January 11th, 2014 by Alex Nguyen
I started reading both English and Vietnamese books as early as the age of 4. Books play a major role in my life even until now, proving to be one of my favorite means for downtime entertainment, a source of inspiration and a catalyst for the imaginative brain. I love books for all the power and knowledge that they bring. However, clumsy in wording or uninteresting subject content would be things that turned me off.
I read more newspapers ever since I came to the US. Suffice to say, they’ve recently become a source of daily information for me. I had no interest in reading Vietnamese papers, for their content dealt much with politics, corruption and crime, of which none appealed to a kid like myself. US newspapers have much more variety in content, and clearly have more freedom in their subject approach. I didn’t know much about censorship in Vietnamese newspapers until later on in life.
When I was 6, my dad started buying kid’s magazine for me every week. It was issued by government owned media. I loved reading them, or to be more accurate, I loved their jokes and comics section. They were the reason I read the magazine. I have never had a good relationship with any magazines since then. I would love to read a well design magazine if it catches my attention. But ever since the Internet has my attention than most, magazines never make a firm position in my life.
My favorite Disney movie is The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I have viewed it more than all the In N Out burgers I have ever had. Along with books, movies also play an important part of my life. They, like books, open windows to other worlds, spicing up your imagination drive and offering an alternate reality to any ordinary reality you may have. It is a form of escapism. I have a certain distaste for films that lean on heavy violence, gore without any other discernible value. A lot of films I watched in Vietnam were either DVD gifts from my aunt who lives in the US or through piracy means, which is a common practice in Vietnam.
The first two recordings that I heard were audio tapes of Gulliver’s Travels and Alice in Wonderland that were my parents’ Christmas gift when I was 5. I listened to them countless times in my youth, fascinated by the stories and the narrator’s deep British voice. Later on, I bought pirated CDs of my favorite artists that are sold en mass in local supermarkets and listened to them in passion. It was an effective way to learn English. I listened to a large variety of music in my lifetime, which means music recordings have a great influence on me. The only qualm that I have with the music industry in recent times is that it has become saturated with bland uninspiring commercial music.
Radio doesn’t have much of an impact on my life and the Internet is to blame. I rarely listen to radio stations. And if I do, I usually find them littered with commercial music, annoying advertisements and even more annoying static sound.
At 7PM daily, my family gathered around the TV with our dinner set before us, waiting for our favorite TV sitcom to start. It was almost like a daily ritual. Now, life in the US doesn’t offer us the luxury to do that anymore, since US sitcoms are too different from Asian sitcoms, in subject matter and in whatever that makes us tick. Still, my family still watches news and talent shows every dinner.
Internet plays a huge role in everyone’s life, including me. It is both a gift and a curse. As it brings accessible knowledge to anyone who has a computer, it also brings in issue about security, privacy and negative change to the person who abuses its uses.