being blatantly destroyed by these Chinese corporations. All of these atrocities are part of a wider, diabolical, and evil plan by the Chinese government in Beijing to slowly and quietly eradicate the Vietnamese people. Instead of deploying weapons of war, the Chinese government is carrying out environmental terrorism against the Vietnamese people, as part of a broader Chinese operation of silent genocide against the Vietnamese people. Adding to the peril and humiliation is the fact that all of these evil Chinese schemes have been, and continue to be permitted by the Communist Party of Vietnam, who have already surrendered themselves over to the Chinese invaders.

In the seas, Chinese military personnel have been killing Vietnamese fishermen for decades, and continue to do so with impunity, without a single word of protest from the cowardly Communist Party of Vietnam. Furthermore, Beijing continues to try imposing the Chinese language into Vietnamese schools, and attempts to force the teaching of Chinese history into these same Vietnamese schools, all in an attempt to replace the heritage of the Vietnamese people in our own country. Thus far, the slavish Communist Party of Vietnam has been unsuccessful in pushing the cultural cleansing agenda of their Chinese masters, but they continue to try, and if we don’t stop them, eventually they will succeed.

In short, Vietnam is in serious danger, and if we don’t act now, Armageddon may soon be upon us.

In order for us to preserve and protect our Vietnamese heritage and our Vietnamese nation, we must change the way we think about ourselves as Vietnamese people, and we must change the way we think about our Vietnamese nation. This changing of thought, this changing of vision, and this changing of aspiration, is the first thing that Vietnamese Republicanism is set out to do.

As Vietnamese people, we must understand that we are exceptional. As citizens of the Vietnamese nation, we must understand that the Vietnamese nation is exceptional. First and foremost, it is the goal of Vietnamese Republicanism to make Vietnamese people everywhere, inside and outside of Vietnam understand that the Vietnamese people are an exceptional people, and that the Vietnamese nation is an exceptional nation.

For nearly 80 years, Communism has destroyed the spirit of the Vietnamese people, and disgraced the proud, rich and noble history of the Vietnamese nation. Communism has made the Vietnamese people believe that we are slaves, that we are weak, that we are insignificant, that we are inferior. This is the mindset of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and this is the mindset that the Communist Party has been forcing on the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, the Vietnamese youth, for nearly one century. It is this mentality that made possible the current Chinese incursion into Vietnam. It is this mentality that makes the Vietnamese people passive, apathetic, and meek in the face of the Chinese invasion. It is this mentality that has made it possible for the Chinese to walk into Vietnamese land, shit on the Vietnamese dinner table, and insult the sacred traditions of the Vietnamese nation.

Communism, and the Communist Party of Vietnam, has destroyed the dignity, pride, and hope of the Vietnamese people. Communism has disgraced the thousands years’ history of Vietnam, and the ancient, sacred traditions of the Vietnamese people. Communism is a stain, a scourge, and a disease to Vietnam. Communism must be destroyed, along with the Communist Party of Vietnam, and all of its members. The destruction of Communism, the Communist Party, and all of its members, is one of the major objectives of Vietnamese Republicanism.

As a show of fairness and good will, Vietnamese Republicanism recognizes that there are some within the Communist Party of Vietnam who secretly hate the Communist Party, wish to abandon the Communist Party, hate Communism, and wish to abandon Communism. Vietnamese Republicanism encourages these members to forsake and abandon the Communist Party of Vietnam, forsake and abandon Communism, and to embrace and join the Vietnamese Republican cause. Vietnamese Republicanism welcomes anyone who believes in the Vietnamese people, the Vietnamese nation, and the principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense. Therefore, Vietnamese Republicanism is willing to forgive those who wish to repent for their sins and join the Vietnamese Republican movement.

Communism is an ideology of cowardice.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of courage.

Communism is an ideology of treason.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of patriotism.

Communism is an ideology of slavery.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of freedom.

It is for this reason that I encourage everyone to reject Communism, and choose Vietnamese Republicanism to pave the way for Vietnam’s future.

Where Communism says cower in the face of Chinese aggression, Vietnamese Republicanism says stand tall in the face of Chinese aggression, and fight in the face of Chinese aggression.

Where Communism says to forget the greatness of the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese Republicanism says remember the greatness of the Vietnamese people. Not only that, but Vietnamese Republicanism says to be proud of the greatness of the Vietnamese people, to build on the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and dare to dream of creating the greatest nation that the world has ever seen, an exceptional Vietnamese Republic, a shining city on the hill, built on the will, the heart, and the greatness of the Vietnamese people, its rich history, and its ancient lineage.

