Archive for Vietnam War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/.

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.

 

 

Remembering South Vietnam: A Tribute to The Republic

Posted in Economics, IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by Ian Pham

Remembering South VietnamPhoto via Flickr

This is just a brief tribute to the former Republic of Vietnam and all the brave men and women who fought so bravely to protect the country. We all know very well the story of its tragic fall, but we also know very well what a great nation it was.

This year, to commemorate the day that Saigon fell to the communists, I want to remind everyone of the greatness of South Vietnam. By recognizing the actions, ideals, and achievements of the Southern Republic, I aim to demonstrate to us all why April 30 is such a sad day for any Vietnamese who loves freedom.

Every year since 1975, April 30 marks the fall of a proud, vibrant, and prosperous Republic, one that flourished culturally and economically, and carried itself with courage, pride and dignity. Moreover, this day marks the fall of a democracy, a young democracy, but a true democracy nonetheless.

South Vietnam was a nation that nurtured its young. It was a nation that had a deep love for education, invested heavily in education, and went to great lengths to ensure their citizens the access to this education. In only two decades of its existence, South Vietnam successfully expanded its educational programs by leaps and bounds, growing exponentially at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. To put neatly, South Vietnam was a nation of smart people, with endless potential for advancement and growth.

In terms of economy, South Vietnam was highly competitive, a leader in the Southeast Asia region, and a contender in Asia as a whole. Starting from its humble beginnings as a postcolonial state, South Vietnam showed rapid growth immediately after its birth as an independent nation. Over the course of its lifetime, up until its fall in 1975, South Vietnam prospered economically, excelling in agriculture, heavy industry, and trade. Due to its success, its capital city Saigon garnered huge respect from the world, and earned itself the famous title of “Pearl of the Orient.”

When speaking of democracy in South Vietnam, there is no doubt that the Southern Republic was a true liberal democracy. Secret ballot elections, universal suffrage, multiple political parties, freedom of speech, expression, and association, and checks and balances between its executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, South Vietnam met all of these criteria. In all, South Vietnam was a free country, one that championed the rights of its people, adhered to the rule of law, and kept its people safe.

Lastly, I would just like to recognize South Vietnam as a brave and noble nation that fought with every ounce of its strength to defend its people, from domestic terrorism by the National Liberation Front, the all too familiar invasions from North Vietnam, as well as an abrupt naval invasion by the People’s Republic of China.

In all of these cases, South Vietnam responded, and with whatever resources it had, the Southern Republic fought. This was the nation that captured many VC terrorists, even converting many of them to forsake their communist allegiances and come over to the Republic. Moreover, this was the nation that kept the North at bay for 20 years, and, statistically speaking, eviscerated the communist forces in the majority of engagements on the battlefield.

Finally, South Vietnam was the nation to open fire on the Chinese when the latter sent their warships into Hoang Sa (Paracel) in 1974, thinking that they can push the Southern Republic around. With all that has been shown, it simply needs to be understood here that South Vietnam was a nation that stood tall and fought hard. It was a proud nation, a brave nation, and an honorable nation that kept its people safe.

The loss of this Republic on April 30, 1975 is more than just a page in history. It is a tragedy, marking the day that every freedom-loving Vietnamese person lost their home.

The sadness brought about from the loss of the Republic of Vietnam stems from the greatness of its legacy. Because of its ideals, and because of its bravery, the memory of South Vietnam continues to resonate in the hearts and minds of every freedom-loving Vietnamese person across the world, even inside Vietnam today.

South Vietnam has become a symbol of what it means to be truly Vietnamese in the modern era: smart, hardworking, brave, loyal, and living with integrity. These are the things that the Republic of Vietnam stood for, and these are the type of people who hail from its origins and carry on its legacy. The yellow flag of freedom represents our roots as people of a proud and honorable nation, and reminds us of our undying love for independence and democracy.

In all of this, we cannot forget our veterans. The troops that sacrificed themselves, paying the ultimate price both physically and mentally to defend the ideals of the Republic and keep the people safe, their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

To the soldiers of South Vietnam, the soldiers of the United States, and soldiers of the allied nations who gave their lives to defend freedom in Vietnam, we thank you, for everything.

This is a tribute to the nation of South Vietnam, and all the brave men and women who fought to defend the country and its ideals. This is for you.

Thank you.

Annotated Bibliography: “Education in Viet Nam,” by Berry E. Morton

Posted in Modern History, Modern History - A.B., Society with tags , , , on April 24, 2016 by Ian Pham

La San Taberd School in Saigon, South VietnamPhotograph via Flickr

Morton, Berry E. “Education in Viet Nam.” Contemporary Education 45, no. 3 (1974): 201-208.

