Archive for SBTN

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.

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Million Hearts, One Voice: Truc Ho’s Human Rights Campaign

Posted in IV. Columns, Music, Politics, Society, Videos with tags , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by Ian Pham

For the past couple months, Mr. Truc Ho has been conducting yet another brilliant campaign for human rights in Vietnam.  This most recent campaign is called “Million Hearts, One Voice,” and has caused quite a headache for the Communist leadership in Hanoi.  Not only did Truc Ho present a petition with over 135,000 signatures to both American and U.N leaders about Vietnam’s human rights issue, he also crafted a beautiful new song to support his campaign.

One of the flagships of Truc Ho’s campaign, next to his petition, is his newly composed song, “Trieu Con Tim,” or “A Million Hearts.”  Trieu Con Tim is a finely crafted song that vividly describes the countless abuses and failures of the Communist Party in Vietnam.  Their pathetic display on the world stage, especially their kowtowing to Beijing and the CCP, as well as their pathetic displays at home brought to light.

The song mentions some specific cases that happened recently in Vietnam.  One such case is the self-immolation of a mother in protest of the Hanoi government.  As a blogger, her daughter was detained as result of her courage to criticize the party.  Other cases, such as the government’s seizing of a citizen’s property, and the losing of Paracel and Spratly are also mentioned.  These stories will be mentioned in more detail in future posts.

This campaign has made a huge impact America’s new foreign policy towards Vietnam.  The Obama Administration’s Vietnam policy has shifted dramatically, and relations between the two nations have begun to deteriorate.  The U.S. has become fed up with the lack of progress on Vietnam’s human rights situation.  Therefore, they no longer seek to strengthen relations with the Communist Vietnamese.  This recent development will too be covered in a follow-up article.

For now, if you haven’t already, give this song a listen, enjoy it, and think about the message that it is delivering.  In the near future, I will write an article that gives everyone an opportunity to download the music of Truc Ho, as well as the music of Viet Khang.  This will make it possible for anyone who has access to this blog, whether inside or outside of Vietnam, to download the music and circulate it where ever they feel necessary.  Until then, hang tight, my fellows, and stock up on some blank CD’s.

The Voice and The Vote

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by Ian Pham

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of Viet Khang’s whereabouts, no one really knows what happened to him.  What we do know is that he has not been freed by the Communist government.  Whether he is still alive or not is also a big question, one that probably won’t be answered for a while, if ever.  However, that is no reason for us to feel hopeless or discouraged.  Brother Viet Khang knew full well what he was getting into, and I am sure that he did not sacrifice himself just to see us fall into despair.

Through a collection of courageous acts, Viet Khang was able to capture the attention of the entire world.  With the help of Mr. Truc Ho, Viet Khang’s music has shown the world the sad way of life that the Vietnamese people are faced with every single day.  Viet Khang painted the crimes of the Communist Party, making it crystal clear to every Vietnamese across the world.

Before Viet Khang, only a handful young Vietnamese oversees knew about the atrocities committed by the Communist Party.  Now, Vietnamese people across the continents, young and old alike, are now conscious of the dire situation that the Party has put the country into.  As young Vietnamese living oversees, what can we do about it?  As individuals who are shut out from the Communist system, it may feel like we are powerless in dealing with the Communist Party.  This however, is a misconception.

As citizens of a free and democratic country, young adults like yourselves have something that is extremelt valuable.  That gift, my friends, is the right to vote.  As explained very eloquently by Mr. Truc Ho, election season is coming up, and the presidential candidates will do whatever they can to acquire the most votes.  This means that they will be more than happy to appeal to all types of social groups across the country, and as Vietnamese living in America, you too can be a part of this.

It is true that Mr. Truc Ho did not meet the president on his visit to Washington, but the fact remains that he was invited to the White House.  Because of his hard work and genuine dedication, Mr. Truc Ho had captured the attention of the White House.  Besides human rights, there is a very prevalent reason that Truc Ho was invited to Washington.  By rallying nearly 150,000 signatures to his petition, Truc Ho has shown that there is a strong group of potential voters out there.  If there is one thing that a politician loves, it’s the vote.