It is time to end the failed experiment of Communism, and punish the Communist Party of Vietnam for all of their crimes against the nation of Vietnam, the people of Vietnam, and the sacred traditions of Vietnam. To accomplish this goal of removing Communism from the Vietnamese consciousness, and expelling the Communist Party of Vietnam from their tyrannical, treasonous, and dictatorial rule over Vietnam, I put forward the superior ideology of Vietnamese Republicanism as a starting point, a foundation for change in restoring the greatness of the Vietnamese nation, and then exceeding that greatness to unparalleled heights.

Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology founded on the principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense. The flag of Vietnamese Republicanism is yellow, with three stars at its center, and three stripes above the stars. The three stars at the center of the Vietnamese Republican flag represent the three principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense, while the three stripes above represent the former Republic of Vietnam, a nation that existed on the principles of Fatherland, Honor, and Duty.

The former Republic of Vietnam was a free nation, a proud nation, and a courageous nation that kept its people safe at all costs. Its legacy remains a guiding light in these dark times, reminding the Vietnamese people that one time in modern history, there was a Vietnamese nation that was strong, proud, and free. The three stripes, which represent the North, Central, and South of all of Vietnam, represent the entire Republic, of the Vietnamese people, by the Vietnamese people, and for the Vietnamese people. These three stripes stand as the true symbol of the Vietnamese nation, and by including the symbol of this Republic on the new Vietnamese Republican flag, Vietnamese Republicanism recognizes and honors the proud and noble legacy, as well as the righteous ideals, and all of the heroes of the former Republic of Vietnam.

The yellow of the Vietnamese Republican flag represents prosperity, optimism, and the golden skin of the Vietnamese people. This yellow signifies the goals, aspirations, and pride of the Vietnamese people, and the endless potential of the Vietnamese nation. Furthermore, yellow is the color of anti-Communism. Yellow is feared by the Communists, and hated by the Communists. In embodying the color yellow, Vietnamese Republicanism declares proudly to be an ideology that despises Communism, rejects Communism, and seeks to destroy Communism.

As for the selection of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense as the three founding principles of Vietnamese Republicanism, the explanations are as follows.

Democracy gives the Vietnamese people the choice to select their leaders in free, fair, and frequent national elections. The democratic system allows multiple political parties to organize and compete in national elections, which take place every four years. Representative democracy, which is the most popular and common form of democracy in the free world, allows for citizens of different districts across the country to elect representatives and senators to represent them in the making of laws, the operation of the country, and to be their voice in government. Furthermore, representative democracy allows for the citizens of the nation to select their president, the commander-in-chief of the nation, in these free, fair, and frequent national elections. In a democracy, the job of the president is to serve the people, not himself or herself, or his or her party. Thus the mandate of the president depends solely on the will of the Vietnamese people, who decide the right to govern of their president through the power of their voice and their vote. In a democracy, it is the people and the nation that comes first, not the party. The freedom to choose the leader of the nation, the choice of many different political parties with different visions, views, and platforms, and the power to replace any leader and government that fails to perform its duties to the people, are all reasons why democracy is superior to one-party rule, and why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to Communism.

Human Rights ensure the protection of every single Vietnamese citizen from cruel and unfair treatment by the government. In a nation of human rights, the government cannot enter the house or home of a citizen without a warrant or his or her explicit consent, and cannot touch or inspect his or her private property without a warrant or his or her explicit consent. Nor can the government, in a human rights nation, be able to arrest, jail, or search a citizen without a warrant or probable cause. In a human rights nation, the citizen is innocent until proven guilty, and protected from fear, terror, and violence at the hands of the police and the government. Human rights nations ensure the fair, just, and equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of their race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliations, financial status, and other such differences. Human rights nations guarantee the inalienable fundamental rights and dignity of every citizen, and guarantee the fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. Vietnamese Republicanism envisions a society with all of these freedoms and rights, which is another reason why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to the brutal, corrupted, and evil ideology of Communism.

