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Vietnamese Americans Protest Published Photo

My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2008

For eight days, protesters paraded in front of one of Little Saigon’s leading newspapers. They carried an effigy of Ho Chi Minh and called the editors “traitors” for running a photo they said was so offensive that it had to be the work of communist sympathizers.

Two top editors at the newspaper were replaced several days later.

The offending photo was of a piece of art by a UC Davis graduate student and Vietnamese immigrant who saw the creation — a yellow and red foot-spa tub — as a salute to Vietnamese refugees like her mother-in-law who toiled in a nail salon after the family came to America.

But the protesters saw something far more menacing.

The tub was yellow with three red stripes, which the protesters said must be a reference to the flag of the fallen country of South Vietnam. And the spa’s yellow power cord was plugged into a red outlet, which seemed to resemble the flag of the communist-ruled Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

“Why is the South Vietnamese flag on a thing that people wash their dirty feet in?” asked UC Van Nguyen, 70, who attended some of the rallies, which began in late January.

Such loud and jeering protests are not unusual in the United States’ largest Vietnamese enclave, where the line between free expression and traitorous behavior remains paper-thin.


At the recent rallies outside the newspaper, protesters said that despite the abundant freedoms in America, artists must practice self-restraint to avoid insulting a community where the memories of war and struggle still linger.


The photo of the artwork, titled “Connection,” was printed in the Vietnamese lunar new year edition of a magazine published by Nguoi Viet, the largest daily newspaper in Little Saigon.

During the protests, which ended early this month, demonstrators paraded around the newspaper’s parking lot, yelling “Down with communists! Down with Nguoi Viet newspaper!”


In Little Saigon, which stretches through several communities in central Orange County, officials in Westminster and Garden Grove have banned the communist Vietnamese flag from official functions. And it is customary for merchants to fly the old South Vietnamese banner in front of businesses. Some non-Vietnamese politicians in the area pose with the flag on campaign literature.


Meanwhile, the artist said she had no intention of offending anyone when she bought a foot spa from a nail shop, painted it yellow and red, and submitted it for a scholarship while she was a student at UC Berkeley. She is now a graduate student at UC Davis.”People can think that I demean their flag, but that is not my intention,” said Chau Huynh, who was incorrectly identified in the article as Chau Thuy Tran. “When you talk about red and yellow, it’s the Vietnamese traditional colors that I fall in love with. Both flags are yellow and red.”

She saw the art creation as a way to honor Vietnamese women who have “toiled and sacrificed enormously for the future of their children and family,” she wrote in a piece explaining the art, which was translated into Vietnamese and ran next to the image in the Nguoi Viet magazine.



“Connection”: Obviously the work of a Communist.

Original article

(Posted on February 12, 2008)

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I never doubt Communist conspiracies. We see their work everyday.

Posted by LHathaway at 7:16 PM on February 12

Good on Vietnamese-Americans for resisting even the slightest taint on their historical roots & memories.

Some day, white American peoples in all their vibrancy & diversity will pick up these same tools to protest the hateful content of film, print media, and electronic media, not to mention all the white-bashing groups like ACLU, SPLC, ADL, PAW, etc.

When European Americans finally become aware of the consequences of living as a minority in North America, perhaps they will unfurl some of these same techniques.

Posted by Bill at 7:26 PM on February 12

If this is all these raving hysterics have to complain about life in the US, perhaps they could consider Valium.

Posted by Michael C. Scott at 8:00 PM on February 12

Well someone should tell these people that most Vietnamese did support the communists, which is why the war was unwinnable. But I’m most concerned about the editors. Are we to understand that because of a misunderstanding, which most Americans don’t care about, people and their families have lost their income? Is it yet another case of ‘someones feeling are hurt so you no longer have a right to eat’?

Posted by at 8:56 PM on February 12

What part about freedom of speech and freedom of the press do they not understand? I really hope that these people are not US citizens since they don’t have a basic grasp of civics. But maybe that doesn’t matter anymore.

“like her mother-in-law who toiled in a nail salon … “
Toiled? In a NAIL SALON? Give me a break, she wasn’t in a coal mine. How come immigrants are always “toiling” instead of just plain working like the rest of us?

