Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Help Send Dieu to New York!!

Hey lovely folks! In about one month, I will be embarking on a small journey to New York to attend a conference that brings together Vietnamese progressives throughout the United States. Please help make this trip a reality by contributing! You can give a dollar or two, a 10 or two, a 50 or two. Anything will be appreciated. Even if you can't contribute, please let your friends, or family know!! Note: Because of the sensitive nature of the Viet Gathering event however, please be selective in who you choose to bring this up to. Thank you so much! If you have questions, let me know!

Friday, July 15, 2011


A short film I made after 2 quarters of hard work! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where do you find the time to do what you do and learn what you learn? Where do you find the confidence, the motivation?

"say what you mean, mean what you say"
"eat when hungry, sleep when tired"

This sounds like a very easy thing to do, but often times people will find that it's not. Just notice everyone around you, and notice how you act as well.

Confidence, motivation are mentalities, they are at the core of it, ways of thinking. Of course, there are concrete things you can do in order to feel fuller and have more self-worth. Take some time to write down your goals is one thing I'd do for example. Or buy my favorite snacks just so I could munch on them whenever I want. Figure out what your values are, what your principles are, what you tolerate, and what you wouldn't tolerate. In a world where everyone is SELF-CONSCIOUS, don't be. Instead, you can make the whole day 100% better by being self-Aware and Conscious of other people's feelings.

AT THE END OF IT ALL. We have to remember, that ALL YOU COULD REALLY DO, is DO YOU! =)

Ask me anything

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year? how about just LIFE resolutions? =)

It'd be nice to get a poster of this or something, =). 