National Defense is the defense of the nation, both from external threats, and internal threats of any kind. Vietnamese Republicanism believes that national defense is essential to the survival and success of the nation. The principle of national defense stipulates that the safety, security, and territorial integrity of the nation and its people are of utmost importance to the survival and success of the nation. No matter in weakness or in strength, in sickness or in health, the defense of the nation must always be a priority for the people of Vietnam, from the president, to the armed forces, to the common citizen. In terms of national defense, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the development of a large, powerful, and advanced military whose sole duty is to serve and protect its nation and its people. What is more, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in fighting back against Chinese aggression, pushing back against Chinese disrespect, and identifying China as the major threat to the existence and survival of the Vietnamese nation. Furthermore, in terms of national defense, through the eyes of Vietnamese Republicanism, Vietnam is not afraid of China, and shall be willing and able to fight China, confront China, and defeat China at any time, in any place, by any means. Where Communism cowers in the face of Chinese aggression, Vietnamese Republicanism stands and fights in the face of Chinese aggression. Furthermore, while Communism accepts defeat before the fight even begins, Vietnamese Republicanism seeks to win the fight, and doing so conclusively and unapologetically. In addition, in terms of national defense, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the ceasing of operations, expelling, and punishing of all of those evil Chinese and foreign companies that are currently wreaking havoc, misery, and destruction all across Vietnam. Whether the threats are China, or anyone else, anywhere else, inside or outside of Vietnam, the principle of national defense commands that these threats be confronted and eliminated in the name of safety, security, and sovereignty of the Vietnamese nation and its people. Vietnamese Republicanism places priority on the safety and security of the Vietnamese people, and defends the territory and sovereignty of the Vietnamese nation. This principle, once again, is why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to the cowardly and treasonous ideology of Communism.

This is Vietnamese Republicanism, and stated throughout are the goals and aspirations of Vietnamese Republicanism.

Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and the endless potential of the Vietnamese nation. Vietnam has all the capabilities to be a strong, free, and prosperous nation. Without a doubt, Vietnam has the potential to be a superpower nation on the world stage. Vietnam has the power to be whatever it desires to be. The only thing standing in the way between Vietnam and greatness is Communism. For this reason, Communism must be eliminated, and Vietnamese Republicanism has the power to make it happen.

It is the goal of Vietnamese Republicanism to destroy Communism, the Communist Party of Vietnam, and punish all of its members for the crimes they have committed against the Vietnamese nation and its people. To accomplish this goal, we must change the way of thinking of every Vietnamese person who has fallen victim to the evil spell of Communism. In order to do this, we must start by disseminating this information, as far and wide as possible, and as quickly as possible.

By any means imaginable, and then pushing beyond these limits, spread the idea of Vietnamese Republicanism to your friends, family, acquaintances, associates, and anyone else you can possibly reach. Use email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the comments section of internet arguments, Tinder, brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, written letters, mail, brail, secret handshakes, sign language, postcards, puppet shows, and even courier pigeons, whatever. Any way you can think of to disseminate this information, do it. Then think of other ways you never even thought of before, and do that. Then keep thinking, and innovating, and doing, and then repeat, again and again, until you are so quick, so cunning, and so effective that you make the Communists’ heads explode with your speed and efficiency. And then do it some more. To the people inside Vietnam, this goes double for you. As the ones inside the system, the boots on the ground, you have the most influence in sparking change in Vietnam, so I encourage you extra hard to effectively pass this information along to your fellow Vietnamese in Vietnam. If we are successful, you will be at the forefront of the fight for freedom and country, and the leaders of the establishment of the Vietnamese Republic. Hopefully that is enough incentive for you to get on board.

This is only the first chapter in the quest to spread Vietnamese Republicanism throughout Vietnam and across the world, and ultimately, to bring the change that Vietnam so desperately needs. Expect more articles, more elaboration, and more ideas on this Vietnamese Republicanism ideology that believes in the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and the boundless potential of the Vietnamese nation, once it is rid of Communism.

Though there is much more to come, I would like to leave you all with the following question: Based on what has been expressed so far, would you consider yourself a Vietnamese Republican?

Join the movement. Let’s bring freedom to Vietnam. Together.

A Brief Remark on this 43rd Anniversary of the Battle of Hoang Sa

Posted in Modern History, Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2017 by Ian Pham

ffvn-instagram

Photo via instagram (freedomforvietnam)

Hello All,

I don’t have too much time to chat. Here is a brief statement regarding this 43rd anniversary of the January 19, 1974 naval confrontation between us (South Vietnam) and the invaders (China).

Via Freedom For Vietnam’s instagram:

Today, January 19, 2017, marks the 43rd anniversary of the battle of the Paracel islands. This battle was a clash between South Vietnam and the invading People’s Republic of China.

