Posts tagged vietnamese.

Fong Tran Poetry Spring Shows

3.29 Saturday
Performance for Slow Food Conference @ Sac Food Bank 2:00pm

4. 2 Wednesday
Poetry Workshop @ Sacramento City College Cultural Awareness Center 1:00pm

4.4 Saturday
Guest Speaker “No Time to Lose” Professional Conference @ SCUSD Serna Center

4.15 Tuesday
Poetry Feature @ Sonoma State University

4.16 Wednesday
Mahogany Urban Poetry Series featuring Fong Tran @ Queen Sheba 9:00pm

4.23 Wednesday
Hot Buttons Spoken Word for Social Justice @ Sol Collective 6:00pm

4.25 Friday
Poetry Workshop @ University of Denver *tentative*

5.2 Friday
Poetry Workshop for SAYS Summit Sacramento Area Youth Speaks @ UC Davis

5.3 Saturday
Keynote for UC Davis Transfer Weekend @ Student Community Center MPR 10:00am

5.8 Wednesday
All People’s Recognition Ceremony University 4:00

Special feature on RevoluionsPerMind (RPM) ›

The problem with what’s taught in School.

Title: History Textbooks.

Original poem by Fong Tran 

http://youtu.be/U6ZyW_twrhU

Words to Poem: http://fongtranpoetry.tumblr.com/post/59638984602/the-problem-with-whats-taught-in-schools(bottom of page)

Directed and Edited by Somchay Phakonkham

This was an awesome project that I got a chance to do out in Melbourne, Australia. Shouts to Steve Nguyen and Indigo for hooking me up with Somchay.

Masters Program “Personal Statement”

I’m excited to announce that I’ve applied for the UC Davis Community Development Masters Program. I hope to future uplift my professional and academic skills so I may uplift my community! I want to publicly share my personal statement - I can also release my statement of purpose if there’s enough interest

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I tell my students, “Our stories may be different, but our struggles are all the same”.  October 16, 2010, a 16-year old Vietnamese male was shot as an innocent bystander in a gang related drive-by shooting. He died three days later. This young man was a peer mediator at Hiram Johnson High School and aspired to attend UC San Diego and change the world through smiles. His name was Jimmy Le and he was one of my students through a summer internship program I hosted. This would be the moment that cemented my life-long mission and  dedication of my being to the liberation of young people and to improve the conditions in which they live, so they may thrive and most importantly to create a community where catastrophes like Jimmy’s do not happen.

Jimmy’s story was very much like my own. My family escaped from the Vietnam War in 1986. They survived the horrid conditions of a Philippines refugee camp for eight months before finding sponsorship to Stockton, California.  A year later, we moved to Sacramento; and like Jimmy, I grew up in section 8 housing where my neighbors were largely low income immigrants. My two older brothers dropped out of school  in the tenth grade and got involved with gangs. They were incarcerated multiple times, and were absent for the majority of my life. My family barely made ends meets under welfare and food stamps and when things couldn’t get worst; my father abandoned our family of five when I was six years old.   

This story seems like an inevitable narrative that leads from rags to incarceration, but the harsh circumstances that   were supposed to hold me back became my motivation to  succeed. I could have easily fallen into a troubled path as my brothers did, but the strength and sacrifices of my single mother inspired me to get an education and support my family. Even though all my other siblings and extended family were unable to go college because of the financial constraints, I  chose to hold the heavy baton  of being the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.

Attaining my Masters degree is a part of the continued dedication to better the living conditions for my family and my community.  I tell my students that “the only people that can change our communities are ourselves”.  After graduating from college, it was imperative for me to go back to the community that I came from and to help young people, like myself and Jimmy, have more chances to succeed. I started working at a nonprofit organization called Asian Resources, Inc to work with underserved youth and increase their access to higher education and job opportunities. I provided youth services through multiple capacities, such as on-site school outreach, drop-in counseling and internship case management. I served on several community boards as a consultant on youth issues such as the Sacramento Asian Pacific Islander Coalition called CAPITAL and the Marginalize Youth Collaborative (MYC). In addition to youth advocacy, I became an active spoken word poet and performed at several community events and conferences throughout California. Poetry has manifested into an extension of my continued mission for social justice and community engagement as all my poems have an educational value.  One young person states “I love your poetry…I highly respect your mentality to change the world. Your writings [are] deep within the meaning… you inspire me to write.” It means the world to me when young people relate to my poetry and are inspired to tell their stories.

