Sunday, March 7
New Era for Vietnamese-Americans As English-Speaking Children Come of Age
Uncategorized

New Era for Vietnamese-Americans As English-Speaking Children Come of Age

By Sharon Simonson Expect to hear more from the Silicon Valley Vietnamese community in coming years, beginning Thursday, the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. A people long gagged in America by the trauma of war and displacement, economic struggle, psychological loss, and perhaps most of all, by language, is finally finding a voice. In Silicon Valley, home to the second-largest Vietnamese community in the country with more than 126,000 people, that voice is coming from their English-speaking daughters and sons, young millennial-generation adults with strong cultural ties to Vietnam and America and a deep desire to be heard. The Viet Nam Project Not quite three years ago, four such young Vietnamese-Americans founded the Vietnamese-American Roundtable with a mis...
Silicon Valley Touches Nepali People Hurt by Earthquake
Culture

Silicon Valley Touches Nepali People Hurt by Earthquake

By Sharon Simonson A November journey to a remote Nepal region by the owner of a San Jose language school has established an unexpected lifeline to the leaders of a devastated community. Working with the Gorkha Foundation, Alicia Forbrich, founder and owner of the San Jose Learning Center, visited the Gorkha district in Nepal last year, bringing school supplies and doing research on behalf of a nonprofit that makes micro-loans to women who are farmers and entrepreneurs. The Gorkha district is now at the epicenter of the earthquake that has killed nearly 4,500 people and injured more than 8,000, according to United Nations’ April 28 estimates. In Gorkha, more than 15,000 people also are stranded in remote villages where nearly all homes have been lost, food stocks destroyed...
Asians Outnumber Whites In Silicon Valley
Demographics

Asians Outnumber Whites In Silicon Valley

By Sharon Simonson Asians and Pacific Islanders now form the largest racial block in Santa Clara County, exceeding the proportion of non-Hispanic white residents for the first time. According to new demographic findings from the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California, in the next 25 years, Silicon Valley’s Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino and other Asian populations plus a smattering of Pacific Islanders are expected to grow to more than 43 percent of the county total. That is approximately 30 percentage points higher than Asians’ projected proportion nationally. In the same 25 years, the share of non-Hispanic whites in Silicon Valley is expected to fall to less than 25 percent, down from 33 percent today and 70.5 percent in 1980. ...
Reshaping the Vietnamese-American Identity
Culture

Reshaping the Vietnamese-American Identity

By Sharon Simonson In 1974, less than a year before the fall of Saigon, Luong La lived a summer alone in a hut on his family’s tiny farm on Ship Island in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. While catching and harvesting the bulk of his own food — his mother left him a staple of rice — he avoids grenade-spiked booby traps and navigates a thin strip of political neutrality between roving pro-Communist Viet Cong soldiers and the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese Army. La was 11-years-old. The Viet Nam Project His recollections of those days and nights appear halfway through “Catching Shrimp with Bare Hands: A Boy from the Mekong Delta.” The new memoir, published in this 40th anniversary year of South Vietnam’s final capitulation, captures the tenor and tension of daily life for the La ...
The Immigrants’ Daughter
Culture

The Immigrants’ Daughter

 By Sharon Simonson SAN JOSE—Alicia Forbrich stands on a small patch of grass to the side of the two-story, cream-colored building in downtown San Jose that houses her multi-language school, a yoga studio and a jiu-jitsu academy. To celebrate her school’s four-year anniversary, the 33-year-old daughter of an East German father and a Japanese mother hired Hawaiian muralist Kaiili Kaulukukui to create an expression of her world outlook. Hong Kong’s Big Buddha now gazes serenely down San Carlos Street; Japan’s snowy Mt. Fuji rises above his left shoulder; China’s terracotta warriors march at his feet. Forbrich is pleased. “I wanted (the mural) to show cultures from all around the world, to show everything blending together, and everyone getting along,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, ...
Chair Mai Has A Dream: San Jose Vietnamese Tet Festival 2015
Events

Chair Mai Has A Dream: San Jose Vietnamese Tet Festival 2015

By Sharon Simonson EAST SAN JOSE — Quyen Mai admits the insanity of trying to create and organize a two-day Tet Festival for more than 12,000 people, starting from nothing only four months before the event date. When he agreed to lead the effort for the most important Vietnamese celebration of the year, the 31-year-old immigrant and self-proclaimed community-builder was not thinking about practicality: “People know the Vietnamese culture because of pho noodles,” he says. “We have a lot more than that.”   The Viet Nam Project Forty years after the fall of South Vietnam to the North Vietnamese communists and the arrival of the first refugees to American shores, San Jose’s Vietnamese-American population owes itself — and the community at large — a Tet Festival wo...
H-1B Visa Demand Strong and Growing, Attorneys Say
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H-1B Visa Demand Strong and Growing, Attorneys Say

By Sharon Simonson Silicon Valley H-1B visa season is in full bloom, but not everything is rosy. As the April 1 opening date approaches to apply for the coveted foreign-worker permission slips, regional attorneys who write and file the petitions say demand tops even last year’s when so many applications were made so fast, the federal government stopped accepting them after a week. Stakes are high for workers and the high-tech and consulting companies that rely most on the work visas and that today compete fiercely for technical talent worldwide. The earliest a company could hope to hire a potential H-1B worker passed over in this year’s selection is October 2016. “This is the big talk right now among the HR (human resources) people,” said Palo Alto immigration attorney Marc...
Hindi Proponents Want It Taught in Silicon Valley Public Schools
Culture

Hindi Proponents Want It Taught in Silicon Valley Public Schools

By Sharon Simonson FREMONT, Calif.—Hindi may soon supplant Western European tongues such as German and Portuguese as a staple of the public high-school curriculum, at least in Silicon Valley. Moved by passion for culture and elevated by a rapidly rising Asian-Indian population, a cadre of Indian-American women in Fremont has worked for seven years to satisfy California’s requirements to bring a new language into public schools. In a major advance this fall, the Teacher Education Department at California State University, East Bay, enrolled its first student seeking to gain her primary California teacher certification in Hindi language instruction. With its new status, Hindi’s track in California public education diverges from Telugu and Tamil, two other widely spoken Indian lang...