1) Meditate — Meditation has been known to increase IQ, relieve stress, and promotes higher levels of brain functioning. Meditation also activates the “prefrontal cortex” of the brain, an area responsible for advanced thinking ability and performance.
2) Draw A Picture — Drawing stimulates the right-hemisphere of the brain and inspires creativity. Get out the colored pencils and begin drawing your way to a powerful brain.
3) Exercise — Long-term exercise has been proven to increase brain power and even create new neurons in the brain. Go out and get a natural high off of your own brain chemistry through exercise!
4) Brainwave Entrainment — Brainwave entrainment is a safe, innovative way to stimulate and shape the brain and it’s functioning. You can literally build up more control over your life and harness your brain’s potential!
5) Avoid Junk Food – Junk food has been proven to decrease energy in the body and promotes “brain fog.” Cut some junk food from your diet, and reap the benefits of a more calm, focused brain chemistry.
6) Deep Breathing — Deep breathing actually increases oxygen levels and blood-flow to the brain. 10-15 minutes of daily deep breathing can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and brain’s functioning potential.
7) Learn A New Language — Learning adds more structure to the brain and improves the brain’s speech centers. Hablas espanol? It may be time for you to take a class or program to supplement your job-skills and brain power!
8) Take Fish Oil — Fish oil supplements are literally like membrane material for the brain. The 2 primary components of EPA and DHA each act to strengthen both the emotional center of the brain and boost focus. There is an increase in overall brain activity after taking fish oil for awhile.
9) Laugh It Up — Laughter causes a natural release of the brain’s endorphins — chemicals that drown out pain and increase overall wellbeing. Laughter is a well known, natural stress reducer. Watch a comedy, crack a joke, and increase those endorphin levels!
10) Engage In Debate — A good, healthy debate strengthens the brain’s ability to think quickly and apply intelligence to verbal situations. Work to build up your brain power by engaging in plenty of healthy debate. Just ask someone who they are voting for in the presidential election and you’ll definitely provoke a debate!
11) Take A Multivitamin — Vitamins are great for the brain, and if it does not get enough of a certain vitamin through daily diet, consider a multivitamin. Multivitamins help facilitate the functioning of a healthy body and enriched brain. Start popping a vitamin each morning for awhile and chances are good that you’ll notice a difference!
12) Drink Red Wine — Alcohol in moderation has been proven to be good for the brain. Why? It is rich in antioxidants — chemicals that actually protect the brain! One glass daily for women and two for men is generally considered a healthy amount.
13) Eat Healthy — You know what ‘healthy’ is, so why not eat healthy and improve your brain? The brain requires a certain amount of energy to reach it’s maximum level of functioning. Eating chocolate cake and chips instead of fish and legumes, well maybe that’s why you cannot think clearly.
14) Change Your Environment — To keep your brain properly stimulated, it is important to keep changing your environment. Drive a new route to work, eat at a new restaurant on Friday night. Changing the environment helps change the brain!
15) Set Goals — Setting goals activates areas of the brain associated with positive thinking and action. Setting goals is great for achieving success and prosperity in life and boosting your brain.
16) Listen To Music — Studies have proven that listening to music strengthens the right-hemisphere of the brain and literally changes the structure. Those same studies have found that people who listen to music are generally smarter and have more emotional intelligence than those who don’t.
17) Be Empathetic — Being empathetic and trying to understand the emotions of others is a skill that your brain can learn. Being empathetic is definitely a powerful trait to have and allows your brain to relate to the emotions of others.
18) Avoid Stress — A little bit of stress will never hurt anybody. Too much stress actually causes detrimental increases in the hormone “cortisol” which in high levels, kills brain cells and suppresses brain functioning.
19) Think Positive — If you are currently very good at thinking positively, chances are good that you already have a more powerful brain than those “Negative Nellies.” Take 10 minutes daily to think more positive and start noticing an improvement in thinking abilities and problem solving skills.
20) Brainstorm — A good brainstorming session to think of new, stimulating ideas is a great way to boost your brains ability to think creatively. Brainstorming is actually a different way of thinking that will equip your brain with a quick creative boost.
21) Write An Article — Writing is linked to an improved memory and expression of thoughts. When you write, you are strengthening your brain’s natural ability to convey thoughts and feelings. Writing is a great way to exercise your ability to analyze and build a thought process with critical thinking. Journals, diaries, blog entries, and writing stories are phenomenal ways to fulfill your brain.
22) Visualize — Visualization has been associated with focus at a deeper level. Many successful athletes that are able to play “in the zone” actually visualize their game at a deeper level. Visualization has been linked to lowered stress, increased creativity, and peak mind-body performance.
23) Get Some Sleep — Be sure to always fulfill your brain’s need for sleep. Sleep clears out mental clutter and unimportant thoughts. Getting a good night’s sleep can also be the difference between a sharp memory and feeling forgetful. Everyone has different sleep requirements, be sure to fulfill yours! If you don’t get enough sleep — you may want to take a nap…
24) Do Self-Hypnosis — The power of hypnotic suggestion is definitely real. You can change aspects of your thought process and learn to shift your focus by taking the time to do some self-hypnosis. Hypnosis research shows that by practicing hypnosis, an individual experiences lowered stress, increased pain tolerance, and clear thinking. Try it out for yourself if you haven’t already!
25) Do Crossword Puzzles — Crossword puzzles bring out your brain’s ability to critically think and recall past memories. The challenge of completing crossword puzzles is definitely mentally invigorating and stimulating. If you enjoy reading the newspaper, be sure to check out the daily crossword puzzles section and build up that brain power!
26) Eat Nuts — Brazil and South American University students swear by eating nuts before taking exams. They notice that eating them is correlated with an increase in test scores. New studies are beginning to prove nuts effectiveness at increasing brain power. If you do not eat a lot of nuts, try it sometime and reap the brain related benefits!
27) Read Books — Reading books teaches your brain to adapt to absorb large amounts of information in shorter periods of time. Books challenge your thinking abilities and memorization skills, as well as boost vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Not only do you learn something from reading a book, but your brain power increases as you build up the book load.
28) Listen To Classical Tunes — Listening to classical music activates the left hemisphere of the brain, which is why classical music usually helps students do better in mathematics and writing. If you haven’t yet tried listening to some Mozart, consider it! Mozart has been linked to an 80 % increase in spatial intelligence scores!
