Families Traumatic Escape Inspired The Vietnamese Boat People Podcast
Episode 4 – Tracey Nguyen Mang
Read The Transcript Below While You Listen
Perfect for people with hearing issues or non-native speakers. This transcript is made by AI so is not 100% accurate.
[00:01:30] Niall Mackay: All right. Welcome to another episode of 7 million bikes a Vietnam podcast. I’m your host as always Niall Mackay. Now my guest today is the founder and creator of the Vietnamese boat people podcast. It’s an award-winning podcast, which shares the stories of Vietnamese diaspora. Something, we’ve talked a lot about with our guests who are children of people who were in fact Vietnamese boat people.
[00:01:58] She’s the youngest of seven children and was born in yet Chang here in Vietnam before her family risked their lives to flee Vietnam. I guess today I’m very excited to have on as Tracey Nguyen Mang, thank you for coming on.
[00:02:12] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Thank you so much for having.
[00:02:15] Niall Mackay: You are very, very welcome and very excited to have you on.
[00:02:18] I try not to get too over-excited for certain guests. I don’t want other guests to feel bad, but I have been excited for this one and partly. I became aware of your podcast. I don’t know exactly why neither early this year or late last year. And then all of a sudden it was one of those things. Then the topic just kept coming up with my guests.
[00:02:38] Because if you look back through, I have a lot of VQs or Vietnamese overseas. I know different people use different terms, but people that are. The diaspora from around the world, which I’d never even held that what, before her. And then now I realized that it’s a really important term and especially for Vietnamese who are now very much spread out across the world.
[00:02:56] So honestly, as soon as I heard your podcast, which is really amazing, congratulations on that. And congratulations on winning an award. That’s amazing almost immediately. I want to have her on the show. So look, let’s get into it. Tell me all about Vietnamese boat people, because I’ve listened to it. I love that.
[00:03:15] I think is unbelievable for me as a non Vietnamese person. I’ve lived here a long time. Obviously I’ve read, I’ve read some books, I’ve read a little bit of both Vietnamese boat people and but I’ve learned so much more from your podcast. And something, and you can talk on it a bit more and then I’ll stop talking.
[00:03:34] But even from my own experience with friends here, I know that it’s difficult. It’s a difficult experience and situation to talk about whether they’re a boat person or whether it’s related to the war. I knew people here who their parents have never really told them much about their experiences. They’ve just overhead stuff.
[00:03:52] Whether they’ve been drinking beer with a friends, and that’s the only way that they’ve learned. What the appearance actually went through. And so that’s what I think is so I kind of knew this already. And then seeing listening to your podcast, reading your website and seeing that it’s actually a massive, massive, I don’t know if it’s the issue or challenge.
[00:04:09] You could call it around the world for the Vietnamese diaspora to have those conversations. And one of the things, and then I moved, stopped talking, and now I want to hear from you. I thought it was amazing on your website was the conversation. To talk with parents. So please talk about that as well.
[00:04:25] So I’m going to stop talking, please tell all of the listeners, because I’m sure they’re as excited as I am. How did the Vietnamese boat people start? What is that about? And tell us everything.
[00:04:35] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Thank you. Now, everything, all your observations are right on point. For me. You know, in your introduction, I came to the United States at the age of three.
[00:04:44] So we, you know, we stayed in Vietnam after the war. I mean, the diaspora journey of the Vietnamese people are at varying levels, but really. Up until 1975, there were very few Vietnamese people living in other countries. And if they were, it was because they were either studying overseas or involved in some sort of diplomatic career.
[00:05:09] And so. 1975 was really the point where, because of the war, because people were trying to flee the conflict of the war and the, and the results. That’s where the community was spreading all over the world. And for me growing up, back then in 1981, which is when I came to the U S. There were few Vietnamese people.
[00:05:33] They were starting to populate, but for, and depending on where you lived in the United States, you might be surrounded by a community where like, they were familiar with other Asian groups, like Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, but Vietnamese Americans, like they don’t really know anything about Vietnamese people other than the.
[00:05:54] Because that was what was being portrayed within the U S media. So for me and I think my experience when I started the podcast, I, I discovered that it was very common among other communities, but we grew up where, you know, inside our house, I spoke Vietnamese. I mean, it’s my first language, but I never formally got educated in Vietnamese.
[00:06:18] But outside of our home, you can just imagine as a child, I just wanted to fit in. I was surrounded by a lot of you know, white friends and I was in I was in the public school system that based on the dividing points, I ended up in a school where there were very few minority. Well, it was a lot of middle to upper class and I just happened to be on the borderline of government housing.
[00:06:43] You know, my parents were in the low income bracket. And so when I stepped outside of my house, it was a completely different world at school. And so a lot of what I think I spent my childhood doing this kind of suppressing. My history and heritage, because I wanted to adapt and assimilate. And I think my parents wanted that for all of us.
[00:07:05] So there was that understanding that, you know, we don’t have to always talk about the past and children are too young and to your point is very traumatizing, you know? And so my mom had always been very open about what our life was like in Vietnam. You know, we lived in very poor living conditions.
[00:07:22] My parents actually came from a lot of wealth. You know, as you might have heard or read, you know, there was a lot of regulations afterwards, so everybody was kind of put on similar social economic class and it was, it was hard and we were struggling. And then when we came to the U S we were still.
[00:07:43] Right. I mean, now we didn’t speak the language. We didn’t know the culture. We were on like subsidized housing, food stamps, whatever it might be. And so all of that I think is just heavy for a child. Right. Let me just fast forward of how Vietnamese boat people began. I think it is. I feel like what I call the the ethic combination of varying forces.
[00:08:05] One, I became a. I had two children. And I got married and had children a little bit later. I mean, nowadays it’s common, but I was, you know, 35 by the time I had my first child. And so by the time I turned 40, I was in this moment where I, you know, was very doing very well in corporate America, but I was always questioning whether or not that’s what I wanted to do.
[00:08:33] At the same time when I turned 40, my dad turned 80 and I’m the youngest of seven. So. You know, my children were born and my dad was 80 and my youngest child was two. I think my other one was three. And I just felt like, oh my gosh, you know, I don’t know how much longer my parents are going to be around.
[00:08:54] And I just am not sure that I know enough about our history to be the, to even tell our children. And also like all these things were coming back to me. You know, I, my children were born in New York. And also this generation of parents were crazy. I mean, I was constantly looking for the best preschool, every, you know, gadget that came out learning or comfort, whatever it might be to raise your child.
[00:09:19] I was all over it. I was like monitoring their schedule on my mobile app, like crazy things. My parents had never had the time to think about. And, you know, we bought our first house both my husband and I had demanding jobs. So we had a nanny to take care of the kids. So I was just at this phase in my life where I was like, everything that I’m able to provide for my children today is nothing that I grew up.
[00:09:47] You know, we came from very humble, modest beginnings in the U S and so it just felt like I was distancing them from all the history and the upbringing. And it also made me question like the values of how I was raising my children. And so all of these forces going on in my mind. So finally, one day I said, you know what?
[00:10:10] I should just record my family story and I bought a mic and I went down to DC. Cause my parents were in Northern Virginia at the time. And I just said, Hey, I’m kind of starting this oral history for our family. Can you just like, tell me the story because I just, you know, I want to save it for like the grandchildren.
[00:10:31] I was like, I feel like growing up, you told me bits and pieces of it. And that only came from mom and dad never talked about it and my brothers never talked about it. And so my family is, it goes four boys and three girls. And so my oldest brother and I, the age gap is 17. And in 1979, my dad left with my oldest brother in 1980.
[00:10:54] My three brothers were teenagers. They escaped by themselves. And then in 1981, my mom took my sisters and I, and I was three and my oldest sister was 10. So these were three separate escapes, three years apart. And if your listeners are not familiar with these journeys, It was very expensive and risky to leave at that time.
[00:11:17] So for an entire family of nine to leave together, one, we could not afford it. But two, it was highly risky. And then also the thought process is if some family members can make it, you know, outside in the United States, perhaps they can send money and support the ones that are left behind. So that is a very common.
[00:11:38] Theme among families back then when they were trying to flee the country. But my brothers had a really hard time because they came here as teenagers. So they were already put in the school system in high school, you can imagine and they didn’t speak the language. And back then there was no ESL English as a second language.
[00:11:58] That course is now common in the public school system, but they didn’t have that back then. So my brothers went astray. You know, as they became teenagers and young adults, so like our relationship wasn’t close and I was too young to even like, ask them the right questions or even be curious to be quite honest.
[00:12:17] My dad is your typical, I think Vietnamese man. Very quiet, very reserved. I actually don’t remember having a real conversation with him longer than 20 minutes. That was just how our relationship was. But now I was 40 and I’m like, what the heck do I have to lose? And, and I think, I think w as soon as I told my dad that I said, you know what?
[00:12:41] I just want to share this with the grandchildren, dad. I feel like I don’t really know anything. Like, I don’t really know how you and mom met. I don’t know like what your escape was like. So for the first time my dad and I talked for six hours, I’m not kidding. Like, we didn’t even eat. Like after breakfast, we sat down, we skipped lunch.
[00:13:01] I mean, maybe we took restroom breaks and had some coffee and water, but my dad was just so open and honest and I learned so much about what it was like for them through his perspective too, which I think is a very different Hmm. Then I went onto my brothers, who, again, I’d never knew their story and I never knew how hard it was for them.
[00:13:24] You know, living in Vietnam at between, you know, eight to 14 after the fall of Saigon. And they all of a sudden had to become men. They had to go out and earn a living because they had these two babies, you know, three baby sisters that they were trying to help my parents raise. And. It was like their entire childhood was gone.
[00:13:44] And even in the U S it was gone. Right? Because now it was like a whole different set of challenges that they had to come through. So I collected all of those stories. And along the way, I was also reading other books and stories, and I was doing research on oral histories. And I didn’t know what to do with the recordings, to be honest, I was like, okay, so now I have like over 20 hours of family recordings, I’m like, I could just stash it away and be like, I did my job, you know, I’m, I don’t know everything, but it feels like I know so much more than I ever did growing up.
[00:14:19] But I had this itch in back of me that said, you know what? I can not be the only one. Trying to understand this. And I, when I was reading oral histories or actually researching oral histories and going to universities and trying to find these like audio archives that are so impossible to find.
[00:14:42] And written archives. And I just thought, you know, of course we don’t know about this because any oral history project that’s been done is like hidden somewhere in like a university or a library. And then how is the everyday person like me supposed to be able to, to know it. And I also started reading other books.