Posted by kitty at 9:45 PM on February 12

Well someone should tell these people that most Vietnamese did support the communists, which is why the war was unwinnable.

Probably up to 50% and the other half didn’t care one way or another. We were a cash cow for S. Vietnam. The whole country wasn’t worth one drop of American Blood. They wouldn’t defend their flag then, so don’t come here protesting.

Posted by at 10:27 PM on February 12

“They wouldn’t defend their flag then, so don’t come here protesting. “

Yeah, right.

USA: 47,378 Killed in Action, 304,704 Wounded

South Vietnamese Army: 223,748 KIA, 1,169,763 Wounded

Commies: 1,100,000 KIA, 600,000 Wounded

Remember, the Democrats in Congress starved the ARVN forces of supplies and the rest is history.

Posted by at 10:21 AM on February 13

What did they expect? 99% of the newspapers in America are being run by Communists/Socialists.

Posted by Gayle Sollenberger at 3:23 PM on February 13

I have noticed that in articles that I have read, immigrants “toil” Americans “work”. I have worked in jobs that were literally back breaking and nobody gave me anything but a paycheck.

Posted by Spartan24 at 5:04 PM on February 13

There is fee speech and there is incitement to riot. Reds always hide behind the 1st Amendment.They try to draw attention to themselves by creating controversy.

Posted by Burr Hamilton at 5:23 PM on February 13

The United States should never, ever, ever, have intervened in South Vietnam. 58,000 young Americans were killed and the USA was forced to absorb ‘imperial backwash’ in the form of Vietnamese ‘refugees’. Now the same scenario is unfolding in Iraq. Note how both wars were based on a fraud. The alleged “attack” on Americans in the Gulf of Tonkin (even though not one single American was even slightly injured in this “attack”) and the WMD lie. The U.S. should abandon it’s foolish foreign interventionist policies, especially now that it no longer has a major global competitor with the implosion of the USSR. Instead the U.S. has gone exactly in the WRONG DIRECTION, expanding NATO recklessly, when it should have been disbanded, entrenching itself in South Korea, Japan and Okinawa (where a marine just raped a 14-year old girl) and antagonizing China over Taiwan, an obscure island of zero economic and strategic importance to the U.S. The military and political elites in Washington seem determined to establish an American imperium for themselves. They know most Americans know little and care even less about foreign policy (‘hey man, the superbowl is on’) and they want their little empire for themselves to play around with. The 9/11 attacks were a direct consequence of America’s foreign policy and its meddling in other countries affairs specifically the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. This was Bin Laden’s biggest motivation for the attacks not hatred of America because it is “free” (George Bush and Fox news notwithstanding). By the way this does NOT mean that the Americans killed that day deserved to die, I am simply offering an explanation for the motivation of the perpetrators. The U.S. continues to establish its military bases all around the world even while its own southern border crumbles away like the medieval fool who puts out the fire in his neighbour’s house while his own burns to the ground.

Posted by at 6:20 PM on February 13

It’s to our eternal shame our corrupt government restored trade and diplomacy with the Cong. And we also let the Cong write the history of that war for our school textbooks.

Posted by Oly at 6:48 PM on February 13

“like her mother-in-law who toiled in a nail salon … “
Toiled? In a NAIL SALON? Give me a break, she wasn’t in a coal mine. How come immigrants are always “toiling” instead of just plain working like the rest of us?

Posted by kitty at 9:45 PM on February 12

Was it a nail salon for coal miners WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY down deep underground maybe? Seriously, have you been in some of the Asian nail salons lately? They stink of chemicals. The workers “toil” away with their masks on because they are crammed in there like sardines, possibly illegally, and they are probably using polish that is imported and has God knows what in it. I wish someone would devise a system to measure the levels of unhealthy chemicals in those places. I also wish I had a job that allowed me to sit on my tushie all day and file and paint nails.

Posted by at 8:32 PM on February 13

I’ve never been in a nail salon, but I’ve done lots of factory work, when the U.S. still had lots of factories. Doing nails isn’t coal mining, but it’s not that different than sitting at a workbench and making coinboxes for slot machines all day, and it’s no more frivolous either. It’s damned tiring to do that sort of work, I know. I’m sure it calls for a steady hand and knowledge of the techniques and materials, and it’s an entirely voluntary exchange, so your tax dollars play no part. Criticize their politics or their loyalties or their race, but their craft deserves respect.

