Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Week 10_Shannon Ngo_ASA150E

I really enjoyed this class-- not simply because of the professor but also the course material. I signed up to learn more about this country my parents originate from and in turn, learn more about them and myself. But through the readings, I realize there’s so much more to Viet Nam than I initially thought. More than just a backwards country, it has a rich culture, dating back far longer than the U.S.-- it’s more than the war. While America still clings to their failure, Viet Nam has moved past it; because it’s nothing more than a small fragment of their history. We continue to view Viet Nam in this lens, disregarding the other beautiful aspects of their culture. 

The way the professor framed the lessons held my interest. In most lectures, it’s nearly impossible to get through, but when she taught, it was easy to listen to. She engaged and interacted with the class in an enthusiastic manner that spoke of her passion for the subject. I enjoyed my time here, and I will sign up for more courses with Professor Valverde. 

Image Source: http://www.vietnam-guide.com/

Monday, March 9, 2020

Week 10_Melanie Manuel_ASA 150E

Melanie Manuel
ASA 150E 001
9 March 2020

This class has taught me several things: how to work collaboratively, what sorts of demographics the Viet Nam War really had, and where I can access resources for my remaining time at University of California, Davis. I also learned how to apply concepts such as culture cringe and colonial mentality to current instances in my life. This is to say, I am taking away a broader knowledge of how history is handled in the modern day and potentially how we should be handling it—not necessarily as wholly liberally or wholly conservative, but understanding both sides of the story and coming up with my own conclusion to these dominant narratives. 

I have had the honor of taking a couple of classes with Professor Valverde, and this class has both engaged and challenged me with its workload and plethora of information of a topic that is both talked about all too often (in the Western perspective) and far too little (in the “Other” side’s perspective). I think this notion of “turning history on its head” is something to continue with, and hopefully cultivate into a new wave of common thinking. I think also participating in these conversations, especially about experiences and the validity of one’s own stories, especially as a younger generation, has resonated with me beyond measure, and I will continue to hold on to it for a very long time. 

I included a screen cap of a website’s demographics of the Viet Nam War—something that is still perceived to be only white when, in fact, it was not. 

Works Cited
Images Used

Sunday, March 8, 2020


Week 10 - Viet Nam As Concept and New Viet Nam Studies
As my experience in ASA150E comes to a close, to reflect on my understanding that I have developed over the past ten weeks makes me realize that I am glad that I was able to have the opportunity to take this class. This class, in a way, was able to cover those holes within in my life that I would consider being missing - those unanswered questions, those puzzle pieces that did not seem to fit right - and while there are some that are still in the process that needs to be filled, I am glad to have a good set of knowledge and understanding to work from here on out. Throughout this course, I have developed my concept of the Viet Nam War.
I admire the way how this class is structured in a way, rather than going through the hxstories of each Southeast Asian country and discussing about such, the class in a way proposed me a challenge that I offered me the means to play around with - exploring different perspectives of the way, criticizing these different perspectives, how those involved whether people or actions affect those today in a contemporary sense, and so much more. Growing up, I had only grown with a few perspectives in mind: my parents and my extended family, the textbooks in history class, and being a participant to several Southeast Asian conferences. Though a good amount of information was given to me, it challenged the way I looked at my own hxstory when I was in this class - challenging the anti-communist view that surrounded me growing up in a Vietnamese-American community, challenging the way I spelled 'Vietnam', challenging to view aspects within my life that were affected by the effects of the war such as diaspora, and so much more.
When I look back at the Southeast Asian community, I can see there is a lot of potential and ways that the community could move forward and thrive, rather than being focused on a war-torn region - such as how can we uplift and embody these varieties of narratives in spaces such of education and more, how can we create change to the issues that us Southeast Asians face such as deportation and the lack of equity, how can we allow Southeast Asia to flourish through the insertion of resources offered at the university level like language classes and more. I am proud to be offered a class such as ASA150E, understanding that some students may not even have the opportunity to relearn their hxstory. I am proud that through our learning in ASA150E that we are not only able to learn for ourselves, but we are able to share that to the general public too, as we should, through our art exhibit: "Viet Nam War as Concept: A Journey of (Re)Discovery". I am so looking forward to that this Thursday!
Closing this blog, I would like to propose an open-ended question: what does it mean to be Southeast Asian and how could we broaden up our definition of what it means to be Southeast Asian to other countries and folx of the Southeast Asian region?

SAFE's Southeast Asian Youth Conference 2020 (mentors)

Week10-XInyu-Yang -ASA150E

Unconsciously, ten weeks are coming to an end. Attending this class has undoubtedly expanded my horizons. I know many stories that people deliberately hide and forget. These stories are not only confined to Southeast Asia, but they also reflect the pattern of the world behind them. Especially the secret war, the story behind the Lao Hmong.
The Spratly Islands controversy mentioned by the professor is the most interesting. A reasonable analysis of the current situation in the Spratly Islands, the layout of each country and the reasons behind it. powerful countries' urgent need resources that are in the Spratly Islands. This is undoubtedly an important part of today's international disputes. I like that this lesson is not limited to history, but to look at history and think about current issues. And throughout the whole quarter, it is worth noting that all war-related stories can reveal the shadows hidden by today's education system. I am very glad that I chose the ASA course, but for those who have not chosen the ASA course, will some parts of the real image be hidden all the time.
My last question is whether the research on the controversy in the Spratly Islands today have hope for solving it?

