Archive for the IV. Columns Category

Happy 2016! Enjoy This Wallpaper

Posted in Announcements, Art, Modern History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2016 by Ian Pham

Respect The Heroes - WallpaperImage by: Ian Pham/Freedom For Vietnam

Happy 2016, everybody!

Freedom For Vietnam would like to ring in the new year by presenting you all with a little treat. Wanna know what it is? It’s the picture above. Surprise!

I designed the wallpaper above myself, using my ultra-fascinating computer-using skills, and the result is this masterpiece you see before you. Impressed? Don’t lie, you’re impressed.

Guess how much effort I put into it? … a lot, actually. :/

Jokes aside, I hope you enjoy the picture. It sets the tone for this new year we have upon is, which is going to be an amazing one. The picture essentially speaks for itself, delivering the message that we are grateful for our freedom, that we support our troops, and that we fucking hate communism.

We’re coming for those piece of shit commies, it’s just a matter of time.

Well, I hope you’ve all had a fantastic start to your 2016. If not, well then you can start right now!

I expect great things this year, you should too.

Once again,

Happy New Year, everybody!

Ian

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!

I’m Done With Donald Trump

Posted in Opinions, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , on December 22, 2015 by Ian Pham

Donald TrumpImage via CNN

Several months ago, when the GOP leadership race was just kicking into high gear, I wrote a column expressing my unexpected support for billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump. I praised his willingness to tackle the difficult issues, to speak his mind, and to get straight to the point without being bogged down by political correctness. During that time, in the late summer/early fall of this year, I said that my views of Trump were slowly switching from disdain for a “buffoon,” and “imbecile,” to admiration for a strong and assertive leader with effective, yet unconventional solutions. He was changing my mind, or so I thought.

Well, it is now December, and things have gone full circle. I went from initially thinking he’s an idiot, to slowly becoming intrigued by his audacity, to briefly actually believing that he’s just the guy that America needs, to occasionally asking myself, “wait, did he really just say that?” and now, definitively, to knowing that he’s an absolute idiot.

Yeah, I admit it. Throughout this autumn, while closely paying attention to the GOP leadership race, I legitimately entertained the idea of a Trump presidency. Although I didn’t agree with his choice of words on tackling immigration, I respected his courage in pressing the issue, and defending his position non-apologetically despite the enormous backlash throughout. Moreover, it was his outward criticism of China and their poor conduct in world politics and economics that really gained my attention, and thus winning me over to the Trump campaign. Throughout this time, I actually believed, if only for a short time, that the eccentric Republican front-runner would follow through with his pledge to “Make America Great Again.”

As time went on, however, and as The Donald spoke more and more, it became apparent to me that this guy legitimately has no idea what he is talking about most of the time. More alarmingly yet, is that despite knowing nothing about the issues at hand, Trump shows no reservations on pushing forward thoughtless and dangerous solutions to these problems that, again, he does not understand.

In response to the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris this November, Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. government start monitoring mosques in America. He then went even further to say that, as president, he would strongly consider shutting some mosques down. In addition, Trump advocated that all the Muslims in the U.S. be registered in a national database, so that they would be easier to track. These proposals, presented by Trump, unabashedly single out and discriminate against every single Muslim in the United States. Furthermore, it disregards the fact that these terrorist acts were committed by savages, a few violent extremist animals who do not represent Islam as a whole, or even represent Islam at all, for that matter.

I support hunting down ISIS, and killing ISIS. I support monitoring and screening potential refugees before deeming them safe to enter the country. I support America’s fight against international terrorism, and the world’s greater fight against international terrorism.

What I don’t support, however, is bigotry, xenophobia, and blind hatred against an entire population of people, all because of the truly horrible actions that were committed by a few. The enemy is not Islam as a whole, the enemy is a small, distorted, and extremist bastardization of the religion and is called Radical Islam, the enemy is international terrorism, the enemy is ISIS.

Instead of working with the Muslim population in America and abroad to combat ISIS and their radicalization tactics, Trump is doing the opposite, antagonizing all the Muslims in the U.S. and around the world, and hurting American efforts to combat ISIS and international terrorism.

This argument can be further exemplified by Trump’s suggestion after the tragedy in San Bernardino just earlier this month. According to CNN, Trump responded to the terrorist attacks in California by pushing forward the proposal to ban absolutely all Muslims from coming into the U.S., whether they be refugees, or simply tourists visiting the country.

