Strap on your lunisolar cycle helmet—it's time for Vietnamese New Year, or "Tet Nguyen Dan," the Feast of the New Morning. In the aftermath of Kerry-Edwards, this brings to mind the Tet Offensive, in which the People's Liberation Armed Forces (yes, the Viet Cong) staged a failed operation on Jan. 30, 1968. Despite what was by all accounts a crushing defeat, the PLAF somehow managed to expose the People's Army of Vietnam's reliance on U.S troops, as well as the deep roots of Vietnamese resistance. Think back to Full Metal Jacket's lackluster Tet sequence, in which Marines rebuff a fairly limp-wristed VC—you call that a victory? People need to "understand" the war, so they try and explain it in bite-sized chunks, despite the incredible complexity of geopolitics. It's like writing about the Tet Offensive when you're trying to describe the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations' 24th Annual Tet Festival (theme: Embracing Our Culture, Securing our Future) in Garden Grove's Little Saigon. Not only are the two events independent from each other, but it's simplistic and a little insulting to imply any kind of direct connection. Especially when Tet is among the most popular Asian celebrations, let alone its role in bringing together the disparate, expatriate Asian communities throughout Southern California. And for those of you who can't remember your New Year's Eve, here's a chance to forget another great night.
CELEBRATE TET WITH THE UVSA AT GARDEN GROVE PARK, 9301 WESTMINSTER BLVD., GARDEN GROVE, (714) 890-1418; thsv.org. FRI., 2 P.M.-Sun., 11 P.M.