Becoming a UC Davis Community Development graduate represents a continued stepping stone for my pursuit for social change. Its represents the inspiration of a young man wanted to change the world through smiling. It symbolizes a mother’s sacrifice and love. It represents the resilience of four Vietnamese refugees that left everything and overcame all for this young man to reach this achievement and privilege. I only hope that UC Davis allows me this privilege and opportunity to uplift my skills and experience so I may uplift my community.

A small video about who I am and what I’m about - BE ABOUT IT! Shout outs to Lane Lewis and Christine Yeakley for making this video!!

Fierce Urgency of Now

My name is Fong Tran and I’m currently the Program Coordinator in the Center Community School Partnership under the UC Davis School of Education. I’m a proud graduate of UC Berkeley and received a degree in Social Welfare and doubled minor in education & public policy. Raised by a strong-willed, single mother with 4 other siblings, I grew up in low income, subsidized housing under government assistance and food stamps. I was one of only three students from my high school to attend UC Berkeley so many would consider me a success story from the disadvantaged hood of South Sacramento.

 

My older brother, however walked a much different path. He grew up as non-English speaking refugee from the context of the Vietnam War. He, my mother and my 2 older siblings escaped Vietnam and lived in the refugee camps of the Philippines for more than 8 months until they were sponsored to America. As a teenager, he was out-casted for being a foreigner and he found it hard to keep up in school. Because he couldn’t speak English, he couldn’t find a job. He turned to the gang life for money and self-respect. He dropped out by the tenth grade and was incarcerated three times. Luckily, this was before the three strikes law was instituted otherwise I don’t know where my brother would be. After his third sentence, a family friend decided to invest in my brother’s vocational training and now, he is a successful contractor with a girlfriend and a beautiful 1 year old daughter.

 

Looking back, he and I were no different in intelligence, skills and or parental upbringing. The one factor that differentiated our life paths was that I had opportunities and resources that he never had. I had mentors that believed in me and programs that nurture my leadership and skills. Someone decided to invest in my brother 3 jail terms too late. After dropping out. After being gang involved and incarcerated. After many family heartaches. We, as the State of California cannot make the same mistake. We cannot think to make the investment later when the most effective time to believe in our young men of color is right now.

 

Today, I am a community organizer for the Boys and Men of Color Partnership in Sacramento. I help young men discouraged by zero tolerance school discipline policies, previous gang members, homeless and foster youth with opportunities that they have been denied from for so long. These opportunities include leadership conferences, employment work programs and personal mentorship. In a time when young men of color are three times more likely to drop out of school, be out of work or be incarcerated, we must provide more opportunities and break down more barriers than ever. The issue only continues to manifest as the economy makes jobs more competitive and unattainable for underprivileged communities. By the year 2018, two thirds of all jobs will require a college degree or additional training after high school, which only means breaking barriers for men of color more urgent. I whole-heartedly believe that investing in youth is the greatest form of social change but as Dr. Martin Luther King would say we must “remind America of the fierce urgency of now”.

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This is my submission for the KVIE Perspective California Report Commentaries Project.

