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4:28 p.m. - February 01, 2003
It's a Tet show but not at the Pink Poodle, not that I've ever been to the or any place with a name like that. But wait, I have been, once, for Greg's bachelor party.
It wasn't Chinese New Year; it was Tet, the Vietnamese celebration but other than the language difference it was the same - dragons, lions, fireworks. Enough people to make me nervous on stage but decided to show off and steal the show, though I wish I had been prepped beforehand regarding the music - but when I want to shine, I blind. A minor stir when I kept signing throughout the Vietnamese and I had to chuckle, No, no, I don't understand Vietnamese other than a few words here and there but I had a glimpse of the program earlier and went for it. So now I've met another mayor and between you and me, I prefer Oakland's best simply because he remembers my name.

I was struck by the intense nostalgia the Vietnamese here have for their homeland - first honored were those who fought against Uncle Ho - with their old Republic of South Vietnam flags, its anthem, old military dress, and calls for continued action against the communist system. I don't know enough about their collective experience and their attempt to maintain the Old viable here; thought it telling that the Miss Tet pageant scores contestants on the accuracy of the southern dialect/pronunciation of Vietnamese. How very proud of their culture and traditions they are, but I think I picked up on a bittersweet aroma: The time I was there, the population was mostly white and Latino, with only a handful of Vietnamese.

Made me think of my own culture and our storytelling tradition, our abcedarium stories and other oral literature and how within my lifetime such things will be gone. Maybe when I'm old I'll attend a function and this Tet experience will be paralleled, me looking out at a group of people that are not my own watching a bit of a dying culture enacted not for the ritual, not an expression of a living, vibrant culture, but for the show.


Realized yesterday that I'm addicted to something I'm utterly ashamed of, but I am and I grimace. Of all things, it's The People's Court. I'm looking at the clock thinking I can grab a rerun and I think What the fuck? But it's true, I enjoy the thrill of peeking in on my fellow citizens. If I were shameless I'd say I'm compelled to watch out of some socio-cultural desire to understand contemporary society but that's simply talking out of my ass. Forgive me.


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