This article examines in detail the growth of South Vietnam’s education system during the nation’s lifespan. From the evidence presented, one will learn that from the nation’s birth in the 1950s up to 1974 when this article was written, South Vietnam’s education system achieved exponential advancement that was nothing short of extraordinary. From elementary, through secondary school, all the way to post-secondary, South Vietnam invested heavily in its education, increasing rapidly its number of schools, student enrollment, as well as its teaching staff, with the active support and assistance both from friendly nations and international organizations from all over the world (p.202).

Morton’s article is filled with valuable statistics and information. This brief entry will only highlight a few, to illustrate just how much value South Vietnam placed on the educational development of its people.

Notable points presented by Morton include South Vietnam’s vast expansion in higher education. According to Morton, “there were no colleges or universities in all of South Vietnam” in 1954. However, by the 1973-74 academic year, South Vietnam had established nine universities, and enrolled a total of 86,000 students to these institutions (p. 201). Moreover, by that same 1973-74 academic year, South Vietnam had also developed “sixteen post secondary two-year teacher training schools, enrolling 9,000 elementary teachers in training; plus two newly operational junior colleges which are part of the recently planned system of two-year post secondary institutions,” (ibid).

At the top of South Vietnam’s priority list was the development of its elementary schools (p. 202). “In 1954,” Morton explains, “there were 8,191 elementary classrooms scattered throughout the nation; very few classrooms were built between 1954 and 1960,” (ibid). With the South Vietnamese government’s investment in education, a staggering 17,000 classrooms were added by the 1970-71 academic year, “making a total of approximately 25,500 classrooms… housing 2,490,246 elementary students,” (p. 203).

During the 1960s, the South Vietnamese Ministry of Education undertook a massive task to reform and develop the country’s secondary school program (junior high and high school), changing the system from an elitist French-colonial structure into a more accessible, “viable and truly Vietnamese secondary school system,” (p. 203-204). This initiative was carried out through the widespread building of classrooms, changing of curriculums and administrations, increasing of enrollment, and an abundant array of other developments. The astronomical growth in South Vietnam’s secondary schools is illustrated by the following information:

In 1956, there were 69,700 students enrolled in the nation’s secondary schools. By 1960 this figure had increased to 165,000 students or about six percent of the youth of secondary school age. By 1970 this figure had increased to 710,541 or about twenty-one percent and during the 1973-74 academic year the total secondary school enrollment is 1,062,000 or about twenty-eight percent of the population group (p. 205).

These statistics of the rapid increase in secondary schools is an indicator of South Vietnam’s success in overhauling its system for schooling youth of the adolescent age group. As a whole, the information presented thus far, regarding the whole South Vietnamese educational system, from elementary all the way to post-secondary, presents a clear representation of the South Vietnamese nation’s emphasis on education, improvement in the quality of life, and the development of its people.

Another interesting point worth noting from Morton’s source is that in South Vietnam, education for the nation’s public universities is free (p. 206). In addition to this, it is also noteworthy that education ranks second among the desires of the South Vietnamese people, with “security from insurgency” ranking first (p. 201).

Morton’s article is lengthy and detailed, containing many more relevant information and statistics regarding South Vietnam’s educational development. This brief annotated bibliographic article only presents some notable highlights. In all, the information presented here should demonstrate South Vietnam as a nation that greatly valued education, and went to all the possible lengths to deliver education to its people.

Annotated Bibliography: “South Vietnam’s Economy – A Note,” by Curtis Crawford

Posted in Economics, Modern History, Modern History - A.B. with tags , , , on April 22, 2016 by Ian Pham

Saigon 1961Photograph via Flickr

Crawford, Curtis. “South Vietnam’s Economy – A Note.” Vietnam Perspectives 1, no. 4 (1966): 14-16.

This is a brief article by Curtis Crawford, written during the Vietnam War years in 1966. With statistics included, the article encapsulates the strong economic growth that South Vietnam was experiencing between 1955 and 1960 under President Diem.

Some notable points from the article include the fact that from 1955 to 1960, South Vietnam’s “per capita food production rose substantially,” with the total crop production overtaking that of the country’s prewar levels. Moreover, Crawford’s article dispels earlier statistics given by Bernard B. Fall, whose findings are reported and proven by Crawford to be “grossly inflated” and distorted in ways that fail to represent the real growth experienced by South Vietnam’s economy.

Although compact, Crawford’s source gives a concise and statistical illustration of the South Vietnamese economy. In the context of understanding South Vietnam’s economic strength during its existence, Crawford’s article demonstrates that the Southern Republic had a robust and vastly developing economy, one that was competitive and highly regarded in the international system.

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.