South China Sea claims map by Voice of America

Week10_Raylph Evangelista_ASA150E

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I decided to take this class last quarter. I only wanted to take it because it sounded interesting and I wanted to expand my knowledge on Southeast Asian cultures but what I got was much more. I feel like from this class, I learned to really delve deep and try to understand the experience of the lesser talked about narrative. I realized that the US hides so much shit and we never really get to know how outside countries feel. I feel as though my entire schooling career has been deprived from the truth. Without taking this course, I would have never thought anything more of the war in Viet Nam than a war that had happened. This class really changed my viewpoint on a lot of subjects and how I see the US' participation in wars in general.

Image result for southeast asia flags
I really enjoyed this class and I'm not going to lie, every single time it was time to go to this class I was optimistic because I knew that it wasn't going to be just a lecture. It was something I could look forward to because it was different, and it wasn't just me taking information. It was us being given information, discussing, and realizing the outside perspective. The best take aways that I got from this class was that there is always something deeper than what you're given, there is always information that can be unfolded if you look hard enough, and that there is always two sides to a story so don't be content with just one.

Overall good class, chill vibes. 

Question: Were the other Southeast Asian countries affected by the war in Viet Nam?



Over the past 10 weeks, I learned a good amount of hxstories that I wouldn’t have known prior to taking this class, due to the lack of transparency and coverage in popular discourses surrounding Vietnam. I feel as if I have a better understanding of the counter narratives that exist, again, that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the conversations I had with my peers to the left, right, and in front of me as we sort of broke down a lot of the discussion questions and got to know more about how each other thinks and operates. Most of the readings presented throughout the course were pretty dense and lengthy, but did serve a much larger purpose throughout the length of the course. 
    One of my biggest takeaways was reshaping the view from Vietnam as a war torn country to subjects of colonialism and imperialism. I would have personally never thought of that way, considering most of the narratives from popular discourses indicate that they were simply subjects of war, but viewing it from a colonial perspective allowed me to see that there were more opportunities of exploitation: whether it be through hiding war narratives or dismantling a way of life that once existed.

Week 10_Chloe Azurin_ASA 150E

Chloe Azurin
Professor Valverde
ASA 150 E

Although I've only been at a four-year university for two quarters, this has easily become one of the best classes I have ever taken. As an anthropology major and first-year transfer, I was excited about the idea of learning about the Southeast Asian American experience. However, when I got to the class I was made very aware that it wouldn't be an exercise in traveling back and forth between the homeland and the diaspora. Although it threw me for a loop, learning about the Vietnam War not only gave me a chance to more deeply understand the gratuitous, tiny paragraph about the American War but to understand history and permission in very new and liberating ways. The first week of class, Professor Valverde gave us permission to have our own histories. It was a permission I did not realize I needed until that moment. Not only did she break up the class into ancient, past, and current issues in Southeast Asia, but she also taught us the delicate balance of being selfish in speaking through generations before us and permission to stop living and paying for pains that are not our own.

In addition to having the lock on handed-down diasporic trauma, I genuinely appreciated the way that Professor Valverde instructed our class. The lack of tests or quizzes didn't stop me from doing my reading or wanting to know more about our topic, but just reduced the stress that nearly kills me in all my other classes. Not only does she demonstrate the possibility of Asian women reaching and carving out their own space in academia (and sharing amazing stories), but she also cares about the community of this school. I have never had the honor and sheer joy of having a professor who asked if we would prefer a more chill day. And I wish all other professors could take more notes from her book.

My last questions are: Is it too much to ask that Professor Valverde post OOTDS? And when is the ao dai exhibit going to happen?
Image result for ao dai museum

Week 10 Ellen Hickman 150E

One of the most important lessons that I learned was South East Asian history. Unfortunately, most of my knowledge from this part of the war came from US veteran war stories. Although they did not hide that the war was terrible, they still said that they acted on orders in service of their country. It was really eye opening to read and watch films about the affects of the wars after they had “finished” as well as to hear how they had a history before the Americans tried to dictate how they should behave. In many of these, I’ve been mentally comparing this to my grandma’s stories of her experience in Taiwan when it was bombed by the United States.

Another aspect that really impacted me was seeing those affected by agent orange. It was hard to see that so many people still suffer from the side effects of chemicals polluting the water, plants and air. When hearing about the children had deformities due to the chemical exposure of their mothers it was heartbreaking to see what these chemicals had done to them in their lives. Not only are the deformities something that they did not receive because they participate in the war that occurred years ago but because the side effects of the substances dropped to kill anti American groups did not disappear after the fight had been called off. There is so much that we don’t know about violence during war however since there has been so many problems with agent orange I wish they did not use something that caused needles violence for generations.

A final aspect of this course that I enjoyed was the chance to see how art was vocal. In this class, there are a few examples that show how the artist involved made statements with the works that they had created. Seeing the nail salon wash bins with their bright colors did not seem too different from the classic tendency to elevate the mundane objects in life. Yet quite a few felt that it was a move that disrespected the community in which they protested to get their way of viewing the piece recognized. This was something we had to discuss in creating our group project in how people would respond to the questions we asked them during the interviews to how the actual presentation would turn out.

This was an eye opening course for me in regards to South East Asian American  history that needs to be preserved so that others can begin to understand the background of the cultures of those involved

Diane Tran- Week 10

Diane Tran
ASA 150E
Professor Valverde

I always enjoy taking Professor Valverde's class. This quarter it has been very eye-opening since we learned a lot about the history of Vietnam and the Vietnam war. I also got to learn the different stories of Vietnamese soldiers as well as the forgotten stories that were not portrayed in history books. All of the history of the Vietnam war here in America is based on the bias of the Americans, not telling the true story of what actually happened. In addition, we got to work on a project for the final. I am working on the topic of Fall of Saigon and the different perspectives of a Vietnamese soldier from the North and the South side. We are making time capsules for each perspective of the North and South. I am excited for other people to see our project and to learn a lot from it. In addition, I feel like I learned a lot about the history of my Vietnamese roots. I also learned a lot about Agent Orange and the tragedy that affected the people of Vietnam as well as the deformities it caused for the children of Viet Nam. I hope I am able to take more classes that is taught by Professor Valverde!

Image result for fall of saigon

Week10_Kao Kang Kue Vang_ASA150E

Growing up in the upper middle class of Orange County, my views of the Hmong and interaction with the Hmong community was limited. First, not many Hmong live in Orange County and the limited interaction that I did have was with 15-20 families at my family church. Although once home to a large resettlement of Hmong people, many moved out due to high cost of living. Despite the changes in the Hmong community, Orange County is vast and diverse. Ethnically rich to be honest and a melting pot of all sorts of cultures. These diverse interactions gave me a great appreciation to be culturally sensitive and appreciative of others, yet despite these riches, I did not know of my own culture. Often, I was the only Hmong person in my school. Explaining my roots was complicated as others made fun and bullied me for being someone who didn’t belong or identified as them. What I knew of the Hmong was taught through my church. However, the views of Christianity didn’t teach much of the Hmong history or suffering from the war, but rather it was from the suffering that many Hmong converted to Christianity. My families' views/traditions aligned with the church which limited my world view of the Hmong. My interactions with the Hmong community was once a week for 2 hours in church and this was the extent of my upbringing in the Hmong community. Growing up, I heard of the Hmong living in population dense areas, yet never knew of how they lived or struggled as a community. Sadly, the only Hmong traditions that I knew of was of those taught in the church. It wasn’t until just recently, that my husband’s uncle passed away that I attended my first traditional Hmong funeral. It was a culture shock experience for me.

Instead of studying corporate struggles to improve health outcomes, patient safety and providing access to underserved patient populations, I decided to change my research topic this year to focus on something that is near and dear to me, my people. I know that the Southeast Asian (SEA) community has been struggling with improving their health outcomes and there are many barriers Western healthcare providers do not understand. Even more challenging is the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for the SEA community. I may not understand my own people, I may not understand their struggles, but what I do know, is that if I do not take the time understand and find ways to help my people then no one will (most researchers focus their research on other larger ethnic minorities, not the invisible SEA communities that are buried among Asian Americans). Which explains why I choose to take ASA150E. I wanted to understand the issues that stems from the historical context that impacts how many SEA families struggled and how such struggles continue to impact them today.

Interestingly, as blatant as Professor Valverde has mentioned numerous times in class, American history and academics does a poor job at teaching history, especially the history of Southeast Asians. Of all the interesting stories and facts taught in class, by far, the lack of adequate historical context on Southeast Asians rang loud and clear all quarter long. Although this class was just a small glimpse into the struggles of different SEA communities impacted by the Vietnam War, I know I have my work carved out for me and this is just the beginning. I hope my goals to continue to study and have a better understanding of Asian American Studies in ASA 189B Spring quarter will provide me additional knowledge of Asian Americans and the impact their culture has on understanding and accustoming to Western culture and views. Meanwhile this quarter went by rather quickly, one valuable thing I did learn was to never take anything at face value. Like they say, there is always two sides to the story, but the story depends on who's telling it. 

This is the only photo I was able to find of my mom and her family right before they came to the United States. At the time they were in the Hmong refugee camps in Thailand in 1976 or 1977. No one really talks about this experience. Some too young to remember, others just block the memory out of their mind. My mom is the oldest of 10. She's the one standing on the far right.