Archive for the Inspirational People Category

A Commemoration of Viet Dzung: The Icon, The Activist, The Leader

Posted in Democracy Activists, Inspirational People, IV. Columns, Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , on December 30, 2013 by Ian Pham

Viet DzungI know I won’t be able to do justice for the memory of Viet Dzung in just one blog article. He has done so much for the Vietnamese community, both abroad and domestically, that it would be impossible to capture the man’s greatness with so few words. Not only was Viet Dzung a philanthropist, he was also a leader of his community, and an entertainment icon beloved by almost all members of the Vietnamese community overseas.

The late musician was born in Saigon on September 8, 1958, when the Vietnam War was heating up. He came of age throughout this time period. By the time he was a young man, Viet Dzung left Vietnam following the Communist takeover, arriving in the United States in 1976.

During his time in America, Viet Dzung utilized his talents as a singer and songwriter, composing songs about his love for Vietnam and his longing for the country’s freedom. The young musician wrote music in both Vietnamese and English, and was interestingly good at writing country songs.

Viet Dzung StageIn the 1990’s, Viet Dzung gained popularity through his programs on Little Saigon Radio, and subsequently Radio Bolsa as well. Concurrently, Viet Dzung became the host of Truc Ho’s Asia Music program, making him a sensation among Vietnamese listeners and viewers. Viet Dzung’s prominence in the entertainment business has made him a Vietnamese icon.

Viet Dzung flourished in the entertainment business, but that is not the main reason he is so loved by everyone. The boundless admiration and respect that Viet Dzung commands stem from his selflessness, his devotion, and ingenuity as a leader of the Vietnamese community.

Mr. Dzung was very active in his community, volunteering in charity events, organizing many of his own, and teaching as a guest speaker at many local schools and youth shelters. He was also a prominent catalyst for the struggle for human rights. Viet Dzung played a key role in organizing many protests and awareness campaigns against the Communist Party. Moreover, Viet Dzung’s charisma and communication skills helped gain the attention of many politicians and business leaders in the U.S.

As a close friend and ally of Mr. Truc Ho, Viet Dzung played a prominent role with Truc Ho in planning and executing the countless human rights campaigns that we have witnessed over the past decade, but especially in just the last few years. Viet Dzung is a staple leader of the SBTN television Network, and has been a mentor to so many young professionals and emerging leaders throughout his lifetime.

Viet Dzung, 1958-2013It is for this reason, his willingness to give, and give, and give, all without asking for anything in return, that has gained him the love and admiration of so many Vietnamese overseas. It is for this reason that his death, two Fridays ago, on December 20, 2013, at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, sent shockwaves throughout Vietnamese communities in the Western Hemisphere.

Viet Dzung was only 55 years old when he passed away. The cause of his death was a longtime heart ailment that finally overtook him. I think it is safe to say that with the loss of Mr. Viet Dzung, the people of Vietnam, overseas and within have just lost a great man. He gave us so much and changed the landscape so profoundly that it is still unclear the extent of his legacy. Thus, we must bid a warm and tearful farewell to one of the greatest examples of Vietnamese resilience and compassion. Bless his wonderful spirit.

Philip Rösler’s Story

Posted in Inspirational People, IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2012 by Ian Pham

If you have not yet heard about Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Phillip Rösler, here’s a nice little summary.  Phillip Rösler currently serves as the Federal Republic of Germany’s Vice Chancellor, as well as the country’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology.  He was previously the German Minister of Health in 2009 before rising to greater heights in 2011 to current.  Rösler is a German national, but his roots lay in Vietnam…  Impressed yet?

Though the actual birth date of Phillip Rösler is unknown, the German government classifies it as February 24, 1973.  He was born in the former Republic of Vietnam, but lost his parents during infancy.  He was then adopted into a German family, who moved him out of war-torn South Vietnam all the way to the democratic West Germany.  From then on, the child from Vietnam would live his life German, under the guidance of his father, a professional military man.

Rösler also served in the German military, acting as a medical soldier in the army’s Bundeswehr.  At the same time, Rösler rose through the ranks of Germany’s Free Democratic Party, becoming the party’s secretary general in only 8 short years in 1992.  He also studied medicine at Hanover Medical School in Germany and went on to become a haert surgeon.  In a very short period of time, both Rösler’s medical and political careers reached astronomical heights.

In 2009, Philip Rösler was appointed as Germany’s Minister of Health.  By 2011, Rösler became Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Chairman of the FDP, and the Vice Chancellor of Germany.  Today, Rösler is second only to the current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.  What makes Philip Rösler so remarkable is not just his accomplishments, but also where he achieved them.

Not only has Philip Rösler elevated to astronomical heights in both his political and medical careers, he achieved them in an extremely difficult environment.  German society, though very tolerant and cosmopolitan, is still more favorable of Caucasians than Asians in terms of selectivity.  For this reason, it is incredible that Rösler, a Vietnamese ethnic, was able to rise through the ranks to hold three big government positions and become the second most powerful individual in the FRG.

His accomplishments, in conjunction with his Vietnamese roots, just goes to show what Vietnam’s people are capable of great things if given the opportunity.  Just imagine if Rösler remained in Vietnam all his life, would he have been able to use his talents the way he did in Germany?  It’s pretty hard to imagine, right?

Instead of fostering the talent of the people, the VCP simply stifles them, casts them aside, and keeps them in submission.  There are many Rösler’s in Vietnam, sadly, the Party is incapable of ever utilizing these talents.  This is just another example of how the Communist Party of Vietnam has failed its people.  The VCP punishes intelligence and rewards idiocy.  By now however, given all of the stupidity the VCP has shown, I am incapable of feeling any surprise for them anymore.