[00:14:58] Around that time. The sympathizer was extremely popular. I know that’s fiction, but it’s based on a lot of like with experiences as you know, how Viet 10 wind came up with a whole plot. Taboos the best we could, which I love. It’s a graphic novel about just her upbringing and her parents’ background.
[00:15:20] I read a ton high lie inside, out and back again. So all these books I was absorbing and what I was also finding, which I think when we started the podcast in 2018 is so different than. The environment is right now for Asian American narrative. I just was finding that there were a lot of pub there weren’t a lot of published books.
[00:15:42] Number one, number two, the ones that were published were typically memoirs or about an individual story. And I said, you know, what, what about like, just everyday people like. Who want to share their story? Or what about like, just letting other people kind of reconnect with their own family’s stories, even if their families are talking about it, they can learn about this history through other people’s stories.
[00:16:06] And. I also just loved podcasts at the time. Cause I was commuting a lot. So I was always, always listening. So I know I’m rambling, but long story short, I said, I’m going to start my own podcast. I have all these recordings and the first season is going to be about my family. I’m just going to put it out there and it’s going to be highly curated because I think Vietnamese people, our heritage is centered around food community in stores.
[00:16:35] And I thought, you know what, it’s going to be curated and it’s going to be like storytelling. And that every episode is going to be centered around something unique or specific to this individual’s experience and perspective. Because I, while I do feel that no humans went through this journey while I do feel like this is a monumental part of history, that there are common.
[00:16:57] Across every individual stories. The beauty of oral history is it’s one, it’s about one person’s perspective, memory and experience. And that is always unique. That is always unique. No individual is ever the same and no individuals interpretation and observation and outcome of what they’ve experienced is exactly the same.
[00:17:21] So. I launched season one with my family. I don’t even know if my dad and mom is actually ever, I’m sure. They’re like, oh, I don’t want to hear myself talk. And from that point, I just. Started my own website. I started social media. I was like, Hey, if you have a story to share contact me and to my surprise, organically people were contacting me.
[00:17:48] And the first, you know, the first few as, you know, as a podcaster, I kind of had to find people. So I was watching documentaries. I was reading up and I would reach out to people and be like, Hey, you know, I read this about you and I was, I’m starting this podcast. And it’s really simple. Nothing you have to do other than spend an hour talking on the phone with me.
[00:18:10] And and I think because I had season one out, it really. I think showed people that I was very honest and see it sincere and what I was trying to do, that I was willing to put my family’s vulnerable story out there. And. You know that I was doing this because I really wanted other people to learn about this part of history.
[00:18:31] It’s not taught in American history books. I don’t know what the Vietnamese history courses are like for children. I can imagine it’s, it’s censored in a lot of ways. I don’t know what it’s like overseas, but in the United States, when they taught teach about Vietnamese history, it’s about the Vietnam.
[00:18:52] And it ends at the Vietnam war and that’s, that’s not just excluded to Vietnamese that’s I think all Asian-American history is not widely taught in the public school system. That’s something that here in the U S we have been trying to change in the last year with the whole AAPI campaign. But for me, it was just all of those forces.
[00:19:16] That drove me to start this and having children on my own and feeling like their narrative wasn’t represented feeling like at some point they’re going to grow up like me and want to understand this, and I want it to have resources out there. And the podcast was important to me. Like, I was very specific on how I wanted the show to be, I didn’t want it to be a long oral history of an hour or more.
[00:19:39] That was unedited because I just thought, you know, these are interesting stories, but if. Told in a storytelling format, people would lose interest. I also felt like I was designing it for people like myself, where I was a full-time working mom. I had all these priorities and I really don’t have a lot of time investment.
[00:19:59] So I would like something bite-size and packed with content and trauma. And. The editing process. I just took a lot of time and craft with it. By the way, I knew nothing about podcasting. I went to night class at the local film center. I YouTube a lot of courses. It was trial and error. You know, I, I feel like I knew how to tell a good story just from my.
[00:20:25] Corporate background in management consulting. I was used to like crafting pitches and stories and trying to like, know where the hook is. But technically I didn’t have a lot of the other skills. And so all of that, I had to learn myself until I finally just put an ad out there and surprisingly people volunteered their time creators and our team is mostly based on volunteer.
[00:20:48] But people who are Vietnamese Americans who are creators and editors who believe in this mission are now a part of our team doing this with me. And I just, I, you know, it’s been such an amazing journey. And now even more so I see all these books that are coming out by Vietnamese authors and people sharing memoirs or fiction, and really representing our narrative.
[00:21:12] And it makes me so proud that you know, our podcast is a small part of that journey that the younger generations are able to experience. I don’t know if I
[00:21:24] Niall Mackay: answered all your oh no, I’m just, I’m mesmerized. You’re listening. Know that. That’s unbelievable. Like so just touch on a few things. Your last point there though.
[00:21:32] I think you’re a big part of it. Not a small part, I think going forward. As far as I, I have seen an, I don’t know, every podcast in the world, but I don’t see anything else. Like use podcasting is so massive. So if anyone’s looking for something like. You are going to be the one to go to. You’ve built up obviously an amazing community.
[00:21:51] I’ve seen your social media and your website. We can talk about your logo design as well in a minute. Cause I know a bit about that. That’s in the background there behind you. If you’re watching this on YouTube, if you’re listening, you go and look up the Vietnamese podcast, the Vietnamese boat people, you see it.
