Author Topic: The one single thing that brought them all to America  (Read 10369 times)

Joe Carillo

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The one single thing that brought them all to America
« on: August 22, 2019, 09:51:19 PM »
The one single thing that brought them all to America

For the perspective and insights it offers about the Asian diaspora into the United States during the past half century, I’m sharing with Forum members a private Facebook post of my daughter’s close friend A, an American financial services product manager of South Vietnamese roots. (I won’t name her and all others in this essay to keep their privacy.) We met at a get-together lunch hosted a few days ago by my daughter and her husband in a city somewhere in the American Midwest.

Here’s her Facebook post that I’ve slightly edited for narrative continuity:

“Yesterday I was fortunate enough to meet my dearest friend’s Dad for the first time. I’ve been hearing about him and his family for almost 20 years.

“He said something to me yesterday that really stuck with me. He asked me: ‘Do you know what is the one single factor that made it possible for all of us to be in this very room today?’ I looked at him bewildered. He gave the answer himself: ‘The Vietnam War.’

“Then it swiftly dawned on me how true what he said was!

                                     IMAGE CREDIT: VINTAGENEWSDAILY.COM
Vietnamese “boat people” fleeing their country
after the Vietnam War (1978-1979)

“Because of the Vietnam war, my own Dad was imprisoned for six years, and that made it possible for our family to immigrate to the United States. Because of the war, there were shortages of doctors and nurses in the United States and this made it possible for my dearest friend’s aunt in the Philippines (she was a medical doctor and sister of my friend’s Dad) to get employed in a major hospital here and eventually get my close friend to live and study here. Same for my friend J.

“What I learned from that conversation was that in the midst of devastations and destructions, there was a silver lining! No one at that time could see it, but looking back though 44 years, millions of lives have changed and improved as a result of that sad, sad war.

“I guess I’m sharing this because as I look around and listen to what’s going on around me, I hear lots of fear, lots of anger, lots of frustrations... and all are well-founded! But I hope that we all could go through it together and come out better and stronger than before!

“Always look for the silver lining!”

In his newly released book A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, veteran New York Times journalist Jason DeParle makes a sweeping, deeply evocative chronicle of global migration though the lens of a single family, moving in spurts from the Philippines through the Middle East, Europe, and eventually the United States.

Read Laura Wides-Muñoz’s book review, “When Providing for Your Family Means Leaving It Behind,” in the August 20, 2019 issue of The New York Times now!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 11:00:13 PM by Joe Carillo »