Journal # 5: Đồng thanh tương ứng, đồng khí tương cầu – Birds of a Feather Flock Together

As a Culture Coordinator and as a VCN director, I’ve done a lot of talking about “starting the discussion”. I took it upon myself to bring this dialogue to people outside of the UCLA community prior to the day of the show. I had the extreme fortune to talk to a couple of older Vietnamese-Americans recently about mental health, the state of the Vietnamese community, and what they thought about how we can change this discussion for the better. By talking to them, and their experiences with mental health, I hoped to gain more insight into the deeply-rooted issues surrounding this taboo topic in our community. I learned a lot– about myself as a person struggling with these afflictions, about the community I’m trying to help, and about the people sitting in front of me. It’s very true that everyone has their own story and struggle; it’s just very harrowing to hear from them just how gruesome their stories could be. I think a lot of Vietnamese parents look at their kids and say, “you’re just a kid; you don’t know anything. Just suck it up and deal with it.” They don’t validate what the kids are going through, and the kids don’t validate their parents partly because the parents never shared their story. On one side, you have the parents. “It’s so hard to come to a new country,” my friend said. He explained to me that, in very traditional families, you lived and died on the same plot of land your ancestors did. You didn’t just pick up and leave. But when 1975 came around, there was no...