• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Vietnamese in Southern California

    Do you know what an almost perfect day could be?? Try waking up in the summer, looking out your window, and seeing Saigon before your eyes. Then you go downstairs and have a large bowl of pho for breakfast. The rest of the day is spent talking to Vietnamese people.

    Ok, so it's vague and you might have a better day, but trust me, that's a great one. I know from experience.

    Matt linked to VietPundit, a new blog by a Vietnamese-American in Little Saigon, Orange County. The Vietnamese in America obviously come in all shapes and sizes. To make a blanket generalization is just that--a stereotype. However, from years of experience talking to thousands of Viets, mostly vets from the war, I find their demeanor quite similar to Vietpundit. Those in the ARVN fought hard for their country, their ideals, and they don't hate the Americans for it. They might regret things, or wish things turned out differently, but we all do that when things don't go our way (I'm doing that about the basketball game I played this morning). I never felt malice or anger in any way, shape, or form geared towards the American soldier from the Viets in So Cal.

    I can't answer for the American Vets. The father of my best friend Dennis Mathews, CEO of Revelation-Interactive, continues to avoid parties on July 4th and New Years Eve. The fireworks don't sit well with him. He never talked to me about his feelings on the war, but my quick five minute summary of walking through the imperial citadel in Hue brought tears to his eyes. I am sure they came from memories too personal to share.

    The anti-war faction in America has always intrigued me. Hence my blog on Thursday, Feb 3rd, from Tran Hung Dao. I have no experience or clue on whether many or most anti-war demonstrators from the time have now reversed their positions.

    I will say this: Every Vietnamese person I met in Vietnam last summer bore NO hard feelings for the American involvement in the war. To a person, they were all incredibly open hearted, generous, and supportive. The "American War," as it's called over there, has left many scars on the land and bodies of its people, but by-and-large their hearts are already healed. I wish we could take a lesson from that.

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