Posted by Schoolteacher at 2:42 AM on February 14

In Buddhism, the feet are considered dirty, placing a flag of the former South Vietnam in a device that your feet would rest upon, 32 years after the fall of Saigon is basically akin to placing an image (or a close facsimile..) of the Confederate flag on the bottom of a toilet in 1897.

I realize there are bunch of people flooding into the US who wish to impose their values and way of life on us (all in the name of diversity and multiculturalism.. cough…) but I sympathize with the Vietnamese protesters in this case. The leftists historians shy away from discussing what the VC did to “persuade” villagers to follow them and tend to portray the American soldiers as evil or dupes.

Posted by Stillwarm at 5:02 AM on February 14

“The United States should never, ever, ever, have intervened in South Vietnam.”

And South Korea? And El Salvador? And Nicaragua? And Angola?

What would the world look like if we just packed our bags and went home after World War 2?

Would we be surrounded by hostile Marxist states? Would we have no bases in which to operate from? Would the local powers control the sea lanes?

Should the US have allowed Iran to control oil tanker traffic from the Mideast and NOT fought the US Navy’s largest surface combatant battle since World War 2, Operation Preying Mantis?

Posted by at 8:51 AM on February 14

8:51 AM Poster:

Sigh. So many Americans are just like you. Where did I say that the U.S. should have “packed its bags and gone home after WW2”??? I SAID THE U.S. SHOULD HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM ITS OVERSEAS COMMITTMENTS AFTER 1991 WHEN THE USSR IMPLODED. There is a huge difference between 1991 and 1945 sir. Take Europe for example. The Berlin wall fell. Germany was re-united. The Warsaw pact collapsed. Eastern Europe was liberated and the USSR collapsed into fifteen states. With the exception of the tiny Kalingrad exclave the military frontier of Russia was pushed back from the Elbe to beyond the Pripet marshes more then a 1,000 miles. Now was the time for the U.S. to say to Europe, ‘okay you are now safe we are leaving’. Nato should have been dissolved. Instead the Bureacratic and military-industrial complex self-preservation instinct kicked in. Nato was expanded again and again even though it had no enemy to fight against. The Americans invented a new enemy when it attacked Serbia. Unlike the foolish Americans the Europeans wasted no time cashing in their peace dividend. Germany had TWELVE divisions in 1989 in its army, today only three. EVER WONDER WHY UNIVERSITY EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE ARE FREE IN GERMANY BUT NOT IN THE U.S.? Imagine what could be done with all that money if U.S. military spending was reduced by 75%?

As far as South Korea goes it has twice the population of North Korea and its economy is FORTY times as large. It has a huge technical lead over the north which is starving and dirt-poor. I see no reason why Americans still have to deploy troops there 55 years AFTER THE WAR ENDED! Why can’t S.K. look after itself? Just how long exactly do you want American troops stationed there anyways? Do you realize how much money all these bases cost the American taxpayer?
As far as places like Angola are concerned I can hardly think of a less neccesarry place for American soldiers to be in. As to being “surrounded” by hostile Marxist states, communism is discredited around the world and has been irrelevant since 1991.

I see no reason for the U.S. navy to be deployed in the Straits of Hormuz. Oil traffic will be maintained because it is in Iran’s interests to do so. They need export markets. The job of the U.S. navy should be to defend the shores of America, not to engage in “in your face” actions like the ludicrous Gulf of Tonkin actions. How would Americans like it if Vietnamese naval ships were operating just 13 miles off the shores of California or Oregon?

Posted by at 4:16 PM on February 14

10:21 PM makes an important point about ARVN resistance and US congressional penury. The ammunition loadout for the average ARVN soldier in 1975 was twenty rifle cartridges and two hand grenades.

They clobbered the NVA in the 1972 Eastertide offensive, and could have done so again in 1975 if we hadn’t so completely let them down.

