Monday, June 3, 2013

The Old and The New

An is torn between two worlds,  between America and Vietnam. Vietnam his birth place and hometown and  America, his  home where he belongs. Andrew feels out of place in Vietnam, since by returning to Vietnam Andrew was hoping to see his hometown as it was before where the people and the country was at its best. By returning to Vietnam, An hoped to experience  and feel the  same  warmth and kindness that he so much cherished and remembered after all these years. However, An soon learned that everything he remembered from the past had  faded away, and nothing remained from the old days. The country had  changed, during his stay in Vietnam An  was bombarded with needy people asking him for help because many of Vietnam’s citizens were living below poverty line. People didn’t have jobs and  couldn’t live since they had no income to make a living.

While he was in Vietnam, An was disappointed from his trip because everyone and everything around him was not what it used to be. He felt alienated and lost which made him see that everything that he cherished was gone. People were very selfish and only cared about themselves and their happiness. People only cared about money and wealth, nothing else mattered to them. An was surprised  to see the prevalence of prostitution and robbery. People were blinded by money  that they lost their sense of order and morality to a point where they  cheated and robbed not only their friends but family members as well. 

An was disappointed and felt sad that everything that he remembered from his childhood had faded away, nothing was left for him to hold onto. During his stay in Vietnam An detached himself from his people  and ancestral  homeland. The more he stayed there the more he became convinced that he didn’t belong there that he was destined to live in America. That his future was in America, the place he calls home.
By Elina


  1. It must be a strange feeling--To have been born Vietnamese, or any native to any country, grow up elsewhere, and not be able to identify as part of your country of origin. What's more, he had the difficulty of assimilating in American culture, where he wasn't welcomed. It's a huge step for An to be able to find a place to call home, even though he still is not completely welcomed. It's as if he had to make a place for himself, both in America and in Vietnam.


  2. Because Andrew travels to Vietnam with the intention of 'getting back to his roots', throughout our study of Catfish and Mandala, I think that I wanted to believe that he ideally found what he was looking for. In a way, he did, but what this entry reminds me is that, bluntly speaking, Andrew actually found a lot of disappointment when he returned to Vietnam. The selfishness, the immorality, and the cheating you mentioned that he continously encountered actually did prevent him from making the connection that he was ideally looking for. On the other hand, I think we should also consider Andrew a kind of unique narrator in the fact that his situation as a Vietnamese-American and the kind of issues he was deliberately focusing on affected what he chose to see in Vietnam and what he didn't. Other travelers to Vietnam might not report the same unpleasantness. Still, I think these observations are important to be realistic about the story.

    - Casey

  3. It's all about perspective. From the perspective of the panhandlers, they are not greedy. It is difficult to condemn someone for being greedy when they have relatively nothing. Their actions may at times be unethical, but they always come from a place of having a distinct lack of the quality of life and resources Americans and other countries enjoy. An indicates that he thinks of the beggars as greedy, but this assessment is not entirely fair, and is heavily colored by his American viewpoint, where this kind of behavior is looked down upon. However, the economic conditions in the United States are decidedly different than they are in Vietnam.

    - Gregory