BY NHIEN NGUYEN

The New Year has come and gone, along with New Year’s resolutions, already broken with only two weeks into 2006.

Luckily, for those who celebrate the Lunar New Year coming up at the end of this month, we have another chance to make, re-new or re-define New Year’s resolutions for the ringing in of the Year of the Dog.

In the development of this issue, I was struck by my interview with mentorship-guru Eric Liu. On his Web site, EricLiu.com, he writes, “Remember who has influenced you. And pass it on.”

With Liu’s statement in mind, I devote this column to my New Year’s resolution of recognizing those who have helped me evolve from a shy, awkward 11-year-old to editor of this reputable newspaper.

Like Liu, I have no one single person who I call a mentor, but I look for guidance from many different people in my life — from family, close friends, colleagues or simply casual acquaintances.

– My mother, who showed me over Christmas that no matter how set in her ways she was, she could indeed change.

– Actress Khanh Doan, whose re-invention of the image of “Sleeping Beauty” is making sure children of today see beauty as race-blind.

– My sister, whose life situation is forcing me to wear my heart on my sleeve.

– One of my board members, Gary Iwamoto, who recently reminded me of the privilege of providing the editorial direction of this publication and to not be afraid of my vision.

– My husband, who never saw that shy, awkward 11-year-old in me.

– My dad, who gave me unending fatherly affection and showed me by example the unlimited possibilities in life.

– And of course to Martin Luther King, Jr., (apologies for working on your holiday) who paved the way for a country that would accept me as an American, of Vietnamese descent.

There are many others who I cannot fit into this space, but know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

As for the remainder of my New Year’s resolution, I will take Eric’s other piece of advice. I will think about what is missing, how I want to grow and who can help me get there.

Distinction for Illegal immigrants
Dear Editor:

After reading your article (“Tram Nguyen on Post Sept. 11,” Nov. 16 – Dec. 6, 2005) I was moved to buy the book written by Ms. Tran Nguyen (“We Are All Suspects Now”) and read it to find out exactly what was happening.

What I found is that, with only one possible exception, the “immigrants whose lives have been affected, often tragically…..” are not immigrants at all. The people you are referring to are illegal immigrants who admit in the book that they entered the country illegally and fraudulently, broke the law and intended to stay here illegally. The one exception in the book is a gentleman named Abdullah, whom it is not clear how he entered other than that he was a refuge. He was being deported because witnesses said he had attacked and attempted to kill a man. “The people at the scene said I was the one who attempted to kill somebody.” True? Not true?

The book shows us that these people intentionally break the law, violate our national borders and still feel that they are being treated unfairly when caught and asked to leave. It is a very revealing book.

The point is that the people we are asked to feel sorry for intentionally broke the law, violated our immigration regulations and now want us to feel sorry for them because they have been caught and are being deported. Sorry, I don’t. They should be rounded up and deported as fast as possible and other illegal immigrants should be stopped from entering at all.

Another point is that these illegal aliens have an opportunity to agree to volunary deportation, which would eliminate the need to incarcerate them and would speed up the deporation process, save money and suffering. Instead, they choose to find immigration lawyers and bleeding heart associations to fight thier case. It is not the government who chooses to keep them in jail, it is they who choose not to leave.

As for your writing, please call it what it is. Many try to get rid of the “illegal” by calling these law breakers “undocumented aliens”. You don’t even offer that pretense. You call them “immigrants” which is untrue. They are not immigrants although they could be called “wannabe immigrants” if you like. But why not just tell the truth and call them what they are; illegal immigrants, criminals and lawbreakers.

William Turnbull
Kent, Wash.

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