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My family fled war-torn Vietnam in June of 1975 by secretly hopping aboard a freight ship meant to carry textiles. Someone tipped my mom’s brother off to the opportunity and he immediately rounded up the rest of the relatives. They hastily collected their meager belongings, then hustled to the dock. My family was joined by about 200 other people on the shore. The ship docked and everyone quietly boarded the ship, tucking themselves into the dark nooks, while dozens of jumbo bins were loaded onto the deck. The ship left shore once again, and after a number of miles some of the bins began to move, as 150 more people emerged from underneath. They all went to America.
Every time my mom and I talk about this particularly fascinating bit of their story, we clash over one point.
I say, “So that’s how you came here!”
She says, “Yes, we came on a boat.”
I say, “Right. So you were boat people that came–”
She cuts me off and shrieks, “WE ARE NOT BOAT PEOPLE!”
I say, “Didn’t we just talk about the boat you came on?”
She says, “It was a freight ship!”
I say, “Isn’t a ship a large boat?”
Then she stops talking to me. Moms are so weird.
Today, I saw photos of those womb-rumbling cutie patooties Maddox and Pax Jolie-Pitt cruising coolly around the canals in a sweet speedboat:
…and all I could think was, “Mom! Boat people are so AWESOME!”
Filed under: Amazian Jr., Awesomeness, Boat People, Boats, Cool Kids, Cool Photos, Hardass Asian Moms, Maddox Driving, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Pax Thien, Pride, Refugees, Speedboats, Synonyms, The Almighty Jolie-Pitts, Venice, Vietnam
My dad went to medical school in Saigon. Like most skinny, starving, Vietnamese students in the 60s, he motored around on a really shitty motorized bicycle–while secretly coveting the sweet Italian Vespas and Lambrettas that spoiled-first-sons of Businessmen or government officials flaunted on the dusty roads. During my mod phase as a teen, I became obsessed with The Who’s iconic film Quadrophenia, and would often re-watch it with my dad, just to peek over and watch his eyes light up at the moment that Sting first rolls up on a pristine, ice-blue Vespa with about a jillion rear-view mirrors attached.
There’s a part of me that has always wanted to buy my dad a scoot to ride around (not one of the new ones, but a restored vintage piece in like, royal blue) now. I have fantasies about us entering scooter rallies together and wearing matching helmets. But a part of me knows that the cranky ol’ surgeon who won’t drive faster than the speed limit on the freeway doesn’t have the same need for 2-wheeled glory that he did fifty years ago.
More importantly, I have a fantastically cool image of him riding back in the day burned into my brain: a broke, cigarette-smoking, stick figure of a young man relishing the independence and power of even a crappy bike with a battery attached–it’s so aloof and slick and awesome that I would never want to alter it with the reality of my dad hooting, “Whooooa! Ohhh! No!” while wobbling around the cul-de-sac on a creaky little Vespa today.
But as cucumber-cool as I’m convinced my pops looked on his bike, I’m pretty sure he never rode like this Chinese guy, who Buzzfeed posted riding a moto side-saddle for an astoundingly long period of time:
Continue reading Stay Cool
Filed under: Awesome Chinese Behavior, Awesome Images, Before they were Hardass Asian Parents, Being Cool, Bicycles, China, Cool Parentals, Coolest Asian Ever, Hardass Asian Dads, Lambrettas, Med Students, Mods, Motorcycles, Quadrophenia, Saigon, Scooters, Side-Saddle, Skinny Legs, SO COOL, Sting, The Sixties, The Who, Vespas, Vietnam, What Happens If He Sneezes?, Who Rides Like This?
Dear Mother Nature,
First you flood the Philippines, where the homes of over 2 million people have been affected and 246 people have been reported dead so far. Then you unleash an undersea earthquake that turns into a tsunami on the Samoa Islands, killing dozens. After that, you take the same storm that menaced the Philippines, and move it over Laos and then Vietnam, where 170,000 homes have been damaged and 41 have been reported dead at last count. Still hell-bent on destruction, you then toss in another earthquake Wednesday–with a magnitude of 7.6–in Indonesia, near Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra, that claims 75 lives.
