When I (Gucci) came to America in 1975, there was no English-Vietnamese dictionary around for me to use. To learn English, I think of a "smart" way: Going to the libraries, looking for all old magazines (Times, Newsweek etc...) at Periodical section, but only for the ones issued prior to April, 1975. At that time, Vietnam War was a hot topic for print media to cover on their papers. I already knew almost every military event happened in Nam ("Been there, done that,"man...!); by reading the Vietnam War articles, I would figure out the meaning of words in English for what I already knew happened in Vietnam. This is some kind of "references in reverse" to look up for words not in dictionary book but in real life!
By learning that way, I ended up to know a bunch of English vocabularies in military and Politics, unfortunately, those big words couldn't help me a damn in my real life as a dishwasher at Pekins restaurant (American restaurant franchise in Minnesota). So I kept using my "sign language" at work when needed; but thanks to reading those old magazines I discovered one thing: They are all fucking lies. I mean most the articles covering the Vietnam War.
Today, I don't remember how many books and VN war movies I has seen and read. All are still a bunch of...fucking lies full of bullshit mixed up with some real fact. Worse, none can offer a bit of South Vietnamese perspective, neither it presents a decent role of ARVN troops, the main character of the play. Until I met Pham Xuan Quang and later read his book "A Sense Of Duty, My Father, My American Journey."
A lot of "brand name" people have written good review about Pham Xuan Quang's book, and I am not qualified to do so. But I have to admit with you one thing: Today I still learn English the way I used to learn before (man, English is my 3rd foreign language, not 2nd at all). But this time I have a real McCoy, not the fucking-flat-out-lie-and-bias articles of the decade of '70. "Sense Of Duty" seems to reflect my obsessed thought about Vietnam War that has been translated in American style: Succinct, insightful, emotional and powerful!
Click on the thumbnail picture below to watch the video clip on Pham Xuan Quang's lecture on the subject: THIRTY YEARS AFTER VIETNAM: MYTHS, LESSONS AND CLOSURE
PS: By the way, Pham Xuan Quang is also a modeling enthusiast, never absent from any VNAF Model Aircraft Exhibition in California. There's a bonus he offers in his book for those who didn't know any thing about VNAF: A crash course of VNAF History(101).
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