Friday, December 31, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
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.
http://www.collateralmurder.com/ <---video, images, and speech about US indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090904735.html?hpid=topnews <---for some thoughts on our mistakes
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/10/this-is-how-the-media-wor_n_712229.html <--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.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
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 fun—especially 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:
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Uuuuh. It's aight, mostly predictable, but I hoped for Prop 15 to pass, and Prop 14 to NOT pass...
Ugh, I really dislike the wording of Prop 14, because it claims to be for "open" primaries,...where in reality it would make it more expensive to campaign, decimate the smaller parties, probably weakening parties (which isnt that great. Political parties are a reality, no matter what you think).
Overall, it makes me more disgusted at the California's propositions and initiatives. Every few months we get a new constitutional amendment, which takes tons of money to qualify (why CA Democracy Act didnt). The United States Constitution is amended 26 times, and the California's constitution? iono, but a lot!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
By Dieu Huynh
So many things have been happening this past year that have made my job as the VSU Political Advocacy Coordinator difficult as well as easy. Easy because there are a lot of hot-topic issues, difficult because it is hard to focus on many of them because we needed to be more invested in them. Chronologically, I can name a few most important COMMUNITY ISSUES AND NEWS on the top of my head: the California Democracy Act, saving Cal Grants, the 32% fee increases, the hate crimes, the diversity requirement, the racist profiling anti-immigrant SB1070 law in Arizona, the banning of ethnic studies also from Arizona, the passing of two DREAM-ers Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, the continuous struggle for the DREAM Act. I will spend the next few pages to touch on these subjects, mostly about issues that have brought tears to my eyes.
Before jumping into these specific issues, one must take a look at our own identities, our own culture and history. The four pillars of VSU remind me every day of our purpose and mission, and the reason why VSU must grow to have a stronger voice and more action-oriented.
I do not know how to speak about this past year but frankly through statistics and through my heart. Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans are deeply affected, if not indirectly by all of the things happening in the past year. My family immigrated to the United States in 2002, and in 2008 we became citizens. When did we apply for immigration? Around 1980s, and with my coming into the world in 1990, our family had to re-file our papers and wait 10 more years. The inhuman and insensible immigration system, couple with economic hardships that were propelled by American policies result in hundreds of thousands of family trying to move just so that they can have a better life.
And my family worked hard, and is amongst the luckiest. After toiling day and night, my parents were able to build on their education and got the money necessary to put me and my sister through school, and apply for immigration. I witness first-hand when my friends had to drop out of elementary schools to start finding a job, or working their family businesses. As a kid, my parents sold me the idea that I looked better when I was lighter-skinned, that my being Chinese was inherently better than my Vietnamese friends (because somehow Vietnamese culture was not deserving of recognition). It’s a strange feeling, to grow up experiencing different things, and seeing society’s ironies, and hypocrisies. How can my family experiences poverty and racism, then turn around spouting conservative talking points, about how immigrants are ruining the economy? How can a Communist government not able to provide basic education for its high school students and college students? How can the democracy in America foster racist FBI operations that were very successful at breaking up Civil-rights groups? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google “COINTELPRO”).
How can I chair the Black April Commemoration Event, when accounts from both the North Vietnamese side and South Vietnamese side (and the Americans) are often different, and divisive? How can I properly commemorate a significant part of our identity and history, the imperialistic policies of the United States, the tyranny of the South Vietnamese government, and the countless lives that the North Vietnamese government ruined?
But then I realize something. I realize that all my experiences make me a better American. I was very skeptical of the “American Dream”, but more and more I understand that Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance, that the best way to make dreams come true, is to wake up. We must wake up to the reality that Asian Americans have been, and are still affected by the historical marginalization of our voice. Wake up to the reality that undocumented youth everyday lives in fear of deportation, in addition to fear of trying to fit in.
Working on the Save Cal Grants Coalition was my first experience of learning how to take action. I learned that every phone call you make to your representative means something like a 1000 constituents, that when you organize hundreds and thousands of calls, it means something. It made all of our work so much harder however, that we had to convince 2/3 of the legislators in the California Assembly AND the Senate.
Which is why in the large part of the year, VSU joins with other organizations like MEChA in the California Democracy Act Coalition. We had ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we got more than 23 chapters across the UC, CSU, and CCs system. We all believed in one thing, effective democratic government. Because of Prop 13, California now is the only state in the US that requires 2/3 to raise revenues or pass a budget. Because of this, 1/3 +1 of the legislators (who pledge to never raise any taxes) create so many problems that lawmakers have to decide between saving lives and investing in education.
Now fast forward to 2010. After the November 19th 2009 32% fee increase, tuition costs for the first time went over $10,000, and about 1 in 5 of IDEAS (Improving, Dreams, Equality, Access and Success) members had to take time off or drop out. These are undocumented students who take hours a day to commute to UCLA, work several jobs just to stay afloat, and were denied their dreams to learn and give back. One in 10 Asian Americans are undocumented, and we have about the same number of Asian undocumented students as Latino at UCLA. I do not know how the Fall 2010 fee increase (the second 15% of the 32% total) would devastate the IDEAS community, but we shall see.
Like from the passing of Prop 13, we can find hints of anti-immigrants, racist tidbits popping up here and there, like annoying little germs and viruses that keep coming back to attack our state and society. In the past year, a noose was hung in a UCSD library, a “Compton Cookout” party was thrown, a KKK hood was found, an LGBT Center at UC Davis was vandalized, and a Swastika was carved into a UC Davis dorm. Get this, on April 15th, 2010, a transgendered student at CSULB was pushed into a stall, and his aggressor carved “it” into the student’s chest.
Now take a step back. Would you be allowed to yell out “BOMB!” on an airplane? No, because you will be threatening people, and in the case of the hate crimes, whole people’s cultures, identities were at the very least demoralized and reduced to stereotypes that continue to perpetuate social problems. Believe me when I say I would love to be the Academic Coordinator, Culture Coordinator or Social Coordinator for VSU. Your jobs are so important. We must advocate with the Academic Affairs Commissioner, our very own Suza Khy next year bringing about the diversity requirement. Of course, it does not solve all problems, but it is not meant to be. Like the language requirement, it seeks to diversify the student experience, and to allow students to learn about something that they may have never learned in high school, or will never learn formally in the working world. I took one class this past year, and I have to say it is probably the best class I have taken yet, because it taught me about the real working world, and about life. Professor Omatsu taught me that education is a multiple way streets, and that employers are really looking for team-players, not just the most knowledgeable tool.
Education is the progressive discovery of our ignorance, and we can see how anti-poor, anti-immigrant, racist viruses make our communities sicker and less safe. To get better, not only do we have to treat these viruses, but we must continue to heal our wounds and strengthen our bodies, otherwise we make others sick as well. To make our DREAMs come true, we must wake up to reality and build our communities.
In the midst of the racial profiling anti-immigrant Arizona law SB1070, and when ethnic studies are banned in Arizona, we are all taking a hit. Because what others have said may better than how I can say it, take this from the APALC(Asian Pacific American Legal Center)’s press release:
"Arizona's new law echoes one of the worst chapters in U.S. immigration history," said Julie Su, litigation director at APALC. "In the 19th century, the U.S. banned Chinese immigrants entirely and required them to carry ‘residency certificates' at all times or risk deportation. As was true a century ago, the criminalization of an entire race and fear driven by economic insecurity make for bad public policy."
Asian Americans are frequent victims of racial profiling – from Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a U.S. citizen accused of spying because of his Chinese ethnicity, to South Asian and Arab Americans being profiled as threats to national security, even though such policies have proven completely ineffective.
"For JACL, many of our members, or their family members, were unjustly imprisoned during WWII," stated Kathy Nakagawa, president of the Arizona chapter of JACL. "So we know firsthand what it means to have our civil rights stripped because of bigotry and ignorance."
Recently (mid May) in Chicago, far away from Arizona, a US born citizen Eduardo Caraballo was detained and threatened with deportation. He “repeatedly told officers that he was born in Puerto Rico and therefore an American citizen. His mother also presented his birth certificate, but despite that and his state-issued ID, officials told him he was facing deportation.” Caraballo is “pretty sure they know that Puerto Ricans are citizens, but just because of the way I look -- I have Mexican features -- they pretty much assumed that my papers were fake”. "They were making me feel like I can't voice my opinion or I can't even speak for myself to let them know that I am a citizen."
I cannot speak for the resentment that marginalized communities can feel towards society, but I can imagine and know that this anger boils over when we do not heal the wounds. I support safety, and I know that when a community feels assaulted by the law and law enforcers, there will be unrest.
Underneath all the logic, facts, and history, we have to know what our dreams are. We know the reality, and that is why we are afraid of waking up, but what are our dreams?
At the end of the event, I walked up to the front when they said “IDEAS members come up”, and sang along with John Lennon’s most famous song. “You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one”, tears spilled out of my eyes, and the hundreds in Moore 100 embraced each other. After saying bye to my IDEAS friends, I had to go to a VSU board meeting. As I was making my way out, I was grabbed by Tam’s mother, who held me and a few other students as if we were all one of her own children. In those 20 seconds that felt like hours, I made a promise to myself that we will see the DREAM Act pass.
And so I hope my friends and families will join me in waking up. Join me to think twice before dismissing the diversity requirement. Think twice about power struggles in America. Think twice about the role we play in our community. FEEL ten times what is it like to have a good friend who is struggling to get through school because he cannot afford his tuition. Feel a hundred times what it is like to be subjected to racial profiling, and to deportation to a strange land. Finally, I hope we never have to imagine what it’s like to have “it” carved on our chest.
