The Lucky Few: The Story of USS Kirk (complete film)

The Lucky Few is an hour long documentary about the story of the USS Kirk and its crew in their incredible mission to rescue Vietnamese refugees during Operation Frequent Wind in the final days of the Viet Nam War.

As the War was coming to an end on April 29th to 30th, 1975, Operation Frequent Wind airlifted about 7100 “at risk” Vietnamese (to death from the Communist Viet Cong) and American civilians out of Sai Gon, the capital of South Viet Nam. Some lifts were scheduled. Others were not. The relative American small warship USS Kirk, a destroyer escort, and its crew suddenly found themselves in the midst of a flock of unscheduled airlifts, to which it admirably accommodated even though it was neither meant nor ready to do any such thing.

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Best Songs I Heard for the First Time in 2010

Most people do not hear most of the songs they know for the first time in the year the song was released. If anyone did, I would feel very sorry for them for missing out on all the great songs of the past from before they were born, or even great songs each year they lived they would have missed.

What most people don’t do is reflect each year on the best songs they heard for the first time that year. I’ve blogged some of mine, but not all so this is my entire collection for 2010 which could fit on a CD if I made one.

After several years of discovering a ton of jazz and older music, then tunes from musicals, so that they made up most of the songs in my list for recent years , I am back with an eclectic set that reflects my true musical tastes and philanderings across genres. I even have not only one song from the current year, but two! A song from the year of the list was something I didn’t have for several years. I did find newly released songs I liked a lot in those years, but they didn’t compare to a variety of jazz and musicals standards I discovered in those years.

But before I share my list, let me ask you the same question as I answered to write this post. What were the best songs you heard for the first time in 2010?

I’d love to know so please do leave a comment. I can add the links to videos so people can hear what you’re talking about, if you would like. But if you don’t want to do it here, maybe write a blog post like this if you have a blog, or a Facebook note or something like that on a social media platform account you have. It might just be one of the more thoughtful notes to your friends all year.

Here is my list, in no particular order of preference, with videos streaming the songs. You will need to click on the YouTube link for some videos with some weird copyright condition that only allow them to be viewed on YouTube. I hate that’s become a wussie and lost all its edge.

Happy New Year!
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Hello Viet Nam — the Best Song About Viet Nam Ever

Happy Asian New Year, everyone!

At the Vietnamese Association of Nova Scotia celebrations, one of their leaders and a friend, Lien, told me about this amazing song called Hello Viet Nam. It is sung by Pham Quynh Anh, with Pham being her last name and Quynh Anh being her first. The Vietnamese who had names outside the ordinal naming system tended to have duo names that were poetic in nature. Marc Lavoine wrote the original song in French called Bonjour Viet Nam. It was later adapted into English by Guy Balbaert, and is known by the Vietnamese title of Xin Chao Viet Nam, though there is not a Vietnamese version of which I am aware. The full story of Pham Quynh Anh and the song’s development is at the end of this post. And yes, Viet Nam is really two words the way the people of the Motherland spells it.

Hey, if your Mother spelled your name in a certain way, wouldn’t you want others to spell it the same way?

Now, I didn’t doubt Lien’s musical tastes or ability to judge music. I had just heard enough songs about Viet Nam over the years and none had really stood out to me. However, just a few seconds into this one, it hit home, I was hooked and knew I had found the best song about Viet Nam I’ve ever heard!

It only took me about 30 years. 🙂

As a relatively new songwriter originally born in Viet Nam, I haven’t even come close to writing a song about Viet Nam. However, I can definitely tell you this one goes in my books as one I wish I had written. Any time you ever meet a songwriter, by the way, ask them for their list of songs they wish they had written. It’s a neat exercise! You can do the same, even if you weren’t one! But here’s Hello Viet Nam.

Tell me all about this name, that is difficult to say.
It was given me the day I was born.
Want to know about the stories of the empire of old.
My eyes say more of me than what you dare to say.

All I know of you is all the sights of war.
A film by Coppola, the helicopter’s roar.
One day I’ll touch your soil.
One day I’ll finally know your soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Viet Nam.

Tell me all about my colour, my hair and my little feet
That have carried me every mile of the way.
Want to see your house, your streets, show me all I do not know.
Wooden sampans, floating markets, light of gold.

All I know of you is all the sights of war.
A film by Coppola, the helicopter’s roar.
One day I’ll walk your soil.
One day I’ll finally know your soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Viet Nam.

And Buddha’s made of stone watch over me
My dreams they lead me through the fields of rice
In prayer, in the light…I see my kin
I touch my tree, my roots, my begin

One day I’ll walk your soil.
One day I’ll finally know my soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Vietnam.

One day I’ll walk your soil
One day I’ll finally know my soul
One day I’ll come to you
To say hello…Vietnam
To say hello…Vietnam
To say xin chào… Vietnam

The song is about a Vietnamese immigrant who has never had a chance to know his/her home. S/he may have been born in the land to which his/her Parents immigrated, or may have been too young to remember when s/he left the country in search of a better life, most likely as one of the Boat People during the mass exodus from the late 1970s to early 1990s. The song captures a curiosity about one’s roots that all immigrants could relate to, though the song is specific to Viet Nam, of course.