On the morning of January 19, 1974, after days of fruitless attempts to engage in dialogue with the intruding Chinese naval forces around Vietnam’s islands, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu authorized the South Vietnamese Navy to open fire on the Chinese forces. The ensuing battle lasted for about a half an hour, and caused significant damage to both sides. South Vietnam, then embroiled in war with the North Vietnamese, exhausted its naval capabilities in this brief confrontation with China.

As a result, China would overrun the Paracel islands in the days following the battle, and remain occupiers of that territory to this day.

Every year, we remember this day, and commemorate the South Vietnamese soldiers who gave their lives to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty over our islands in the eastern sea. It is because of them that the phrase “Paracel and Spratly belong to Vietnam” carries so much weight.

The courage, honor, and sacrifice of the South Vietnamese soldiers must never be forgotten.

Photo source:
http://vnafmamn.com/VietnamNavy_history.html

Lest we forget.

 

 

Follow ‘Freedom For Vietnam’ on Instagram

Posted in Announcements, Art with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by Ian Pham

ffvn-instagramImage by: Ian Pham / Freedom For Vietnam

Good news! As readers of Freedom For Vietnam, you can now follow this blog on Instagram.

The Freedom For Vietnam Instagram account was put into Beta testing a little earlier than last year (if by Beta testing, one means creating an account, not telling anyone about it, and then forgetting that it exists for the next 12 months), and is now ready to be officially unveiled to the public.

On top of providing you top quality content via this blog, Freedom For Vietnam will now be able to stay in touch with its readers through the magic of sharing pictures and emojis and stuff. Not only can you communicate with me by commenting on this blog like always, you can now also communicate with me through the Instagram photos’ comments section, try to slide into my DMs, and then have me not reply to your messages. It’ll be a grand old time!

Jokes aside, I am very excited to implement this new Instagram feature. I have some plans in store for you all, in terms of original social media content, which I will gradually unveil as they become ready. Moreover, I will be sharing existing quality content both from around the web and elsewhere, thus creating an amalgamation of personal and outside works, all as a means to exemplify the beauty and sophistication of Vietnamese history and culture. Hopefully, you will find the material enjoyable, educational, and inspirational.

If you have not seen the account yet, here is a rundown of what you’ve missed so far:

 

This beautiful and iconic photo was taken by Benjamin Vu on April 30, 2010 at Westminster, California, USA. Known among Vietnamese communities overseas as "Black April," April 30 is a day of commemoration for the fall of the nation of South Vietnam to the Communist North. Every year, on the 30th of April, Vietnamese communities across the free world gather to remember the former Republic of Vietnam, the brave soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the nation and its ideals of freedom and democracy, and the refugees who fled South Vietnam in the wake of the communist takeover and thereafter, in search of a better life. The year 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of Black April and the fall of Saigon. According to the photographer, the woman in the photo was in attendance at the memorial event in California, and was standing next to this Heritage and Freedom flag for a very long time. #Freedom #Memorial #SouthVietnam #Woman #Flag #Beauty #Photography #BlackApril #NoFilter (Via https://flic.kr/p/7XBtuA)

A post shared by Freedom For Vietnam (@freedomforvietnam) on

 

 

 

This is just the start.

Furthermore, just in case you are one of the people who stumbled upon this account within the past year, and had questions about its authenticity, your fears can now be alleviated. This account is legitimate, it is real, and is the official Instagram account of this here Freedom For Vietnam blog.

So, if you have a minute, pay a quick visit to the freedomforvietnam Instagram page above, give it a follow, like some pictures, make some comments, and tell your friends, families, and acquaintances. The more word gets out and the more followers this account receives, the farther our message of freedom will reach. We have an opportunity, not only to connect with the many vast Vietnamese communities all over the world, including within Vietnam, but also to reach everyone else at large, in all communities across the world.

I look forward to continuing to write for you all on here, and am now excited to provide you with awesome content in other social media outlets as well. Thank you so much for your continued support, words cannot describe the gratitude I have for all of you readers. Thank you!

Happy 2017, everyone. See you on Instagram.  🙂 ❤ 😀

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.

China Disrespects President Obama at G20 Summit, Shows China Has ‘Little Man Syndrome’

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , on September 6, 2016 by Ian Pham

Obama G20 - 2016Photo via Daily Mail

According to multiple news outlets, China, the self-proclaimed “superpower” who is demanding that everyone in the world respect them, took it upon themselves to openly “snub” President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Hangzhou this past weekend.

The Guardian details the event as follows:

Chinese leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US President was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

… When Obama did find his way on to a red carpet on the tarmac below there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!”