Now wake up to the history that went before us, and are unfolding now. Do it for Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix’s sake, and do it for our future.
I know I’m not the only one,
Dieu “Dieunity” Huynh
Sources and further readings:
The Daily Bruin: Panelists share experiences from the Vietnam War http://www.dailybruin.com/articles/2010/5/3/panelists-share-experiences-vietnam-war/
Aggressor carved “IT” onto a transgender student at CSULB restroom http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/04/attacker-repeatedly-slashes-transgender-student-in-cal-state-lb-restroom.html
Ronald Reagan and the FBI on UCs http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2002/06/09/MNCFLEADIN.DTL
APALC Press Release: http://www.apalc.org/pressreleases/2010/ArizonaAPI_PrRel-FINAL.pdf
Citizen Eduardo Caraballo detained for 3 days: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/eduardo-caraballo-puerto-rico-deportion-94795779.html#ixzz0p40EhL6L
On Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix http://tamandcinthyamemorial.blogspot.com/
Vietnamese Paper: http://www.nguoi-viet.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=113016&z=3
Spanish Television: Univision: http://www.univision.com/content/videoplayer.jhtml?cid=2405531
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
hurting people. I'm afraid of hurting people, because I've had instances where I made enemies and other times when I hurt my loved ones. Sometimes though, we have to allow each other to fall, so that we can all learn to get back up.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Are the issues you work on at UCLA directly affect people that struggle in your community OUTSIDE of the University or just for students?
Both. Indeed, both. =) (you got a typo, it's affecting*)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Probably hypocrisy and lies. Of course, I recognize that this is a part of life, so sometimes i just gotta deal with it.
Really though, I believe that when you say what you mean, and you mean what you say, people would appreciate you the most.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Haha yea. It was real dope b/c many people were like "me too!". It was cool because there were some females who said so in spirit of empowerment.
Empowered because they are lesbians, or because the shirt was sold at the Vagina Monologue performance, which brings to light the lack of women's rights around the world.
Vaginas are sewn up, mutilated, and those with vaginas have less rights, no power, EVEN THOUGH everyone comes through a vagina ONCE in their life time. Seems like the world hates vaginas, and wants women to hate their vaginas too!!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
That thing about hairy vaginas, and how you don't care as long as it's empowered.. I think that's one of the most unique answers I've ever read. And maybe the last
"maybe the last"? what's that supposed to mean? I have no more unique answers? haha
Anyhow, yes. Those who saw my "I <3 Vaginas" shirt yesterday know wassup, haha
Yea, actually. There was this girl in Fall quarter that I really liked. And she liked me too.
But then you know, things don't work out your way, and you just gotta move on =).
I wouldn't say it's "lately", but it's the latest heartbreak, haha.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Apparently, "wisdom of feelings" are really as true as it sound. The back of the brain stores information, on what works, what didnt works. It is so primal though, that it has little or zero connection to the verbal cortex.
Therefore, we CANNOT really explain wisdom, only through feelings.
And, the feelings are what help us prioritize, and make decision.
SO, when coach Joe Te told us to "prioritize", what he really means is, be in control of your emotions...
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Let it be known, thanks to ya'll, my year has been nice. Let's make next year better =).
Let it be known (let me remember these things since I'll prolly forget it without reminders), that I want a happier/ more productive year and continue to grow. This includes having fun, making friends (something which i always ignore), and making changes. I have a habit of caring little for my personal life, and the urgency for (progressive) change usually dominated my life. Now, I realize that this change cannot happen through self-righteousness, hate, nor a simple sense of justice alone. It needs bonds, because in the midst of divide and conquer, fear mongering, progressive change must happen through bonding, through the antithesis of fear, Love.
Now, for the specifics. Order of no particular importance.
1. California for Democracy Act.
2. Improving VSU based on our vision and my vision. This means a real family. A family studies, eats, hang out together, and are soldiers of love, together.
3. Exercise everyday. Something, do something. Run, dance, jerk, dance some more, or push ups.
4. Dance Marathon fundraising. (Join the VSU team!)
5. I want to dance. Doing what I like a little bit at a time will help, I think =). Street Dance Collective!
6. Improve my family relations. Must plan for dates with my parents and sister. Please Help Me! Huyen, Chariya, Cecilia, or anyone! I need ideas of things my family can do together. The funnest thing we probably do as a family is watch tv...but my mom watches in the living room, and my dad in his. This is a big boo boo.
7. Let's Jerk! Jerks for UCLA (Unity, Community, Love and Activism).
8. Let's hang out. If you are a compassionate person, you qualify. =)
I dont really have a gift list, but I usually have a "todo"/"resolution" list, because I can only be really happy through things I do. =)
Thats it for now.
Add more to my list!
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Add this to your resolution list: Move your money.