Anyway, Hello Viet Nam is the best song about Viet Nam I have ever heard. That much is clear to me. The video I chose is not the official video. Please click here for the official video. I chose it because it shows some footage of Viet Nam about which Quynh Anh is curious to know, although some footage was from the movies. It was also the video with the best audio, and since most of my readers speak English, I chose the English version of the song first. The French version is below. The lyrics below look similar enough to the English that I think the English was a reasonably faithful translation, but I’m no French expert.

Of course, Viet Nam was once a French colony before the Americans came there so it is quite appropriate to have an English/French bilingual version. I’m just surprised the Vietnamese haven’t jumped on it to create a Vietnamese version. They have Vietnamese versions of far more English songs than you know, albeit often with rather adulterous translations (ie. not faithful).

Raconte-moi ce nom étrange et difficile à prononcer
Que je porte depuis que je suis née
Raconte-moi le vieil empire et le trait de mes yeux bridés
Qui disent mieux que moi ce que tu n’oses dire
Je ne sais de toi que des images de la guerre
Un film de Coppola, des hélicoptères en colère

Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Un jour, dire bonjour à ton âme
Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Te dire bonjour, Vietnam

Raconte-moi ma couleur, mes cheveux et mes petits pieds
Qui me portent depuis que je suis née
Raconte-moi ta maison, ta rue, raconte-moi cet inconnu
Les marchés flottants et les sampans de bois
Je ne connais de mon pays que des photos de la guerre
Un film de Coppola, des hélicoptères en colère

Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Un jour, dire bonjour à mon âme
Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Te dire bonjour, Vietnam

Les temples et les Bouddhas de pierre pour mes pères
Les femmes courbées dans les rizières pour mes mères
Dans la prière, dans la lumière, revoir mes frères
Toucher mon arbre, mes racines, ma terre

Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Un jour, dire bonjour à mon âme
Un jour, j’irai là-bas
Te dire bonjour, Vietnam
Te dire bonjour, Vietnam


The Story of Pham Quynh Anh and Bonjour Viet Nam

Pham Quynh Anh (born 1987) is a Belgium, ethnic-Vietnamese singer. Her parents were born in Vietnam and immigrated to Belgium, where they met, married and gave birth to Quynh Anh.
When Quynh Anh was 13 years old, her father persuaded her to compete in the TV singing competition “For Glory,” held by Belgium’s RTBF Television. Upon winning the competition, she met her manager, who introduced Quynh Anh to her producer. The producer made possible Quynh Anh’s duet “J’espère” with French-hit singer Marc Lavoine. With “J’espère,” Quynh Anh followed Lavoine on tour to France, Switzerland and Belgium. In 2002 she signed a contract with Rapas Centre, a French-branch of Universal.

Quynh Anh reached international popularity in 2006 with her French song “Bonjour Vietnam,” composed by Lavoine and co-written by Lavoine and Yvan Coriat, when it accidentally appeared on the Internet. It is stated that the people of Vietnam were especially moved by the lyrics and by the ethnic- and cultural-yearning of foreign-born Vietnamese.
Due to its popularity, “Bonjour Vietnam” was translated into English by Guy Balbaert and is called “Hello Vietnam.” The English version is also accompanied with a draft-music video In May 2008, Quynh Anh sang the English version of the song in Paris by Night 92, an on-going Vietnamese language musical variety show. It is claimed that a Vietnamese version of the song will be released.

Quynh Anh will release her first solo project with her first single as the English version “Hello Vietnam.” In an interview with “Oh My News,” Domenech, manager of Rapas Centre, said that Quynh Anh will release her album “Bonjour Vietnam” that will be composed of 15 songs. The album is stated to be released in the near future.


Facebook Friends Diversity Tagging Challenge

How diverse are your friends in terms of geographical origin, and culture with a lot of that? How does that compare to your friends’ friend diversity.

Find out by tagging your friends on these Facebook friends diversity tagging challenges.

  • The first one is of Asian countries.
  • The second is of European countries by flags.
  • The third is of European countries by coat of arms, for the smarty pants.
  • The fourth is for Canadians counting friends from various provinces and territories.
  • The fifth is for Canadians counting friends living in various provinces and territories.

Ideally, I know I’d have memes with more than just “regional” representation for diversity, but it’s hard to tag and make out over 150 countries on a meme, you know. It’s also hard to make one for the 50 US states. Other regions, meanwhile, just don’t have enough. But you can probably count on the fact that you probably have lots of friends either like you and/or like each other so in a way, these memes are not bad for design. Most Europeans, for example, probably have lots of European friends to really give the meme an honest effort. I have lots of Canadian friends like my fellow Canadian friends to give the meme a good go at filling it all out. Anyway, that’s what I have. I apologize if there isn’t one that suits you.

Here’s how to get these graphics for your tagging fun:

  • Click on a picture below to get it at full size.
  • Right click on that picture and save to your computer.
  • Upload it to your profile.
  • Tag your friends!

Please click here for a complete list of over 100 Facebook picture tagging memes on this site with which you can use for fun with your friends.