Culture

How background and culture plays a role in everyday life.

As I have gotten older, I sought out like minded people who I can share my life’s journey.

Luckily, one’s own individual culture can be practiced here in Canada.

I sought out Vietnamese people to connect with since 2017 when I ventured back to school at Durham College.

The reason I did was I felt I needed that deep down. I guess it is the phase in your life to seek out your cultural roots.

These Vietnamese students from Vietnam held a unique perspective and had smarts. They were able to learn English and navigate their way into doing school and work after.

It was surprising to see this. Back in 2008 when I was in university, I did not see many Vietnamese students. Now that Vietnam has quite developed, I see many Vietnamese students here in Canada pursing this and that.

A different perspective that you can relate with helps with mentorship and relationship building.

I saw this Japanese-American Computer Software Engineer now YouTuber mention this: Mayuko. She explores her roots time-to-time in her videos exploring her Japanese and American identity.

Basically find someone with a similar background as you or someone who can empathize with you.

I had to put myself out there and find my people so I could ask questions. I was looking for help and to help back. It is natural to ask for help and find that someone who can guide you on the right path. I did not do this until 2017.

I reconnected with my cousins back home in Vietnam recently. We talk online daily. I really needed that.

My cousins back home think like me. We are all supportive of each other. I am lucky to have these connections with Vietnamese here in Canada and my Vietnamese family back home.

The friendships I created with Vietnamese here and abroad helped me understand myself. No longer was I just an empty undriven person. I now had the opportunity to experience what it was like to be friends with Vietnamese and enjoy socializing about the things I experience first-hand being either Vietnamese, Canadian, and Vietnamese-Canadian.

I can always have a laugh with my Vietnamese friends and family as there are unique things that Vietnamese people only get. It is so much fun even just talking/messaging over Facebook/Discord. No need to travel or spend tons of money to have a laugh.

Vietnamese-Canadian Identity

The idea of Vietnamese-Canadian identity gets more confusing for me as I get older. I feel sometimes I just happen to be a Vietnamese guy living in Canada but it depends.

Sometimes different interactions alter that view.

The Canadian or American view of Vietnamese can be very bad or very good. It is usually so very Westernized and I find it does not define me.

I found that only Vietnamese from Vietnam can really display what being “True Vietnamese” really is. The Westernized view is not all encompassing of the Vietnamese culture and all it’s people. I have been to Vietnam many times and each time I go back I learn something new at different growth phases in my life as a Canadian-born Vietnamese. I have grown away from the Westernized viewpoint that I grew up from. Only Vietnamese people can truly show and tell what it is really like to be Vietnamese. You don’t go to a history museum to learn. You go straight to the source. Even going back to the motherland.

Vietnamese who have been in Canada long enough all share something universal. It is hard to explain.

Last August I was speaking to Vietnamese people around my age and older to volunteer at their non-profit charity organization for Vietnamese and we all just clicked. There was harmony being together over the Zoom call. We just are all Vietnamese working to provide services for Vietnamese and anyone willing to take part in our culture.

Other viewpoints from other cultures may work with, work against or even use ‘Vietnamese’ people.

I avoid being ‘different’ and just work with people who value me for me. It is a select few.

Or maybe I am misunderstanding the ‘Vietnamese-Canadian’ identity. I have not worked and played with enough Vietnamese-Canadians. But the connection I have with older Vietnamese here solidify me. I think I know what is going on.

Finally Vietnamese-Canadian?

I have no choice and things are going well 🙂.

My background, my dream, my voice are being presented finally now. I feel comfortable. Hopefully not too comfortable …

My background as a Vietnamese-Canadian is a downer and a privilege. Back when I was a teenager and young adult the ‘world media’ presented Vietnamese in a bad light in the area where I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. I grew up in those years as negative with negative surroundings … while I was positive inside. I knew the media wasn’t telling my story or how I felt inside. How could they? They aren’t Vietnamese speaking with a Vietnamese mindset.