There are millions of Vietnamese adults living in the U.S., and as American citizens, we all have the vote.  If we show the politicians that we are united, they will listen to what we have to say.  It does not have to be Barack Obama that we are calling upon.  If our voice is strong enough, other candidates will come to us, instead of the other way around.  It is not out of the question for Governor Mitt Romney to throw is support behind us if we are willing to reciprocate with our votes.

Whether it be the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, it could not matter less.  When the presidential candidates realize that there are a million of us, united in our cause, and united in our vote, it will only be a matter of time before they offer their support to us.  Mr. Truc Ho has a very clear vision, and he communicates it very well.  If you want to hear more about this campaign, watch Truc Ho’s SBTN program, for he has much to teach us.

One final word, and this involves all of us.  Whether you are young or old, whether you partake in the democratic process or not (let’s be honest, I know not all of you vote), just be proud of who you are and where you are from.  Before we even exercise our democratic rights, just remember that we are Vietnamese, and that we take pride in our culture and our heritage.  It is undeniable that we are proud of our homeland, whether it be America, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, or anywhere else in the world.  That being said, don’t forget that we are also Vietnamese, our parents are Vietnamese, and our grandparents are Vietnamese.  We must be proud of that as well.  One love.

Truc Ho’s Dedication and the Trip to Washington

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2012 by Ian Pham

This past Monday, Vietnamese musical producer and democracy activist Truc Ho flew to Washington D.C., hoping to meet with the President of the United States.  Mr. Truc has been looking forward to this day, campaigning non-stop over the case of the imprisoned musician Viet Khang.  However, upon his arrival at the White House, Mr. Truc was not greeted by the President, or even a representive on his behalf.  What followed instead were a series of confusing events which many are still trying to understand.

The full details of what happened at the White House is still unclear, the only certainty is that there was miscommunication, on many fronts.  According to sources, Mr. Truc was expected at the White House, but his hosts were unclear on who they were meeting.  The officials at the White House had organized a conference briefing on the leaders of the Vietnamese youth, thinking that Truc Ho was a leader of this group.  When Truc Ho arrived in the conference room, he thought he was in the wrong place.  To his surprise, this room was meant for him.

When it became clear that the White House officials had made a mistake, Truc Ho had to explain to them that he was not a leader of the Vietnamese youth.  He was simply a democracy activist trying to raise the issue of human rights in Vietnam to the U.S. government.  After this disappointing ordeal, Mr. Truc Ho departed from the White House and proceeded outside to his many supporters at the White House entrance.  Many of Truc Ho’s supporters had made the trip to Wasington with him, showing that they are behind him 100%.

In the end, Mr. Truc Ho did not meet President Obama, though he was contacted by the White House at the beginning.  Even so, this event should not be labelled as a failure.  Because of his efforts, Truc Ho was able to spread awareness across the globe about the human rights abuses in Vietnam.  Not only did he capture the attention of the Vietnamese in the United States, but in many other countries all over the world.  In 30 short days, Truc Ho’s petition had achieved 149,050 signatures!  Thanks to him, citizens in America, Canada, Australia, France, and many other nations know of Viet Khang and Vietnam’s desperate need for change.

This struggle for freedom and democracy in Vietnam is not a one step process.  It is long and difficult, with many challenges and obstacles along the way.  The belief that President Barack Obama was going fix all of Vietnam’s problems was simply too good to be true.  Truc Ho may not have met with the President, but his movement was a success.  I commend Mr. Truc Ho, along with his team over at SBTN for all of their hard work.  Thanks to them, the Vietnamese across the world are united.  Not only that, but the people in Vietnam now know we are out there, and that we stand behind them no matter what.  This is not the end, people, this is only the beginning.  Freedom for Vietnam.