"I Hate Being Vietnamese" by Fong Tran

Vid Credits go to Dou Her

I Hate Being Vietnamese

I hate being Vietnamese
By Fong Tran

June 16, 2012

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
every Vietnamese dude in my neighborhood
Was trying to that same cigarette smelling,
hair slicked back, White T, Baggy Jean wearing
gangster wanna-be
that had asian stereotypical tattoo of that
Dragon clashing with the phoenix, or some sort of big ass Koi fish
or a Chinese Character on his shoulder that stood for Strength or honor
Homie – that’s not even our language

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
Every Vietnamese dude
Had the same car
Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Honda Prelude, Honda Hatchback, Honda something
Maybe an Acura Integra, Maybe
But that’s still made by Honda but whatever I digress
The most important part
That yo rice rocket had to be lowered
on to some 15 inch silver spider plastic rims
And I hated how they had to go up on speed bumps at an angle
so they didn’t have to scraped the chassis
I hated how everyone could talk about cars but me
you got to get the S300 Intake manifold turbo
"Uhh….no. What the hell is that?"

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
Every Vietnamese dude
Had the same hair cut
And they were all inspired by Dragonball Z
Either you the Goku Super Saiyan Spikey hair
Or the slicked all the way back
glistening from quarter of a pound of gel
with the golden Gohan bangs in front
Or the Trunks split down the middle drew
Or the bulma bowl cut hair
Or you look like Kirlin and you were just bald
Apparently all true Vietnamese gangsters
had dragon ballz haircut

I hate being Vietnamese
We all smell like fish sauce and Pho
You can’t be going to the club
You can’t be going to Ket Mo Ree
smelling up like fish sauce
Its not a good look, bro

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause the Vietnamese men that I knew
Either smoked too much
Gambled too much
dranked too much
got shot up too much
abandoned me to be on own too much
like my cousins
like my uncles
like my brothers
like their friends
like my own father

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause all the Vietnamese men in my life
Beat the Vietnamese womyn that I loved in my life
like my big sister
like my brother’s girlfriends
like my own mother

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause being Vietnamese
meant I hated everybody else
hated hmong people
hated Lao people
Mienh people
Khmer people
hated Black people
Hated everybody
we gangbanged on ourselves
So maybe I’m just as Vietnamese
as I hate to be

But yet I still…
I hate being Vietnamese
because I everything that I was told to be successful
by my teachers, television, society
was everything Vietnamese was not
so being a little boy
“Denying being Vietnamese” was everything I was taught

I didn’t speak Vietnamese
I didn’t have Vietnamese friends
I hated being Vietnamese

I wrote off my identity like Standardized Test exams
Not really understanding everything about my History & my Language
was everything I am

so I took a retest and saw
hating being Vietnamese
was just hating myself
It was self-hate
It’s been a language whisper colonist oppressors
Told us to blanket our pride
Never show our true strength
And this generation will simply be the successors
The successors of imperialized slaves
cause in this time, the game has changed
They tell us to be color-blind
No history, no ethnicity, just American
But we chose, we chose to redefine
I don’t know about you
But I’m Southeast Asian
I’m Southeast Asian Vietnamese American
And I know I said I hated being Vietnamese
But I didn’t know what it meant
to be in a family of Warriors and refugees
I didn’t understand why Americans helicopter dropped us
In section 8 housing of violence and poverty
I didn’t why broken education systems were at war
and my brothers were the causalities
they drop out of school, learn the gang rob
cause no ever taught them English or how to get a job

I have one message for fellow
Southeast Asian Graduates
Be proud of who you are and
Remember where you came from

Remember, we share this narrative of struggle
We are the descendants of generals, kings, dragons and goddesses
And they say we carry the history of our ancestors on our backs
So maybe that’s why we bear dragon tattoos on our shoulders
So we can always remember who we are and stay on track

Maybe that why we leave hints of old aged fermented fish
or spicy salad sting of jungle decorated papaya
And the beautiful concoctions of curry and coconut milk called Ka Poon
we leave legendary legacies
Off the simple utterance of our breath

Maybe thats why we bought Hondas
because they were the very engines
that kept fishboats to keep moving
across Southeast Asian seas
to Refugee camps

