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Back Be A Voice In Action Vietnam Forever - Essay for National “STOP CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING” Day Awards 2011

Vietnam Forever - Essay for National “STOP CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING” Day Awards 2011

Vietnam Forever - Essay for National “STOP CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING” Day Awards 2011

The Vietnamese refugees have built a new heritage for the next generation within the United States.

In the Southern of California, the Vietnamese population has grown rapidly throughout the years, especially the Little Saigon area. However, behind the Vietnamese successful achievement, one should take a moment to ponder the situation of those stayed in Vietnam. That Saturday 7th May, 2011 was a meaningful day to me, who explored Little Saigon as a tour guide for the first time, and has discovered the meaning of being Vietnamese abroad.

At 9:30 in the morning, a group of friends was waiting for me at a French bakery. They are members of the Orange County French Club. They chose to take their breakfast at the Boulangerie & Patisserie Pierre, one of the most popular bakeries in the region run by a French-Vietnamese family from France. As I arrived, my friend Claudine greeted me warmly;

“Bonjour YenVy! We were waiting for you, our dear tour guide! We’re all very excited!” She exclaimed.

The atmosphere reminded me of the traditional bakeries in Paris; with the soft French background music and French customers taking a sip of coffee peacefully. But once standing outside the bakery, one can smell the Pho’s perfume around the restaurants or hear the Vietnamese hubbub along the mall. The starting point of our tour was at the Confucius Place located behind the A Dong supermarket on Cultural Court. The Confucius statue, which is surrounded by his disciple ones, represents the literary and philosophical side of the Vietnamese History. My group kept taking pictures as they asked a lot of questions pertaining to the statues’ meaning or the Vietnamese culture. I noticed that besides our group, nobody else passed by this area. Although the mall or the supermarket in front is always crowded, this interesting place is usually left deserted. I was thinking that nowadays, people are swallowed up by their daily tasks, they don’t even notice the meaningful monuments built by the first refugees. So, we continued along the stores as I described the differences between Vietnamese and Chinese writing.

“For your information, this is Vietnamese and that is the Chinese version!” I began, pointing at the window.

“What? It’s not the same writing they have?” A member asked.

“Well, we used to have the same but thanks to the French missionary Alexandre De Rhodes, in the 17thcentury, he has switched to the Latin writing! Yay! A lot easier to read! C’mon, just repeat after me!...” I encouraged them joyfully.

They all began reading loudly. Then, we crossed the street to the famous Phuoc-Loc-Tho plaza, the Little Saigon’s emblem; with its Prosperity, Fortune and Longevity statues and the Happy Buddha one. We had our first group picture while people were staring at us curiously. Probably, they were wondering about the language we spoke. It didn’t take long for them to guess because Claudine and her friends were saying “Bonjour” spontaneously to anyone.

“You know what, as a tour guide, I feel like there’s something missing …” I was thinking aloud.

“I know, you should have a flag so everyone can see you! Let me get you a flag!” Claudine smiled at me.

Holding proudly my flag in my hand, I explained them its significance, according to my understanding in high school when I used to live in Paris.

“The yellow font represents the monarchy, our last king was Nguyen Bao Dai. The three stripes represent the three regions of Vietnam: North, Centre and South. The red color of these striped represents the notion of brotherhood, blood linked between the Vietnamese!” As I finished, someone asked about the current red flag in Vietnam.

“This has nothing to do with ours! It’s communist, based on the Chinese red flag with the star.”

I avoided getting to close to any political matters since it is quite complicated for the foreigners to follow. I preferred guiding them through the entire mall up to the Quan Cong altar. I showed them how, as a believer, we prayed by bowing in front of the holy statue. The incense is similar to the candles used in the churches, I compared. They looked at my every move attentively.

We walked out the mall, to the next block. We commented about people rarely walking in California. They even take their car to drive to the next block. On the contrary, French people like walking and admiring their surrounding as they enjoy this moment with friends. I admit that people don’t relax; they tend to look for conveniences because they are mostly on the run. I was lost in my thoughts when someone asked about the Vietnamese demonstrations. I pointed at the block across the street where people usually gathered to protest against the communist abuses.

“Unfortunately, Vietnam is still a poor country in spite of businesses growing faster these years. There’re no Human Rights; I’m kind of ashamed to say that my people are still persecuted; you can be courageous but don’t try to speak up against the regime. Problems like repressions against religions as Christianism, Buddhism or Caodaism; Vietnamese workers who fled to Asian countries and are exploited without protection at all, the Vietnamese brides sold in Taiwan, and even the children are sold and sexually exploited in Thailand or Cambodia!” I sighed.

“Oh my God! That’s so sad…we didn’t know all this!” A woman exclaimed, outraged.

“Yeah, some of them are just 5 or 9 years old…” I added.

“Oh God! That’s horrible! I know it’s an emerging country but I’ve never heard about those issues! They’re gonna do something about it?” Someone else asked.

I was puzzled for a while because I didn’t expect this question, quite direct and abrupt.

“Well…” I was speechless, “… You know what, I have no idea! But only one thing: hope.” I looked away, trying to hide my embarrassment.

“I wish for your country…” Claudine’s friend said.

one body village

It’s lunch time! We went to the Thang Long restaurant to taste a hot bowl of Pho, a Vietnamese specialty that everyone enjoyed. We, then, visited the oldest Newspaper agency in Westminster, Nguoi Viet Newspaper, founded in 1978. Anh Linh, the assistant editor-in-chief, gave us a tour in the office and described the founder’s arduous work, Yen Do, who started printing the newspaper with his family in their garage before they could open their agency. The French gro
up was amazed of the hardworking Vietnamese commitments in the USA.

“It was a very interesting tour, we’ve learned a lot today!” The members smiled as we left the agency to end our fulfilled day of Saturday 7th May, 2011.A day to remember as it is also the National ‘Stop Child Sex Trafficking’ day! I recalled the stories I’ve heard about those kids sold far away from home. There was a letter which caught my attention; written by one of those children to her mother who has sold her out, this letter fully expresses her hidden pains. Despite all her anger and hatred, after years of tortures, this little child has forgiven her heartless mother. In the end, glory and fame are meaningless compared to the pure and humble heart of those children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         YenVy Duong-Nguyen.

2 comments

  • Comment Link Linh Doan 08 February 2012 posted by Linh Doan

    Paul Ann thân mến,

    Bạn vào thư mục "Video & Hình ảnh" xem thêm nhé. Bạn cũng có thể theo dõi tin tức và hình ảnh trên website www.onebodyvillage.org. Chúng tôi vẫn cập nhật tin tức và hình ảnh thường xuyên.

    Cám ơn những góp ý thẳng thắn của bạn.

  • Comment Link Paul Aan 06 January 2012 posted by Paul Aan

    Tìm quanh trang cũng chỉ thấy 1 vài hình. Suốt từ năm 2008 đến nay cũng chỉ lác đác vài hình. Khôgn lẽ đi làm từ thiện mà ko chụp hình thì lấy gì người ta tài trợ cho. Tôi không muốn tin vào mấy kiểu xô bồ này.

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