Chat V. Dang
A Struggling Artist
         In a 2008 Tết article, Andrew Lam, a renowned Vietnamese American writer concluded "The Vietnamese living abroad is no longer exiled from his homeland, but he risks being sidelined if he doesn't adapt to the new realities of 21st-century Vietnam." Yet, Việt Kiều expatriates certainly do not feel sidelined. Indeed, they have been active in promoting Vietnamese art, music and culture, in teaching the Quốc Ngữ written language, and in improving health in their community. They took a stand on preserving Vietnam geographic integrity by protesting China's occupation by force of Vietnamese islands in the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. They attempted to enhance human rights and religious freedom for their compatriots through appeals to the international community as well as printed and on-line articles. They continue to cook typical Vietnamese meals and to organize frequent class reunions to reminisce and preserve their bonds to the motherland. They could have actively participated in political demonstrations. In Paris, France, they joined to oppose China's Tibet policy during the Olympic torch relay and to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Flag of the State of Vietnam with its yellow background and three longitudinal red stripes. In Westminster, Southern California, they protested an art work figuring three foot-spa tubs (used in nail salons) painted in yellow with three red stripes. Recently, in Westminster, Southern California, and in San Jose, Northern California, they organized impressive 2009 Tết Parades with the support of mainstream American politicians and officials. Furthermore, many Vietnamese Americans have been competing, on an individual basis, in scientific, academic, financial, industrial, technological, political or public service and health arenas, becoming leading scientists, able CEOs, executive bankers, successful entrepreneurs, full professors, Navy ship commander, State Representative, County Supervisor, US Congress Representative... The following story is typical of the rebuilding of a shattered life in the Land of Opportunity.
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