Nam Nguyen is Why the Vietnamese Will Be Watching Men’s Figure Skating at 2018 Winter Olympics

Nam Nguyen at the 2010 Olympics Figure Skating Exhibition Gala Skate

Viet Nam is a country in Southeast Asia not exactly keen on winter sports, never mind figure skating, never mind men’s figure skating in its macho patriarchal culture. I know. I’m Vietnamese. It also means I can also tell you it’s a hypocritical patriarchal society because everybody knows the Mother runs the house. That’s why our ultimate cursing is towards the Mother, and nobody cares much for cursing our Fathers.

Wow, that link was insightful! I just looked up a link to demonstrate what I knew of Vietnamese cursing and never knew there were so many. But trust me, all of it is mostly rare compared to the curses towards one’s Mother.

Anyhow, at the 2018 Winter Olympics, wherever it may be held, there just might be huge Vietnamese interest in men’s figure skating. That would be due to a kid named Nam Nguyen from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. At just eight years old, Nam was the youngest skater ever to become the Canadian National Juvenile Men’s Champion. His outstanding free skate there is below. The kid didn’t miss a jump and was also very artistic.

Just in January, Nam finished 3rd in the Junior Men’s category as an 11 year old, behind two 17 year olds (thanks for the correction by Britt in the comments #3 and #4 below). That placement earned Nam a chance to perform at the 2010 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Exhibition Gala Saturday night. He was quite the showman there, though nerves probably caused him to fall on his first jump. Watching him, the only show man in the building who could have outdone him was Evgeni Plushenko. Canadian champion Patrick Chan had better watch out! This kid could jump and punch the lights out and has a ton of charisma to boot!

That said, the nerdy get up they dressed Nam in didn’t exactly do his image a lot of good, despite tearing off a jump suit to start his routine.

It’s hard to predict the future, of course. Lots of people who try don’t do very well, whether their name is Nostradamus or Not a Damn Chance. However, if Nam continues to work hard, stays injury free and his Parents don’t make him study more than he skates as Vietnamese Parents are prone to do in a culture that values education so much, the kid has got an incredible future in figure skating. He won’t be able to compete until the 2018 Winter Olympics due to age restrictions. However, he should be able to make an impression on the Canadian national titles a few years before that.

Can’t wait!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.6

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Watch Canadian PM Stephen Harper Sing “With a Little Help from My Friends” with Yo-Yo Ma

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has finally found a better use for his mouth than for politics!

In a surprise moment at the National Arts Centre Gala in Ottawa last night (Oct 3), Stephen Harper appeared on stage to sing the Beatles classic With a Little Help from my Friends with Yo-Yo Ma… and he wasn’t bad. That’s a lot more than I can say about him in politics!

[I’ll try to find a better quality full video for this soon]

While Stevo Beatle sat in a Franz Liszt pianist concert posture side on to the audience, the filming was from an angle that hid his hands, defeating the objective of the Liszt seating arrangement. His piano playing might have been as shady as his politics, for all we know, and was definitely all behind the scenes.

However, I was all right with his singing so he’s got a future after politics that’s going to end soon. He’s relied on a little help from his friends and some Canadian apathy to stay in power so far, but his friends are dwindling. He’ll need a little more than that to stay in power long cause we’re becoming a lot less apathetic about his pathetic performance so far.

stephen harper singing

Stephen Harper Singing at the National Arts Centre Gala on Oct 3 2009

I’ll give Stevo this, though. That performance in Ottawa was the first thing Stevo’s done that I’ve tolerated to any extent. As for Yo-Yo Ma, well, let’s just say I’m trying really hard not to judge him by the company he keeps.

And that part of the song where Stevo Beatle sings “I need somebody to love”, that’s going to be priceless for the post-election celebrations when he goes down in the next election. 🙂

Finally, isn’t it ironic of all the people Stevo could perform with, he chooses a guy named Yo-Yo? Given all of Stevo’s unfulfilled promises, retracting on so many campaign promises, Yo-Yo is a name Stevo might consider for himself.