[00:22:05] One funny point I want to make, as you say, the Vietnamese history not being taught in the American public education system, they barely teach their own history correctly. So I wouldn’t really trust them to teach anyone else’s history, to be perfectly honest, if someone has to do it themselves. So good job.
[00:22:23] But no, honestly, it was just, I was absolutely loving listening to you there. I love the Genesis story of anything, but the Genesis story of this, I like to hear the behind the scenes of what was going through your head, why you, your choices as a mother, as a, whatever, all those choices where you described at the beginning that made you want to do this, that, and it really touched, really resonated with me because so the last time I went home to Scotland so my grandfather now is 92 and my grandfather is.
[00:22:49] Closer to me than a father. He’s like my best friend in the world and like a father figure to me, but he’s 92 and he’s very aware of his own mortality as am I. And so for that same reason, I did the exact same thing as you. I sat down with him for an hour. It was my last day. And I finally had some time and I had my podcast microphone with me in my suitcase.
[00:23:10] For this reason I brought it with me home to Scotland. I had the blue yet. I don’t have, you know what that. Blue blue, Yeti, Yeti blue ice. Is that the name of it? And blue
[00:23:18] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Yeti. That’s what I had to, that was my first
[00:23:20] Niall Mackay: night. And it broke pretty soon after I got it and I never, I never was able to get it fixed.
[00:23:27] Cause I even went to like microphone places. I tried. Posting on ex-pat groups here. Cause that’s how you survive in Vietnam asking, does anyone know where I can get this microphone fixed? And I’ve still got it in the cupboard one day, if anyone’s listening to this and you’re inside going and you can fix microphones, please reach out to me.
[00:23:44] Cause it’s like a two and a half million dong, which is like 120 bucks microphone. And it’s just in sitting there. This is anyway. Yeah. So, you know, so I took that microphone back to Scotland. And I sat down in my grandpa’s spare bedroom with them for an hour. And I knew a lot of his stories. I wasn’t really getting much new because you know, through the years, my grandpa’s a big talker.
[00:24:05] That’s why I’m basically like a replica of my grandpa. And I got him to tell these stories that I kind of knew little bits about. I’ve got to tell them on the, on record as well, how he met my grandma. And it was the exact same similar to you. Like. I won’t need that on record for the family as well.
[00:24:22] We’ve got quite a close knit family. And so I recalled it and then I sent it in the WhatsApp group. Like here’s, here’s my conversation with with grandpa and you know, what I don’t think have ever listened to. And I see on my computer, in my folder that have an a C oh, I’ll listen to it one day. I don’t really feel the need to yet, but so-so beautiful to hear your story.
[00:24:41] And so at one point you may have seen me looking at my phone and I wasn’t being rude. What I was looking up, you were talking about books and one of the things that I don’t know if you knew there’s a website here called Saigon. Which features and they just posted this book. I immediately went and downloaded it on my Kindle and I’ve just started reading it.
[00:25:01] It’s called a what’s it called? Build your house around my body by violet Coopersville.
[00:25:10] Tracey Nguyen Mang: I haven’t heard of it. I’m going
[00:25:11] Niall Mackay: to lay it down. Yeah. I can send it to you as well. Yeah. Build your house around my body by violet Coopersmith. So if he’s listening by chance, I’m going to be reaching out to hosts soon to see if she’ll come on.
[00:25:23] But my point about that book and why I wanted to bring it up is what you said a little bit about literature and whatnot. The reason that this book was highlighted is because it’s one of the few books that is not about the Vietnam war. ’cause even here in Vietnam most, and I don’t know what Vietnamese writers write about, obviously, cause I can read it, but this is what the article said.
[00:25:45] What’s really caught. My attention was most Vietnamese literature is centered around the war because that is just this such a kind of big center of gravity for Vietnam. And this book is. I think it’s fiction. It’s maybe based on fact a little bit, but it’s a, it’s not like a story. It’s not like a memoir or anything, or this thing is really good book because it’s not based on the Vietnam war, but it’s still based on Vietnam and the situations and the, the, the lifestyle.
[00:26:10] And I’m going to just read the first couple of chapters. But being somebody who’s lived here that long, you really, I realized, you know, if you read this in the us, you’re like, oh yeah. Okay. All right. Okay. I’m reading it. And it’s like, he roots his bike down the small ramp, outside the front of his house.
[00:26:24] And I was like, yeah, I know exactly what that looks like, because we all have them. He was eating huge you by the side of the road. And I’m like, so I don’t. So if you’re reading it from the U S I’m from anywhere in the world, you have to read. And picture it in your head, but as I read it and I’m like, yeah, that’s like down the road, you know?
[00:26:41] Tracey Nguyen Mang: I mean, it is so hard, but like you said, to really talk about Vietnamese, diaspora, was it not touching on the war in some capacity? Right? Like it is the. The point in which the diaspora overseas really exploded, but it also is such a, it’s not just the Vietnam war. It’s a centuries of war that Vietnam had had to endure.
[00:27:06] Right. I mean the country was never really ruling itself and I know we didn’t want to like dig into too much politics on the show, but it’s a country that has been Colonized and really never really had its own voice. I think it’s still trying to find its own voice it, but it’s doing an amazing job, but so it’s hard to get away from all of that war conflict.
