Friday, August 24, 2012

Olympic Medalist Marcel Nguyen and Jade Hilde

Here is a funny excertp from Jade Hidle on her take of Marcel Nguyen and his Vietnamese-heritage.   The rest of the article can be read on

Go Marcel Nguyen! diaCRITIC Jade Hidle gives us an Olympic take on Vietnamese identity using Marcel Nguyen, the Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics, as the launching point. At the same time, Hidle turns inward and and gives us a beautiful reflection on her own struggles as a mixed Vietnamese.
[before we begin: like diaCRTICS? why not subscribe? see the options to the right, via feedburner, email, and networked blogs]

On August 2nd, Vietnamese German gymnast Marcel Nguyen won a silver medal at the London Olympics in the men’s Individual All-Around. Straightaway, a friend—one who jokingly, tenderly calls me “halfer” for being Vietnamese and Norwegian, or “Viking,” as he would say—sends me a text message that asks, “What’s up with a German named Nguyen?”

 I know he is, in jest, ventriloquizing the ignorant, confused questions that strangers always pose to me about my mixed identity and my seemingly misplaced last name. But I know so many of the millions watching the Olympic Games must have been asking similar questions, in earnest, about a Nguyen representing Germany.

So I let my thumbs began to pound the texting keyboard on my phone to deliver a snapshot history of Vietnamese in Western Europe: The French! The 1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale featuring “Indochinese” people on display like circus attractions. And in WWI? Nearly a hundred thousand Vietnamese soldiers!

And don’t forget about Philipp Rösler, the Vietnamese-born current Vice Chancellor of Germany. Recognize, yo! And what about me, the mixed Viet girl with a Norwegian last name? Would murmurs of my ethnic makeup cloud the shine of my silver medal? (Obviously, I would only earn an Olympic medal of any color in some alternate universe operating on a fantastical time-space continuum à la Star Trek.)

Seriously, though, Marcel’s medalling opens up a good opportunity not only to draw attention to the diversity in Germany, a country haunted by its past, but also to how worldwide the Vietnamese diaspora has been and continues to be. And, of course, it’s important to point out that “Vietnamese” can and does look like Marcel and like me..........

Jimmy Nguyen Consolidating his Vietnamese-American Base

You cannot blame the incumbent Rose Herrera  for not trying but apparently her effort is meeting with stiff resistance from the Vietnamese-American voters.   She has been asking some of her supporters to reach out to the Vietnamese-American voters in District 8.  So far,  Jimmy Nguyen used that to his advantage by telling them to as Vietnamese-American you have no choice by to vote for him.

Jimm Nguyen has been active in the community for the last 2-3 months.  He was at every Ly Tong events, including his release.   He is determined to win this race by winning at least 90% of the Vietnamese-American votes.  There are about 8,300 Vietnamese-American registered voters in District 8.  It wil be a close city council race for sure.   Chances are looking good for him to win it.


Vietnamese Diasporic Film Festival & DVAN

Dear friends of DVAN,

When we say that we are nonprofit organizations, we mean it. There’s no
profit. Every dollar we’ve ever raised via ticket sales, auctions, and
donations has gone to fund our events and projects. These are however not
enough to cover the cost of our events and projects. When we write grants,
we are requested to show community support. To continue to promote
writers, filmmakers and visual artists from the Diaspora, we need you to
show us your support.

DVAN has been selected by OneVietnam ( to be on their
fundraising platform. We need to receive a minimum of 50 donations of at
least $1 in the next four weeks to remain on that platform. Can you help
us by donating to this website:

For this month of the fundraising campaign, we are setting a goal of
$1,000.00 to help pay for the 2nd San Francisco Vietnamese Diasporic Film
Festival (scheduled for late April 2013). The first one last year drew
several hundred people to watch a dozen Vietnamese films. The second one
will be even better. We hope to see you all there.

It is as easy as shopping online. Click the big blue “Fund this
organization” button, enter a dollar amount, and your credit card number.
There are even some rewards for donating to DVAN: tickets, t-shirts,
books, artwork, and even just some simple publicity and gratitude. All
donations are tax-deductible and done on a “military-grade” security

In five years, DVAN has organized the first Vietnamese film festival in
San Francisco, three poetry and literature festivals that drew packed
audiences, periodic author readings, the creation of a youth group to
promote the arts, and most recently, an art exhibit at UC Riverside that
is part of a book on Southeast Asian women’s art and writings from the
diaspora. Edited and paid for by DVAN, this book is forthcoming from the
University of Washington Press. In diaCRITICS, you have the leading blog
on Vietnamese and diasporic culture and art. We began in 2010, and if you
Google us, we appear somewhere in the top 5 hits. We’ve received around
150,000 hits since then, and average over 200 hits a day.

OneVietnam is the brainchild of energetic young people whose aim is to
use social networking to build a collective mass of people to work for
Vietnamese interests. You can join the OneVietnam network, too, and meet
such people. OneVietnam’s fundraising campaign is designed to help a group
of worthwhile community organizations with established track records raise
more money and visibility.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud
Associate Professor
Asian American Studies Department
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

DVAN Co-Director

Dvan mailing list

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ly Tong is Free

Ly Tong, after serving about 2 months for his assault of the singer Dam Vinh Hung, is finally free.  He was release from jail last Saturday.  About 75 people came to welcome him.  He spoke at lenght about his sentencing and how it was political motivated.  He later asked everybody to join him for Bun Bo Hue.

Can you find Ly Tong in this picture?  Can you find Jimm Nguyen, the candidate for city council in District 8 in this picture?