By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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The following article is in response to Gustavo Arellano's June 21 This Hole-in-the-Wall Life, discussing the oldest snack of the Americas: elote asado at El Rey de el Elote Azado in Santa Ana.
Seriously, you don't know much about ezquites or corn. The corns and ezquites at this place suck because the corn doesn't have the flavor a Mexican corn would, and the ezquites need epazote. Gustavo, please ask Mexicans for advice on the food before writing on how good it is when it's not. By the way, you are getting ripped off because you can get these items from a street vendor for half the price.
I enjoyed your article [R. Scott Moxley's "Protesters Don't Rattle Vietnam's President," June 28]. On that very Saturday, instead of going for my morning jog and routine workout, I decided to join the demonstrators outside the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point. I know it is probably bad for my heart but actually good for my conscience. We have already known that Nguyen Minh Triet is only a figurehead, a flavor of the month of the Vietnamese Communist (VC) Party. We did not demonstrate against him personally. We were there to condemn ongoing human-rights abuses in Vietnam. I am glad you mentioned the gentleman with the Ho Chi Minh on a stick. I happened to stand next to him and was glad to have pictures taken with him.
One of the demonstration organizers had asked him repeatedly to put the extreme sign away, but he refused. With a stern face, he shouted, "Did you know the VC killed seven of my family members?" As an ambassador of peace, a young lady quickly stepped in between them and said, "Please let him be. These are his rights—freedom of expression, freedom of speech. This is exactly what we are here for."
In your article, you quoted "one middle-aged man and his wife," part of the delegation, as saying they felt like they were watching "hungry, cage animals at a zoo." They were right. In Vietnam, that is exactly how 84 million Vietnamese people feel—like caged animals. The government watches your every move, every step. You are taught what to say and what to think. Just imagine that when one goes to vote, the choices on the ballot are as follows: a.) Mr. X (Communist Party), b.) Mr. Y (Communist Party), c.) Mr. Z (Communist Party). All rules and regulations are in the favor of a single party—the ultimate VC party. Laws are not written to protect the people, but in the interests of the VC party.
Father Ly, a well-known democracy advocate; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Quang Do; and Ms. Le Thi Cong Nhan and Mr. Nguyen Van Dai, both human-rights attorneys; as well as many other intellectuals and common folk who have tried to voice their opinions about democracy and freedom for Vietnam are now in hard prison or detention.
Yes, Mr. Moxley, we were there to speak out on behalf of 84 million caged animals in Vietnam. You also mentioned what Triet said about Vietnam: "They [the protesters] do not have accurate information about Vietnam." In fact, after 20 years living abroad and recent resignation from the U.S. Navy, I went back to visit Vietnam, my birthplace. I had personally witnessed a group of government officials carelessly forking out $500 U.S. for a bottle of imported hard liquor while a street boy was ecstatic when I gave him an ear of boiled corn. It was probably his breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day.
I am heartbroken to see in the so-called "No Social Classes" Communist Regime such a huge gap between rich and poor. The majority of the rich are government officials and anyone related to the godly VC party. One might have wondered where the money comes from. The simple answer is world aid, humanitarian donations and bribes from foreigners' investments. No wonder Triet had the biggest grin on his face since $11 billion U.S. are now safely in his and his compadres' pockets.
Nowadays, it is sad to say that one of the fastest growing industries in Vietnam is prostitution. The trafficking of women and children is rampant. Even in his speech calling for foreign trade, Triet cheerfully mentioned, "Vietnam has beautiful women!" I bet you did not know that the "P" in "President" stands for PIMP, as he is the biggest VC Pimping Daddy.
On the way back, I sat next to an older gentleman on the bus. Free buses were provided by the demonstration organizers and local Vietnamese businesses. The organizers encouraged us to take buses since they did not want to create traffic problems for the beautiful city of Dana Point. The gentleman was a former South Vietnamese Republic Army veteran. With a smile, he told me he was very hungry and thanked the organizers for the water bottle they gave him. He had a Cup of Noodles ready at home, but he did not have time to eat because he didn't want to miss the bus. It was ironic that while Nguyen Cao Ky, the former South Vietnam vice president and general, enjoyed the fine dining with the VC president and his entourage at the indoor reception, one of his troops went hungry outside the gate of St. Regis Resort at Monarch Beach. I guess I should not have been surprised because the same well-known general had abandoned his men and fled the country before the fall of Saigon. I respectfully told the older gentleman that I bet his stomach was empty but his heart was full. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank him. I thank the more than 2000 protesters who had tried to speak out for 84 billion Vietnamese people at home.