Saturday, February 27, 2010

Letter from Oakland High School Student

First of all, I want to thank Duc Nguyen for coming to our class and presenting his story to us. I liked his stories. I think they were very interesting and it is a part of my history since my dad is half Vietnamese. Before this lesson, I didn’t really have an interest to learn about my family’s history, but now, I’m so eager. His stories make me question: What happened to my parents while people were trying to escape? When and how did my parents escape? I can’t imagine traveling across the globe with no money, no food, no help and a bunch of people in a little boat. I agree with Duc, Vietnamese families don’t often talk about their painful past. When I ask my mom, she gives me short responses. She told me, my dad and she stayed in a camp, and that’s where they had my older sister. They escaped with a bunch of people and when they arrived to Portland, Oregon; my family was supported by an American family. I learned a lot from Duc. He told us a visionary description of how big the boat was. I really admire how strong the woman was when she drank her son’s urine. That was a very difficult situation. There was no food and she had no choice, but to eat human flesh. I can’t believe Duc actually contacted her and got her to tell her story. When she cried, I felt my heart sink because “When something bad happens to you, you wish it could happen to someone else. Well to other people, you’re that someone else.” I wonder if Duc thinks he’s lucky because he could have been in a much terrible situation. I’m very happy to know that the woman and her son is doing so well in America.

In Memoriam - Loni Ding, 1931-2010

Isadora Quanehia Ding Welsh, or Ding Bick Lon, known as Loni Ding, passed away peacefully on February 20, 2010 at Summit Hospital in Oakland, following a stroke. She was 78.
My utmost condolences to Loni Ding's famiy.  My gratitude toward her is unspeakable.  I tried to express this during my acceptance speech at the 2009 Northern California EMMY Award.  But words cannot describe what she had done for me.  Knowing Loni, a video would make her proud.   This video is my last glimpse of Loni in March 2009 when the Asian American Studies department at UC Berkeley honored her for her dedication.

 I got to know Loni from my days as a student at UC Berkeley.  Whether it was fate or chance, I was looking for a non-requisite courses to fit my interests. Upon reading the description of her class, I knew that this class is for me.  In fact, it was only one of a handful of classes that include video production and social justice at Berkeley.  This is a school known for its intellectual might not technical trade.  My time in Loni's class was a defining moment in finding my voice, my self.

Loni was a light that infused me to continue with my work to complete BOLINAO 52.  She did it by examples and most importantly through her character.  Loni's dedication to her students was unbounded.  My personal experience was 2001 Spring Finals.  We were burning the midnight candle in a computer lab at Etcheverry Hall to edit our final projects.  Technical issues were mounting, tempers flew wildly and tensions were high.  Our TA ditched us.  And there were a bunch of student racing against time to complete their voices on borrowed equipments and hijacked facility.  As the night burned deep into early morning hours, there was Loni resting on two classroom chairs lining together.  She was there with us through the night.  At close to 70 years old, Loni hung with us all the way through.  Undoubtedly, it was not a requirement for professors at UC Berkeley to sleep on chairs in classroom during finals with students.  But Loni did it anyway because that was who she is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BOLINAO 52 @ City College San Francisco

Bolinao 52 is proud to be part of City College of San Francisco Concert and Lecture Series 
on March 10, 2010 at the 
Ocean Campus
50 Phelan Avenue
Cloud Hall, Room 246
San Francisco, CA

This evening is hosted by David Brown, San Francisco's veteran and Emmy award-winning filmmaker.  Ironically, I studied in David's class nine years ago.  And we were both nominated for Outstanding Documentary in 2009 Northern California Emmy Award show.  Ultimately, Bolinao 52 came away with the best documentary and soundtrack prizes while David won the best animation award.  It is an honor to be shown in David's class as Bolinao 52 continues its campaign to get into school libraries.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Former USS Dubuque crew member reaches out to BOLINAO 52 survivors

Americo DiLoretto 
I was on the USS Dubuque during that time and I've seen it all. I still often cry about what I've seen... something I'll never forget. My Love, Heart and Prayers are with all of the survivors.