Posted by Michael C. Scott at 7:37 PM on February 14

“Oil traffic will be maintained because it is in Iran’s interests to do so. “

Why do people like you insist that others will act in a manner rational to the US? When the US declared South Korea outside it’s vital interest, it was attacked. If it was so outside the interests of the US, then why did the USA supply the bulk of the UN forces? Apparently, it’s value must have been something of importance to the US after the North attacked. Did those that sowed the mines in Iran act in a manner rational to the U.S. before Operation Preying Mantis? Clearly, your rationality argument on the part of other nations meshing with the interests of the USA falls apart. You want NATO to fall apart? Fine. The Europeans can fend for themselves and form any security arrangement they want. But note that the Ukraine, once part of the old USSR, wants IN into NATO. Does Ukraine want to be an enemy of Russia? Doubtful. But now Russia threatens to target ballistic missiles on the Ukraine. Rational? Power politics? You decide.

Posted by at 9:24 PM on February 14


South Korea is not and never has been a vital interest of the United States. The U.S. could very easily live with a wholly totalitarian Korean peninsula. Why did the U.S. supply the bulk of the UN forces? The U.S. reasoned - wrongly - that it had to “show resolve”, or in other words it chose to use force to show it could use force, a negation of strategy and logic. 33,000 Americans died in this unnecesarry war but at least the U.S. was able to achieve SOMETHING. It saved S.K. although the loss of it would not in anyway have compromised America and the loss of 33,000 troops was probably too high a price to pay, but regardless. That the U.S. was able to achieve this in Korea but not Vietnam was due to the fact that Korea is a peninsula and the inter-Korean border is only 187 miles long. It was fairly easy to seal off the south. Vietnam on the other hand had extremely long and vulnerable land borders which the north was prepared to exploit shamelessly. Only moving a corps-sized force into Laos to cut the trail and stay there would have given S.V. even a remote fighting chance. Eisenhower had himself concluded this in his private study of Indo-China and told this to both Kenneddy and Johnson. He was ignored. As for the Ukraine joining NATO, that would be great - for Ukraine. It gets American protection and security and America gets,,, nothing. Sweet deal if you can get it. I don’t see how or why American soldiers need to safeguard Ukrainian citizens. The job of the American armed forces should be to protect America, nothing else. We should not be the world’s Robo-Cop. Iran is not as irrational as you seem to think. It has invaded no country for more then 250 years unlike the U.S. How would you react if Iran had invaded and occupied Mexico under the Fraud of WMD and its navy was operating in the Gulf of Mexico of the coast of Texas where the refineries are? And then to have an Iranian president accuse America of aggression!!! You really don’t get it do you? The truth is America is a declining power and is headed for an economic collapse (and probably, yet further down the road, racial Balkanization.) There is going to be a siesmic shift in global power before too long and America’s imperium will be revealed for the sham that it is. You are going to learn the truth.

Posted by at 12:00 AM on February 15

“They wouldn’t defend their flag then, so don’t come here protesting. “

Yeah, right.

USA: 47,378 Killed in Action, 304,704 Wounded

South Vietnamese Army: 223,748 KIA, 1,169,763 Wounded

Commies: 1,100,000 KIA, 600,000 Wounded

Remember, the Democrats in Congress starved the ARVN forces of supplies and the rest is history.

Posted by at 10:21 AM on February 13

WANT AN ARVN rifle? never been fired only dropped once.

I was there, The officers were corrupt the military was ineffective. They relied on us to do their fighting, bleeding and dying and when we left it all came down. AND THEY ALL CAME HERE. So don’t come to my Country crying about a flag THEY abandoned. JFK and LBJ are to Thank for that war. And I think they were both democrats.

Posted by Lynx at 1:51 PM on February 15

“WANT AN ARVN rifle? never been fired only dropped once. “
“They relied on us to do their fighting, bleeding and dying and when we left it all came down.”

Uh huh.

Vietnamization Begins

“As the US accelerated the transfer of its equipment to the South Vietnamese government in the fall of 1969 in a program referred to as “Vietnamization,” the gunship squadrons began transferring their AC-47 aircraft to the VNAF. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes to fly again, 16 of the Dragonships from the 3d and 4th SOS were resurrected in 1969 as the VNAF’s 817th Combat Squadron, popularly known as the “Fire Dragons.” The new squadron’s performance awed USAF evaluators, one of whom was moved to report, “This squadron is better than any USAF AC-47 squadron that was ever over here.”