Lady, WTF? What did Asia ever do to you? Sleep with your fella, Father Time?!
Amidst all of this apocalyptic disaster, we did notice one tiny shred of good news:
On that note, do you think you could find room in your heart for a little more of that and, like, TAKE A FUCKING CHILL PILL?
How do you end a prayer to Mother Nature? Amen? Gaia be with me? LYLAS? Anyway…
We wish an eternal good night to Robert McNamara, who died in his sleep early this morning at the age of 93. There were many lessons learned from the former Secretary of Defense’s mistakes regarding US involvement in the Vietnam war, to be sure–but perhaps we gleaned more by appreciating his ability to look back and actually admit when and how he was wrong. We’re Asian for chrissake; we certainly know how difficult the latter can be.
Although Dang Minh Dao, deputy of the Department of International Adoption at the Ministry of Justice in Hanoi, told Australia’s New Idea magazine, “Yes, Nicole Kidman wants a baby from Vietnam. We’ve been approached by the American Embassy. This is very sensitive information. We are keeping it closed,” Kidman has denied the rumor.
But I have it on good authority that the rumor is true. I’ve even learned the identity of the baby Kidman plans to adopt.
And her name is…DIANA!
Some of you may be hatin’ right now, because Diana’s going to have celebrity parents and you’re not, but I, for one, am totally stoked. Because this means that 1) I’m finally going to Australia, the last continent I have yet to visit besides Antarctica, 2) I’ll probably get to ride in the Kidman-Urban jet there, and 3) I’m going to be able to call Keith “uncle” and Nicole “auntie” from now on.
Filed under: Adoption is the New Black, Hollywood Adoptions, I Want to be Adopted by Brad and Angelina, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Nicole Kidman to Adopt Vietnamese Baby, Sunday Rose, Vietnam, Vietnamese Pride
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Tim Bui’s new film, Owl and the Sparrow–already being heralded as a critical darling–for some time now. It’s right up my alley (an irreverent love story set in Modern-day Saigon, directed by a Saigon-born OC brat, sign me up!), and I must admit that I’m sliiiiiightly devastated that I missed this week’s Orange County premiere and its ensuing after-party at Vietnamese-America’s Isreal, Bolsa Avenue.
I was suprised to see that Tila Tequila signed up to do a promotional viral video for the film. Wowee zowee, I thought to myself. What does this mean? Does Tila Nguyen really exist? And does she have a heart of gold? And does she want to reprzent for our peeps? And does she love indie films? Maybe we could kick it at the Laemmle Sunset 5 sometime!
I would give my left nut to find some common ground with this bitch. I mean, I hate on her a lot. But I don’t want to have to! I want to find some redeeming quality about my fellow Nguyen and the only Vietnamese sub-lebrity that any blogger gives a hard-on about, so that I can simply rest my hateful, blogging fingertips, knock back some Macallan 12, rock out on Guitar Hero, and call it a night.
I watched Tila’s promotional video with an open mind, if not a bias towards supporting it. Actually–here, you watch:
Guys, I don’t know what to tell ya, but I actually believe that Tila may have the SADIM touch; that is, instead of gold, everything she touches turns to a huge steaming pile of shit. I know that Tila had her heart in the right place when she acted (terribly) in this senseless piece of turd. But it doesn’t matter. She’s terrible to watch. Listening to her robotic speech and disconnected acting gives me awful shivers. Her wretchedness is distracting: What movie was this cross-promoting? I can’t remember; I just slit my wrists to end my own suffering.
I’m not sure how good intentions could go so awry, but they do, especially when someone has the SADIM touch. Think I’m crazy? It’s happened to her before.
Hey, I may never find my common ground with Ms. Tequila, but I do respect the fact that we both gave it the ol’ college try.
