So normally when I write an article on OC Political involving people named Nguyen, I have to put on a disclaimer that I’m not related to them (e.g. Supervisor Janet Nguyen, Councilwoman Dina Nguyen, Judge John Nho Trong Nguyen). Well, for once, I am related to the Nguyen in this blog post. I don’t make it a habit of sharing family stories, but this one’s got a weird political angle.My sister, Krystina Nguyen, is currently in the US Peace Corps in Cameroon; she’s been in Africa since 2010. About six weeks ago on February 23, my sister did an interview with the Orange County-based Viễn Đông Daily News. (The original article’s here. Google’s English translation is available here though it’s a rough translation since it’s a computer translation, but you can get the gist of the interview.)
Then, on February 28, the Communist Vietnamese “news” source Không gian dành cho bạn trẻ took and inappropriately modified a couple quotes from the Viễn Đông article, then completely fabricated a third quote from my sister, and then stole a picture from my sister’s personal blog. (Here is the link to their story. For the English translation, see the Voice of Vietnam link or Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper link, both of which are below.)
In the story, the fabricated quote reads, “I want to send a message to young Vietnamese in the homeland, especially, those living in difficult circumstances, that where there is a will, there is a way. If you set a goal, follow it and you will cultivate success sooner or later.”
That quote is utterly preposterous. First off, if my sister were going to send a message to young people in her homeland, she’d be sending the message to young Americans. Secondly, she would would not use the word “homeland” outside the context of homeland security. Thirdly, she is a native English speaker and would not use an awkward sentence like, “If you set a goal, follow it and you will cultivate success sooner or later.” While my sister is fond of using famous quotes, she certainly wouldn’t use something as trite as “…where there is a will, there is a way.” (Now, if it were my father using the trite quote, I’d believe it.)
In an attempt to prevent any good press for the democratically-elected American government, they said she is a “volunteer of the National Peace Corps Association – a Washington-based non-profit organisation specialising in community work.” They didn’t want to say that she works for the United States Peace Corps, a federal government agency. The National Peace Corps Association is basically a Peace Corps alumni association. It’s pathetic they’d go that far to attempt to avoid giving good press to a democratic government. That’s as preposterous as someone writing a puff piece about me that claimed I graduated from the Stanford Alumni Association to avoid giving Stanford University positive press.
They also trolled through my sister’s personal blog to find a picture to use in their article. They had to scroll through 241 pictures before they reached the picture they wanted to use. It’s not like she has a photo gallery; they had to go through a year’s worth of blog posts to find the picture. That’s just creepy that they went that far.
They also declare her to be “the only American of Vietnamese origin taking part in humanitarian activities in Cameroon, West Africa.” That’s a rather awkward sentence construction and factually inaccurate. The normal construction would be “the only American of Vietnamese descent” or “the only Vietnamese-American” instead, but both are also factually inaccurate, as she isn’t the only one; there are two currently serving with her, plus half-a-century’s worth before the three of them.
In the interview that my sister actually did with Viễn Đông, the interviewer asked my sister to compare American, Vietnamese, and Cameroonian culture, yet the Communist press rewrote my sister’s quote to leave out her complimentary statements about American culture and also made it seem like “many people ask” my sister about Cameroon vs. Vietnam; considering she’s an American, most people ask her to compare Cameroon and the United States.
The day after the Communist Không gian dành cho bạn trẻ ran their story, February 29, the Communist Voice of Vietnam ran the same fraudulent story. Then the day after, March 1, the official journal of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Báo điện tử Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam (which translates to Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper), ran the same fraudulent story. The next day, March 2, the Communist Dan Tri International ran the same fraudulent story, crediting Voice of Vietnam as the source.
Oh, and just in case those Communist propagandists wander by, here’s my message to the Vietnamese people: “I want to send a message to the Vietnamese, especially, those living in difficult circumstances, look to the Middle East and their Arab Spring. Where the people’s will is for democracy and the rule of law, there is a way to put an end to a dictatorship.”