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diaCRITICS editor Viet Thanh Nguyen writes on the many Vietnamese-American works ignored by both the American and Vietnamese mainstream. This article was originally published by the New York Times.
I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. Now in Saigon, there are 20 KFCs, eight Burger Kings and six McDonald’s, with one across the street from where I used to lived, five miles from downtown.
"Sometimes people have said that I give voice to the voiceless Vietnamese. If you know anything about Vietnamese people, you know they are not voiceless. They are quite loud, whether it is in Vietnamese or English. Here is a reading list of some of the most important writing by Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans, just to prove that we have not been voiceless. Most of the time we are just not heard."