View the Owl and the Sparrow official trailer here.
Filed under: Bolsa Ave, Common Ground, Good Intentions--Poor Execution, I Need a Ngu Last Name, Indie Movies, Owl and the Sparrow, Reprzentasian, Saigon, Stuff to Watch, Tila Tequila, Tim Bui, Vietnam
It looks like the Hardass Asian Officials of my homeland have dethroned their lovely Miss Vietnam, 18-year-old Tran Thi Thuy Dung (pictured right), following government investigators’ discovery that she did not complete high school. Tran was taken out of school by her mother earlier this year, in order to prepare for a high-school equivalency qualification to improve her odds of studying in the U.S.
Currently, no suitable replacement has been found. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Shocked, Ministry of Culture officials stripped 18-year-old Tran Thi Thuy Dung of her most coveted prize — the right to represent Vietnam at this month’s Miss World contest in Johannesburg. Government officials in Hanoi are now trying to find a suitable candidate to send to South Africa. So far, they’ve drawn a blank.
Uh, whoops. I hate to butt in on this one or whatever, but, ah, I’m not convinced that a high school diploma is really all that important for a beauty contestant. I mean, really.
Just sayin’… My advice is to bag the search for the replacement and get this dummy back up on that catwalk! Let’s win it in Johannesburg for the motha country!!!
Filed under: Beauty Queens, Bummers, Diplomas, Hardass Asian Officials, High School, Miss Vietnam, Miss World, Public Shame, Tran Thi Thuy Dung, Vietnam, Why Go to School for the Bathing Suit Portion?
Say what you will about the Borat mankini–the hideous neon yellow reminds you of that crazy hipster, Blaine, from this season of Project Runway, the V-shape sends you into Nixon flashbacks, the exposed pelvic bones and pubes make you wanna ralph. Sure! Personally, I think it’s pretty rad. But, oddly enough, the outfit really, really offends some folks.
Apparently, it really bugs ma peeps back home in Vietnam! Word on the world news front is that two college kids in Hanoi have been suspended from school for a year and publicly chided for a comedy performance done in the mankinis–which was documented and posted on YouTube (it’s no longer available and only screen grabs survived). Sure, they jacked up the stakes by ripping out fake pubic hairs and rolling around like a bunch of hyenas on acid, but much of the media focus has been on their choice of dress.
Lemme tell you–I’m looking at the photos, and frankly I’m not offended. After all, I find it hard to imagine anything worse than:
…this douchenozzle in the mankini.
Glam legend and pedophile (which title goes first??) Gary Glitter apparently collapsed this week from a heart attack, in the Vietnamese jail where he is serving three years for abusing two 11-year-old girls.
Sky News reports speculation that Glitter may be moved to a hospital in the UK, the country where he was imprisoned in ’99 for possession of child pornography.
All we can say is, keep him out of the States! We’ve got enough problems here as it is.
On a side note, we’re wondering, is Glitter simply making a facial fashion statement with that goatee or paying homage? We’re stumped.
Occupation: Sculptor and artist
Known for: Reprznting for women at Yale by designing the campus’ Women’s Table, offering her artistic sense and architectural expertise to Washington State’s ongoing Confluence Project, and, most famously, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.
As we honored our past and present troops this weekend (which includes Diana’s cousin Victor–big upz), we thought a lot about her vision and contributions to our country. We’re so grateful to have her on our team.
Oh, and yes, we’re just trying to get your brain off of this image:
Blah blah blah, so you’ve accomplished so much you don’t really need to do anything more. Whatever! We still hope you have a Happy Birthday and a kickass year.
Jet Li Says He, Jackie Chan Too Old to Fight–No shit, Sherlock
Vietnam Develops Taste for Luxury Goods–Gucci Minh City
Japan’s Fukuda Has Approval Rating as High as 59% in Surveys –Hope he doesn’t Fukuda it up!