Like his previous suggestions, the Muslim ban drew furious backlash for Trump, and in usual Trump fashion, he stood his ground, with no apologies whatsoever. Sure, it is respectable that he stands by what he says, but by now, it has become apparent to me that although Donald Trump is a steadfast person who approaches issues with vigor, he is also a moron who does not know what he is talking about, nor does he care to educate himself on the matters even after his mistakes are made.

In regards to national security, and specifically in regards to this Syrian refugee crisis, I believe that due diligence and proper screening processes are an absolute must before letting any refugee into the country. Safety of the American people, and the security of the country as a whole, is paramount. Trump’s swift and blanket ban on all Muslims however, is a poorly thought out, over-simplistic, and reckless solution to a complicated issue. As outlined by fellow GOP candidate Jeb Bush, America has allies in Muslim countries such as Jordan, Turkey, as well as ethnic groups such as the Kurds, who are among the most effective fighters against ISIS. A blanket ban on all Muslims would alienate all of these allies, making it much more difficult to effectively destroy ISIS. Donald Trump does not seem to understand that, nor does he seem interested in trying to understand.

Lastly, on this timeline describing my slow and gradual deterioration of support for Trump, we come to the latest instance that proves he’s an easily manipulated moron. This was made possible last week thanks to the miscalculations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose kind words towards Donald Trump revealed just exactly how susceptible Trump is to flattery, and how easily he will bend when being told what he wants to hear.

After being praised as a “bright and talented man” and “the absolute leader of the presidential race” by Putin, Donald Trump responded in kind, complimenting the Russian President on his leadership, and even saying that it is better than the current leadership in America.

Look, I get it. I too am disappointed in Obama’s leadership. I too am fed up with his feckless conduct against China in the Pacific, Russia in Crimea, Bashir al-Assad in Syria, ISIS in Iraq and the Middle East, and so many other instances on the international stage. He’s a joke, a non-factor, an afterthought in the eyes of international leaders everywhere, and just in general, a weak leader, and a weak president. However, he is still not a ruthless dictator like Vladimir Putin.

For all of the shortcomings in his leadership, from which there are many, Barack Obama is still one who upholds democratic ideals and respects human rights. He does not murder journalists or political opponents, nor does he silence all opposition or try to establish absolute dictatorial rule over the country he presides. To compare him to a dictator/gangster such as Vladimir Putin, and furthermore, to suggest that Putin is the better leader, is absolutely ludicrous. But, that is exactly what Donald Trump has done, and again, this is exactly what Trump is steadfastly defending in the face of heavy criticism from his political opponents and his critics.

Why is Trump defending Putin again? Right, because Putin complimented him, and we must remember, that Trump loves compliments. He loves compliments so much that he is willing to defend the dictator of an antagonistic country to the U.S. in order to keep that compliment. Little did he know that by reacting so gleefully towards the pleasantries sent his way by Putin, he just played right into the hands of the Russian leader.

When pressed by Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” about Putin’s tendency to kill Russian journalists and opponents to his political power, Trump defends Putin, and takes a shot at America by saying that, “… our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know…” It seems that Mr. Trump is unable to distinguish between the type of killing that the U.S. carries out, and the murders that Putin orchestrates. Mitt Romney, in a tweet, spells out the differences for Trump in less than 140 characters:

Yeah, it really speaks volumes that The Donald can’t tell the difference.

It is not yet clear why Putin would release such a statement at this point in time. Was it a calculated move to trap Donald Trump into saying something stupid? Or was it a miscalculation, an attempt to win over and exploit someone who Putin believes to be the future president of the United States, only to have the idiot accidentally screw himself over? According to Christian Whiton, it falls somewhere closer to the latter, where Putin, in sending out praises to the Republican front-runner, is looking to use the idiocy and arrogance of Donald Trump as a means to further Russia’s national interests. Whiton contends that the Russian leader is “happily” pocketing “Trump’s naivete,” and as a cunning former KGB officer, Putin has been trained to “look for character flaws that can be used to enlist a target as an agent or, short of that, an unwitting helper.” To put simply, Putin is playing on Trump’s self-absorbed personality to get what he wants, and Trump is falling for it without fail.

Sadly for Putin, however, it doesn’t look like Trump will be his man. The Donald is still leading in the polls right now, which is unsettling, but I highly doubt that it will remain that way for much longer. The increasingly ignorant comments against Muslims in the U.S. and abroad, followed by the equally idiotic solutions to these problems that he clearly does not understand, it has become clear to me that Donald Trump is not fit to be America’s commander in chief. The latest “bromance” with Vladimir Putin only reaffirms this notion, because it demonstrates how easily it is to manipulate Donald Trump. Apparently all it takes is some patience and a few flattering words, and Trump is putty in your hands.

