Andrew Lam: East Meets West

Friday, September 03, 2010

Andrew Lam, editor with New America Media, discusses his new book, East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres, and how the east influences the west and vice versa. 


Andrew Lam

Comments [7]

Ngoc from Manhattan, NY

For Brian,

Any chance you can do your show an hour earlier? I am a big fan and was a little disappointed when I didn't hear many Vietnamese callers nor see many comments for your Andrew Lam segment. I, for one, couldn't call because I am usually out the door by 10am for work. Just a thought!


Sep. 09 2010 08:05 PM
Ngoc from Manhattan, NY

I'm glad to discover the writings of Mr. Andrew Lam through the show. I agree with Andrew that the experience of vietnamese immigrants in the US vastly differs from that of another Asian communities because we came here as refugees. Many Vietnamese families were split up and sent to different states once they were relocated to the US. Furthermore, the Vietnamese community was not as cohesive as that of Chinese, Japanese or Korean Americans and had very little social resources to help families through the process of assimilation and acculturation.

My family and I came to the US in 1983. We were relocated in the Bronx with a small number of other south east asian families. Growing up, we did not have organizations such as the CPC (Chinese Planning Coucil) where we could turn to for social services.

Another point I want to make is Roy's experience as an American visiting Vietnam only illuminates one aspect of what Vietnam is like today. Vietnam's relationship with the US is much more complicated than that of a forgiving country or a country with heartwarming welcomes to Americans and foreign visitors. Andrew is right in that there is a level of amnesia that has permeated into the younger generation of Vietnam. I have witnessed this firsthand myself when I visited my homeland for the very first time in 2007. I was 26 years old. The tour guide who was my age, recited his version of the Vietnam war which omitted many interpretation that I was instilled with in my American education, one of which was that it was a proxy war and a war of clashing economic ideologies. The youths in Vietnam today are taught that the war was about American imperialism, a war between a united Vietnam against an imperialist America. It is true that the Vietnamese are very warm and welcoming towards tourists, especially American tourists and to some degree it is indicative of the people's desire to no longer be held back by their past. They understand that a sound economic relation with the West is the only way out of poverty. The Communism they hoped and fought for never arrived. Yet the scars of the war are still visible: the decrepit homeless and beggars in Vietnam are abound and their disability a result of the devastation of war. In Saigon where many families of the former Republic of South Vietnam still live, there are still harbored feelings of hate against the communist governments, signs of an oppressive regime and failed war. Those who support the communist government will cite the Vietnam War as an example of how nationalism and communism have prevailed against the corruption of western capitalism. The truth is Vietnam's feelings towards the US is at best murky. It is a relationship of economic dependence which renders love and hate, envy and admiration. It is complex and to assume that the Vietnamese society has a monolithic sentiment towards the US is absurd and as absurd to think of them as a monolithic people.

Sep. 09 2010 07:52 PM
trucminhvo from harlem, ny

i think that roy eaton does have a rather forgiving perspective on vietnamese - and i appreciate his commentary - however, i can't disagree (though not favorably) of gaetano catelli's point of roy's critism of America. there should be more dialogue about the vietnamese perspective, separate that from American ideologies or critisms. the commentator stating there is a "lack of hostility" from the vietnamese is dashly disagreeable. that might suggest the vietnamese stereotypes are valid, a recurring conversation i've had with my peers.

Sep. 07 2010 05:03 PM
candonyc from nyc

I've been to Vietnam twice and it is a GREAT place to visit - the food is AMAZING, people are friendly and open minded about foreigners and the country and urban areas are fascinating in their different ways. If you want Starbucks and to feel like you never left home, go to Hong Kong or somewhere in Europe - if you want to go somewhere that will shake you up and gain a different perspective, go!

Sep. 03 2010 03:08 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm pretty sure that's Roy *Eaton*, who plays in Bryant Park's summer program.

Sep. 03 2010 12:28 PM

yes gaetano, those massage therapist spouses are so suspiciously unwarlike! he's probably got a Toubelerone in his gun holster too.

Sep. 03 2010 10:56 AM
gaetano catelli from greenpoint, brooklyn

how ironic (and how typical of his kind) that Roy Eden is so much more critical of America than the "heartwarming" Vietnamese.

Sep. 03 2010 10:54 AM

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