Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Circle of Life of Navy Captain Huan Nguyen


... Its the circle of life
All it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life.

Theme from "The Lion King"

As the news spread about the nomination of Navy Captain Huấn Từ Nguyễn to be rear admiral, some astute studiers of the Vietnam War could not help but notice the captain's history.

At 14, Nguyen arrived in Guam as refugee right after the Fall of Saigon in 1975.  Seven years before, he was badly injured during the attack by the communist rebels during the surprise Tet Offensive.   Some of the rebels pretended to be civilians and infiltrated key areas in Saigon.   Nguyen's family was captured at their home in the early morning of the fight.  The rebels targeted his family because his dad, Lt. Colonel Tuan Nguyen, was the head of an armored division protecting the city.   His parents along with his 6 siblings and his 80 years old grandma were executed.  He was the only one in his family survived the brutality.  

A few days later, the communist rebel leader responsible for the killings, Lem Nguyen, was captured.  Hearing the cowardly and heartless massacre committed by Lem Nguyen, then Brigadier General Loan Nguyen, pulled out his revolver and summary executed Lem Nguyen at point blank.  The image was captured by Eddie Adams and seared into the American public opinion. The story of why Lem Nguyen met his death was never mentioned and the American press quickly condemned the action of Brigadier General Loan Nguyen as barbaric.  The photo became an icon of the brutality of an unwinnable war and helped galvanized the  anti-war movement.   

Eddie Adams won the Pulitzer Prize for the photo.  However,  Adams believed he had destroyed Loan’s life.  He wrote years later,  “Two people died in that photograph, the recipient of the bullet and General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera.”  When Loan Nguyen died, Adams praised him as hero of a just cause.

Came to America as an orphan,  Huan Tu Nguyen, determined to make the best of his life and followed his dad's military career.  And soon, barring any unexpected circumstances,  he will become the first Vietnamese-American to be a rear admiral.  He will join 3 other Vietnamese-Americans to hold the general rank in the US armed forces.

The Vietnam War produced many tragedies, brought down administrations and a country, destroyed lives while created refugees and endless misery.  Yet, in the circle of life, the triumph of the human spirits,  of good over evil, of hope over despair, is indomitable. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Candidates for State Assembly D25

For a district where the majority is Asian American and with current Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D) resigning to run for Santa Clara County supervisor,  the following people have either filed or stated their intents to run -

Anna Song (D) - Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee

Jim Canova (D) - Santa Clara Unified Board of Education Trustee

Bob Brunton (R) - former Ohlone College Board of Trustee

Alex Lee (D) -  Legislative Aide

Rich Tran (D) - Mayor of Milpitas

Karina Dominguez - Vice Mayor of Milpitas

With about 210,000 votes up for grab, it is a wide open race and it will come down  to money and organizational support to be in the top two in the primary in March of 2020.    The conventional wisdom says that both Alex Lee and Bob Brunton are just for the ride with no serious contention.    

2020 Census Jobs

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Janet Nguyen Vying for MWDOC Board

Former State Senator Janet Nguyen told some of her closest friends that she is done sitting around being a housewife.  To keep her name active and also to have some supplemental income, she is putting her name for the vacant board seat of the Municipal Water District of Orange County.  The wholesale water supplier sells to 28 city water departments and water districts which supply water to more than two-thirds of Orange County population.

The position paid up to $30,000 a year plus another $20,000 of benefits.  There are at least 5 other candidates the board will also consider for the appointment.   Whoever the board chosen will have to run for election in 2020

After the interview, she thinks she has a good chance of being chosen by the board.  After all, she is more than qualified in comparison to her illustrious political career.  

Epilogue:  The MWDOC Board voted 4-0 in favor of former Fountain Valley Planning Commissioner Robert McVicker to the post.   Janet Nguyen hinted that she will run for the seat in 2020.   With more than $350,000 left over from her last campaign, Nguyen has a great chance of winning.  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Huy Tran For San Jose City Council D4

Huy Tran made it official with his campaign kickoff last weekend at Cataldi Park.  Despite pouring rain, over 70 supporters showed up to share their enthusiasm for his campaign.  Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D) gave praises about Tran as an activist on many issues affecting San Jose.  Milpitas Vice Mayor Karina Dominguez and Fremont Vice Mayor Raj Salwat were also at the event.

There are currently two candidates vying to unseat the incumbent Lan Diep who won the election 4 years ago  by 28 votes to another incumbent Manh Nguyen.   Lan Diep's lip service, self-center personality, and his disloyal to supporters remind Vietnamese-American voters of the controversial former City Councilmember Madison Nguyen.   This tension created by Diep opens the door for David Cohen, a school board trustee, and Huy Tran. 

The district is predominately Asian-American with about 20% Vietnamese-American registered voters.  The rest of the breakdown is 11.6% Chinese American, 9% Filipino, 5% Indian-American and 14.4% Latino.

Huy Tran is a lawyer specializes in labor law.  Until recently, he served on the Housing and Community Development Commission.  He is well known and liked in the Vietnamese-American community.    

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Karina Dominguez Enters Race for Assembly D25?

Milpitas Vice Mayor Karina Dominguez declared to people she met at various events last week  her candidacy for 25th California Assembly District.   She will be running against Milpitas Mayor Richard Tran and school board trustees Anna Song and Jim Canova from Santa Clara.  She has not yet made a formal announcement because she is waiting to see if she can cut a deal or two.

Dominguez was just elected as city councilmember in November 2018.    Just like Tran,  Milpitas is just too small for her political ambition.  But who could blame them, this is an opportunity of a life time.

The D-25  has about 210,000 registered voters.  The voting demographic is 33% Asian, 15% Latino and 45% White.   The area covers Newark, most of Fremont, Santa Clara, Milpitas, most of San Jose D4 and small part of Sunnyvale.

There are rumors of one potential candidate from San Jose and one from Fremont.