29) Play “Brain Age” — New games like “Brain Age” for the nintendo DS and Big-Brain Academy help promote quick thinking and essential brain skills. These games work wonderful for improving thinking speed and natural problem solving skills. I’ve had a chance to play these games before and I can personally vouch for their effectiveness!
30) Take A Nap – Taking a nap has been proven through research to significantly improve task-performance and thinking abilities. If you are feeling tired throughout the day and have time to take a quick nap, it is recommended. Naps are a wonderful refresher and quick little mental booster.
31) Turn Off The T.V. – Watching T.V. may not be the only reason which rotting begins in the brain, but it is a key ingredient to the rotting process. A little T.V. will never hurt anybody, but it does definitely change brain functioning. The act of watching T.V. slows brainwaves and causes a decline in brain fitness.
32) Paint A Picture — Being able to visualize where you want paint to go on paper sparks pure creativity from within. Painting is an exercise that gets the right-brain fully functioning and improves your creative side. If you haven’t tried painting a picture, give it a shot and notice that you’re likely to feel and be more creative.
33) Start Crying — Don’t be afraid to cry when the time is right! Crying actually heals emotions and promotes healthy circulation within the brain. Those who are able to cry are actually cleansing the inside of their brain, which is another very healthy way to increase brain power.
34) Eat Less — Eating too much food has the effect of decreasing blood-flow to the brain and increasing blood-flow to the digestive system. Therefore, if you are able to cut-back on the total amount of food you consume, you will have enhanced brain functioning. In several lab studies, rats on a calorie-restricted diet had increased blood flow to their brains.
35) Eat Breakfast — When kids who hadn’t eating breakfast for awhile, began to eat breakfast, their math grades went up an entire letter grade (on average). Breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day — it provides your body with fuel for the rest of the day. If you don’t have time to eat an entire breakfast in the morning, at least have some sort of snack… It could give your brain a powerful edge!
36) Go For A Walk — Exercise deifnitely benefits the brain, and walking is a great form of exercise that is easy and very effective for boosting brainpower. Walking puts your mind in a relaxed state of clear thought and brain function. Walking gives your brain a chance to wander and free itself from any troubling thoughts.
37) Mimic Others — Being able to mimic other’s actions and talk activates several areas of the brain that are usually inactive. Mimicing others, if done in a fun, playful manner, can improve your brain power and the brain’s natural ability to adapt quickly when faced with new situations.
38) Solve Puzzles — Solving puzzles is a great way to stimulate your brains ability to critically think and process information. Puzzles are thought provoking, challenging, and a fun activity. The great thing about puzzles is that they require activity in the left-hemisphere of the brain to work with, and transfer information to, the right hemisphere’s visual center of the brain. Want a more integrated brain? Solve a puzzle!
39) Do Neurofeedback — Neurofeedback is a great way to learn to consciously control your brain wave patterns. Neurofeedback builds brain structure and helps promote flexibility within a brain’s neural network. Though neurofeedback is somewhat costly, if you’ve got enough money — it may very well be the best investment you can make for your brain!
40) Cut Alcohol Consumption — Alcohol in moderation isn’t terrible for the brain, too much alcohol is damaging to brain health and function. If you want to boost brain power, cutting alcohol is a great way to do it. Alcohol can cause memory problems and encourage “foggy,” disorganized thinking.
41) Live A Drug-Free Lifestyle — Everyone knows that drugs are bad for them. Drugs do not foster creativity, they kill creativity and deplete brain cells. Depending on the drug, effects can range from brain bleeding, to cell loss, to impairments in neural growth. Live drug free and keep your brain more powerful!
42) Drink Fruit Juice — Drinking fruit juice revitalizes the brain and provides cells with a refreshing jolt of nutrients. Great juices to drink include: grape juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, and apple juice. Most juices provide your brain with vital nutrients which in turn, provide you with more mental energy and focus.
43) Be Self-Aware — When you learn to let go of ego-driven and emotional aspects of life, rational thinking kicks in. Rational thinking will allow you to become self-aware, which in turn allows you to make better future decisions to achieve optimal brain health. Activities like meditation, self-hypnosis, and introspection allow us to increase our self-awareness.
44) Take Gingko Biloba — Gingko Biloba has been scientifically researched and documented to significantly increase blood-flow to the brain. Gingko Biloba is a farily inexpensive way to pump up your brain’s blood-flow. Increased bloodflow to the brain is correlated with an increase in focus and problem solving. Try some Gingko Biloba and allow your brain to reap the benefits!
45) Have Sex — Having sex is a great way to naturally release vital hormones in the brain. When involved in a loving relationship, having sex improves social connection as well as emotional intelligence. Sex is connecting, stress-relieving, and a great way to give your brain a boost. Chances are that sex will also improve your confidence and ability to think positively!
46) Drink Caffeine — Research shows that students that drink coffee before exams, have higher scores. Why? Caffeine seems to stimulate activity in the brain, speed up thinking, and improve focus. Too much caffeine is never good as it can cause stress or trigger anger. A little bit, however, may be the ticket to an “A” on your test. Drink some and find out how it affects your focus and thinking abilities!
47) Sniff Some Basil — I personally haven’t tried this method, but there seem to be many claims testifying for Basil’s effectiveness at improving overall brain function. Either way, certain fragrances actually change brain functioning. Taking a whiff of peppermint speeds up brain functioning, while other fragrances actually slow things down! Since scent is the strongest thing tied to memory, some good fragrances can definitely help out brain functioning.
48) Stay In School — If you are in school, chances are good that you will boost your brain power more than the average dropout! Keeping up with school work, means giving your brain a good workout in areas of self-discipline, learning, and mental processing. Stay in school, or do something to always be learning something new!
49) Ask Questions — Asking questions is a phenomenal way to keep your brain in shape. Get in the habit of questioning others and their thoughts. Questions can provoke new thoughts and ideas and asking them is a great way to build up brain power!
50) Re-Read This List – Want to boost your brain power? Start by re-reading this list and highlighting several methods that you can apply to your life. As a matter of fact, print this list out and staple it up someplace that you will view everyday. That way, when walking past the list, you can take a glance and randomly choose an activity to boost your brain power!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sharing bread with Kasim in his mosque.

