I am not, of course, unaware that my innocence was gone the moment I crossed the Pacific Ocean to the American shore. Nor am I so sentimental as to suggest, in this age of mobility and information flow, of global economy and hybrid identities, that the return from city to land is possible, especially when the contrary has become de facto world wide. What intrigues me simply is this: what story could I possibly tell that would convey the transformational experience of a people who were once land bound but have become instead mobile?
For it seems to me that if ritual and storytelling is a way for a people to partake in a shared vision of themselves, then the Vietnamese abroad must find new ways to reconcile between his agrarian past and his cosmopolitan future, between, that is, his laptop and his memories of ghosts. Nam Nguyen, a friend and an editor of Calitoday, a Vietnamese newspaper in San Jose, said that the Vietnamese myth of nation-building should be revised. It is one where, as all Vietnamese schoolchildren were taught as their first history lesson, a dragon named Lac Long Quan married a fairy named Au Co who gave birth to 100 eggs some 4000 years ago. These eggs hatched and became the Vietnamese people. A new Vietnamese is being "hatched" abroad, Nguyen observed. Who he is nobody knows, for he is not yet being described in any Vietnamese myth or literature.