[00:27:28] The one thing about our podcasts that I also emphasize to your point is. We are going to touch about, we are going to touch on the war, but it’s not about the politics of the war. It’s about the impacts that the war had had on individual, everyday citizens Vietnamese families and individuals.
[00:27:49] But I always say that our show and our stories, really what it centers around is what I call the human spirit. So A lot of what we curate and our storytelling format is I tried to build an emotional connection to the listener. Like I want the listener to feel like he, or she really understands his individual story as they’re listening to it almost as if like they’re sitting in the same room, having coffee together.
[00:28:15] Or like tea or talking over a bowl of and really like intimate. Face-to-face like, you know, I’m going to give you a peek into my diary type of thing. So like emotional connection is really important to us, but when I say centers around the human spirit is because I, I do believe that every story that we’ve tried to tell and this, that there are common, straight, And emotions and resilience that humans in general have within them.
[00:28:45] And this podcast just happens to be sharing it about the Vietnamese community, but you don’t have to be Vietnamese to be able to connect to that inner strength to know that like, yeah, Times, you know, can be very difficult, but we all have it within us to really fight through it or to heal in some capacity, even if we’re still fighting through it.
[00:29:06] And so that’s what we try to do with our stories is that know. Yes, the history of it is always going to go back to the war in some capacity, but it’s not about the war. It’s about just, you know, people in general. And we hope that, and we always try to end every episode with something that I call subtly inspiring.
[00:29:27] So I like, I always try to have a message at the end that says, you know what? We hope that you take away some inspiration and motivation from the episode without, you know, literally saying those.
[00:29:41] Niall Mackay: Both Saigon children’s charity and blue dragon have emergency COVID appeals. The outbreak of the doubt of varying is wreaking havoc on vulnerable communities across Vietnam. Families are struggling to survive. They need your help, especially impoverished children in lockdown. You can sponsor a COVID backpack.
[00:30:01] No, with Saigon children’s charity containing food, staples, hygiene, necessities, books, and games to a child in COVID affected areas in Vietnam so that they know they’re taken care of physically and mentally or in the north. You can donate an emergency food pack through Bluetooth. It contains fruit and vegetables, race and stables.
[00:30:22] They keep children and families going. Food will be bought locally and we’ll include a mix of fresh food. And longer-lasting items for families who are hard to reach your donation will provide a cash grant to buy food at the local market. The links to donate are in the description. And if you’re in a position to please donate whatever.
[00:30:45] Tracey Nguyen Mang: you know, people in general. And we hope that, and we always try to end every episode with something that I call subtly inspiring. So like, I always try to have a message at the end that says, you know what? We hope that you take away some inspiration and motivation from the episode without, you know, literally saying those words.
[00:31:06] Niall Mackay: Oh, you do a fantastic job and listening to, you know, talk about it makes me realize again, even more. So you’re talking about this format that you’ve went away and learned how to do. And I guess as a list that I just listened to and enjoy. But now I’m like, oh yeah, yeah, you do do that. And you have done that and you have crafty the story because it’s a completely different format to what we’re doing right now.
[00:31:28] So as I said to you, we’re just going to have a conversation and we see where it goes and, you know so it’s, it’s quite a simple format and I do edit it, but that’s more for quality rather than like storytelling effect. But for you to go away and learn how to do that and then craft it to me because you do, you have to, I know how editing works and just editing this format can take a lot of time.
[00:31:51] So for you to then chop her up, make it into a story, edit it, put it together and then make it so good. It’s it’s really impressive. So I can’t wait. We’re done.
[00:31:59] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Oh, thank you. Yeah, there’s a lot of, I say, love sweat and tears and the tears. My team and I always laugh about it. Cause we’re like, these are like tear jerker moment listening to this stories.
[00:32:13] Yeah. But yeah, I mean, and I’m, I’m so lucky to have a team that’s willing to pour hours into this. And you get it as a podcast or like our shows are by design 30 minutes or less. We have some that are the exception, but the majority is 30 minutes or less. At that is like I’m talking 60 plus hours of editing process to get to that.
[00:32:37] I can
[00:32:38] Niall Mackay: imagine for a Shula use. I mean, for me, yeah. I think maybe in the beginning for a one hour episode, most of by, in about an hour, you’re looking at probably like two hours of editing. Then more time for promo sharing all of this stuff one day, I don’t want to do it cause it’ll probably make me cry, but I’d love to work much time.
[00:32:57] And if I put money towards that time, like how much time I’ve put in and, you know, I want to say a massive, massive, thank you. We do not have we’ve. We’ve started our own 7 million bags community with Patrion and we know we’re up to Seven members of this week, which doesn’t say much, but it’s like, that’s tripled our membership in the last month alone.
[00:33:16] People giving his little, his full dollars a month. And I I’ve, I’m going to write a message soon just to those people to show how much of a difference that makes, because people don’t also realize that podcasting costs money or you have your hosting costs the cost of your microphone, the cost of your time editing software.
[00:33:34] A whole bunch of other things. And then you get a website as well. I’ve got a website, the website cost money. So all of these things cost money. So these people that are giving the becoming members, which means they do get benefits as well. So they get free tickets to my comedy shoes and they get content early, things like this.
[00:33:49] Tracey Nguyen Mang: that when you do comedy shows, that’s a different conversation.
