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My Rantings & Ravings

"There is no such thing as a great talent without great will-power."
Honore de Balzac



Do We Make a Difference?
In life we encounter many injustices. Some of us ask the question, “Do we do something about it or not?” The general response is that we CAN do something about it. However, we will let the next individual do something about the injustices because WE are too busy. So, this cycle of wanting to make a difference and not doing much about it continues.

At what point do we personally take action? What moves us to make a difference? Does it have to be some momentous experience? Or can it be waking up one day and telling ourselves, “I’m going to make the world a better place today by at least one conscious action of making the world a better place to live!”

Do We Care about Politics?
Chances are most people don’t care about politics. Asked if they care about issues, a different response is given. This is definitely the case with women I think, at least according to a survey at iVillage.com.

Since we don’t care about politics but we do care about issues, what issue is important enough to you that you are willing to do something about it?

Who Makes the Decision for YOU?
The other night I placed a phone call to invite some constituents of the district to a house meeting to meet a candidate running for Congress. I asked the person if she was available to attend. She answered in the negative. I asked her if she supported the candidate. She paused, hesitated and responded with “I have to talk to my husband. He makes those decisions."

To say the least, I was aghast at this response. The woman was in her 40’s according to the call sheet that from which I was making the calls to invite people to this house meeting. How is it that a woman in this new century has to ask her husband to tell her how to vote? What ever happened to equality and Women's Rights? Did this end when the calendar reset to double zeros? As a man, I must protest that some people still think in this manner. I do not believe that anyone should ask someone else how they should vote. It is one thing to be informed. It is completely another matter to base one’s decision on another’s. Who makes the decision for YOU?

Can We Make a Difference?
It is important for our Vietnamese American community to get as many people involved as possible, in any capacity that is possible.  I've been living by a harsh reality, "Don't complain if you're not involved". (It's actually don't bitch if you don't do anything about it; however, I thought I should tone it down a bit).  In order for us to have the right to complain, we have to do something about it.

The American way of life is a unique one. There are indeed the "have's" and the have "not's". This is true in any country. The reality is that in America we can actually do something about it. We do not have to be silent and feel that there is no upward mobility for us nor rewards of other form, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the pursuit of happiness.

The Vietnamese community is like many other communities when we speak about statistics and why some people may want to be involved and others may not care or just plain apathetic towards the system.  Many of these people are apathetic because they feel over time they don't make a difference. A lot of these people haven't made a difference because they never really bothered to do so. That's the true statistic.

The Vietnamese experience cannot and must not be like other communities. We did not come to America because we had a choice. Many of us came here as a result of the political system with which we have a MAJOR problem.  We disagree with the political system in Viet Nam. We bitch about this or that with Viet Nam. We fled Viet Nam! My question now becomes "If we took a major step of showing our displeasure with the Vietnamese political system by escaping that country with nothing, why should we not now take the effort of driving down the street, voting and expressing our opinions to our political leaders in the US who are willing to listen to us and willing to make a difference on our behalf?"

We have to continue to make a difference. Our Vietnamese community is unique because of our background. We must not become so inculturated into a society that is apathetic towards speaking out and expressing our opinions to efficate change.

This is not the spirit of Nguoi Viet who have survived for centuries. We were lead by the great King Hung to victory. The Trung sisters led us to victory. We've survived almost 1000 years of Chinese rule. We've survived the western colonialization of Viet Nam. We escaped an oppressed Viet Nam to continue our way of life. We are now willing to give up every thing that our predecessors have fought to give us this moment to be breathing and to make a difference for ourselves and our future. This makes no sense.

We hear about hot new companies, the Internet, the latest trend, etc. -- There are Vietnamese Americans out there who are making a difference. Ezenia (EZEN), GoLinq.com, OnDisplay (ONDS), MagRabbit and many others out there. We have Vietnamese Americans involved in beauty pageants that is not aimed only at a Vietnamese American audience but one that involves a diversity of cultures and ethnicities. In fact, a recent pageant queen of the Asian American Pageant is Vietnamese. The building blocks of a Vietnamese cultural center in San Jose, CA is being set. I can come up with so many more examples of how we as a community are represented out there. You too know of many exemplary examples. Let us spread this word of our accomplishments.

I challenge all of us to spread the word and to remind our fellow brothers and sisters who we are as NGUOI VIET! We are at a point in our civilization where we will be deciding that we are indeed different or we are like everyone else. Do we make a difference or do we not?

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