Saturday, February 11, 2017

Patrick Camarador - Week 6

To say that Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde's Transnationalizing Viet Nam provides enlightening insight about the true expereinces of the Vietnamese diaspora would be a severe understatement. Transnationalizing Viet Nam delves into case studies and ethnographic research to explore the relationships and conflicts of a changing Vietnamese diaspora. Valverde uses this in her piece to provide a renarration that is considerate of the social, cultural, and (of course) transnational driving forces of the various factions within the Vietnamese diaspora.

A major issue within Southeast Asian American communities relevant to this reading is the generational gap in thinking and politics. The problems faced by Madison Nguyen that plagued her political career were entrenched in anticommunist sentiment from an older generation that held on tightly to their conservative beliefs. Valverde notes several potential sources for her opposition, namely fundamental differences in thinking, projection of Confucian hierarchy, and resentment at her achieving power instead of former South Vietnamese officials in exile.

Madison Nguyen, Vietnamese American Politician who was the subject of one of Valverde's case studies. Image taken from @madisonnguyen on Twitter: 
As the young grow mature and assimilate more easily than their generally more rigid immigrant parents, a gap begins to form in thinking between kids and parents of nearly all immigrant families, not just Vietnamese. The youth may take into consideration issues that the parents could seek to suppress or take for granted. Couple this argument fuel with the pervasiveness of Confucian hierarchy across several Asian cultures and one gets heightened tensions between generational factions. Then, when the younger generation begins to participate in thinking and politics, the older generation inherently seeks to stop them from making changes to their otherwise satisfactory way of life. 

This seemingly avoidable conflict spurs my thoughtful question: What stops a rival faction (e.g. the older generation) from recognizing the need to adapt, compromise, and peacefully overcome ideological tensions? Perhaps the reflexive retribution exemplified by the anticommunists provides such a barrier to entry for discourse that it instigates complacency in the way of thinking from the vocal minority? Or, in the presence of free discourse, is it simply the 'us versus them' psychological phenomenon that prevents true listening and synthesis of material across the isle? Whatever the case may be, it seems that both the flowing of ideas and the synthesis and hybridization of ideas must be achieved in order to prevent conflict within. 

- Patrick Camarador 

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