Vietnames version
Old Saigon Echo website
from 2008 - 2012
Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.


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The New Year is often the time resolutions are made. We strive to make improvements in ourselves, our careers and our lives. Usually we say we’re going to lose those last 10 pounds we’ve been putting off for years or we strive to be happier and stress less. But hardly ever do we hear resolutions linked to humanitarian efforts or making other people’s lives easier.

It is time for change. 2013 was filled with many inspiring firsts and individuals who are radically influencing people around the world. TIME Magazine chose Pope Francis as Person of the Year. Pope Francis has not only forced people to reflect about what truly matters: performing acts of charity, not wealth; he has shown he recognizes everyone deserves respect regardless of their race, religion or sexuality.

In 2014, we should make resolutions to care not only for ourselves, but for others. To put ourselves in other people’s shoes and truly think about our own actions: are we causing harm? Are we being bullies? Are we making a positive difference in the world? Are we helping to create a world we want our children and grandchildren to live in?

As a former pageant winner and Asian-American woman, I was inextricably happy when Nina Davuluri won Miss America 2013. She is like me, Asian-American. However when Nina, the first Indian-American girl won, outright horribly racist and ignorant comments flooded Twitter. And I thought to myself, when did the world become this mean? When did the world become cruel enough to attempt to ruin this young lady’s happiest moment?

The year 2013 is over and 2014 is just beginning. As someone who is deeply involved in philanthropic work for South Vietnamese Veterans living in Communist Vietnam and inspiring girls to be leaders, I urge you to consider making it one of your New Year’s Resolutions to perform three acts: doing charity work, supporting people who work for the right cause, and think about whether the words you’re about to utter daily could hurt someone else.

We are beyond blessed to live in the United States of America, a country full of Freedom, Democracy and most importantly, Human Rights. Nearly 40 Vietnamese patriotic activists and bloggers, who love Vietnam and refused to see it fall into China’s hands, were jailed. We do not face this in the US and we should use our power to speak for those in Vietnam who cannot.

After all, Winston Churchill (from London) said it best for this article, “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.”  

HOÀNG KIM CUNG - Leader of Saturday Ocean Group in Dallas – January 1, 2014

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