[00:33:53] Niall Mackay: Yeah. So I’m a stand up comedian and I, I host comedy shows as well. So I started doing podcast posts and then doing comedy shortly after. And now I do both.
[00:34:05] Tracey Nguyen Mang: That’s a side note. I’d like to check out one of your shows.
[00:34:08] Niall Mackay: We can, what would, they’re all online now?
[00:34:10] So you can come and watch. I’ll send you the link. But yeah, so was really nice to have that support from people. But you’re talking about the editing yesterday. I mean, hours and hours goes into it. And again, this episode will be about an hour long. We spend for never getting the login details, correct.
[00:34:28] To be able to talk to each other, we’ve gone countless emails. So none of that’s a big hassle. It’s so easy, but it’s all like there’s a lot of effort goes into that to make this app, this show to make use, which you’re telling a story. Yeah, 60 hours for half an hour. I can absolutely believe that, but I wanted to follow up on a couple of things you said, which I think you’ll find this quite funny.
[00:34:51] The, one of the first ever episodes I, I recorded was with Louis Ray. Who’s now the producer of this podcast. And they, one of the questions I asked him, which I was asking every guest in that first season was what is the common misconception about Vietnam? And I’ll always remember his answer because what you said.
[00:35:09] I have family back home who still think that everyone’s going about in conical hats, and it’s all raised patties. And I live in this like rural, like, you know, rural Vietnam, because that’s what they’ve portrayed as. And these, every war, movie, and every thing you see a Vietnam, you know, his hair, he explained to them.
[00:35:27] This big city, like metropolitan bustling city with all the mod cons. So that always makes me laugh. Cause I think that’s still a common misconception. Like you mentioned quite awhile ago about people thinking Vietnam is one way the other one. So another fellow comedian, Tommy Penske, he has a really, really funny joke, which is on the same premise that people back home and he’s American.
[00:35:47] I don’t understand that Vietnam is different too. He’ll be on the phone to his dad and his dad will be like, oh my God, what’s that noise? Is that a helicopter? And he’s like system or Baghdad,
[00:36:02] but his dad’s still got this in his head. So I think there is this massive misconception. But do you think, so my question was going to be, I can’t tell if it’s only because I’m doing this podcast and I’m speaking to people like yourself and Sarah and Wynn and all these amazing Vietnamese like levy or who’s a DJ from Bellin Lem visa.
[00:36:23] Who’s a musician and an actor. Who’s from Germany, no lives in Vietnam. I’ve talked to, I’m forgetting the name of it’s on my head, but she’s from the Vietnamese overseas organization. Am I just seeing it because like my unique perspective, I’m looking for it or is the Vietnamese that I see diaspora, you see a different to me because you’re American.
[00:36:44] How do you see it? I
[00:36:45] Tracey Nguyen Mang: think I asked for it, but I think I asked bro,
[00:36:50] Niall Mackay: I’m probably saying it wrong. My wife’s American. She tells me I say everything wrong. Is there a big shift or is it a big, not uprising, but like, are they becoming more prominent B or is arm? I imagine.
[00:37:02] Tracey Nguyen Mang: No, I actually questioned the same thing recently, because I felt like in 2018, when I started the podcast, I felt like there were only a handful of books and communities or individuals that were really at the forefront of You know, sharing our narratives.
[00:37:24] And then I saw more and more. So I was like, is it just because I’m paying more attention or I’m in this space and I’m swimming in this circle. And I think it’s a combination of both what I do think. And we this is part of our, how we defined the organic growth of Vietnamese boat, people, podcasts. I think that what we’re seeing is that generations like myself, We’re all coming of age.
[00:37:53] And what that means is that the, you know, we’re at almost the 50th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. So it feels like it’s the pivotal moment in which our generation, it’s not that we have forgotten about the past, but. We, we have less of a baggage than our parents do. We are a lot more culturally assimilated to the countries in which we’ve grown up in.
[00:38:21] And we have a lot we’re raised to have voice, you know, build our own voice. And whether or not our parents want us to, because that is like a whole set of topics that I think yeah, in future seasons, I think we’re going to deep dive into some of those topics, but whether or not our parents want us to have our own voice and to chart our own journeys, you know, because they are still heavily You know, we’re still heavily influenced by them and how we were brought up.
[00:38:51] It’s hard not to want to chart our own path because we live in countries where that is encouraged. And I also think you know, technology, social media, all of that stuff is at our fingertips. So it’s so much easier to do. Have a voice to share a story. If you have one to put an opinion out there.
[00:39:12] So all of these forces, I think, is at the point where my generation Sarah’s people that are younger than us. I think you’re going to see more and more of it. I think we come at it from a very different perspective than our parents. I think in some ways our parents had experienced so much that it was too hard for them to think about anything other than.
[00:39:35] Then survival and success. And the interpretation of success between generations is completely different. Right. But for them, it’s like all those sacrifices that they’ve made. It doesn’t matter if it’s. If you aren’t, you know, have a lucrative job, have a home getting married and raising kids for most of them.
[00:39:58] That’s what success is, is B and having a great education because it’s all of those things that when they were growing up, they didn’t really have a chance to do. And so they have, you know, worked so hard so that their children could, and I just feel like we’re coming of age, we’re in this environment where like we’re you know, w we have a lot more confidence.
