Essays

It is only the failure of the American imagination and perception—a failure and inability to recognize and make space for the full imaginative agency of Vietnamese visions—that has perpetuated the notion of a dearth or naivety of art of the Vietnamese diaspora.
The frightening monoculture of China looms over Taiwan like hurricane clouds. But we have our own history, our own culture, our own ethnic makeup—many Taiwanese have Japanese and Aborigine blood—and our own way of making beef noodle soup. It’s not just niúròumiàn, 牛肉麵 — it’s Táiwān niúròumiàn, 台灣牛肉麵.
Vietnam War movies are all the rage, again. With this, there still isn't any evidence that they show Vietnamese people or specifically Vietnamese women as whole humans.
I sympathize with Book Hunter and with the cause of cultural and artistic freedom that Hà Thủy Nguyên and Lê Duy Nam uphold. It seems that enhanced liberties in Vietnam should ultimately mesh well with current government policies for economic integration. After all, if a nation is open to business with other societies, it follows that everyone will also be exposed to different ways of thinking about the humanities, art, and literature.
For Vietnamese kids who left Vietnam but weren’t part of the large migration wave to the US after the fall of Saigon in 1975, who went to New Caledonia, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), Canada, France, West Germany, the Philippines, even Norway, we are like seeds spread by the winds that sprouted and learned how to thrive without anyone knowing what to name us. We are part of the Vietnamese diaspora, but we have yet to name ourselves.
On 1 July 1972 during the Easter Offensive two Vietnamese journalists, Ngy Thanh and Đoàn Kế Tường, used a heavily damaged railway bridge to cross the Bến Đá River, which bisects Highway One between the cities of Quảng Trị and Huế. What met them on the other side was a scene of carnage: many hundreds of civilian and military personnel corpses littered the highway, the result of an attack two months earlier.