Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Condoleezza Rice—the Captivating Connoisseur

By Anhthao Bui with editing by Daniel Lambert

I wish to sit in front of a grant piano and let my fingers freely dance on the keyboard. I wish to earn a PhD degree, and make book tours around the world to glorify my incredible father. Condoleezza Rice’s fruition reflexes my mind trip, which hooks me to trace her steps since I have known her on Facebook. I know that I, a working new immigrant, am not able to compare myself to Ms. Rice, a widespread noble lady, and we were raised in different cultures. However, reading her story, I have learned that we share some correspondent values, such as an educational backbone, a childhood surrounded by love, and an orientation toward family.

Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 was an unsafe place because of the hatred of African Americans. The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing by Ku Klux Klan members was not the only conspiracy that abused African American emotions, but it was a chronic event. Ms. Rice experienced Birmingham’s turmoil, so she ironically changed “Birmingham” into “Bombingham.” The fearsome events in Birmingham shocked me and challenged my knowledge. Growing up in Vietnam, a war-torn country, I was jealous of the peaceful United States. I thought that after the U.S. Civil War, the United States was the most secure place in the world. Thus, currents of people around the world poured into the United States to seek protection. However, my understanding about the United States was encapsulated. In the United States, few places were untrustworthy to live in. The explosive event at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was not the first or the last attack, but it has happened like that until today, with the September Eleven terrorist attack. While Ms. Rice encountered her local violence as a child, my immaturity confronted the national disturbance of the Fall of Saigon in April of 1975.

As an only child, Ms. Rice received her parents’ full benefits of love. Her parents wrapped her in a cozy cocoon of affection to protect her from danger. As well-educated and sociable people who occupied themselves with community services, Ms. Rice’s parents still kept their eyes on their only daughter with serious guidance and high expectations. Ms. Rice's father accepted the community’s critics regarding his indifferent African American political norms and movements because he did not want to end up in jail: he needed to protect his own family. Ms. Rice communicated well with her parents. She trusted her parents and always shared her true feelings and emotions with them. While Ms. Rice directly won her parents’ abundant attachment and care, I shared my parents’ love with my siblings. My father did not have time to talk to his youngest child when he was alive. Like many Vietnamese women, my mother stayed home to take care of us, but she almost ignored me because the older siblings needed more attention than I did. Until now, our communication was limited. However, I indirectly tasted my parents' inestimable love and incredible sacrifice.

Ms. Rice’s parents realized that education was the only way to escape from discrimination and prejudice. They invested their daughter's knowledge and nurtured her mind with the best education: religion, music, sports, politics, and books. Ms. Rice possessed an outstanding Intelligence Quota and extreme determination. She learned how to play the piano at age three; she practiced a difficult piece of music for eight hours in order to get her own piano from her parents; she graduated from high school at age fifteen; she was one of a few female African Americans to receive a PhD degree. Like Ms. Rice’s parents, our parents honored education. They fed us with books, arts, and diverse philosophies. We all learned how to play musical instruments and had our own library. Our parents also prepared us female spirituality with “công, dung, ngôn, hạnh,” (“public services, appearance, communication, and virtue") and “cầm, kỳ, thi, họa,” (“singing, undertaking, writing, and drawing.”) However, my intelligence was below the standard. During my youth, I suffered my family and friends’ mockery about my stupid and silly acts. Ms. Rice reveals that her parents are extraordinary people. To me, my parents are the greatest creatures in the world and more powerful than God.

A few years ago, when I first got to know Ms. Rice, I admired her with a lack of reason. However, since I have followed her book tour, I have learned more about her and noticed that she obtained the same dreams that I sought. I chose her as my role model to motivate me to work harder to achieve my goals. Ms. Rice’s superiority is derived from prominent elements of the fertile earth—her environment; devoted agronomists—her parents; and the exclusive seed—Ms. Rice.