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I celebrated American Christmas with gratitude while Vietnamese Christmas played a soundtrack underneath

Tam Hoang's stories he wrote for the Reader

Only in a country of abundance can people reject stuff, reject ownership.
Only in a country of abundance can people reject stuff, reject ownership.
  • I adored American Christmas

  • I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my dad told me as we looked into the city skyline glittering with streetlights and blinking neon signs in the distance. I was transfixed. Braised meat, steaks, chops; meat on skewers, meat over rice, between bread. (Dec. 20, 2017)
Michelle Johnson at work: “I was a wild child probably until the eleventh grade.”
  • They said no to box checking

  • The month of May for high school seniors can be a disorienting time. They are feted through Senior Breakfasts, Grad Nights, Senior Nights, sporting events. They begin to wear the colors of their universities-to-be: the blue-and-gold, the crimson. In drug stores, “Congrats, Grad!” balloons and copies of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! come out of the stockroom, anticipating the eventual pageant of optimism known as graduation. (June 20, 2018) .
New Life Church’s pastor, Jordan Valverde
  • Linda Vista in conflict with itself

  • Comedian George Lopez jokes that every Mexican family has a haunted room somewhere on the premises — “the cucuy room.” It’s the one you sprint past on your way to the commode in the middle of the night. It’s a place in the middle of your house that’s as inscrutable as the Bermuda Triangle. (July 13, 2016)
When my family came to the U.S. in 1991, I was in the second grade. I knew three sentences that I strung together as a stock response: “How are you? I’m fine. I’m from Vietnam.”
  • That feeling of being the servile colonial subject eager to impress

  • If you grew up speaking Vietnamese, like I did, there was probably a moment in your life when you realized the limitations of your vocabulary. So, a conversation with your mom went something like this: “Vietnamese Vietnamese registration Vietnamese units Vietnamese Vietnamese credentialing.” (March 11, 2015)
Tam Hoang
  • The stories not told

  • Currently, I teach tenth and eleventh grade English at Coronado High School. When I came to Coronado, one of the books on the reading list was Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a novel about the Vietnam War told through vignettes. Cool deal, I thought. It’s about Vietnam. I’m Vietnamese. Mission accomplished. (Nov. 11, 2015)
Alex Vollhardt was alert to young prince Hal’s admission that he would renounce Falstaff to become king.
  • UCSD literature majors – why they exist

  • “The best reason to read literature is for pleasure,” Matthew J. Bruccoli wrote in the preface to The Great Gatsby in 1992. We know what he meant, but the theme doesn’t make it easier for literature majors to be taken seriously. (May 3, 2017)

Tam Hoang, and English teacher at Coronado High School, has written for the Reader since 2015.

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Only in a country of abundance can people reject stuff, reject ownership.
Only in a country of abundance can people reject stuff, reject ownership.
  • I adored American Christmas

  • I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my dad told me as we looked into the city skyline glittering with streetlights and blinking neon signs in the distance. I was transfixed. Braised meat, steaks, chops; meat on skewers, meat over rice, between bread. (Dec. 20, 2017)
Michelle Johnson at work: “I was a wild child probably until the eleventh grade.”
  • They said no to box checking

  • The month of May for high school seniors can be a disorienting time. They are feted through Senior Breakfasts, Grad Nights, Senior Nights, sporting events. They begin to wear the colors of their universities-to-be: the blue-and-gold, the crimson. In drug stores, “Congrats, Grad!” balloons and copies of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! come out of the stockroom, anticipating the eventual pageant of optimism known as graduation. (June 20, 2018) .
New Life Church’s pastor, Jordan Valverde
  • Linda Vista in conflict with itself

  • Comedian George Lopez jokes that every Mexican family has a haunted room somewhere on the premises — “the cucuy room.” It’s the one you sprint past on your way to the commode in the middle of the night. It’s a place in the middle of your house that’s as inscrutable as the Bermuda Triangle. (July 13, 2016)
When my family came to the U.S. in 1991, I was in the second grade. I knew three sentences that I strung together as a stock response: “How are you? I’m fine. I’m from Vietnam.”
  • That feeling of being the servile colonial subject eager to impress

  • If you grew up speaking Vietnamese, like I did, there was probably a moment in your life when you realized the limitations of your vocabulary. So, a conversation with your mom went something like this: “Vietnamese Vietnamese registration Vietnamese units Vietnamese Vietnamese credentialing.” (March 11, 2015)
Tam Hoang
  • The stories not told

  • Currently, I teach tenth and eleventh grade English at Coronado High School. When I came to Coronado, one of the books on the reading list was Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a novel about the Vietnam War told through vignettes. Cool deal, I thought. It’s about Vietnam. I’m Vietnamese. Mission accomplished. (Nov. 11, 2015)
Alex Vollhardt was alert to young prince Hal’s admission that he would renounce Falstaff to become king.
  • UCSD literature majors – why they exist

  • “The best reason to read literature is for pleasure,” Matthew J. Bruccoli wrote in the preface to The Great Gatsby in 1992. We know what he meant, but the theme doesn’t make it easier for literature majors to be taken seriously. (May 3, 2017)

Tam Hoang, and English teacher at Coronado High School, has written for the Reader since 2015.

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Dad Darius Degher writes lyrics for his daughters - and himself

“What I respect most are song lyrics that do something wholly new.”
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