This is where it has come with my support for Donald Trump. After watching him legitimately present a plan to implement a police state against all Muslims in the U.S., effectively spitting on the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of The Constitution; after watching him make audacious statements that will alienate all of America’s allies in the Middle East; and, after seeing how easy it is for him to be manipulated by Vladimir Putin, I’ve decided that Donald Trump is not the candidate for me.

It’s been a good run, I approached it with an open mind, but now it is clear: Trump is an idiot, and possibly a fascist, but I’ll digress on that one, because I’m tired of talking, and I’m sure you’re all tired of my ranting.

Before I conclude, however, I would like to leave you all with a few more examples of Trump’s general lack of knowledge, and reiterate my position that Trump really doesn’t know what he is talking about most of the time.

Here is Trump trying to bluff his way through a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the fourth GOP debate on November 10, 2015. Rand Paul puts Trump in check at 1:09:

And this is from the latest GOP debate on December 15, 2015, when Trump stumbles on a question about the nuclear triad, with Senator Marco Rubio graciously picking up the pieces:

That’s it, people. I’m done here. It’s over. Shut it down. Shut it all down.

I’m done with Donald Trump.

This National Anthem Video Will Remind You of What a Badass Nation South Vietnam Was

Posted in IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

South Vietnam Soldier SaluteImage via Youtube

And it really was, too.

This is just a video off Youtube of South Vietnam’s national anthem. Sung by a chorus, the video displays footage of military parades and other patriotic imagery, played along to the music. It really gets the patriotic blood pumping, and makes you remember why we, along with our parents, siblings, and relatives are so proud of where we came from.

Got a minute? Check it out below:

Pretty awesome, right?

This was the nation to tell Communist China to fuck off when the PRC invaded Paracel back in 1974, fighting vehemently against the invader until the very end. This was also the nation to stand against Ho Chi Minh and the communists, a story that we all know very well.

South Vietnam was a democracy, a young and fledgling democracy, but undoubtedly a democracy nonetheless. It’s national motto was, “Fatherland, Honor, Duty,” and in the face of Chinese aggression and North Vietnamese Communist aggression, the Southern country stood proud and strong.

This is just a small example of what a great nation South Vietnam was, and how proud we are to come from it.

Damn proud, mighty proud.

Announcement: Blog Maintenance

Posted in Announcements with tags , on September 6, 2015 by Ian Pham

Over the next 48 hours, I will be making some adjustments to this blog. They’ll be small changes, nothing too drastic. I’ll be reorganizing some things here and there, adding some stuff, and removing some others. Overall, though, it’ll still be very much what you’re all accustomed to.

This is just to inform everybody, so that if some things on this site do not seem quite right over the next 48 hours, it’s because some blog maintenance is currently in progress.

Have a nice day, everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!

– Ian

**** Update!

The maintenance is complete and has been so since Tuesday morning of this past week. Hope you all enjoy the subtle changes!

– Ian 🙂

(September 12, 2015)

The Tweet That is Winning Me Over to #TeamTrump2016, But Only Kind Of

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , on August 26, 2015 by Ian Pham

Donald J. TrumpPhoto via Twitter @TIME

Before I get back to writing about Vietnamese politics and history, I want to take a minute and turn our attention to the U.S. presidential race. More specifically, I want to briefly discuss the current contest for the GOP leadership nomination, and its eccentric frontrunner, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

See, throughout the Republican leadership run so far, Trump has been making a spectacle of himself at every single turn. From riling up the Hispanic voters with his polarizing remarks about Mexican immigrants, to taking shots at Senator John McCain and questioning his war hero credentials, to bumping heads with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on the Republican debate and thereafter, the GOP candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump is causing a raucous everywhere he goes.

It’s entertaining, no doubt, but it does raise the question of whether Trump, given his character, is legitimately qualified to be the next president of the United States. At the start, I was one of the many to say no, he’s a buffoon, an imbecile, there is no way he is going to win the election come November 2016 and become the 45th president of the U.S.A. I’m still not exactly on board with Mr. Trump, but I have to admit, though, that watching him over the past few weeks, this guy is slowly starting to win me over, if only slightly.

One of the main reasons that is drawing me over to Team Trump stems from a tweet that The Donald posted on Twitter just a few days ago:

He just called out China directly in a tweet. I respect that. It’s no secret how I feel about Communist China, in regards to its economics, politics, and overall conduct on the international stage. The People’s Republic of China never plays by the rules, in economics or in foreign relations. It’s refreshing to see someone like The Donald speak out and address the problem openly and in a forward manner. He just tells it like it is. I like that.