Maybe that’s why we pretend to be thugs
cause our parents were original gangsters – OG’s
while we strap guns
they strap farm machettes and hmong knives
through turfs called sun beating rice plantations
they real rick ross bosses
always knew how make my banh mi’s
with that pati spread and the soy sauces

Southeast Asian moms had the power to heal all
That healing power was called
Tiger Balm
Mienh Folks called it “Dia cAAm”
Vietnamese people called it “Yao Xanh”
The stuff cure everything
stomache, headache, heartache, diaherrea and toe fungus

Our parents are Super Saiyans
They were the supreme Kai
landscaping, farming. Donut shops, nail salons
They did anything for us to survive
They ascended past super saiyan 4 and 5
Through frieza’s global annihilation attacks
that we call the Cambodian Genocides
Thru Vegeta’s hostile takeover disguised as
American assimilation
They will be kamakema fires
The Ginyu Force at our graduations

Graduates, as you make way onto your Goku journeys to the real world
In search of your 7 dragon ballz
Remember, we will accomplish all that our families have set out for us to do
And as long as you remember to never ever hate who you are and embrace your legacy
We will finally be able to grant them
their one wish

Congratulations to the Southeast Asian Class of 2012!!

Come thru for a LA show: http://www.facebook.com/events/160786790719217/164482353682994/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

commongroundoc:

We are pleased to announce that community organizer, youth advocate, and incredible spoken word artist Fong “Batman” Tran will be driving all the way from Sacramento to perform at our June common ground show. We asked Fong for his thoughts on this month’s comeback theme, “healing.” Here’s what he had to say:

We don’t heal just when we’re hurt or damaged but healing is a apart of the everyday struggle that we live through. Our bodies, minds and spirits deserve to heal and to be replenished. Art serves as that bat-mobile vehicle toward healing because art taps into our creative spirit or inner voice which is often times denied autonomy due to our daily grind.  Healing spaces are necessary because there are times when we can’t always heal on our own and it requires friends, fam and boo-thangs, plus you wanna help other heal others too. HEALING PARTIES!! Lets get “HEALING WASTED!!”

For more on Fong, visit his Tumblr. Curious for more before the show? See him performing his poem “WTF” here.

Come thru for a LA show: http://www.facebook.com/events/160786790719217/164482353682994/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

commongroundoc:

We are pleased to announce that community organizer, youth advocate, and incredible spoken word artist Fong “Batman” Tran will be driving all the way from Sacramento to perform at our June common ground show. We asked Fong for his thoughts on this month’s comeback theme, “healing.” Here’s what he had to say:

We don’t heal just when we’re hurt or damaged but healing is a apart of the everyday struggle that we live through. Our bodies, minds and spirits deserve to heal and to be replenished. Art serves as that bat-mobile vehicle toward healing because art taps into our creative spirit or inner voice which is often times denied autonomy due to our daily grind.  Healing spaces are necessary because there are times when we can’t always heal on our own and it requires friends, fam and boo-thangs, plus you wanna help other heal others too. HEALING PARTIES!! Lets get “HEALING WASTED!!”

For more on Fong, visit his Tumblr. Curious for more before the show? See him performing his poem “WTF” here.

Third Annual San Francisco Vietnamese American Poetry and Art Festival
features Bao Phi, Sahra Vang Nguyen, Aimee Phan, Andrew Pham, Andrew Lam and many more!
A night of incredibly talented Vietnamese people and then there was me….

Third Annual San Francisco Vietnamese American Poetry and Art Festival

features Bao Phi, Sahra Vang Nguyen, Aimee Phan, Andrew Pham, Andrew Lam and many more!

A night of incredibly talented Vietnamese people and then there was me….

A hot mess of Vietnamese Sexyness! Props to Teena Nguyen for the Video

"Reclaim Stories/ Reclaim Self" by Fong Tran & David So

Shout out to “bubblylotuskisses” for recording this video from the 2012 Iu-Mien Student Conference.

Much love to my boi Matthew Vista for music and hook for this collaborative poem.