Sometimes when I’m at a loss for words…

…my friends know exactly what to say, because they’re probably thinking the same things.

As of the beginning of my second year at university and being part of a Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), I’ve found myself blowing more and more steam over the issue of representing our VSA with the Vietnamese Freedom and Heritage Flag. Not to point fingers, but… you know. I don’t understand why this particular VSA I am a part of has decided to abandon the Heritage Flag while the majority of our members are Canadian-born Vietnamese, and while the majority of our executives have told me they support the flag through their words and actions. Not only that, but the previous president fought hard to put the Heritage Flag up 2 years ago. Actually, when the new executive team came up this year, I remember telling my mother that I was very hopeful there would be no more “flag controversy,” and that we could present the Heritage Flag openly in our VSA again. So when I learned how wrong I had been, I was at first crushed, but to be honest it has turned into utter frustration. Why should we cower in fear over a few pushy complaints from a meager handful of international students? I am not saying they don’t matter, but I know taking away the flag does not serve any justice to the majority of our members.

The reason I’m bringing this up at this time is not only because I’ve been ranting about it to a bunch of people for a while now, but because my friend finally brought it up first, and I wanted to share what he has written regarding the matter. I honestly couldn’t have put it in better words myself.

freedom spelt with 3 stripes

That said, I’ve brought this matter up with a few of our executives and although they do tell me different things, I swear to you this one line always stands out above the others:

“We don’t want the DRAMA.” And that is how the topic always gets brushed off.

As a member of this VSA which has declared themselves flag-free, I feel that I am not properly represented as a Vietnamese-Canadian student or even just Vietnamese. I feel that my opinion is not valued as much as these other few students’ opinions, although since I’ve joined I have been eager to get involved whenever my VSA needs me. Without a flag to identify ourselves, we’re a little this, a little that, and totally ambiguous.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I like our university’s VSA and I love the people I’ve met through being a part of it, who have become a central part of my life. But there’s a problem with a part of its functioning that’s still there, and it’s sitting there on the table like a plate of molding lasagna that everyone’s trying to ignore because no one who is capable has the guts to clean it up. But I sincerely hope they take the proper measures soon, because just looking at it makes my stomach turn.

I refuse to disregard my principles, downplay the significance of the Heritage flag, or say that I’m simply “neutral.” I carry this flag with me wherever I go, because I want to always be clear about where I stand.


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