Wednesday, March 5, 2008

(repost) Response from Brisbane to San Jose Mercury News Editorial Mar 4th 2008

(Repost in a more readable format)

San Jose Mercury News

Sir / Madam,

Writing this letter from Brisbane, Australia, very far away from San Jose, and before the decision of the San Jose Council meeting on the name for the Story Road business district is known, I hope that my view will be regarded by you as a calm, reasonable assessment of the whole matter and not as one of those opinions that were unjustly labelled by you as "extreme".

My first impression of your editorial today (4 Mar 2008) is complete disappointment for you have abandoned one of the most precious privileges that a media can enjoy: to offer "raison d'e^tre" arguments to convince the public on the pros and/or cons of certain issues.

Your opening sentence says it all. "Enough. Just call it Little
Saigon". It's as if you were asking a parent to give a little child
the lolly that he/she was asking because he/she had been crying
annoyingly long enough and you just wanted to shut him/her up.

You do not seem to, or want to, realise that this is the voice of a
whole community, clearly demonstrated last Sunday with one of the
largest rallies that your city has ever witnessed. On the contrary,
your paper used the figures provided by the Council's security staff to write that only 2,500 people were at the demonstration while even the police estimated it must be at least around 7,000 mark. From that biased data, you made ridiculously cynical statements such as ".. support for the name "Little Saigon" is less than universal among Vietnamese – Americans …". How much more universal would you like to see ?

You then went on to pose a question which, at least to this writer, is so negative. You asked "Will adopting the name cause more harm than allowing this ridiculous conflict to continue?". It should have been "Wouldn't adopting the name generate a lot of harmony in the community than what this ridiculously divisive conflict has caused?"

To you, "the name of a one-mile stretch of shopping centres" may not be one of those "battles" worth fighting for. But to us, it is exactly the "principle" of the issue that we want to see it through until the final victory. The principle of democracy, that elected representatives, no matter at what level of government, are there to serve the interests of the people, not their own.

Viet Tran
Brisbane, Australia