• CULTURE BUILDERS

    by Published on 11-09-2012 04:56 PM     Number of Views: 2180 
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    The Story of Lâm Toàn.



    Founder of GoInspireGo.com

    CLICK HERE
    to watch the NBC KNTV's Bay-Area-Proud segment about
    Toàn Lâm's work aired on November 1, 2012


    Born in the Fog of War

    Toàn Lâm was born in 1974 in Saigon Vietnam, while his country was in an infernal of war. Despite the widespread chaos, he started out with a pampered life as one of five children in a family that made their living from a small business. If he remembered any good time, that memory would be short-lived. At eight months of age before he could speak his first word, Saigon fell to the communist forces and pushed his parents to get their extended family out of the country. ...
    by Published on 11-18-2012 01:10 PM     Number of Views: 1851 
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    The Story of Cô Nga



    If you would like to make a donation to help Cô Nga, please click here.


    In the summer of 2008, I returned to Vietnam as an adult after nearly 30 years being away from my native land. On that trip, I visited a friend of my mother in Saigon. Cô Nga, as I call her, worked with my mother in the 1960's in the Public Health Department of Gia Định province. My mother was a nurse and Cô Nga was the Department's translator and a secretary. Cô Nga spoke English well and provided much needed translation for the American aid workers who sought to improve the lives of the South Vietnamese.


    At her house.

    My mother spoke fondly about Cô Nga who helped to expedite requests for medical supplies and other healthcare services for the poor and rural population. That ...
    by Published on 09-11-2012 12:54 PM     Number of Views: 4059 
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    The story of bác Nguyễn Đ́nh Duật




    America is an utopia of engineering. Freeways, bridges and power lines criss-cross the nation like nerves and arteries. No feat of civil engineering is too great if citizens are willing to pay the right price. For many technologically backward country like Vietnam, people had to create a different kind of bridge, the psychological kind, in order to overcome adversities caused by war and conflict.

    In the decades of seventies through the nineties, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese have done this successfully. This is the story of one person - an engineer named Nguyễn Đ́nh Duật.


    Small child, big dreams

    Mr. Duật grew up in an modest family in Phan Thiết, Central Vietnam. This region of South Vietnam was famous for pristine beaches and an easy-going lifestyle. His childhood was filled with good times. Like many young people, he dreamt of becoming a professional such as a doctor or an engineer. The simple agrarian Vietnamese society aspired their youth to be Bác Sĩ, Kỹ Sư (doctors and engineers) - in order to launch it into the modern era with the rest of the world. The young Duat knew he could do it.


    Phan Thiết seascape

    Excelling in school, Mr. Duật gained entrance into the College of Engineering in Phú Thọ Technical Center in Saigon. In 1963, the year president Ngô Đ́nh Diệm ...
    by Published on 05-18-2011 06:39 AM     Number of Views: 13036 
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    The Story of Thành Nữ Vân-Anh



    "I am a Chăm"

    We met a young woman in San Jose who wore a scarf over her head, which identified her as a person of Islamic faith. But she spoke perfect Vietnamese. A Vietnamese Muslim - Wow - what a rare site! We asked her more questions and were curious about her background. "I am a Chăm," she said, looking keenly at us for our response. She wasn't sure if we knew what a Chăm is.


    Viet's Twin Civilization

    Probably all Vietnamese with basic formal education in Vietnam would know about "người Chàm," the native people of Central Vietnam. The Cham people were said to have a glorious culture built on Hindu and Islamic faiths. Tháp Chàm (Cham temple ruins) are famous historical relics, the largest of which at Mỹ Sơn is a UNESCO World Heritage ...
    by Published on 10-20-2012 12:21 AM     Number of Views: 1064 
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    Preventing a Nuclear Holocaust on their Homeland

    Watch a video about Cham people's lives in Vietnam produced by the Cham Diaspora Project,
    a U.S.-based student project seeking to preserve Cham cultural and historical experiences.



