What would it take to pack up your life and move to a new country? It’s a question Thanh’s parents didn’t have the luxury of asking when they fled Vietnam to America 40 years ago. But Thanh has always wondered what life would have been like for her if her parents never left. So recently she decided to visit Vietnam to better understand her parent’s homeland and consider a move back.
When Thanh’s godsister Kristie invites her to revisit their families’ escape from Vietnam, Thanh is not sure what to expect. Thanh agrees to go with Kristie and they visit the small fishing village where her family’s journey to America began. They encounter surprise and heartbreak along the way.
Growing up, Thanh had an affinity for two flags: The American flag and the Vietnamese flag. The problem is, the flag she grew up believing was the Vietnamese flag is not the same as the official flag of Vietnam. The official flag of Vietnam is still a visceral symbol for many in the Vietnamese-American community. Will these symbols continue to divide Vietnamese communities in Vietnam and in the United States?
When Thanh Tan was growing up, pho wasn’t cool. Now, it’s an “it” dish and it’s taking on a life of its own as more Americans eat and serve it. We look at the origins of pho and how it has come to define who Vietnamese-Americans are in their adopted country.
When Thanh is invited to judge a local beauty pageant, she confronts a difficult question: What makes an “ideal” Vietnamese-American woman? This episode explores how old Vietnamese traditions are kept alive through the ritual of a modern day beauty pageant.
Good Guys, Bad Guys
The story of the Vietnam War has been told many times, but not necessarily by Vietnamese people. When she was growing up, Thanh’s parents didn’t talk about what happened to them. And her school history books glossed over the conflict. Most accounts of the Vietnam War have been defined by Hollywood and white men. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s new 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War, challenges common perceptions of the war. In her conversation with the filmmakers, Thanh addresses issues of...
After her father was falsely accused of being a communist and Thanh found herself embroiled in a dramatic court case, she discovered there is a lot her family is not talking about. In interviews with friends, family and author Viet Thanh Nguyen, Thanh begins to confront how the Vietnam war is still affecting her identity, her family--and an entire generation of Vietnamese-Americans--today.
Second Wave, a new podcast from KUOW in Seattle that explores the Vietnamese-American refugee experience. Host Thanh Tan will share stories from this community, stories of heartbreak and triumph, born from a war in Vietnam that still lingers in all our lives four decades later. Second Wave: An American story that begins in Vietnam. The podcast debuts September 5.