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This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
July 3, 2015
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Spotlight!
"I have been feeling guilty. I have grown up in such leisure...compared to what my mom must have had to experience," Jacqueline Ma wrote.


“I’m going for me,” Brenda Luu wrote.
 
This week, we will hear from Brenda Luu and Jacqueline Ma. Like Jennifer Louie from last week, they are also participating in the CHID program in Vietnam led by Professor Christoph Giebel.

The tumblr blogs by Brenda and Jacqueline, however, bring a different perspective to studying abroad. As Vietnamese American students, they are studying abroad in a place where their parents once called home. But their trips to Vietnam are far from homecoming. In fact, the personal attachment and pain that their families experienced made their trips more complicated.
 
For Brenda, the trip to Vietnam was complicated before it even began. In her first reflection, she wrote about her great uncle Victor responding with “hostility.” He said, “Why are you choosing to go to Vietnam when people risked their lives to come here to America?” As a boat person, Victor "witnessed horrific things," and it took a lot of “bravery [and] gold goods for him and his family to score a spot on the boat” to leave Vietnam.

The response from Brenda was both moving and powerful. “I’m going for me,” she wrote. She joined the program “to gain a deeper understanding of [her] parents.” And she wanted “to see life from outside the bubble."
 
For Jacqueline, the trip made her reflect on what life could have been. In her reflection, guilt became the undercurrent that pulled her deeper into the past. She felt that “with a flip of a coin” her life could have been completely different. “I could have grown up here [in Vietnam]…I would not have the luxury of school, swimming on a club team, or even driving when I turned 16.”

Jacqueline quickly realized that her life in the US, which she had taken for granted, was a luxury for many in Vietnam. “We are so lucky in the United States and…so blinded by what we don’t have that we don’t actually realize how much better we have it than all the other children in the world.”
 
Follow Brenda Luu and Jacqueline Ma on tumblr to learn more about their experiences in Vietnam. Their posts are full of poignant questions about belonging and reflection on the private pain from the war that members of the Vietnamese American community still carry. But there is hope, as Brenda bravely declared, “I’m going for me.”
In this issue
Resources*
Jobs*
Funding*
Conferences*
Study Abroad

*Indicates new content this week

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Website
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Recommended Resources (2)
This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email seac@uw.edu.
 

New this week:

  • New book: Glimpses of Penang's Past by Badriyah Haji Salleh and Loh Wei Leng


  • Performance: Waterfall the MusicalOctober 1-25, 2015 at the 5th Avenue Theatre

    Based on the contemporary Thai novel Behind the Painting, this tempestuous romance is set in 1930s Thailand and Japan as the monarchy crumbles with Japan on the brink of war. In this turbulent time, a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat fall into forbidden love whose dangers parallel the shifting world around them.

Items from last week:

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Jobs (2)

New this week:

Previously Listed:

Fellowships and Funding (4)

New this week:

Previously Listed:

For general information on funding sources, including FLAS, visit the SEAC website
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Conferences and Calls for Papers (3)

New this week:

Previously listed opportunities:

Study Abroad
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