Friday, December 4, 2015

Some More English Zone

As we have mentioned in a previous post the English Zone is a special area on the campus where students gather to practice listening and talking in English.  It is all voluntary and not graded so that students can learn without any pressure.  The Zone is actually run by the students themselves: they not only learn English but they set up the equipment, help raise funds to keep the place going, volunteer and help each other practice their English, decorate the area and in general just keep it up and running.  One staff person, Ms Vinh, a lecturer from our Labor Relations and Labor Union department, acts as a mentor and works with the students.

  This week while we worked with a group other students were painting Christmas Themes, singing songs, practicing their English -- Christmas is increasingly celebrated here, mostly by Catholics.  Since we attend the Zone four times a week, twice a day on two days, we regularly teach union and USA political songs as well as informally converse
Working the board for a simulation on Social Dialog
between Workers and Management in an enterprise
with the students, some times focusing on union jargon.  Our songs this week were "With a Little Help from Your Friends" and the second was "Which Side Are You On".  Each time with these songs we tell the story about how they were used or the special significance.  Our story about "a Little Help" covered some about the anti-war movement and John Lennon and the second we used to talk about the coal miner's struggles for justice and safety.  In both cases we made sure to mention that these songs are used in a wider context of the progressive movement and progressive thought in the US and in other parts of the world.  

We do not sugar coat our homeland -- how could we do it even if we wanted when the leading candidate for the GOP as I write is Donald Trump?  No, we speak truth in an effort to lift the blinders placed on  people in other countries by Hollywood.  Our films make us look like either a nation of idiots or as one that glorifies violence and militarism -  think Sanberdoo, Califa.  George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush threw the seeds in the winds.  Oops, I forgot that sadistic fascist Dick Cheney. 

It is a strange feeling to not be able to explain Trump, Rubio, Bush3, and the other half wits who are receiving appreciable market share of the voter confidence for the GOP at this time. Looking from a far the Democratic side looks better. The Bern is good but those in control of the party are going to do everything they can to push Clinton in as the candidate and Bernie out.  And then Clinton will deliver her soul to Wall Street and the militarists, she has done before, and we won't be one step ahead of the mess we are in now.

New Library being built at Ton Duc Thang University -- December 4, 2015
Oh for a change of pace and here is one.  The picture to the right below is of the hole for the new library here at the University.  It will be the largest University library in Vietnam and the newest when it is finished!

Why is the library and all the building that is going on significant?  Well, Vietnam and the rest of the formerly colonized and then neo-colonized under neo-liberalism are finding their own way into living in a more developed world.  There cultures are older than those of Europe but because they were plundered by the British, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Portuguese, and the Americans and their wealth and intellectual property moved to the "West" their countries and economies are playing a rebuilding game.  Now, with the US instigated wars in the middle east  even more plundered countries are going to find themselves with destroyed infrastructure.  How will they survive and rebuild their countries in this century when most wealth is in the hands of the financial oligarchy of the West.

We must all hope for and build for peace in the world and the ascendancy of working people as the ruling class in society.  Only the leadership by the 99% offers a chance for peace, prosperity, and the end of militarism.  You can bet your boots that the industrial-military-intelligence (oxymoron) complex won't do it.  Even with both hands and a strong flashlight they couldn't find you know what so they are hopelessly out of depth trying to bring together the peoples of the world to share equitably the wealth of the world and create a world of food, medical care, housing, education, culture and love for all.  And you know all the people want those things so that their children, grand children, and all of us can grow up and live with dignity.  When we are lead by the greedy that all the prophets disdained and hated then you know where we are at.  And I am not even one who believes in the prophets -- I believe in evolution and our species though at times I get a bit pessimistic. 

We now appreciate the value of email and social media (Facebook is our limit) to stay in touch with all the hard organizing going on as USA movements mobilize. analyze and grow together fighting against the systemic criminal and oppressive powers challenging our rights.

Here in Vietnam, the students and professors at Ton Duc Thang University also inspire us that people want justice and peace and that together we have the capacity, strength and smarts to work as one to build a world that serves the needs and aspirations of workers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment