By Quang Huy – Translated by Kim Khanh
Walking their dog after dinner has always been a favorite daily activity of Tho Pham and his wife, a Vietnamese couple who live with their 39-year-old son in Garden Grove City, California.
But not in the last few months as the wave of anti-Asian violence and harassment has terrified him.
“I do not dare go out without my children because I am afraid someone will knock me to the ground or stab me to death just because I am Asian,” he laments, adding that the hate crimes have disrupted his daily life.
Many other Vietnamese share his apprehension, especially older people.
Wally Ng, a member of the Guardian Angels, patrols with other members in Chinatown in New York City, New York, U.S., May 16, 2020. Photo by Reuters.
Violence and hatred directed at Asian Americans, which also includes mugging, have surged across California since the beginning of the Covis-19 pandemic as Asians are blamed for its origin in Wuhan, China.
Videos of an Asian woman being punched in the face on a subway platform and a Thai man being pushed to the ground in San Francisco have sparked fears, and the Vietnamese community is traumatized.
Hoai Nguyen, a housewife in San Jose, home to the largest Vietnamese population in America, says: “It is annoying and scary when you go out and have to keep looking behind your back to see if you are being followed by someone suspicious.”
She has been called “coronavirus” several times while walking and shopping, but she had not expected the discrimination and hatred to turn violent and even murderous.
Last month the Vietnamese community in San Jose was shocked after a 64-year-old woman was robbed in front of Dai Thanh Supermarket during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Nguyen says with a sigh: “I cannot do that (go out) on my own because they may kill me. How weak I am and how cold-hearted those people are.”
Since older people are targeted, no one is comfortable letting their parents or grandparents go out alone though the first month of the lunar new year is typically filled with activities like meeting relatives and going to pagodas.
This year most had a subdued New Year also because of the pandemic.
Hong Nguyen, who is always accompanied by her children on the streets in Oakland these days, says: “It should be a time for celebration, we should meet our families and friends instead of being targeted or attacked.”
The potential threats have brought the Vietnamese diaspora together.
On Facebook groups, they post videos of Asians being assaulted or robbed to warn others about the growing threat in places like California and New York, home to many Vietnamese-Americans.
“Please help if you see anyone being verbally or physically attacked,” one person wrote in a group for people living in West Hills, California.
Some people give a helping hand to elders in their Vietnamese and Asian communities. In Oakland, for instance, there have been community initiatives including patrols by volunteers who escort seniors around the city.
“From our Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese elders to our youth, our Asian-American communities are traumatized, afraid and outraged during a time when we are also experiencing disproportionate impacts of the pandemic,” according to a joint agreement by Asian-American organizations in the Bay Area said, calling for non-police safety measures like volunteer neighborhood patrols.
Hong Nguyen’s sons and daughter, who are in their 20s, have joined many other Asians to protect elders in public places.
“Someone threw rocks at my sister’s house twice last week, and so five of us stand in front of her house in the evenings to see if those thugs come around again,” Hong Nguyen says, adding solidarity is their recourse now.
A 91-year-old Asian man is shoved to the ground from behind by a suspect in Chinatown in Oakland, California, January 31, 2021. Photo courtesy of Reutters.
Some people have taken a further step, gun ownership.
“I decided to buy a handgun this spring after seeing a series of mugging of Asians,” Nguyen Duc Phuc, 45, says. Owning a gun gives him and his wife peace of mind amid the senseless violence, he says.
“When I was in line waiting to buy the gun, two white guys called me ‘chin*’ and made fun of me because I wore a mask.”
The New York Times quoted David Liu, owner of Arcadia Firearm and Safety in the predominantly Asian city of Arcadia in California, as saying there is an uptick in Asian-Americans buying firearms though admittedly interest has been skyrocketing among “basically everybody.”
In a survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation last year gun retailers estimated there was a nearly 43 percent increase in sales to Asian customers in the first half of 2020, the Times added.
But people like Pham, Phuc and Nguyen know that violence is never the correct response to violence.
On February 26 senior officials of the U.S. Justice Department claimed that the recent surge in violence and hate incidents against Asian-Americans is unacceptable, and promised to investigate those cases and other hate crimes.
These “horrific attacks on Asian-Americans across the country” have “no place in our society,” Deputy Attorney General John Carlin said while speaking about domestic terrorism, adding that the Justice Department is “committed to putting a stop to it.”
Agents and prosecutors at the department would “look at recent footage from New York and California to see those horrific attacks directed at Asian Americans, to realize how dire the threats are,” he said.
But in the meantime, Pham knows he needs his children with him if he wants to venture outside home.
“I just want to feel safe and not fear for my life when going out without disturbing my children.”
Two staff of Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), importer of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam, stand outside a freezer where the vaccines are kept. arrived in HCMC on a flight from Seoul . They are the first batch of 30 million doses Vietnam had ordered from the company.
Only those assigned by the firm could enter and operate within this area.
Part of the 117,600 vaccine doses inside the freezer.
A staff member uses a forklift to practice unloading a supposed shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Outside the freezer, a staff member places reusable dry ice gel packs into a Styrofoam box. Those boxes would store vaccine doses temporarily when transported from storage to specialized distribution trucks.
Each box contains a certain amount of doses depending on the detailed plan of vaccination for each locality as regulated by the Health Ministry.
Tran Han Tuan, 37, head of the VNVC warehouse department in southern Vietnam, said the truck is parked 2.8 meters from the freezer’s door and that loading a box takes only ten seconds. Therefore, “all movements must be especially quick and accurate.” “We have yet to make any mistakes, but remain quite nervous since the entire nation is counting on this first batch of vaccines,” he noted.
The back door of the truck will be opened in only one minute to receive the vaccines to ensure their quality remains unaffected by exterior conditions.
A package of vaccines is taken out of a Styrofoam box.
Each package of vaccines is equipped with a temperature measuring device. If the temperature exceeds the allowable limit (2-8 degrees Celsius), this device will raise an alarm, which means the shipment is not eligible for administration.
Two freezer trucks, valued at more than VND1 billion ($43,400) each, will be in use for the upcoming mass vaccination. For now, 13 cities and provinces that have recorded community transmissions in the latest wave will receive the vaccine first. They include northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh where the outbreak started on Jan.28, along with HCMC and Hanoi.
Dung will be one of the five prestigious international judges elected by the Film Festival Council and will be part of the process to select the candidates for most prestigious award in the World Competition Selection category.
From March 6, the jury made up of five members, including Luong Dinh Dung, will start to watch 14 films that have made it to the final round in order to choose the best film in the international category.
This comes after Dung was invited to be an advisor for the Tallinn Black Nights International Film Festival, one of the world’s 15 largest international film festivals.
Luong Dinh Dung is the director of the film “Father with a baby”, which had previously been selected as the Vietnamese film representative to attend the 90th Oscars, in addition to winning many domestic and international awards.
PIFF is an annual film festival which has been held in the Indian city of Pune since 2002. Each year, the festival receives roughly 2000 entries from hundreds of countries worldwide.
This year, a total of 26 feature films have been rigorously selected from over 1700 entries and will be competing in categories such as Best International Film, International Film Director, Best Script, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Cinematography.
The Hanoitimes – There are a variety of options for travelers to choose from for International Women’s Day retreats.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, many attractive promotional packages and culinary discounts are launching during the month at hotels, resorts and golfs around the nation.
|A staycation package within Hanoi is an ideal choice for International Women’s day retreat. Photo: Sheraton Hanoi Hotel.|
Sheraton Hanoi Hotel promotes the charm of Hanoi Westlake and gives a hand to push up domestic travel with a staycation package called “Westlake Retreat”.
Travelers will have chance to treat their loved ones on the special occasion with a staycation by the romantic Westlake shore. The package includes a buffet breakfast at Oven D’or restaurant, a special set dinner at the Hemispheres steak & seafood Grill restaurant, a cocktail drink with light snack per person per night at Bar Déjà Vu; and complimentary early check in at 9am and late check out at 3pm as well as room upgrade (subject to availability).
The price for the package is at VND2,400,000++ (or US$103) for single occupancy and VND2,975,000 (or US$128) for double occupancy. A further 10% discount on room rate is applied for any Club Marriott Members. Booking time is from March 1 until May 31; Staying period: from 01 March until 31 December 2021
The Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino , Vung Tau city introduces many incentive programs, including many gifts exclusively for women on the International Women’s Week around March 8.
|The Bluffs Ho Tram Golf, Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino, Vung Tau city.|
Specifically, with each invoice at The Grand Bistro or BBQ Smoke, all female customers will receive a free gift of flowers, chocolate, cocktails or champagne. Group of customers who hold a party to celebrate on March 8 will also receive a 10% discount on the total bill value.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Golf offers its service promotion for female clients. Female golfers will enjoy a promotional fee on a 27-hole golf tour at VND3.018.600 (US$130) per person, beer vouchers at Infinity restaurant and 20% discount coupon for services at The Grand Spa.
Especially, customers who born with Ox zodiac (born from 1961 to 1997), will receive a special fee for using around tour of 18- hole-golfing, at VND2,082,600 ($30) per person, other her three friends will enjoy the price of VND3,018,600 ($130)/ person / round.
For busy people who don’t have too much time for long trips or long vacations, a more practical gift for women is inviting them to dine at a luxury restaurant. Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel offers an alternative way to celebrate the Women’s Day at home with a special dinner at its Chinese Ming restaurant.
|The Dimsum feast at Ming restaurant, Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel.|
Its all-time favourite dim sum feast various dishes, including codfish and abalone dumplings, tiger prawn & Japanese scallop dumplings with spicy sauce.
Until March 10, it applies a further saving of 33% and one complimentary plate of salmon salad for any table booking one day in advance. Original price is at VND550,000 ($24)++ per adult and VND275,000 ($12) per child.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day March 8, Sunset Beach Resort & Spa , Phu Quoc Island has accompanied Mytour.vn to organize a game called “Heart Hunting”, with a total prize value of up to VND10 billions ($430,000).
|Having a relax on the special occasion for women at Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, Phu Quoc Island.|
Participants who join in a 20-second-length game called “Heart Hunting” on Website Mytour.vn and App Mytour.vn will have opportunity to win with 20 vouchers to stay the 5-star Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in ; a special prize worth VND100 million applying for vacations during one year. Other prizes include vouchers for resort’s services using with values from VND30,000 ($1) to VND1,000,000 ($43).
The Hanoitimes – Hanoi’s top leaders expressed their gratitude to the kings who were credited with building and defending the nation.
A delegation of Hanoi leadership led by Secretary of the city Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue offered incense to King Ly Thai To, who relocated Vietnam’s capital city from Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh province to Thang Long (Hanoi today) 1,010 years ago, Kinh Te & Do Thi reported.
|Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue offers incense to King Ly Thai To, who relocated Vietnam’s capital city from Hoa Lu to Thang Long. Photo: Thanh Hai|
The officials also paid tribute to the first Ly dynasty monarch’s predecessors: Kings Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh in the former capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh province, about 100 kilometers to the south of Hanoi.
King Ly Thai To was born as Ly Cong Uan in 974 in Kinh Bac, today’s Bac Ninh province and later became a military commander under the early Le dynasty.
In November 1009, he assumed the throne and founded the Ly dynasty, which would last for more than 200 years.
The following year, he decided to transfer the capital city from Hoa Lu to Dai La and renamed it Thang Long, which means “ascending dragon”, opening a glorious era for Vietnam’s capital city.
In the solemn atmosphere at the old capital of Hoa Lu, Hanoi’s leaders expressed their gratitude to the kings who were credited with building and defending the nation.
They pledged to promote Thang Long’s traditions and make Hanoi increasingly wealthy, beautiful and civilized.
The same day, Ngo Thi Thanh Hang, member of the Party Central Committee and Permanent Deputy Secretary of the municipal Party’s Committee, paid tribute to King Ly Thai To at Do shrine, which is dedicated to the eight emperors of the Ly dynasty.