Geographically speaking, there are two ways of viewing Vietnamese Americans in Lincoln, Nebraska. One is to group them among Vietnamese in the Midwest. It is a vast region that includes large communities such as Chicago and the Twin Cities, and smaller ones such as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Grand Rapids, MI. Continue reading “Interviewing historians: Kurt Kinbacher on Vietnamese in Lincoln, Nebraska”
My last post is about a long history article on American Catholicism. This post is about another long one: my own. It is published in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, and the entire issue should come out by the end of the month.
The lyrics of this song are simple: possibly the simplest from this list of ten. But at times simplicity is equivalent to power, and I think this song is quite powerful. The most interesting find during my Internet search for recordings is the following video of a performance by several Vietnamese American girls in the Seattle area. The young singer speaks in Vietnamese at the start: I love this song because through my grandparents, I understand the feelings of people having to live far from their families, friends, and homeland.
Knowing that I’d like to start this series with a song related to Saigon, I nonetheless had a hard time deciding from several choices. Travel turns out to be the decisive factor, and being in Houston this weekend prompts me to settle on Saigon, Farewell Forever My Love. Its authors were two refugees who settled in the Houston area: one not long after the Fall of Saigon; the other sometimes in the early 1980s. [Correction: Both came to Houston in 1975; see the note from Jason Gibbs among the comments below.]
Grading and other obligations kept me from watching this documentary when it was first shown on PBS last week. But I read the written narrative on the ProPublica website (which isn’t a transcript of the documentary but shares the same materials), and finally watched the documentary online last night. Here are some thoughts after watching it.
- INTENTION. No matter how one reacts to the content, I think that the producers and correspondent/narrator deserve praise for seeking to reopen these cold cases in the hope of bringing the murderers to justice. The scene with a son of Nguyễn Đạm Phong, shown shortly after the opening credits, is enough of a reminder that the pursuit of justice for the deceased journalists and writers is worthy and worthwhile. In particular, A. C. Thompson, the correspondent and narrator, should be appreciated for his doggedness in finding answers, including travels across the U.S. and to Thailand.
Bài lời Việt theo sau bài tiếng Anh. Hai bài hao hao nội dung nhưng không giống hẳn. The Vietnamese portion follows the English. I cater each language to different readers and they aren’t entirely the same.
April 30 was of course the climax of the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of mass Vietnamese migration to the U.S. But there’s still a lot of the anniversary year left.
Tomorrow is the first day of classes at my institution, and I will continue to honor this anniversary by posting about Vietnamese music related to war and refugees throughout the fall semester and into the spring semester.
What did the first waves of Vietnamese refugees in America think about themselves? What was their mindset regarding their place in the world? Is it possible to write a coherent literary history of their experience?
The search for answers can take different directions and have different starting points. In my opinion, it isn’t a bad idea to begin with a collection of poetry, essays, memoirs, and fiction entitled Tuyển Tập Thơ Văn 90 Tác Giả Việt Nam Hải Ngoại 1975-1981: Selected Poetry and Prose from Ninety Vietnamese Writers Abroad, 1975-1981 (Missouri City, TX: Văn Hữu, 1982). KEEP READING!