Sunday, January 12, 2020

Week 2 Group Presentation_Vivianne Lee, Uyen Ngo, Diane Tran, Kao Kang Kue Vang

University of California Davis
ASA 150E 001 WQ 2020
Group: Week 2
Vivianne Lee
Uyen Ngo
Diane Tran
Kao Kang Kue Vang

Introduction Diane Tran
The concurrent theme for this week our past is our future as well as how the military and conservative perspectives play a role in history. The popular conception notice on war is often paired with terms of merciless violence, however the friendships and bonds built play a crucial part of the story. A single story of friendship can ultimately become a unique tale that can convey the feelings of pain and suffering caused by the war. The feeling of sharing these empathetic and understanding emotions leave a lasting imprint to have motivation and courageous spirit to overcome these adversities. These articles give us a first-hand account from those who were a part of the war, but were never given a voice to be heard. Ironically, the United States history of the Vietnam war has no narrative or perspective of those who suffer if they were not a white American soldier. These sacred moments indicate the lives that were lost, the memories of the war, and the pain that comes with the war. These stories that are often overlooked, portray a more different, emotional, affecting insight of the Vietnam war. 

Chapter 5 Friendship and Sacrifice Uyen Ngo
This chapter focuses on the theme of friendship, not only during the war, but also of how it is remembered in the aftermath of the war through the narrative of Nguyen Huu An of his friend Tu. Nguyen Huu An was a member of the Rangers who ultimately escaped to Australia following the war. It was in Australia that he would come to learn the story of his friend Tu. Tu was also a member of the 38th Ranger Battalion who all died on the field of Cu Chi. For a long period of time post-war, their story had been lost to the outside community. Through oral history interviews, An’s lengthy article on Tu, and written accounts, Tu’s story was able to be reconstructed. This reconstruction holds value in that it uncovers an unknown story that was discovered through narratives of friends, families, and survivors and this reconstruction became a symbol of pride and grief for former Rangers and RVNAF soldiers. 
The theme of friendship came into play in terms of the role that An had in the reconstruction of his friend’s story. He was able to form a tribute to his friend by retelling the story of their relationship. He retold the story of how they were parallel as two young boys from the North, ultimately finding their allegiance to the South and went on to serve in elite troops for their country. And while they lost sight of each other in the way, even years after, their friendship persisted post-war and after the death of Tu’s, and that friendship ultimately become the driving force of An’s symbolic reconstruction of the 38th Ranger Battalion soldiers’ story. 

Chapter 4 Military Women Vivianne Lee 
In Chapter 4 titled Military Women, Nathalie discusses the experiences and memories of South Vietnamese servicewomen who are forgotten in today’s society. Although thousands of women served in the RVNAF, historians of the war have remained largely silent on their participation. “Books on Vietnamese female soldiers have primarily focused on those who fought on the communist side.” (page 89) It is apparent that the reason for this is due to the victory of the North Vietnam and history seems to always be written by those who won, often glorifying their stories. Histories of these South Vietnamese women fighting in the war are largely absent and their voices are silenced to this day. Today, women's experiences are "routinely omitted from public accounts of the construction of national identity through military activity, and hence from accounts of war, which is reproduced as predominantly masculine" as stated by Summerfield. In order to give voice and recognition to the women who fought the Vietnam War, Nathalie later describes in detail the stories of three women who volunteered to participate in the military and how their individual stories are "embedded in the wider mass trauma of the former south in the aftermath of war." (page 104) Thanh speaks of the postwar years as her “time of despair”, which was eased by the birth of her son and a companionship of a good man. Nguyet describes that she had to live “outside the war”, and Thuy was subjected to constant harassment by the authorities after the war. Ultimately, Nathalie shares the stories of these three South Vietnamese military women to shed light on an essentially unexplored aspect of the war to give voices to those who have been voiceless.
Conclusion Kao Kang Kue Vang
The differing narratives in the South Vietnamese Soldier provides perspectives that are often times overlooked. When referencing the Vietnam War, people hear narratives that portrays a telling story of American military heroes who sacrificed and inspired the world with their stories. Yet, stories such as An and Tu’s or the military women who served during the Vietnam War often goes untold. Many roles and expectations changed during the war. Many women served in the military but sadly their roles remain silent. Nonetheless, many don’t go on to speak of the friendships they’ve developed on the battlefield. An intense and sacred moment in time where friendship is treasured and ingrained in so many lives. The narratives shared in the South Vietnamese Soldier provide insight into the lives of those whom were lost, the memories of the ones they loved, and the sadness that comes with war. Painstakingly, many try to forget, however others embrace these important aspects of war to make meaning and symbolism of what had happened.
         Many Southeast Asian (SEA) communities today embrace a part of the Vietnam War. Their memories and narratives provide insight to shape and model a better future for the SEA community in the United States (U.S.). However, despite these narratives, the lack of culturally appropriate resources prevents the SEA community from properly acclimating, resulting to low educational attainment, poverty, high unemployment and utilization of public assistance when compared to the overall U.S. population and Asian Americans (Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, 2011). Generalized and categorized as Asian Americans, many overlook the socioeconomic disadvantages the Southeast Asians encounter in the United States. Although multiple reports agree that Asian Americans are thriving, they also point out that struggling small ethnic subgroups such as the Hmong, Laotian, Bangladeshi, and Cambodian Americans are invisible (Asian Pacific American Legal Center & Asian American Justice Center, 2011; Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, 2011). The SEA community will continue to be invisible as long as they are grouped as Asian Americans, and until their narratives can be heard, Southeast Asians will continue to struggle for the life they’ve dreamed of. Therefore, the importance of disaggregating the data for the upcoming 2020 census count is crucial to the SEA community so that SEA communities have equal opportunities for government resources and political representation in Congress. 

Asian Pacific American Legal Center, & Asian American Justice Center. (2011). Community of
Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States: 2011. Retrieved from
Nguyen, Chau Huyunh Nathalie. South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of Vietnam War
and After. 2016.
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. (2011). Southeast Asian Americans at a glance:
Statistics on Southeast Asians adapted from the American Community Survey.

Washington, DC: SEARAC.

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