Tara Westover: Educated

15 Năm Yêu Ngọc Lan

Hôm nay mười lăm trước tôi cho ra mắt dự án giữ tôi và anh Trọng, hai thanh niên hâm mộ tiếng hát Ngọc Lan. Không ngờ mười lăm năm sau tôi vẫn phấn khởi và tự hào về công việc lao động tình yêu (labor of love) này.

Lúc ban đầu chỉ có hai anh em nên anh Trọng tuyển thêm chị Ngọc, người chị ruột của anh cũng người hâm mộ ca sĩ Ngọc Lan. Chị Ngọc giúp đỡ chúng tôi rất nhiều về những bài viết lúc bắt đầu. Và chị đã móc nối được những hình ảnh độc quyền và hiếm hoi của Ngọc Lan.

Sao khi trang web được công khai, tôi cũng không hiểu sao được khá nhiều người hâm mộ Ngọc Lan biết đến. Một trong những thành viên rất tích cực trên trang web là anh Sinh nên chúng tôi mời anh gia nhập vào ban quản trị của và anh đã nhận lời. Giờ nhìn lại, quyết định đó đã khiến trang web còn tồn tại cho đến ngày hôm nay. Vì vài tháng sau khi ra đời, anh Trọng và chị Ngọc đã rời bỏ ban quản trị. Lúc đó nếu không có anh Sinh, tôi cũng đã ngưng hoạt động.

Mười lăm năm qua tuy tôi và anh Sinh chưa từng gặp mặt lần nào nhưng chúng tôi luôn sát cánh bên nhau để duy trì trang web này. Cho nên tôi cảm kích anh rất nhiều. Tôi không biết nhiều về anh nhưng tôi nhận xét được tình cảm đặc biệt anh dành cho chị Ngọc Lan. Chỉ có fan mảnh liệt như anh mới bỏ nhiều công lao ra mà không cần thu hồi lại. Cái hợp đồng giữa anh và tôi là tình cảm dành cho chị Ngọc Lan nên chắc chắn rằng anh em chúng ta sẽ cùng nhau hợp tác thêm mười lăm năm nữa.

Dĩ nhiên được tồn tại là nhờ sự đống góp của cả làng (it takes a village). Cám ơn sự ủng hộ về tài chính của các thành viên cho chi phí domain name và hosting mỗi năm. Tôi không nêu tên tất cả thành viên lên đây vì sợ thiếu sót. Hy vọng rằng vẫn là nơi cho những ai vẫn còn yêu thương tiếng hát Ngọc Lan cùng chia sẻ và kết nối hôm nay và tương lai. Happy birthday,

Stand With Immigrants

Nguyễn Thanh Việt:

Vietnamese-Americans are now part of the “model minority” who believe they earned their success, relying on little or no government assistance. They are not so different from Mr. Kelly, the descendant of Irish and Italian immigrants who included unskilled laborers speaking little English. Convenient amnesia about one’s origins is an all-American trait, since we believe ourselves to be the country in which everyone gets a new beginning.

What some of us also forget is that at nearly every stage of our country’s history, the people who were already established as American citizens found convenient targets to designate as unable to assimilate: the indigenous peoples; conquered Mexicans; slaves; or the newest immigrants, who were usually classified as nonwhite.

Just because we have become American citizens, we should never forget that we were immigrants too. Nguyễn Thanh Việt has written a compelling case in The New York Times.

Horribly Familiar

John Cassidy opens:

School shootings are now as American as apple pie, and Friday’s tragedy at Sante Fe High School, in Sante Fe, Texas, followed the usual recipe.

He closes:

But the only way things will change in Washington, D.C., is if, come November, the voters elect a very different Congress.

Read his thoughts on The New Yorker

Gun Over People

Ten more lives had been gunned down. This time’s in Santa Fe, Texas. It’s tragic, but not surprising at all. Again and again, nothing has been done to prevent these horrific school shootings. This nation has chosen gun over people. More kids will die and our leaders will just stand by. More thoughts, more prayers, and more checks from the NRA.