From the same source, Mexican official Jorge Guajardo is quoted as saying: “These things do not happen by mistake. Not with the Chinese… I’ve dealt with the Chinese for six years. I’ve done these visits… I know exactly how these things get worked out. It’s down to the last detail and everything. It’s not a mistake. It’s not.”

The Telegraph provides a similar account, adding:

“All the other world leaders appeared to have been welcomed to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in traditional diplomatic style, treading onto a red carpet laid on a rolling airport staircase outside the main exit of the aircraft.”

If you thought this was childish, and unbecoming of anything remotely close to the realm of “superpower” behavior, or the behavior of any self-respecting man or woman, for that matter, then you’re completely right.

This behavior is not the behavior of a civilized nation, a self-respecting nation, and definitely not the behavior of a nation who assumes the role of a world superpower.

I was disappointed and irritated by the news of what the Chinese did at the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, but I wasn’t surprised. They’ve done this before, numerous times, in numerous countries, in numerous different ways.

What the Chinese did to Obama in Hangzhou is just one example of China’s belittling attitude towards the international community, and another reason why China is not a superpower. Not even close.

China is bitter, insecure, and self-conscious at the fact that they are not a superpower. As a result, they are doing whatever they can to project the appearance of superpower. Sadly for them, in trying so hard to appear “superpower-ish”, they’re making themselves look very, very small.

It takes more than military might and economic clout to be a superpower (although America smashes China in both of these areas). To be a superpower, one does require these elements, but it takes so much more.

America is a superpower, not only because of her military and economic power. She is a superpower because of her superior ideals, her belief that all are created equal, and that we are all born with a set of inalienable rights that can never be taken away from us.

America is a superpower because she stands by these ideals, because she champions these ideals, and when abroad, her representative, exemplified in the form of President of the United States of America, adheres to these ideals, no matter how lowly and contemptible her adversary is willing to sink.

There are a number of ways President Obama could have handled this situation. For him, the decision was a graceful shrug, a smile, and a step above his unruly hosts.

In response to this incident, Obama replies that he “wouldn’t overcrank the significance,” according to Australian news outlet ABC Online.

I may not agree with everything Obama has done during his time in office, but the way he carried himself during this instance was pure class.

The Chinese tried to demonstrate their “strength” by trying to embarrass Obama publicly, and he rebutted them by simply reaffirming what the Chinese have already affirmed themselves: That the leaders of China are small men, with short fuses, and little understanding of the word “respect,” for others, and for themselves.

By shrugging off this rude gesture, Obama shows the world that he is too big to be fettered by such small actions. In maintaining his dignity, patience, and stature, Obama, without as much as saying a word on the subject, clearly explains why America is the world superpower, and why China is not, and never will be.

 

Brief Thoughts on the Formosa Disaster: The VCP Fails its People Yet Again… To No One’s Surprise

Posted in Economics, Opinions, Politics, Society with tags , , on July 11, 2016 by Ian Pham

Fish Deaths VietnamPhoto via Saigoneer

Folks, a lot has happened since the last time I’ve posted on here. I haven’t been able to provide coverage for them all, which sucks, but I would like to get us up to speed on some of the major issues here. I’m not sure how many issues I’ll be able to cover. I only know that there are some issues which I would love to chime in on. The Formosa issue is one that I feel the need to provide insight on, and that is what I will talk about today.

This problem has been brewing since early April of this year, with things finally boiling over by the end of that month and then beyond. The “Taiwanese” company Formosa Plastics Group has been in the hot seat for its role in contaminating Vietnam’s ocean waters, causing massive deaths of marine life, as well as considerable human life, along the country’s central coast.

The damage is so extensive that Vietnam’s fishing industry, its coastal waters, and the lives of millions of Vietnamese people will never be the same again. The livelihoods and means of survival of so many Vietnamese men and women have been taken away from them, Vietnam’s already damaged economy will only plummet further, and many Vietnamese lives have already been and continue to be lost due to poisoned water and fish.

One big thing I want to note about this horrible disaster is Formosa’s deliberateness in the whole issue. Formosa has made it no secret that they were both aware and willing to dump these exorbitant amounts of toxic waste into Vietnam’s waters, with no regard for the safety of Vietnam’s wildlife, habitat, or population.