It has been over 40 years since the Vietnam War, and I have finally become strong enough to be comfortable in saying that I am Vietnamese-Canadian. I am 38 years old this year (2022).

The way I look and my Vietnamese culture/race has always been negative things before and still now. Let me explain …

I remember studying practical nursing back in 2019 at Centennial College in Scarborough and I was expected to play out “my role” as the stereotypical Asian man who studied really hard and took care of people and things because of the way I looked and because I was “older” and “mature”. Yes, in healthcare there is racism. It was stressful because I am not the stereotypical Asian man who studies healthcare all day wanting to become a healthcare professional like other Asians. I don’t think of myself grouped up with the Asians who do healthcare.

My mother ‘finally’ told me that when I was in her belly as a baby, she thought and felt I would become a ‘computer person’. I now understand that and am just pursuing computers now (I am just a computer technician really). No longer am I wanting more in different fields. It has made me healthier and happier just doing computers as I found there are so much more and great positive collaborative people I can work with in the computer space that I enjoy and grow from.

The teachers I met at Durham College are amazing human beings. I met two outstanding teachers who ‘fully embody computers’ which I will talk about later in another post.

Now, I thought I would be done with school this semester but it looks like no.

There are actual people (teachers) that learn more and more which changed my focus to be more like them which is mature thinking for me.

Doing more and more school just makes sense if I want to continue making content for my websites.

I realize I am a product producing person. My friend Ben Cybulski is the same way.

I should not diverge from that activity as that makes me, me. I have used computers quite a bit and kind of understand what to create.

I disconnected from the “physical world” and just focused on me.

Vietnamese are doing pretty well now I think. Well the friends that I know here and abroad are thinking progressive and technological. There are many Vietnamese IT professionals and Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) city has been known for software programming since 2016 or earlier I think (I jumped on the programming bandwagon 🙂). Even Vietnam is producing more IT products (CPUs/Motherboards) and even an Electric Car: VinFast.

Duality-Problems

I have these problems and feelings (this blog) because I am living out of my comfort zone of being a computer technician to become a computer programming and getting old.

Also being Vietnamese-Canadian, I have this duality problem.

I have spoken to other Vietnamese-Canadians\Vietnamese-Americans and they too have mixed feelings and mixed views. I am not the only one.

I can live in two worlds: 1. Canadian-Vietnamese and 2. Vietnamese. It is beneficial to understand 2 different worlds at the end. More ways to understand a problem.

But as I get older, I just see problems …

I think this is solved based on who you marry as the wife will decide how to live and where to live.

My Personalized Culture

I have lived the way I want for many years.

The way I live hasn’t changed much since I was little.

Recently, my mom said something powerful that it took me a while to understand its value.

She said “To be born a human is a privilege. When is the next time you have this opportunity? Don’t waste it away doing nothing.

I did not understand this at first.

How I understand it is that you should just do it.

Do what you crave. Do what you feel you need.

Basically, just experience everything there is to life!

The Vietnamese with Kenneth Nguyen Podcast

Very meaningful interview with Leyna Nguyen who is a famous TV reporter

After watching this interview it hits me. She is making a difference in her community by teaching Vietnamese all around the world learn English after being a famous TV reporter. And she is doing this all free.

Doing this keeps her young and motivated. She is sharing her wealth of knowledge. She is professional and understands the problems and addressing them.

For me I am just a computer technician. I am trying to do more and mature. I am trying to make myself a knowledgeable person with opinion and views that are worthwhile.

I currently develop software with my friends that is free and trying to teach anyone in my shoes to keep busy and get more out of life.

Some people already know what they are doing in life. I am interested in helping those people who are at a crossroads not knowing what to do.

Programming was the solution for me. But also because I was interested in it 40%.

I hope to make a difference to keep me young and motivated at 38 years old.

I think another 3 years of what I am currently doing will help solidify me.