“Jack S. Ballard’s The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: Development and Employment of Fixed-Wing Gunships, 1962-1972 is the definitive book on USAF gunship operations in Southeast Asia. In this book, Ballard explains the superlatives given to the Fire Dragons by USAF observers. While the average American AC-47 pilot accrued 800 combat hours during his one-year tour in Vietnam, the Vietnamese gunship pilots began their AC-47 duty having already accumulated 6,000 to 12,000 hours in the C-47. And, the Vietnamese pilots never rotated out of combat duty. If not killed or crippled in combat, they only got better and better at their deadly business. And, perhaps naturally, the Vietnamese pilots seemed to have a better knack for picking out terrain and enemy assault formations at night than did their USAF counterparts. Within six months of the activation of the 817th, the squadron was flying AC-47s in all four military regions of South Vietnam. Acting as forward air controllers on occasion, the Fire Dragons quickly discovered that the highly experienced Vietnamese gunship pilots knew their business. And in addition to the Fire Dragons, there were still other Asian pilots in Indochina capable of flying the AC-47 with deadly effect against North Vietnamese. A final twist was in store for the old gunships, however, as the VNAF transferred four of their newly acquired AC-47s to the Royal Laotian Air Force during this period.

Doesn’t sound like a bunch of weenies, does it?

Posted by at 11:27 PM on February 15

The people who scared the living daylights out of the North Vietnamese were the South Koreans.

ROKs didn’t take prisoners.

What my wife’s great-grandfather did will live forever, but he was Japanese.

Posted by Michael C. Scott at 2:49 PM on February 16

The United States gained nothing from its Vietnam intervention.

Posted by at 8:28 PM on February 16

“The United States gained nothing from its Vietnam intervention.”

War has been the great driver of technology in the battlefield of the 20th century. So on the contrary, we learned a lot, so much so that even the Chinese realised that they couldn’t win UNLESS they began copying the Americans. America started the revolution in Precision Guided Munitions, starting with laser guided bombs in Vietnam. We perfected image intensification so that we could fight at night. We developed GPS so we engage all weather attack. We amazed the world and the Chinese when we took Iraq down in a matter of weeks. So yes, on the contrary, what we gained from Vietnam, was not “nothing,” but EVERYTHING in terms of fighting future wars.

Posted by at 11:08 PM on February 16

11:08 PM POSTER:

Yeah sure, Iraq sure has turned out to be a wonderful success for America didn’t it? You base one disaster on the “lessons” of another disaster. Wow! You really are a lost cause.

Posted by at 12:26 PM on February 17

12:26 Poster

As Rush Limbaugh states: “Wars are to kill people and break things.” On that, I stand by what I said. The REASON one decides to got to war is irrelevant to my argument.

You want to know the truth about why we went to war on Iraq?

Get the movie Fahrenheit 9/11.

After you watch it, ask yourself ONE question:

Why doesn’t Micheal Moore mention even ONCE the word “neocon” or “neoconservative?”

As Sam Francis pointed out in

“What Mr. Limbaugh actually said on his radio program last week was

“I’m getting a little tired of these media people speaking in their own code language. A case in point is their use of the term ‘neo-conservative.’ Whether they choose to hyphenate the label or not, it’s a pejorative code word for ‘Jews.’ “

Anti-Semites Use “Neo-Con” Code Word,, April 22, 2003

Posted by at 5:20 PM on February 18

The Vietnam War was fought mainly to keep the drug trade going for the CIA on one hand, Meyer Lansky and his mob on the other. Not Politically Correct, but the truth. Both sides worked together to make sure the money was coming in. It’s not a conspiracy theory, just fact if one digs deep enough. It was one of the reasons JFK had so much friction with the CIA. LBJ came in and rubber stamped the CIA (and organized crime’s) every wish after he came in, and rubber stamped all legislation put through by the Marxists, including the Immigration Act of 1965.

Posted by Los Angeles Resident at 5:51 PM on February 18

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