I Love Ngoc Lan

Message to an American admirer

My barber and his family moved to the Northwest from California (because things are better here, guys!) His wife told me a very touching story: when they lived there years ago (I believe she said Stockton, CA), she often came to help her sister at her video store. Often she said, there was a young American male who came into the store to buy all the latest videos, CD’s, tapes that had Ngoc Lan in them. She (my barber’s wife) said that she didn’t know if he listened to the music, but she thought that he may have just wanted to look at all her pictures. And he kept track of when any new product would come out, so he would be sure to be at the store buying it. It tugged at my heart thinking about this “silent worshiping”, how you love someone “just because”…. when you don’t know their language, don’t know what the songs mean or anything…. I thought about how devastated he must have felt when he found out Ngoc Lan was gone… but who would he turn to to commiserate? Evidently he wasn’t part of the Vietnamese crowd (by that I mean, he wasn’t a boyfriend or husband of a Vietnamese woman), and his American friends just wouldn’t understand his loss… I often wonder where he is, if there’s a way to let him know about this website, etc..

I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time. A couple days ago, when Ngoc shared with me the picture taken at Ngoc Lan’s funeral (#28), I recognized NL’s parents, sisters, and, right behind Ngoc Lan’s sisters, I spotted an American face. He didn’t look like he was with anyone in particular… Could he be….? Could he be this admirer who loved Ngoc Lan despite the language, despite not having any obvious ties to Vietnamese culture? Maybe he is, if so I hope he has found peace…I hope we all find peace… It would be the very thing Ngoc Lan would want.


  1. Wow! That’s is inspiring. Hope he can find this site. I am sure we all love to hear his story.

    Comment by donny — 7/24/2003 @ 8:00 am

  2. Hi bạn Trọng
    Very well written piece ! You and your sister should be in the writing buisiness.

    Comment by Lẩm Cẩm — 7/24/2003 @ 2:22 pm

  3. I agree with Lam Cam. Your writing pursuaded me to create this site in the first place and I thank you for that. And chi ngoc’s writing? Well, all I can say is that people are asolutely touched with Memory Lane piece and I love it dearly. You guys/gals are so talented.

    Comment by donny — 7/24/2003 @ 5:06 pm

  4. Ban Lam Cam and Donny, so good of you to recognize our talents; and now, if only Hollywood would come calling…

    Signed: Writer for hire! 🙂

    Honestly though, we all want what we can’t have: I wish I could build websites, capture pictures off videotapes, make video clips… On the other hand, we sure complement one another well!

    Comment by ngoc — 7/24/2003 @ 6:16 pm

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