GDPR Compliance

To comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies on May 25, 2018, I am no longer using any tracking script on all my websites, which include this blog, my portfolio, Vietnamese Typography, Professional Web Typography, and Simplexpression.

On April 14, 2018, I gutted Google Analytics on all of my websites. On May 16, 2018, I deleted all data and properties in my Google Analytics account. I do not collect, use, or share any personal data. I have no idea who reads my blog or visit my websites. I do not know your internet activity. I respect your privacy.

Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives

Indian-American comedians are killing it. In his latest Netflix special, Hari Kondabolu offers a unique voice on the Trump supporters and healthcare. Redistribution of organ from the rich to the poor by killing the wealthy is a bit extreme, but he makes a valid point for getting started with healthcare. In addition to race, politics, religion, and gay marriage, Kondabolu has intriguing stories on mangoes. Good materials, Hari.

The Rage of the Incels

Jia Tolentino:

In the past few years, a subset of straight men calling themselves “incels” have constructed a violent political ideology around the injustice of young, beautiful women refusing to have sex with them. These men often subscribe to notions of white supremacy. They are, by their own judgment, mostly unattractive and socially inept. (They frequently call themselves “subhuman.”) They’re also diabolically misogynistic. “Society has become a place for worship of females and it’s so fucking wrong, they’re not Gods they are just a fucking cum-dumpster,” a typical rant on an incel message board reads. The idea that this misogyny is the real root of their failures with women does not appear to have occurred to them.

What do they want? Tolentino writes:

What incels want is extremely limited and specific: they want unattractive, uncouth, and unpleasant misogynists to be able to have sex on demand with young, beautiful women. They believe that this is a natural right.

Read the entire essay at The New Yorker.

Kevin James: Never Don’t Give Up

James’s latest Netflix special covers the familiar territories such as fatherhood, allergies, and food. There aren’t any twist and turn or a unique perspective—just straight up family friendly. Light jokes from heavy James.

Centering Text

I am fed up with people telling me to center all the text. No matter how many times I explained to them that centered text is hard to scan and not easy to read, they always came back with “the committee wanted the text centered.” Well, fuck the committee. I don’t design for the committee. I design for the intended audience. If the committee wants to make all the text centered, it should design it itself.

Sometimes I just want to give in and get the damn job over with, but it irritates the fuck out of me. I don’t want to be an asshole, but I hate seeing a piece of crap. There, I just need to get it out of my system.

Better or Worse?

Xuân has developed his language skill faster than his brothers at age two. The reason is obvious. He learns from his brothers. I can’t recall exactly when Đạo began to express himself with words, but I still remember his frustration when he couldn’t tell us what he wanted. Đán started to talk earlier than Đạo, but he stuttered because he could not come up with words to use.

Xuân, on the other hand, is very expressive. He already knows the differences between “I like it” and “I love it” as well as “I don’t like it” and “I hate it.” He loves to sing and to improvise. He could put anything into a tune. For example, when I pointed out to him a walking dog to distract him from wanting another pack of Pocky, he started to sing “doggy walking, doo, doo, doo, doo.” Or he would repeat what I said in the melody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Sometimes he busted out some Jewish tunes he learned from his daycare that I have no idea what he was singing.

At times he mixes English with Vietnamese. One time, he was holding a plastic revolver, as we strolled around the block. He pointed to the sky and said, “Daddy, chim (bird) flying.” I replied, “Yes, chim flying. Isn’t she beautiful?” He pull the trigger three times and said, “Daddy, I shoot it.” Yes, my boys still play with toy guns.

These last couple of days, he started to use the word stupid: “Monkey stupid,” “Đạo stupid,” “Đán stupid,” “Mommy stupid,” and of course, “Daddy stupid.”

Now I am not so sure if his language development is for better or for worse. In either case, I am enjoying hearing his voice and his opinions.