    In this past summer, we had a chance to spend some time with Thành Nữ Vân-Anh, the founder of Moonlight Humanity, whom CQF featured her story on this site. Vân-Anh, a student at San Jose State University, is passionate about relieving ...
    by Published on 03-14-2012 07:04 AM     Number of Views: 11977 
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    The Story of Frere Phong


    Frere Phong running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic torch in San Jose

    Editor's note: This article contains information from sources close to the subject, Frere Phong. We did not interview Frere Phong for this article, and therefore this essay may contain inaccuracies about him. If you have known and worked with Frere Phong, we welcome your comments. Photo credits will be forthcoming.


    The Drum at the Birth of Viet Culture

    Percussion (drumming) is known to be human's oldest musical art form. Long before there were string and horn instruments, people learned to tap on logs and stretched animal skins to create sounds and rhythms. The drum may have been human's first tool to serve the mind and spirit. It was the first telegraph to communicate messages over long distances, a weapon to scare away wild animals, a bull horn to call for meetings, an alarm to warn of danger, a band to welcome guests, a meditative instrument to get in touch with inner soul, a tool to commune with the gods and an altar to honor the ancestors. Human culture was probably born around the drum. When the drum broke ...
    by Published on 10-22-2011 06:30 PM     Number of Views: 5393 
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    The Story of Vơ Marie - Công Hạnh Pháp Đăng




    Marie Vơ was born in Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War, then immigrated to the United States during the Boat People exodus. Fast forward to the late 1980's, Marie attended UC Davis which offered over one hundred different majors, but she found nothing fitting her interest. She tried Computer Science but experimented with Chinese language, art and religion. Finally, she pursued accounting and went to work for big financial companies. Her main goal in life was not to climb the corporate ladder, but to pursue her childhood dream of traveling all over the world. And she did.

    Despite her extensive freedom, Marie felt her world as small and unfulfilled. After the New York World Trade Centers were destroyed in the terrorist attack and wiped out most of her business connections, she discovered Northern India and Nepal on a chance visit. In this materially impoverished corner of the world, Marie found a spiritually vibrant Tibetan Buddhist community that called to her spirit. In the center of Kathmandu, the main temple's eyes were looking at her. And Marie was ...
    by Published on 03-13-2012 06:58 PM     Number of Views: 1823 
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    Sư Cô Tenzin Palyon


    Please read our October 2011 article for this story. Thank you.


    Sư Cô Tenzin Palyon Cát Hạnh
    ...
    by Published on 07-19-2011 12:39 AM     Number of Views: 13600 
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    The Story of Pouv and Yanthy

    Editor's note: This is the background of the lives of Yanthy and Pouv before they became the heads of Children for Change-Cambodia


    Tang and Yangthy


    THE DECADE OF MADNESS

    In the years following the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the world met a new horror that had not been seen before, an "auto-genocide" in Cambodia. Genocide was nothing new. In the twentieth century, there were several episodes, such as non-Jews Germans killing Jews and Ottomans killing Armenians. But Cambodians killing Cambodians? This was the first, so the new term "auto-genocide" was coined.

    About two million Khmers (Cambodians) were murdered by their own leaders, the Khmer Rouge (Red communist Khmer). The killing was senseless, but the rationale of the leaders was not so incomprehensible. Around 10th century, the Khmer empire was one of the most sophisticated societies on earth. The Khmer people built massive temple complexes, created intricate irrigation systems that yielded three crops of rice a year and saw one of the highest literacy rates in the world.


    Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple built between 9th and 13th century
    (source: Angkormedia.com)

    In the later centuries, the empire was in decline. Squeezed by the Thais and Vietnamese from both sides, the Khmer lost two thirds of their original territory. The once mighty kingdom then became one of the most undeveloped countries in the world.

    The sharp contrast between past greatness and contemporary weakness brewed a potent mix of immense nationalistic pride and deep inferiority complex. So Pol Pot, ...
    by Published on 06-10-2010 02:07 AM     Number of Views: 3074 
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    The Story Of Lư Phấn (Fawn Lee)



    (photos by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News)



    Fawn Lee (Vienamese name is Phấn Lư), 35, is happily married to Rick Pham and a proud mother of three beautiful children Ethan, 4, Ellen, 3, and Emma 1. When she was at Ethan's age, she came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a refugee along with her parents and 11 siblings. Bright and sunny-natured,
    ...

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