[00:40:19] To speak up and speak out. And I think to answer your question, I think it’s a little bit of both. I think we, because of the media space, We’re seeing a lot more than maybe the common person, but I also think it’s a lot more available, like I was speaking to. So one thing that our podcast reaches that I didn’t intend it to reach was actually Teachers and professors.
[00:40:48] So I created just for like everyday people who love podcasts or who just wanted to be able to, you know, learn about the Vietnamese diaspora in bite size. But we’ve had recently in that last year or so, a lot of. Courses, reach out to us that are studying either Asian-American history, mostly at the university level or ones that are just studying critical refugee studies.
[00:41:12] They have made our podcasts a part of their syllabus. And it’s because they were like, well, it’s so great because you’re sharing these experiences that we teach on paper and via text. And now we have something that is like, you know, in first person that someone who’s lived through things that, you know, our students are reading.
[00:41:33] Like they can now interpret.
[00:41:37] Niall Mackay: That is insane. I
[00:41:39] Tracey Nguyen Mang: mean, we’ve had, we’ve had. Graduate students reach out and say, you know, would it be okay if we reference your podcast as part of this study? And I’m like, please, we designed it for public use. I was like, yes, it’s free. It’s for you’re taking. And I hope that, you know, it it opens up different perspectives for what you’re trying to study, but those are the things where I think that.
[00:42:03] Nowadays going back to the part about how just our history isn’t taught when we were growing up nowadays, our children are at least in some ways getting more exposed to some of it than we ever have. So I think, I think it’s only going to go up from here. Hopefully.
[00:42:20] Niall Mackay: So to, to carry on what you said, I do agree.
[00:42:24] I kind of thought it is that coming of age, it’s that time where people are between, you know, that 20 to 40 age, as I said, like, you know, people who becoming DJs or fashion designers every day, this week, it’s about country. Designed some other dress that a famous person’s wearing. You’ve got Kelly, Marie Tran.
[00:42:41] Who’s in star wars. You’ve got all these Vietnamese people of that age coming of age and making positive contributions. Not that they weren’t making positive contributions before, but no more visible contributions. And then it comes to like the coffee and the food as well. The food obviously, but I think that’s, maybe what’s changing is Vietnamese just used to, you just used to think of Vietnamese food.
[00:43:06] You know, there’s a whole episode on bloody king of the hill about how we eat fun. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. It was the stupidest episode I’ve ever seen. You know what I’m talking about? No. Different and I, well, you were talking there made me think. Have you watched master of none by Aziz Ansari?
[00:43:23] Yes. So the episode when him and his friend kind of do what you do in the interview, the fathers, or they don’t interview them, but they talk to the fathers because they realize it’s first-generation or their first, I always get this confused. Are they first-generation immigrants. Second gen.
[00:43:38] Tracey Nguyen Mang: So everybody gets this confused actually
[00:43:42] Niall Mackay: back there for a second.
[00:43:43] I was like, how am I getting this
[00:43:44] Tracey Nguyen Mang: wrong? No, everybody gets it confused because. It depends on what you’re referencing. So first-generation immigrant is when you were born in a different country and you came to that country as an immigrant you know, second generation is your parents were the ones that came and you were born in this, in the new country, but everybody gets a confused because, you know, I call myself.
[00:44:09] First generation Vietnamese American. And I’m technically a 1.5 is a term like we had a whole season on 1.5 and 1.5. The definition really, or how we’ve interpreted on our season is that you come here as children. So you’re kind of not like immersed in your Vietnamese culture in Vietnam because you never really grew up there, but you’re not really American either because you came here as a child.
[00:44:40] So we call this hybrid world and that’s where the like 1.5 generation. But everybody gets a confused. I still get it confused. I feel like use it. However you just explain the
[00:44:51] Niall Mackay: context. Well, yeah, well, we had a guest on the last season or even the season before Kristen Wynne and I’d never heard of this term before he described himself as a third culture.
[00:45:03] Yeah, this one’s who his parents were from two different cultures. One of them was in that, and then he was born in the UK, but his mom and dad. So he was from these three cultures. Now. I’d never heard that before. And I was like, wow. Okay. That’s a whole nother, like yes.
[00:45:18] Tracey Nguyen Mang: So third culture is similar to that hybrid definition I just use is Third culture is essentially when you neither are deeply rooted in one or the other, but you’re a hybrid of both.
[00:45:32] And so you therefore have developed or you’re part of a community of a third culture. And I think it actually originally started with. Maybe like the ex-pat community. So ex-pat kids, we’re kind of in that hybrid world. But since then, it’s very much talked about you know, in generations like mine, where like we are living in this third culture, right.
[00:45:55] Because we have the Viet culture, but a lot of ways it’s evolved. To write. So Viet culture in America is not necessarily the same exact Viet culture that’s happening in Vietnam. Right. So I think, I think third culture, that’s what it’s about. It’s sort of like this hybrid combination of different cultures and countries that then the, the visual takes forward.
[00:46:19] Niall Mackay: We’re touching on this and this was, I was going to ask you about. So you left, you arrived American 1981, right? And so you learned, you said you spoke Vietnamese or you speak Vietnamese, you learn from your parents, but we’ve learned this on the podcast to interviewing people. You speak a different Vietnamese.
[00:46:38] Two people in Vietnam. And I found this fascinating, that Vietnamese language for people who left around that time period, their language stopped, or like the word for airport is the one I always can reference. So there’s now a different word for airport than from when your parents left.
