Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Peter, CMA Youth Pastor
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Question: How is Vietnamese culture in the church different from outside the church?
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Answer: It depends.  I kind of like this answer simply because it allows for many variables.  Before I get into the differences, let me talk a little bit about the history of the Vietnamese church and how it has morphed over the years.
In the mid seventies, Vietnamese people started immigrating to the US.  During that time the church was a pillar of stability for people in their faith as well as in their culture.  I’m sure temples were the same at that time too.  It brought some familiarity to people who lost their country.  Diaspora is a word that has been thrown around a bit: a people group displaced from their home country.
As time has gone by, the Vietnamese churches have continued to exist, however many changes have taken place in two categories: geography and generation.
The connection a church or it’s people have to the mother culture depends on the generation, as in how far removed they are from their mother culture, as well as their proximity to a large general Vietnamese community.  However, there is a clear trend.  As much as we like to admit it, culture is fading in our communities here in the US more and more each day.  I’ll explain later.
Theologically speaking, Christians are “not of this world.” If we are Christ followers, we are people who are here in the now but we are taught and believe that we will one day be in Heaven.  I’m not going to go into a theological debate about heaven or hell, however, with this notion and paradigm, the closer one gets to the Christian faith, the less culture becomes a necessity.  The longing for the Christian is what is to come and not pining for something that has passed by.  In some cases, parts of culture go against certain beliefs and therefore no longer carries any sort of significance especially when events in the Vietnamese calendar is very much tied to religious beliefs and superstitions.
So let’s tackle the easy part.  Churches that are far away from a large Vietnamese community make

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Sarah, CSULB Alumni
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Question: Who in the Vietnamese culture do you admire the most?
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Answer: Thuy Trang (Trini / Yellow Power Ranger) was one of the few female Vietnamese celebrities I knew of growing up. Being both a woman and a minority especially in the entertainment industry before and even now is tough. Today we still right for equality of at least acknowledgment of existing and growing talent in the Vietnamese American culture. Xanthe Huynh (voice actor) is a young and aspiring entertainer with her roles in anime and games such as Zero no Tsukaima (Siesta) and Persona 5 (Haru Okumura). I know there are many talented people who are working hard to make a name for themselves and become a beacon for the growing Vietnamese American population in all professions-especially entertainment! I have noticed some Viet names in the production team of anime and games in the past couple of years increase! I'm excited to see what everyone will do to make their mark on history.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Cecilia, CSULB Sophomore
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Question: What does it mean to be polite in the Vietnamese culture? How is it different from the American culture?
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Answer: Although Vietnamese culture and American culture may overlap, they often differ in many aspects, one of them being mannerism. The similarity here is that being polite means respecting others, which is important in both cultures. From what I have noticed from growing up in America and what is taught in the classrooms is that in American culture, the focus is on being considerate of how my actions affect those around me. For example, saying “please” and “thank you,” chewing with my mouth closed without making any obnoxious noises, and not talking or playing my music too loudly in public are considered to be the basics. While is taught in Vietnamese culture as well, the emphasis lies more on ranking and respecting my elders. In Vietnamese culture, there are different names to refer to people depending on their age as well as their parent’s age. I often struggle with this because sometimes, it is hard to tell if the person is younger or older than me. Many people take this very seriously and if they are not referred to with the correct name, they would feel undermined. Another example would be bowing to my elders whenever I greet them or say “good bye” as a sign of respect. In both cultures, the main lesson is to respect those around me. The only difference is that cultures have varying standards on actions that show respect.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Jacquelyn, CSULB Junior
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Question: What is it like living in a multigenerational Vietnamese household?
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Answer: Growing up with my grandparents has helped to become more in touch with Vietnamese culture. Both my grandparents don’t speak English so I’ve always had to help translate for them, whether it be at a doctor’s appointment or when they’re watching tv. I feel as if this helped to greatly improve my Vietnamese. I’ve also been exposed to a variety of traditional Vietnamese foods due to living with my grandparents. Since they aren’t accustomed to American foods, we rarely have them at home and instead eat foods that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to eat without them, such as stir fried silkworms. Although living in a multigenerational household has its cons, such as having two sets of protective parents, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Morgan, CSULB Sophomore
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Question: How is Vietnamese culture in San Jose different from the Vietnamese culture in the OC? Is the Vietnamese culture well represented up in San Jose?
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Answer: I'm not sure if there's really any glaring differences but in San Jose there is a highly dense population of Vietnamese people so you can clearly see the influence pretty much everywhere where I lived in San Jose. So the Vietnamese community is very well represented in San Jose. I think in the OC Vietnamese culture is just more spread out or more integrated with other cultures because there's so many other cultural neighborhoods here. I still haven't really been able to explore socal as thoroughly so I can't say for sure but from everything I've seen so far that's my perspective.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Alain, CSULB Freshman
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Question: How well represented do you think the Vietnamese population is represented in media?
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Answer: I feel that the Vietnamese community is active in the media, but not mainstream media. There are some very popular YouTube channels that have Vietnamese actors like MyChonny and JustKiddingFilm, however I would not consider this mainstream media. In the case of mainstream media in America I feel that not only the Vietnamese community is under represented but the whole Asian community is. Being a California resident especially one is OC, I am exposed to the most Vietnamese media in the country and even now I feel that Vietnamese community has very little representation in media. There is little to none Vietnamese actors that make it in Hollywood.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

