September 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • Phuoc’s Journey to America And His Family’s American Dream • A Quick Look at Statistics on the Forcibly Displaced And What You Can Do to Help Them • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello AACP Newsletter Readers.

Recently, someone sent me a link to an article titled “We Were Them.” The article was about Vietnamese Americans helping Afghan refugees to America.

In my research for this month’s special book selection, I began to think that, if you looked hard enough and throughout history, you could find displaced peoples with almost any group of Asian Americans.

A common story line for many people that migrated to America was that they were fleeing something from their place of origin – religious, political, or ethnic persecution, wars, famine, and natural disasters.

When I took ethnic studies courses in college, we learned about the push and pull factors that were the driving motivators to come to America. The search for wealth was seldom the only reason for making the move.

The 1800s Chinese experience in America may be known for their travels to the gold fields in the West and work on the Transcontinental Railroad, but less is taught about what they were leaving behind in China. They were leaving behind a country struggling with famine, bad government, opium problems, and awful wars and civil strife that left tens of millions dead. Some historians believe that the death toll from the various wars in China during this period exceed all the deaths from World War I (by comparison, the United States Civil War's death toll may have been 20 or more times fewer than that in China at around the same period in history).

If we did not have a direct displacement experience, those experiences did more than likely happened for our ancestors some time in the past. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to have that experience in order for us to feel some empathy for those that are having it now.

We are all the products of our ancestors’ perseverance and drive to survive who perhaps benefited with some support from kind individuals that did not pass up the call to help them.


This month we have a special article by Debbie Tat, the wife of Phuoc (Phillip) Tat, who gives us a personal perspective of her husband’s journey from Vietnam to America. Those memories are still very painful for Phillip, too painful to put in words himself.

Thank you Debbie for helping Phillip to tell his story. I’m sure that this short article only scratches the surface of what he experienced. Thank you very much Phillip for your willingness to share these memories and your family's story of perseverance with our readers.


I have some very sad news to report, my sister Jean Chan passed away very recently.

They say your parents are your first teachers. My sister Jean was my second.

My mom would often remind me that Jean was like a second mother to me. I called Jean Dee Dee’ (the phonetic spelling for older sister in my Toisan dialect; one of the few words of Chinese that I used all the time).

Jean was my role model scientist. She earned a Master’s Degree in Biology and we always believed that she could have earned a doctorate if her school offered them. In her education and early career, she did pioneering work in genetic research. Later, she would do work at a pharmaceutical, a heart research institute, and as a graphic designer for research doctors at UC San Francisco.

Jean was also a real credentialed teacher and was proud to renew her credential for many years after college even though she worked in other fields.

Jean suffered from a long degenerative brain illness after having a brain hemorrhage. In the early stages of her illness, she was still able to help me with graphic design work for AACP and even designed the cover for Mas Hongo’s mother’s poetry book “Petals of the Vanda.”

I’ll miss you very much Dee Dee’.

Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Sunday, October 3, 2021, 10:30am - 4:30pm: Millbrae Japanese Culture Festival

Author Oliver Chin will be at our booth to tell you about and sign his books.

Mina Harada Eimon, author of the children's coloring book "A is for Ame," will also be on hand to sign her book.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

Phuoc’s Journey to America

And His Family’s American Dream

By Debbie Tat (Wife of Phuoc Tat, AKA Phillip Tat)

It was late summer in 1978. Twelve (almost thirteen) year-old Phuoc was concerned. Saigon had fallen over three years earlier, and life on the family compound had changed.

In the past, schools were either Vietnamese or Chinese (Cantonese). As a Cantonese speaker from birth, Phuoc and his sister had attended a special Chinese school, where they were being taught Mandarin. Under the communists, Chinese and Vietnamese attended the same regular schools and were taught only in Vietnamese. His previously wealthy family had seen their fortune decline as the communist government made frequent changes to the acceptable currency, each time giving the wealthy less money and the poor more money.

Phuoc’s father, Moc, had read Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and had no desire to continue life under the communist regime. Moc and his wife Hoa, wanted a better life for their family, even if it meant giving up everything they had known and to start over in a new country. It would be difficult, but they wanted more for their seven children, three boys and four girls, ranging in age from a newborn to age thirteen.

Phuoc’s parents plotted their escape...

Read More

A Quick Look at Statistics on the Forcibly Displaced

And What You Can Do to Help Them

By Leonard Chan

This is just a quick summary.

I hope it will help to answer some of your questions regarding refugees and displaced people around the world, and some things that you could possibly do to help them.

I invite you all to read further, stay interested, and to get involved.

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Books About Refugees and One About What You Would Save If You Were Displaced

Halloween Selection