The most notorious example of Formosa’s attitude comes from one of their officials’ audacious response to the crisis, saying the Vietnamese people must either choose between the steel industry or the fish industry, but they can’t have both (The Diplomat). Furthermore, the same source says that Formosa explicitly invested $45 million into that toxic waste dumping system, and, Formosa argued, since they already paid for it, feel they are entitled to dump in whatever means they see fit. They, Formosa, sought to destroy Vietnam’s environment, and, to the surprise of no one, Vietnam’s government was, and is happy to let them do it.

Whether it is from fear, incompetence, shameful obedience, or all of the above and more, the Vietnamese Communist Party has been slow and reluctant to respond to the Formosa disaster. Both in terms of helping Vietnam’s affected victims, and in holding the perpetrators responsible, the VCP has done little to step in and do its job in response to Formosa’s deliberate destruction of Vietnam’s land. It comes as no surprise, though. The VCP has been failing its people for this long, and there’s absolutely no hope in my eyes that they would ever step up and stop humiliating themselves or stop humiliating the people of Vietnam. The communists are cowards. It’s who they are, it’s who their fathers were, and it’s who their children will be.

In response to the massive backlash by Vietnam’s population, Formosa has claimed responsibility for the disaster, and offered a measly $500 million for the irreparable damage they had caused to the people of Vietnam and their country (Reuters). The damage thus far includes over 100 tons of dead fish (Asia Times), deaths of many, many Vietnamese people including fishermen and consumers of fish, the resulting broken families, devastated ocean waters and overall environment, and a fishing industry that may never recover.

Just so there is no mistake: $500 million is nowhere near enough to compensate the amount of damage caused by Formosa to the people of Vietnam. To put it in perspective, we may look at another environmental disaster: the BP Oil Spill along the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

In that disaster, which was an accident, a rig explosion caused a massive oil spill in the Macondo Prospect, located in the Gulf of Mexico (southeastern U.S., northeastern Mexico) (EPA). The environmental impact of this disaster was huge, and when the dust and smoke had settled, British Petroleum, the company responsible, was forced to pay up to $56 billion in fines, compensation, and cleanup (DoSomething.org). The settlement alone costs BP $20 billion, according to DW.com. In this disaster, the parties responsible were held accountable, everyone worked promptly to deal with and fix the issue, it was an accident, and, with the exception of the 11 workers who died in the initial accident, no further human lives were lost. Also, the compensation, which I repeat here, was worth $56 billion. That’s Billion, with a B.

By contrast, this Formosa disaster in Vietnam killed many Vietnamese people, destroyed over 100 tons of marine wildlife, was done deliberately by the offenders, who only admitted their faults eventually due to public outrage, and, even now, there is still no real solution to the death and destruction it has caused. The Vietnamese government has done absolutely nothing in response, besides happily accepting the money Formosa has offered to them, which is only $500 million. That’s Million, with an M. This money is not going to the victims of the disaster, but instead is being allocated to what the VCP is calling “future development,” which we all know really means their personal bank accounts.

Let me once again take a minute to talk about the compensation.

BP Oil Spill (U.S., 2010): accident, zero human casualties (besides the 11 BP employees), promptly handled, $56 billion costs in fines, compensations, and cleanup.

Formosa (Vietnam, 2016): deliberate, massive human casualties, still not handled, $500 million offer by Formosa to compensate (which the government is keeping).

Just so we’re clear: $56 billion / $500 million = 112

British Petroleum paid 112 times more to the U.S. for their accidental disaster than Formosa paid to the people of Vietnam, even though the Formosa Disaster of 2016 was deliberate and is astronomically more devastating than the BP Oil Spill of 2010.

That is why I say $500 million is a measly sum.

For a disaster of this scale, $500 million does nothing to compensate the myriad of people affected, the environment destroyed, or the lives lost. The Vietnamese Communist Party is stupid to accept it, but what else is new? They get to keep the money anyway, so in their eyes, it’s not about the worth of the disaster. In their eyes: “IT’S $500 MILLION, GUYS!!!” which goes straight into their pockets.

Out of this horrific disaster, the VCP did nothing to protect or help their people. All they did was make another measly profit off of the suffering and humiliation of their country and its people. They, the communists, are shameful. They are bastards. They are deserving of neither forgiveness nor remorse. They are communists, and they deserve to die.

That is why I say the Formosa Disaster is another failure by the Communist Party to the people of Vietnam.

At this point, though, what more can we expect from a communist? Just when we think it couldn’t get any worse with the communists, it does. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sink even lower in the future. This is the sad state of Vietnam today, people. The only way to change this sad situation is to change the regime. I’ve said it before, and I say it again now: The Communists need to go, and they need to go now.