Continued US aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, dumb media coverage (giving credibility to hateful fear-mongers just to get some ratings), increased executive power, lack of protection for whistle-blowers. And you ask me how can I be a progressive who believe in civil liberties? 

It was 9/11/2001, I was in Vietnam, and as a 11 year-old kid, seeing the towards falling, I can't help but feel slightly disturbed that so many people died so easily. But that's about it, because it was distant, and I was still a child. Then 2002 in Connecticut, after I've moved to the United States, I remember we had a day of remembrance or something, and we walked out to the front of our middle school. We saluted the flag, I had my first moment of silent, and I felt touched by the sadness of those around me. This is seriously something America will not forget in awhile. 

In the next 8 years, my family moved about 3 different times, in order to find cheaper housing, and eventually Section 8 housing. Clearly, 9/11 is not much of a topic, considering all other things in life, like playing basketball, and doing IB/AP testings and classes. It's around high school time, though, that we learn about the blunders of the world, of the United States, and the injustices that oppressed people faced, and still face today. Looking back, I think my high school was great, because I had the chance to meet great individuals, who come from different family backgrounds that helped me grow so much. I remember being introduced to Pakistani/northern India's specialty, the naan bread, and I thought it was the most awesome-st bread in the world! 

I remember going to Kasim's house to finish science projects, playing Xbox 360, and sometimes talk about his religion, Islam (if I wasn't busy spilling glue or soda on his carpet). As an agnostic, I observed and was impressed by how calm these people are, when they were in their mosque, praying, and then socializing with each other. I broke fast with my best friend, and I went on my first Halloween trip with them too. These are the memories that tell me why so much going on is so wrong. The 2008 election came up, and I found Dennis Kucinich, and everything he said resonated with me. The reluctant vote for Obama came awhile after Kucinich understandably endorsed the more hopeful of the two. 

