Dai Hoi 6 Fundraising Dinner

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 – Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Toronto, ON.

Last weekend, the Toronto fundraising team for the 6th International Vietnamese Youth Conference in Manila (Dai Hoi 6, or DH6) held a wonderful charity dinner and concert to help sponsor the Canadian delegation’s trip to Manila, Philippines. The theme of this year’s conference is Digital Activism, and we Canadians are proud to send our delegates to the conference with high hopes that they will return with useful knowledge and new inspiration to apply and to share. Also, a huge thank you to the Sacred Heart church, our organizers, volunteers and parents who helped us pull off this successful fundraiser; it was a lot of work but totally worth it! 🙂

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Charity Dinner for Japan Tsunami Victims

Saturday, April 16, 2011 – Bayview Glen Church, Woodbridge, ON.

Last weekend, Nhóm Thiện Chí Toronto, our organizing committee made up of members from many different Vietnamese community groups, held a charity dinner and concert to fundraise for the relief effort in Japan. Although our community is not particularly large, we decided to come together to support our brothers and sisters in Japan, all the victims who have been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck their country back in March. It was impossible to know of their distress and not reach out to them when doing so is completely within our abilities.

The evening was a success, and we have raised over $24,000.00 with only 2 weeks of preparation. Our Japanese-Canadian guests from the JCCC (Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre) Foundation expressed such genuine thanks that it brought tears to my eyes. They are such strong spirited and sweet individuals.

I sincerely hope Japan will recover from this disaster and that all of the victims will find peace.

Here are some photos from the evening…

Thank you to our photographer Brian Nguyen!

Some good news: Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s release!

Hello world!

I haven’t been able to update in a while due to the onslaught of midterms and papers. But now that that’s over, I’m in slack-off mode again, so here I am. 😀

As you can imagine, I haven’t been up to much outside of studying and researching. A few weeks ago, I did attend the Hoa Tinh Thuong (Thuong Phe Binh) charity dinner down at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Toronto. To those who are unaware, Thuong Phe Binh Cong Hoa are the Republic of South Vietnam’s Disabled Veterans. A few of us PBC girls were there to assist with the flag ceremony and to sell raffle tickets during the program. There was a great turn out and we managed to sell all the raffle tickets for a truly worthy cause.

I also have a piece of good news to share today. Aung San Suu Kyi, inspirational long-time democracy leader in the military-ruled nation of Myanmar (Burma), has finally been released from detainment! The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had been completely isolated under house arrest for the past 7 and a half years until her latest period of detainment expired, and on many other occasions before that, for leading the struggle to bring democracy to military-governed Burma. Her father is the late General Aung San, praised as the country’s independence hero. Thousands came out to greet and support her soon after she was released.

You can read about her release, the background story, and Ms. Suu Kyi herself, here:

On BBC News or NBC.

“If we work in unity, we will achieve our goal,” she said in Burmese. I have faith in her words. Ms. Suu Kyi’s admirable strength, determination and hard work are a beacon of hope for the futures of countless people. So let’s take her words to heart and continue together on the path to Freedom, Justice, Democracy and Human rights–not only in Burma, but also in Vietnam, China, Tibet, and Everywhere a soul is being wronged and oppressed.

Republic of Vietnam Disable Veterans Home Page

04-09-2010 Dem Ca Nhac ‘Tieng Hat Vi Nguoi Ngheo’

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Toronto ON – September 04, 2010: Dem Ca Nhac Tieng Hat Vi Nguoi Ngheo

At the beginning of September, my friends and I had the honour to co-MC a special evening of faith, music, and charity. The Vietnamese Catholic community gathered during the visit of Father Nguyen Tan Sang (Cha Sang), a Vietnamese priest with a warm heart and a golden voice, who resides in Vietnam but occasionally travels to major cities during his time off to share his faith and organize charity events for the poor in Vietnam. His charity work helps orphans, the blind and sick, the elderly without caregivers, and the Vietnamese Montagnards among others, who receive little help or attention in communist countries like Vietnam. Bless his heart! 🙂

Well-known Vietnamese guest singers such as Son Ca and Giao Linh also lent their wonderful voices to the cause (though personally I prefer the local singers). A great amount was raised from the auction of two beautiful portraits alone. All in all, it was a very successful charity event thanks to the generosity of the community.

Once again, I leave you with some photos of the event. Photographer: Papa!

Enjoy!

18-09-2010 Fundraising for Democracy Activists in Vietnam

September 18, 2010: Fundraising for Democracy Activists in Vietnam – Tiệc Gây Qũy Yểm Trợ Phong Trào Dân Chủ Cho Việt Nam

Last Saturday evening at the Royal Dragon Restaurant in Mississauga, our Vietnamese-Canadian community came together to organize and support a charity dinner in order to raise funds for democracy activists in Vietnam. These righteous, brave, and outspoken activists have been and continue to play a crucial part in supporting the movement for freedom, democracy, and human rights in Vietnam, all of which are virtually non-existent and ever overshadowed by the corrupt communist government and their unjust ideals. From where we are, in any way possible, we must give them our full support!