The President Listens

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by Ian Pham

Great news, people!  As of this moment, the human rights petition established by Truc Ho has achieved more than 70,000 signatures!  Furthermore, the success of the petition has captured the attention of a very important individual.  Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, has answered the calls of the people.  According to SBTN, President Obama is very interested in the petition, and even more interested in the music of Viet Khang.

In the coming weeks, March 5, 2012, Mr. Truc Ho will be meeting President Obama in Washington to discuss the circumstances of Viet Khang, as well as the broader human rights situation in Vietnam.  It is also the wishes of President Obama to listen to Viet Khang’s songs, “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where’s My Vietnam)?” and “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?”.  The President wants to understand the words of Viet Khang, to see how the musician has been captivating so many people across the world.

This is a result of Mr. Truc’s hard work and dedication, as he has been advertising and campaigning endlessly on behalf of the imprisoned musician.  At this point in time, the We, the People petition has gained over 70,000 signatures, shattering the minimum threshold of 25,000 signatures.  This is a major accomplishment, but one would be wrong to assume that it is enough.

We may have surpassed the threshold of 25,000, but this is only the beginning, as there is still much work to do.  According to Truc Ho, and it should be obvious to all of us, the power of a petition lies in its signatures.  If we achieve 25,000, which we did, the president will be answering the calls of 25,000 people.  However, if we achieve 100,000 signatures, the president would be responding to 100,000 people! Now imagine 250,000 people, how powerful our voice would be then?

As citizens of democracy, we have the power to make our voices heard by our leaders.  The fact that President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, has taken the time to look over this petition, clearly demonstrates how important our voice is to him.  As autonomous individuals, we don’t all have money and we don’t all have corporate muscle.  What we do have however, all of us, is the vote.  If you think that your voice does not matter to the government, please think again.  You all have the power to make a change, and many of you have already done so much.  Thank you, now let’s keep going!

In Honor of Viet Khang

Posted in Democracy Activists, IV. Columns, Music, Politics, Society, Videos with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang’s music is so powerful and moving that it would be a crime (no pun intended) not to share it with all of you.  It is unfortunate that not all of us can understand his music, as Viet Khang’s songs are performed in Vietnamese.  Do not fret however, for Vietnamese American music producer Truc Ho feels your pain, and was gracious enough to alleviate this language barrier with English subtitles for his version of “Who Are You?”.

Truc Ho did a good job on this interpretation of Viet Khang’s song, assembling a group of musicians under his label to help him sing.  Performing with Truc Ho is Dan Nguyen, Mai Thanh Son, Quoc Khanh, and Doan Phi.  The artists performed the song passionately, enough to bring justice to Viet Khang’s music.  Plus, it comes with English subtitles!  So even if you are not a fluent speaker of Vietnamese, you too can understand the powerful message Viet Khang is aiming to deliver.

The video briefly features a speech given by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.  Ms. Sanchez has done much to help represent the Vietnamese community in the state of California, and continues to do so today.  Frequently, the Congresswoman has pushed the U.S. government to take a tougher stance on the human rights situation in Vietnam, proving herself to be a valuable ally to the Vietnamese community overseas.

I’ve said this before and will continue to say it.  Viet Khang is a talented and courageous man.  Because of him, not only are the Vietnamese abroad learning about the Communists, but the people within are becoming aware of their crimes as well.  He knew that performing his music would get him arrested, but he went through with it nonetheless.  As a leader, and as a patriot, Viet Khang is not afraid to die.  He has showed us that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the country, something that the entire Communist Party does not have the guts to do.

Viet Khang has more courage in his voice than all 3,000,000 members of the Vietnamese Communist Party combined.  For this remarkable reason, I continue to castigate the Communist Party, and commend the courage and honor of Viet Khang, the great singing patriot of Vietnam.  Like the heroes before him, Viet Khang has demonstrated what one courageous act can do for humanity.  Now think, what would happen if every single citizen came together, as one unitary force, to liberate Vietnam from the grips of these sordid criminals who call themselves the Communist Party.  If one man was able to drive the entire system insane, imagine what we could do together.  The possibilities are boundless, let’s stand together.