I would like to take a quick break from mini interviews to bring attention to this article that I have been seeing constantly reposted on my Facebook news feed, particularly by my Vietnamese American friends. In summary, it is a call to awareness that the Vietnamese population is now also “potentially vulnerable to arrest, detention, and deportation.” This may have been written in speculation and response to “President Trump’s planned visit to Vietnam, where he may pressure the country to accept more deportees.” Although the source is not necessarily the most reliable, as it is opinionated, it does provide the thoughts of the Vietnamese Americans of Trump’s America today. To have awareness of what is going on around you, especially with your culture, is always a good idea. 💡✨

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Daniel, FVHS Freshman
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Question: Have you ever learned about Vietnamese culture in the classroom? If not, why do you think so?
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Answer: No I have never learned about Vietnamese culture in class. This is most likely caused by the relationship between Vietnam and America not being very close. With European countries and Mexico being around, we tend to learn more about which ever countries our forefathers belong to, Britain. Asians mostly came to America by immigration, for various reasons. Being an immigrant to a foreign land that is predominantly Caucasian results in a negligence of Vietnamese culture, or a lack thereof knowledge about our culture.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

David, CSULB Senior
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Question: Since you’re grounded in the Vietnamese martial art, Vovinam, do you have any thought to why it isn’t as well known as compared to others, specifically as being featured on films?
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Answer: Growing up, when people ask me what I like to do in my free time I respond: “I take Vovinam, Vietnamese martial arts”. I’ve taken Vovinam for nearly 10 years now. And to this day, people still reply “I’ve never heard of it. Oh is it like Taekwondo/Karate/Kung Fu?” What bothered me wasn’t their questions, but why the knowledge gap exists. I’ve come to realize that the traditional martial arts I take lacks prominence compared to other practices is due to the fact how unintegrated Vietnamese culture is within mainstream society. Other Southeast Asian cultures have a longer history in United States. There’s more knowledge about them, so it’s more familiar. This is why when directors make scripts for movies that involve Asian countries, the first countries that come to mind are Japan or China. Movies that comes to mind are the Karate Kid series. The constant media portrayal of these “more popular cultures” constantly overshadow other minorities, specifically the Vietnamese culture in my example. Fortunately, these past few generations has shown an outburst of interest in Vietnamese culture. From foods, to festivals, and any other aspects, the Vietnamese community is starting to be more known. Vovinam doesn’t need to be popular. My culture doesn’t need to be popular. But as a Vietnamese American, what I do wish is for my culture to be recognized.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Bill, CSULB Junior
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Question: How is Vietnamese culture in Vietnam different to Vietnamese culture here in California?
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Answer: To me, Vietnamese culture in Vietnam and Vietnamese culture in California is no different from one another. Being a native Vietnamese myself, they are both the same culture, but the only differences is the political views between the two. Vietnam is still a Communist country while Vietnamese in California are anti-Communist since they are refugees escaping the regime during the Vietnam War. On the other hand, music, traditions, cuisine, and outfits are the same in the homeland and in the Vietnamese communities in California. Tet is still celebrated on the same day. However, Tet is celebrated all over Vietnam while California is only in Little Saigon, the core of the Vietnamese community. Vietnamese culture in California are "Americanized" from what I experienced here. Overall, Vietnamese culture have no differences to each other whether they are the roots of origins or abroad. As a Vietnamese-American with mixed background, I carry both cultures with me whenever I travel to Vietnam and back to California. For me, I love to carry it in the form of art. Using Japanese anime art style, I want to show both Vietnamese cultures through pictures while combining another culture with it. In the end, Vietnamese cultures, in Vietnam and California, are just two side on the same coin. In the future wherever I go, I hope to share both my Vietnamese roots to other people of different culture and young future Vietnamese. If they ask me what's the difference, I will respond, "No difference at all."

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Max, CSULB Sophomore
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Question: Why do you think the Vietnamese people aren’t well represented in media?
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Answer: I think the reason for the lack of Vietnamese representation in mass media markets like film and television is due to the lack of young vietnamese talent within the industries. The asian cultures have had strong emphasis on education that favors the STEM fields. Also considering that many vietnamese people come from 1st generation families that may have not financial stability, it is more logical to choose a career that has a higher chance of yielding a consistent income. I think before someone decides to pursue the arts professionally, they must come from an already financially stable family that is willing to account for the high risk/ high reward aspect of media. I think the only way that this can change and will change is through time. As new immigrants from Vietnam establish a stronger hold in the U.S, they will allow for their children to pursue dreams that are best for themselves instead of ones that are best for their families.

Rebecca (@avietnamesevoice)

Amy, UCI Alumni
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Question: How would you describe growing up in the Little Saigon area?
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Answer: Growing up in Little Saigon was what I would imagine is probably the closest thing to growing up in Saigon, outside of Vietnam. Living in the Vietnamese enclave, I always had access to an assortment of authentic Vietnamese foods from pho, to com tam, to che, and everything in between. There were Vietnamese grocery stores, Vietnamese music stores, and even a Vietnamese mall that sold an assortment of items. During holidays like Tet, my family would take me down Bolsa, and we would look at all the flowers available for sale, and the sound of firecrackers would be going off every few minutes as store owners attempted to attract the crowd to their shops. From elementary all the way through high school, I was surrounded by Vietnamese kids, many of whom I shared the a same surname with. Not to say that we were the only demographic, but we did make up a majority of the school and as a result, most of my friends were Vietnamese also. So growing up I never knew what it was like to be “different” and I am very grateful for that.

💙Draco & Gemma 💜 (@bordercolliedraco)

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How was everyone's Monday? My mum was super busy but we got to do some tricks and go for a walk! Draco has some exciting packages on their way and I'm super excited to share and take pictures of them 😍!
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CAMELIA (@jasmine_marsheluna)

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