We also had honoured guests who made the trip from the United States to contribute their support. Mr. Đỗ Thành Công, a former political prisoner and democracy activist who was unjustly imprisoned by the Vietnamese communist government, was one such guest in attendance at the charity. He gave a rousing powerpoint presentation detailing his knowledge of critical issues that Vietnam is and will soon be facing due to the incompetence and corruption in the country and especially within the governing party. Mr. Đỗ Thành Công and three of his party members were arrested in August of 2006. He himself was arrested and subsequently deported. Lê Nguyên Sang, a member of the People’s Democratic Party of Vietnam (Đảng Dân Chủ Nhân Dân) served 4 years in prison for violating article 88 of the criminal code, which forbids “conducting propaganda against the state.” They were released recently in 2009 and 2010. However, the irony is that these prisoners have never actually posed a direct threat; they simply spoke aloud their mind, and their words did not agree with the government–hence they were imprisoned without just reason or cause.

Concern is ever growing. The amount of jail sentences for political prisoners in Vietnam totals to about 187 years, and that is only from what we do know at this point. Dozens of independent bloggers and democracy activists like Ms. Phạm Thanh Nghiên, Ms. Trần Khải Thanh Thủy, and Ms. Lê Thị Công Nhân, just to name a few well-known activists, have been arrested (in some cases also beaten) in Vietnam and no doubt we will see more of such injustice to come if we sit idly and do nothing to stop it.

Furthermore, the Vietnamese government has been relying on communist China for “protection,” yielding its lands to the threatening and rising superpower to the North–lands such as Hòang Sa and Trường Sa, Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly Islands, an act that has caused an uproar from Vietnamese around the globe and even within the usually suppressed country. The Vietnam-China border continues to move, wherein China expands their territory while Vietnam is losing more land. By buying the “protection” of a similarly communistic country, the Vietnamese communist party ensures that they will remain in absolute power. Vietnam has proudly upheld its own for thousands of years, and to let this happen is not only an outrage, but I feel like it is a tragedy, as well.

I managed to learn a lot on Saturday between the stress of performing and the awesome fun we had dancing. I couldn’t catch all of Mr. Đỗ Thành Công’s presentation, though he covered a lot of very serious and note-worthy aspects and what I do remember I have already written about here. I am so glad to have the opportunity to not only attend but also be of help to the organizers. After every successful event, I get that awesome feeling of gratefulness that I am able to be a part of an amazing community and know the most inspiring people whom I love enough to call family. 😀

P.S. Check out the links I’ve put up on the left of my page, too. I just added the link to “VietAm Review.” The blog is in English and contains some very interesting politically-charged articles. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Back after an unexpected absence

My absence was uncalled for. I didn’t know the summer term would have me so preoccupied. That, and I can be naturally quite lazy. But anyway, I’m back!

I went to Orange County in California for my cousin’s wedding during the last week of June. It was spectacular, unfortunately I had to miss the G20 protest which was on the same day as the wedding: June 26th, 2010. I stayed up to date with Toronto news while over there but I still wish I could have been in two places at one time. My friend posted a blog about his experience at the G20 protest that day, so if you’d like, you can head on over to his WordPress and read his very insightful thoughts: Que Huong Meets The Great White North. He also attended the uNAVSA conference in Washington D.C. Find him under the LINKS section to the left of my page.

PBC camping was last week — Trai An Tinh. I loved it, just completely loved it. It was the perfect weekend of bonding and appreciation (and horribly good mosquito bites). Didn’t shower while I was there, though. Haha! However, I did wash my hair in a sink, with the encouragement of our awesome VP Internal. Heehee. 🙂 I hope my younger brother and little cousin who came along have been inspired to get involved now. They are both such bright young minds.

PBC will be involved in an annual charity dinner in September, as well. It is to raise money for the families of Freedom Fighters in Vietnam, who constantly face the communist government’s injustice while advocating for humans rights and democracy within the country. I’m excited for that, but I hope we won’t get seated next to the speakers again as usual. 😛

My friends and I have gotten tickets to a once in a lifetime concert (well, for us, anyway)… X-JAPAN IN TORONTO!!! I freaked out after hearing about it and now we’ve got second row seats to the show on October 7th at Massey Hall. My friend woke up early to get those seats on the first day. I bow down to him, haha. Talk about a dream come true. I honestly never thought I’d get to see the grandfathers of J-rock, live on stage, ever in my lifetime. 😀

After that I also hope to hear the Dalai Lama’s public talk on October 22nd at the Rogers Centre. He will be talking about “Human Approaches to World Peace” and it’s always been my dream to meet him in person. He is one truly amazing and admirable soul. If you’d like to learn more about His Holiness’ visit to Toronto, see this site:

http://www.dalailamatoronto2010.org/

Time to get a steady job because I have a feeling I’m going to be totally broke by the start of the Fall term. 😦

Like my collection of JRR Tolkien novels, my list of Life Plans is ever growing. And it’s so nice to have one, too. I used to think I wanted to just settle down early after graduating, and I held a rather old-fashioned outlook on life. But after I started the list, I realized I could never go through with that because of all the things I truly want to experience and accomplish before becoming “tied down” to anything. I often find myself in conflict over the future. It really does feel like there’s so little time.

It’s fast approaching… can’t wait for SECOND YEAR!!!

I leave you with some PBC appreciation camp photos (my Papa didn’t take many). Good night!

PBC Trai An Tinh photos