Let's be clear, I am no expert, but I have common sense guided by my own morals. 
- Terrorists and fringe group seek overreactions from the "normal" people. With this said, we have helped Bin Laden succeed in our overreaction in initiating the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, passing the Patriot Act, condoning warrant-less wire-tapping. Essentially, we had our personal freedom taken away, in order to fight wars which were supposedly done to produce freedoms...
- Most humans who have been raised in today world will not engage in killing, especially on a large scale. In order to kill, one must dehumanizes the situation, the same reason why John McCain is still used to calling Asians "gooks". So those who fight these wars had to dehumanize their targets, and often times the same people they were supposed to be helping...
- Prolonged wars (like the Vietnam War) are the worse kinds, and no one has ever benefited, as Sun-Tzu tells us thousands of years ago. 

It is 9/11/2010, and I am so sad now that we've done so much more damage to our own Constitution, our own credibility, again thanks to our own prejudice, ignorance, and lack of faith that we can do something about it.  <---video, images, and speech about US indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis. <---for some thoughts on our mistakes <--for some humor

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do you have any social, political, or community based activism interests or involvement? What are they, and why?

Uuuh, this sounds a question that comes straight out of an interrogation before the secret police comes and take you away, lol. Yes, of course I have community/social/political based activism interests and involvement.

Politics to me means a process in which you try to mold your reality, into what you want it to be. If you wanted your parents to help you enroll in a basketball camp, you gotta convince them. This is like lobbying, and is usually less costly.

You can also refuse to cooperate, like when you're pissed at your parents, and threaten to move out, or to reaffirm your rights. This is like a nonviolent protest.

Now, the difference in the analogy between parents and governments, is that we make up the government, and we form/maintain the government. From my experience, from the stories I've shared and heard, I want to mold a world in which humans care about each other, and we do so in a responsible way.

So there you go, my interests are rooted in my experience as a poor immigrant to America, and my involvements are shaped around providing opportunities and empowering people to stand up for themselves.

Ask me anything

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Unheard voices in the oil spill: the Vietnamese community

I approve! Sahra Nguyen's blog:

Millions of gallons of oil have been gushing out into the Gulf Coast for a few weeks now—MILLIONS! MILLIONS!—I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the existing and everlasting potential damage this is causing. It’s forever changing the future of our natural ecosystems, killing/endangering rare (and soon to be rare) species of animals and putting many families at risk of losing their homes and businesses with the fishing/shrimping contamination. Katrina was quick and devastating. This oil spill is like a slow, painful death. Wretched heartbreak.

One would never know from the lack of representation on the news, but there is a large Vietnamese population down south heavily involved in the fishing/shrimping industry. (We boat people…what’d you expect??!) Seaside bidness runs in my family—my mom’s side is from a fishing village in South Vietnam, and I got some in-laws in Louisiana! Vietnamese people know how to fucking hustle, mang…and it’s not always funespecially not for the ones down south who have been struck by recent bad luck. First there was the Vietnam War, then there was escaping by boat, then there was rebuilding in America, then there was rebuilding after Katrina, now they must rebuild after the oil spill—all this in one lifetime. Meanwhile, their stories are never shared on the news, and their struggles go on ignored and unnoticed. What’s worse is that many Vietnamese people suffering also struggle with language barriers that make it extremely difficult to gain access to the necessary resources, contacts and help.

Below are some videos by some friends and allies of mine that share the Vietnamese American experience within this global disaster. Amidst all the BP bullshit and politics of who’s doing what to do what to do what, every moment that goes by, more oil gushes out and many people get closer and closer to going bankrupt and hungry. While trying to stop the oil, we can’t forget that people need immediate help. Please take a moment to expand your consciousness and open your hearts up by watching. Spread the message:

READ MORE: Article in the New York Times: Oil Spill Threatens Livelihood of Vietnamese Community