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Vietnamese Americans

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6 Segments




Mai Pham Discusses Her Life and Career.

Restaurant-owner and chef, Mai Pham. Born in Vietnam and raised in Thailand, Pham came to the United States in 1975 and became the first Vietnamese journalist in this country. Her first cookbook, "The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking" (Prima) is a collection of recipes coupled with memories and reflections of life and food in South East Asian culture. Subtitled, "Favorite Recipes from the Lemon Grass Restaurant and Cafes", the book includes 150 of Pham's recipes that have drawn accolades for her three Sacramento restaurants


Journalist Nguyen Qui Duc.

Journalist Nguyen Qui Duc. He works for KALW-FM in San Francisco, supplies commentaries to NPR and received the Overseas Press Club's 1989 Award of Excellence for his public radio series about returning to Viet Nam. Nguyen has written a new memoir about his family's struggle during and after the war. NGUYEN's father was an official in the South Vietnamese government who was captured by the Viet Cong and imprisoned for 12 years. In 1975, Nguyen gained passage to the U.S. on a cargo ship, and moved about from relative to relative until he settled in California.


"From Hollywood to Hanoi."

First-time film-maker Tiana (the Americanization of the name Thi Thanh Nga) has made a personal documentary tracing her 1988 journey back to Vietnam, where she was born: "From Hollywood to Hanoi." Her father was the head of press relations for the South Vietnamese government, and she enjoyed a privileged childhood. But her father moved the family to the United States just before the fall of Saigon. Tiana was raised in California from the age of three and became an actress in low-budget exploitation films.


Author Robert Olen Butler.

Author Robert Olen Butler. Butler's first novel, "The Alleys of Eden," has been called one of the finest books ever written about Americans in Vietnam. Butler has a new collection of stories, called "A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain." (It's published by Henry Holt). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)


A New Life in the United States after "Thanh's War"

Vietnamesse-American Pham Thanh and American filmmaker Elizabeth Farnsworth. As a child, Thanh was seriously injured when the Americans bombed his village. He eventually was brought to America and raised by foster parents. Farnsworth has made a documentary about Thanh's life, and the legacy of the Vietnam war on that country's children. It's called "Thanh's War," and it's being shown this week on PBS.


Lady Borton on the Plight of Vietnamese Refugees.

Lady Borton is an American Quaker who has done extensive aid work in Vietnam and with Vietnamese refugees. In 1980, she served as Health Administrator of Pulau Budong, the largest Vietnamese refugee camp in Malaysia. Borton describes the conditions as terrible, including, overcrowding, lack of food, and a rat infestation. Borton has a written a memoir of her time working in the camp, "Sensing the Enemy: An American Among the Boat People of Vietnam."


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