In this case, he is talking about economics, but I would like to see what Trump’s views are when it comes to China’s cyber espionage and plagiarism of American technology and expertise. Furthermore, I want to see what The Donald has to say about the shoddy and toxic “Made in China” products, the communist nation’s blatant manipulation of its currency, and its overall belligerency in the Pacific. I know, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. I’ll just pump the breaks on all these topics, at least until there are further developments, if there is even any.

The point here is that Donald Trump has the cojones to speak his mind and address the issue. He doesn’t beat around the bush, he gets straight to the point. Not only that, but he is not afraid to tackle any issue he deems relevant, and that to me, is a respectable trait in a presidential candidate.

It’s still early, there is more than 14 months left until the election, and the momentum can shift in any direction. I’m not saying that I have already pegged Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, or that I’m even supporting the Republicans, for that matter. All I’m doing here is weighing in on the current discussion, and pointing out some notable developments which I think are important. We’ll have to see, as the presidential race goes on, which candidate I will stand with (Stand With Rand? No, probably not.). Like I said, it’s still early, and anything can happen.

It’ll be an exciting race, that’s for sure.

Why Seattle’s City Council Should Absolutely Recognize the Heritage and Freedom Flag

Posted in Modern History, Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , on June 24, 2015 by Ian Pham

Flags of the U.S. and South VietnamPhoto via Mark Boster/TPN

It’s been brought to my attention that the city of Seattle’s City Council is currently in a vote on whether to recognize South Vietnam’s “Heritage and Freedom Flag” as the official flag of the Vietnamese community there. Although sources indicate that the vote was slated for earlier this week on Monday, I have yet to hear the outcome, and thus feel the need to express my position on the matter as well.

I’m sure I am not alone in saying that recognizing the yellow flag is a fantastic idea that makes absolute and perfect sense. For those who truly understand the story of that flag, one will know why it resonates so dearly in the hearts of Vietnamese-Americans, and why, after 40 years, it still stands as their flag of choice.

For Vietnamese people overseas, the Heritage and Freedom Flag is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and independence. It is living proof that for a time, if only a short time, there existed a Vietnamese nation that was independent, proud, and free.

Without getting into the historical debate, I will skip straight to the point: Anyone who lived under the regime of the Republic of Vietnam knows that it was a democracy, a strong and independent nation, a place that they truly called home. South Vietnam was a prosperous nation, with a great education system, a strong economy, basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, and one that defended its territory and people from the aggression of North Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China.

When Saigon fell in April of 1975, that proud nation of South Vietnam ceased to exist, sparking a massive exodus of Vietnamese refugees from the country. In all, more then two million people would flee from Vietnam under communist rule, with the dangerous and open seas being their primary means of escape. Some refugees fled by land through Cambodia to refugee camps in Thailand. Many runaways perished on this treacherous route at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Of the more than two million seafaring escapees, 250,000 lost their lives at sea from piracy and the elements. These perilous journeys were traveled all in search of freedom.

This Heritage and Freedom Flag, the yellow with three horizontal red stripes, not only represents the former Republic of Vietnam and its ideals of freedom and democracy, it also represents that harrowing journey made by the fallen nation’s refugees in their search for freedom. The flag is significant, not only as a piece of history, but also as a commemoration of the struggle that the people of Vietnam endured in order to find their freedom.

That yellow flag is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and independence. It is also a symbol of courage, determination, and persistence. This flag has come to represent the identity of all freedom-loving Vietnamese peoples, not just in the United States, but in liberal democracies all across the world. It is the flag that they themselves have chosen, it is the flag that they love, and it is the flag that they stand by.

This is why it is important that we support Seattle’s recognition of this flag, and urge the City Council to pass this resolution.

Your voice matters, people. Make it heard.

 

Introducing: The Annotated Bibliography

Posted in Annotated Bibliography, II. History, IV. Columns with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

History

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Image and quote via Cal U

It is my pleasure to introduce to you all, the new “Annotated Bibliography” feature of Freedom For Vietnam. This new section will feature reviews and discussions on various research materials, which in our case, will likely mostly consist of academic journals and books. It will not be limited to just these, however.

How it will work is that, every now and then, I will write an article/review about an existing source of research, such as a book or journal article. Each newly published blog article, while being a standalone blog article in itself, will also act as an update to the bibliography, which can be found primarily in the “Categories” section of the blog, with another, truncated and alphabetized version in the “Pages” section at the top.