Yo-Yo Harper. One who harps but goes back and forth on it. Kind has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Credit to my friend Liz Shouldice for the video alert.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5

Schedule and Links for Tunes at Noon 2009 in Halifax, with Christina Martin Opening Review

Tunes at Noon takes place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Noon to 1:00 pm in Grand Parade in Halifax, till August 28, 2009. The schedule of performers include:

July 15 – Christina Martin (folk/rock)
July 16 –­ Rebekah Higgs (folk-electric)
July 17 ­– Pink Thunder (pop/rock)
July 22 ­– Ian Sherwood (rock/jazz/folk) / Steven Bowers (folk rock)
July 23 ­– The SideCats (roots/world/jazz/blues)
July 24 ­– Marimba Stew (percussive groove)
July 29 ­– Shannon Quinn (celtic)
July 30 ­– Shan Arsenault (jazz)
July 31 ­– Around Town Band (rock) / The Repercussionists (rock) [great name!]
August 5 –­ Fullhouse (Latin)
August 6 ­– Dave Carroll (folk/pop), of Sons of Maxwell and United Breaks Guitar viral video fame!
August 7 ­– The Strangeboys (bluegrass)
August 12 –­ Ryan Cook (country)
August 13 ­– Grassmarket (folk/bluegrass) [nice name]
August 14 ­– Telfer (pop/funk)
August 19 ­– Mary Stewart (pop/folk) / Crissi Cochrane, aka Save September (folk)
August 20 ­– David Myles (folk)
August 21 ­– Ruth Minnikin and her Bandwagon (Americana/folk)
August 26 ­– Kim Wempe (folk/jazz) / Norma MacDonald (pop/folk)
August 27 ­– Mike Trask (rock)
August 28 ­– Kev Corbett (folk)

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Summer 2009 unofficially arrived in Halifax today with the first Tunes at Noon 2009 concert, featuring Halifax’s own little dynamo, Christina Martin. Well, I shouldn’t call anybody little being at 5’2.625″ and 108 lbs. But Christina comes with an energetic and vibrant repertoire from some solid award winning recordings. Even with just one acoustic guitar amped up slightly and playing solo, the set was great!

I’ve been meaning to go see Christina play for a while now, more than just a few songs here and there where I’ve only managed to see her thus far. My stars just hadn’t aligned. They weren’t today, either, but I fixed that. On my way home to visiting Mom’s Vietnamese cooking during her last days here, I delayed it when I saw Christina playing at Grand Parade.

“That’s right, I held off Mom’s Vietnamese cuisine for Christina Martin’s music!”

I stayed to watch Christina’s set till the end, with intent of then going home and packing the lunch to take back to eat at my desk after the concert. I even called Mom to join me, but she was out so she didn’t know I was playing hooky with her cooking. So please, don’t anybody tell my Mom! 🙂

Instead of me trying to describe Christina’s music, though, nothing speaks for it like the music itself so I have included three videos below. They are songs from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts, which won her 2009 East Coast Music Award (ECMA) Pop Recording of the Year and two 2008 Music Nova Scotia Awards: Female Artist Recording of the Year & Pop/Rock Artist/Group Recording of the Year. The Tunes at Noon series schedule follows the videos, with links to all the bands for you to preview their music. I hope to attend as many as possible and review some of my favourite ones on the blog. We’ve got a lot of great musical talent in Nova Scotia who deserve a lot more profile than they get. There’s also a lot of diversity in flavour. So if you can come down to watch, or click through on the links above to hear their music and spread the word, I’m sure they’d appreciate it!

The first of Christina’s featured song is the title track from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts. It is my favourite song of hers, and this is the official video.

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The second is a live performance of Cut It Out from Christina’s Two Hearts CD release party at the FRED Whet Salon in Halifax.

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Finally, Christina acoustically performs You Come Home at the 2008 Nova Scotia Music Week Gala Show.

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Tunes at Noon is presented by Councillor Dawn Sloane, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and the Halifax Regional Municipality. Music Nova Scotia, C100 radio, The Coast and The Centre for Arts and Technology are also supporters.

You know, as I write this, I want to be out there someday performing. Being a singer/songwriter myself (my MySpace page), I don’t devote a lot of time to it due to the many other things I do. These people here have worked hard to get where they are today. Maybe seeing enough of them will motivate me to put on a much bigger effort and make that dream happen. Should do it soon while Dawn Sloane is still my city councillor, though, to increase my chances. 😉

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.2

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