[00:46:57] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Is how I would
[00:46:58] Niall Mackay: say airport. It’s not featuring, I can’t remember. No, my Veda, I don’t know. I can’t speak Vietnamese and I can’t even remember the basic part of Fijian was the one that one of our guests, it was Tom Lee. I don’t know. Do you know Tom Lee? Who’s based in Houston. She’s a chef. Limit on lemon term.
[00:47:16] She’s she’s amazing. It would hold it to me about this because she landed with appearance and appearance. We’re calling it fee too. Or is that what you said? Yeah. And then she’s like, and she’s not, it’s not that we don’t call it that anymore. And then I had a guest on this season just to chemo. The episode just came out to win.
[00:47:32] Who runs up a language school here. And her target market is VQ and teaching via cues and updating the Vietnamese because they moved back to Vietnam thinking they can speak Vietnamese and then they speak Vietnamese and people are like,
[00:47:50] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Yeah. I mean, it is a real thing. So you know, there, this is another actually topic that we’re going to explore in future seasons, but going back to my generation and younger it’s we learn the language through our. And we my parents sent me to summer school for Vietnamese language, which I hated. And now I totally regret not paying attention.
[00:48:19] do. I am not, I am not unique in that perspective that like 95%. Vietnamese Americans, you speak to are going to say very similar things. Yes.
[00:48:27] Niall Mackay: She said she hated it. Then she moved here and she had to relearn Vietnamese and she’s like, I just spent so much money to learn Vietnamese widen. I just learned that when I was younger,
[00:48:37] Tracey Nguyen Mang: you’ve read it.
[00:48:38] Right. You grew up. And you’re like, oh God, what a valuable thing that I totally did not appreciate. But so yeah, I read them, right. Like an eight year old. I speak probably more like a 16 year old. Yes. Similar to like, think about like the English language, the English language evolves as well. So I think it’s very similar, you know, it’s like the word groovy is it used.
[00:49:01] But you know, it’s, I think it’s, I think it’s similar. I think every language evolves and to your point, we are, we took my, my parents had the language, they came to United States and they taught us what the language was. And so that’s what we know. But there is this whole, I think I would call it sort of like, almost like similar to the coming of age.
[00:49:26] It’s like a 360 journey where I think You know, our generation, what lost our language, essentially. Like even if we kept our heritage, we’ve pretty much lost our language. And I think there’s a movement to circle back. Like right now I really would love to teach my children. Vietnamese. I’ve been trying to I live in a mixed race household, but my husband’s not Vietnamese.
[00:49:51] So like, it’s really hard to be disciplined when you’re the only one in the house. And that was even harder because I was a full-time working mom. And so like, they weren’t interacting with me as much as they were with like their preschool teacher or, you know, so it’s becomes very difficult. But I think the 360 is that like everything that we try to not focus on growing up, like who needs Vietnamese language, I’m just trying to learn English.
[00:50:16] I’m just trying to like, make it in school and succeed is coming back to be like, oh my God, my kids have to. Vietnamese, like they can succeed in both Vietnamese and English. Like why did I ever think that you couldn’t do both? You know? So you’re seeing that and I think it’s in other cultures too. I don’t think it’s limited to just Vietnamese culture, but it’s, I think it’s part of just like the.
[00:50:40] The immigrant journey, to be honest, like any immigrant family comes over and as much as you want your children to hold on to their heritage, you also want them to simulate. So you’re a lot more forgiving, right? When they start to learn the English language versus try to retain their heritage language.
[00:51:00] So. I think it’s just kind of that journey that we’re experiencing.
[00:51:04] Niall Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So tell us before we’re going to go into the final questions that we ask everyone, tell us what’s coming up. Tell me more. I said in the beginning, tell me about the conversation starter kit. And I do want to mention going all the way back to the beginning.
[00:51:20] You, you touched on your parents story, the seven of you, you left in different stages. I’ve listened to the episode. Obviously it hasn’t. If you’re listening, please go and listen to the Vietnamese boat. People listen to that first episode. It will blow your mind what your family went through and they all successfully made it to the U S.
[00:51:41] Which is just like the all is so stacked against you, which is unbelievable. Before we started this episode, I was just telling my wife about it and should her parents went through this amazing thing. Like the brothers had to Hayden the house, the authorities came after them. Like. When I was telling her, I was like, you know, your mom had to get the whole village to lie that your dad had like taken off and like, what was it?
[00:52:04] Was it, he lost loads of money and he’d just taken also something like that. I was like, just unbelievable what this. Went through to get us through yet, please go and listen to that too. Before we get through to the final questions, we’ll just tell everyone about this conversation starter kit, because I think when I read that, I was like, wow.
[00:52:23] As you can tell, by the way I’ve been talking, I’ve interviewed lots of different guests who we’ve touched on this subject lots of time. And when I saw that on your website, Wow. I bet that’s so helpful to so many people.
[00:52:35] Tracey Nguyen Mang: Yes, no, I appreciate you asked
[00:52:39] Niall Mackay: thanks for listening to this episode of 7 million bikes of Vietnam podcast.
[00:52:43] We hope you enjoy hearing a guest stories. If you haven’t already, please make sure to subscribe to the show and turn on notifications. So you never miss a new episode. Thank you so much to a producer Lewis Wright for making sure the show sounds as good as possible. And also a big thanks to the 7 million bikes community members and everyone who supports us.
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