As of right now, there will be three different annotated bibliographic categories, based on three different eras of Vietnamese history: Ancient History, Dynastic History, and Modern History. The lists will be short at first, but with every new update, with every new article, the categories, and the bibliographies themselves, will continue to grow. In turn, you readers will have an increasingly large pool of references to look at, either for your own research, or just for your own entertainment.

By creating this feature, I want to help provide a place of reference, a foundation, in which we can all further our knowledge of Vietnam’s history. I hope it helps, and I hope you all enjoy it.

* As a side note, all the historical categories listed under “Annotated Bibliography” will be marked with an “A.B.” at the end of the name (e.g. “Modern History – A.B.”), in order to distinguish them from the categories under “A Piece of History,” which carry the same name (minus the “A.B.”), and mark the same time periods. This is important as articles from “Annotated Bibliography” will also be listed under the broader “A Piece of History” section, due to their relevance in this category as well.

A Short Commemoration on This First Journey to Freedom Day

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by Ian Pham

Journey to Freedom Day in OttawaA crowd of over 500 people gathered in downtown Ottawa today for the inaugural Journey to Freedom Day celebration. Photo via Julie Oliver/Ottawa Citizen

Earlier today, Canada celebrated its first annual Journey to Freedom Day, a day of commemoration for the fall of Saigon, the harrowing journey of the Vietnamese boat people in search of freedom, and their vast contributions to Canada following their arrival. The significance of this day reaches far beyond Canada, however, as Vietnamese refugees were fortunate to find a new home in many different nations across the western world since departing from South Vietnam on and after April 30, 1975.

We don’t have much time left before the day is over, so I will have to make this brief.

Today, we mourn the loss of the Republic of Vietnam to the Communist North. It is on this day, forty years ago, April 30, 1975, that the Northern tanks stormed through the gates of Saigon’s Presidential Palace, signifying the end of the Vietnam War. Without getting into the politics of it all, it is acknowledged as a day of sadness, panic, and heartbreak. On that day alone, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fled the country in frantic hysteria, with the sea being their only way out.

It is on that day that the journey to freedom began, and the day that a new chapter in our history commenced. For the next two decades, two million people would leave Vietnam in search of a better life. Of this two million, two hundred and fifty thousand would not make it.

For those fortunate enough, new homes would be found in distant lands such as Australia, Europe, America, and Canada. They were the lucky ones, the survivors, and they are our parents or grandparents. It is because of them, because of that journey, that we all have this life today. They risked their lives, they braved the dangers of that voyage across the ocean, and as a result of their strength and courage, we all are blessed with this life and this freedom. It is for this reason that a day such as Journey to Freedom Day carries so much significance across the world. Though Canada is the first to acknowledge the significance of April 30, we are all connected by the stories behind this day. We are all Vietnamese, and we are all here because of someone before us, who was brave and strong enough to embark on that journey to freedom.

Whether we are in Canada, the United States, Australia, or Europe, we are all here for the same reason, because someone before us took that harrowing voyage, that journey to freedom. Thus, it is important that we all understand the significance of Journey to Freedom Day, and how, despite being from different parts of the world, we all share that same history, the foundations brought forth by that incredible journey.

On this day, we remember the fallen. The soldiers, the people, and the nation of South Vietnam. Furthermore, we, on this day, commemorate the courage and sacrifice of the boat people on that perilous journey, and in that, we must never forget how precious a gift freedom truly is.

Enjoy your Journey to Freedom Day, everyone.

Always remember.

Another Year, Another Merry Christmas!

Posted in Announcements, Music with tags , , , , on December 25, 2014 by Ian Pham

Candlelight ChristmasHey there everyone,

I just wanted to drop in and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! It is a busy time for all of us, and although I have not been able to generate as much content as I would like, I could not just let the holidays go by without sending my best wishes out to all of my wonderful readers.

Thank you all for you continued visits, feedback, and overall support. Hopefully the holidays have been good to you and the ones that you love, and that you all find some time to just relax and enjoy the little things. It’s always the little things. Whether you’re a huge fan of the holidays or not, it only comes around once a year, so you might as well enjoy it!

Stay warm, stay strong, and stay smiling. From me to you all, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Much love,

Ian

P.S. Just because I love music, I would like to share another beautiful song that I hope will lift your spirits this holiday season. Performed here by country music group Lady Antebellum, here is the classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which I hope you all do.

Enjoy!