Seasons Come and Go: How It Feels Like To Hit My Twenties

Once upon a time, not long ago, I was a teen - socially defined by my dorky behavior, bubbly attitude and outward confusion toward people and real life. Words like "bill", "rent", "debt", "credit", "housework", "career", "job opportunity" and "post-graduation" did not exist in my dictionary. Events, parties and the chance of gaining social acceptance … Continue reading Seasons Come and Go: How It Feels Like To Hit My Twenties

Hanoi and I: The Old and The New

Article started 08/28/16 in Hanoi, Vietnam; Finished 9/17/16 in San Diego, CA, US; Revised 3/28/2017 in Westminster, CA, US. Officially published 04/11/2017. 8.28.16 – A few months ago, I found myself struggling to decide if I should make a trip back to my hometown. I kept telling my parents and everyone else I didn’t want to, … Continue reading Hanoi and I: The Old and The New

Write: “Nét chữ, Nết người”

This is the story of my childhood experience going to elementary school in Vietnam and how I struggled in the mandatory penmanship class. In the Vietnamese culture, it's believed that one’s handwriting reflects one’s personality. Therefore, elementary school students in Vietnam are required to practice their penmanship skills following a set of guidelines and rules that aim to dictate how their handwriting must look like. Although the traditional purpose of these handwriting practices was to promote self-discipline, it gave no respect and consideration to the kids who struggled to conform. From a big picture point of view, it now seems to me that the whole thing was a part of a larger political agenda in Vietnam that aimed to erode everyone's sense of identity and individualism. Back then, as the only left-handed student in the class, I experienced the feelings of isolation and misunderstanding just because my handwriting wasn’t as pretty as those of others. I was beaten and forced to write by my right hand. Every day at school, I lived with the fear of being embarrassed in front of my peers for my own handwriting, which was a part of my self-identity. The story ends with my decision to rebel against the norm.