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Andrew Lam
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Entries by Andrew Lam

After MH17: I Am Committed to International Travel More Than Before

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:22 PM

My mother still remembers me as a happy Vietnamese child whenever I got to fly in an airplane during the Vietnam War. Flying was full of risks and dangers back then, but I was apparently a bouncy and cheerful little boy. Other passengers fretted and prayed yet it would seem...

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The Asian Elephant Vanishes: Once Revered Animal Becomes Consumer Product

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 3:16 PM

In Asia there's an ongoing irony that deepens as the natural world dwindles to the size of a parking lot. Wild animals, once revered and assigned all kinds of spiritual meaning, are increasingly ending up as the main entrée or as decorations for the rich.

The tiger, for instance,...

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Vietnam in a Quandary: China's Aggression, America's Seduction

(6) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 12:53 PM

Thi Quang Lam, a former general in the South Vietnamese army, is the author of The Twenty-five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon and most recently, Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle...

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Isabelle Thuy Pelaud: How I Found Myself at UC Berkeley

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 11:50 AM

When she was a teenager, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud would ride around the small village of Pierrevert in the hills of southeastern France. But her little moped could only take her so far. "I would ride all day but my world was a very small one, and I was invisible in...

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Iraq Replaces Vietnam as Metaphor for Tragedy

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 7:41 PM

A few years ago in a New York subway train I witnessed a scene that will always serve for me as an important marker of sort. A man in ruffled clothes walked up and down the aisle and panhandled in a loud voice. "Can you help a Vietnam Vet? I've...

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A Hidden Tragedy: Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans

(1) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 4:23 PM

What do Jiwon Lee, Kevin Lee, and Andrew Sun have in common? Sadly, they are three Asian Americans college students who killed themselves in high-profile cases in April at prestigious universities.

Kevin Lee, (no relation to Jiwon,) a sophomore at Boston University studying biomedical engineering, was found...

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Mother's Memories and Making Spring Rolls

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 9:53 AM

"Why don't you call me anymore?" she asks on the phone, her voice plaintive, barely above a whisper. "No one remembers me, no one cares if I died."

"Mother, I called 3 days ago."

"Liar! That never happened."


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Who Are the Boko Haram, and Why Is Nigeria So Slow to Act?

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 7:13 PM

Professor Michael Watts teaches geography at UC Berkeley and is the author of many books, including "Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria" and "Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta." He spoke to me about the recent kidnappings...

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Online Portal Documents Vietnam's Human Rights Abuses

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 1:23 PM

Note: Despite recent economic advances, Vietnam continues to languish when it comes to improving its human rights record, activists say. A new English-language online news portal, Vietnam Right Now, looks to inform readers on the Communist country's human rights situation, including updates on prisoners of conscience and...

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Welcome to America -- Enter at Your Own Risk

(2) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 12:49 PM

On Monday, seven runners from Boston University ran the Boston Marathon in honor of Lu Lingzi, the 23-year-old student who died a year earlier from the terrorist bombings that killed three people and injured 264 others. From all accounts, Lu had loved America. A graduate of Boston University, she was...

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Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary: A Meditation of Life in Exile

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:38 PM

Below is an excerpt from my recent essay, "Give Me The Gun," in the current issue of Boom: A Journal of California. It is a mediation of life in exile, trauma, and inherited memories; and it is an effort to understand the reasons behind the violence...

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The Palmist: A Short Story from Birds of Paradise Lost:

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 7:12 PM

The Palmist is a short story collected in Andrew Lam's latest book, Birds of Paradise Lost. It was published in March of 2013 and won a Pen/Josephine Miles Literary Award and is currently a finalist for First Fiction of the California Book Award 2014. It was...

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Foreword: Vietnam 40 Years Later

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 3:38 PM

As the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War approaches, photographer Robert Dodge offers us a compelling new view of Vietnam, my homeland, in his new book of photography: Vietnam 40 Years Later. Below is the foreword that I wrote for that book.

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The Impulse to Travel

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 6:20 PM

I do not know where the impulse to travel comes from but I have always had it bad, ever since I was four or five.

A Vietnamese child living in the Mekong Delta, I remember listening to my French-educated father's stories of snow -on the gilded bridges across the Seine;...

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Thailand: Democracy on the Brink

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2014 | 10:59 AM

BANGKOK -- At a recent rally here denouncing the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai party, Nga Nguyen, a Vietnamese tourist, looked down from the overpass of the Asok train station at thousands of protesters and shook her head. "Vietnam has no democracy, and Thailand is throwing...

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The 'Bamboo Ceiling': Hollywood Shuns Asians, While New Media Embraces Them

(10) Comments | Posted January 26, 2014 | 9:48 AM

In a recent New Yorker cartoon, a dog is shown lounging by a pool and saying to a pup: “Youtube’s one thing, but cats will never make it on the big screen.” A funny commentary, surely, but in America that statement could just as easily be applied to ethnic minorities,...

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San Francisco Is Made of Gold

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 4:06 PM

Recently I said goodbye to a friend who left San Francisco for greener pasture. We have been friends for many years and it was sad to see her go.

But like many artist friends of mine who loved the city, the bay, its beautiful hills and blue sky, she felt...

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Go Far East, Young Man: Americans Abroad

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 1:17 PM

After losing a lucrative job in 2001 in San Francisco, Ted decided, instead of moving home, to live in Hong Kong, where he fell in love.

"I come home, but not frequently," said the 34-year-old, who hails from Minnesota. "My life is here now." (Ted didn't want his last...

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Letter From Cairo: Arab Winter and Revolutionary Regrets

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 11:16 AM

CAIRO, Egypt -- It was on a lunch break during a tour of the ancient city of Memphis, under the shadows of Egypt's ancient pyramids that Tarek, a tour guide, became emotional.

"Before the revolution," said the 28-year-old, "I worked so hard that I begged for one day off...

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Remembrances: A Child's Christmas in Dalat, Vietnam

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 11:49 AM

Wild orchids and colored, painted pine cones -- these things I remember of Christmas in Vietnam. It was in Dalat, the hill station city with its persistent fog and whispering pine forests and littered with French-built villas, that I first celebrated Christmas. My father had been transferred there after the...

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