12.20.2012

?!*

tried to help but ended up digging a hole for myself. bury me.

..........
ha, life.

11.20.2012

almi + kim

a love story, eleven years in the making.
will hopefully last a lifetime.
amazing how you can see pure happiness in almi's and kim's eyes.


almi + kim
club balai isabel
san guillermo parish, talisay, batangas

christian andaya
christianandaya.com
foreverydayphoto.com

..........
congrats and best wishes, almi and kim!

8.29.2012

the burning monk photographer


BURNING-MONK PHOTOGRAPHER MALCOLM BROWNE DIES
By Richard Pyle and Ula Ilnytzky | Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The phone calls went out from Saigon's Xa-Loi Buddhist pagoda to chosen members of the foreign news corps. The message: Be at a certain location tomorrow for a "very important" happening.

The next morning, June 11, 1963, an elderly monk named Thich Quang Duc, clad in a brown robe and sandals, assumed the lotus position on a cushion in a blocked-off street intersection. Aides drenched him with aviation fuel, and the monk calmly lit a match and set himself ablaze.

Of the foreign journalists who had been alerted to the shocking political protest against South Vietnam's U.S.-supported government, only one, Malcolm Browne of The Associated Press, showed up.

The photos he took appeared on front pages around the globe and sent shudders all the way to the White House, prompting President John F. Kennedy to order a re-evaluation of his administration's Vietnam policy.

"We have to do something about that regime," Kennedy told Henry Cabot Lodge, who was about to become U.S. ambassador to Saigon.

Browne, who died Monday at a New Hampshire hospital at age 81, recalled in a 1998 interview that that was the beginning of the rebellion, which led to U.S.-backed South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem being overthrown and murdered, along with his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, the national security chief.

"Almost immediately, huge demonstrations began to develop that were no longer limited to just the Buddhist clergy, but began to attract huge numbers of ordinary Saigon residents," Browne said in the interview.

Browne was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000 and spent his last years using a wheelchair to get around. He was rushed to the hospital Monday night after experiencing difficulty breathing, said his wife, Le Lieu Browne, who lives in Thetford, Vt.

Browne spent most of his journalism career at The New York Times, where he put in 30 years of his four decades as a journalist, much of it in war zones.

By his own account, Browne survived being shot down three times in combat aircraft, was expelled from half a dozen countries and was put on a "death list" in Saigon.

In 1964, Browne, then an AP correspondent, and rival Times journalist David Halberstam both won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on the conflict in Vietnam. The war had escalated because of the Nov. 1, 1963, coup d'etat in which Diem was killed.

The plot — by a cabal of generals acting with tacit U.S. approval — was triggered in part by earlier Buddhist protests against the pro-Catholic Diem regime. These drew worldwide attention when the monk set himself afire in protest as about 500 people watched.

One of Browne's burning monk photos became one of the first iconic news photos of the Vietnam War.

"Malcolm Browne was a precise and determined journalist who helped set the standard for rigorous reporting in the early days of the Vietnam War," said Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor and senior vice president. "He was also a genuinely decent and classy man."

Former AP reporter Peter Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in Vietnam, said in an email: "Malcolm Browne's personal bravery, his intellectual brilliance and uncompromising dedication to the truth set the high standard of AP reporting from Vietnam in the critical years early years of the war. He gave unselfish encouragement to the many young journalists arriving to cover their first war. His example was inspirational to me in the four years I worked with him in the Saigon bureau, and I valued him as a mentor for the rest of my career."

Hal Buell, who was a deputy photo editor in New York City when the photo of the burning monk was taken, said, "That picture put the Vietnam War on the front page more than anything else that happened before that. That's where the story stayed for the next 10 years or more."


Malcolm Wilde Browne was born in New York on April 17, 1931. He graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania with a degree in chemistry. Working in a lab when drafted in 1956, he was sent to Korea as a tank driver, but by chance got a job writing for a military newspaper, and from that came a decision to trade science for a career in journalism.

He worked first for the Middletown Daily Record in New York, where he worked alongside Hunter S. Thompson, author of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Browne then worked briefly for International News Service and United Press, the forerunner of United Press International, before joining the AP in 1960. A year later, the AP sent him from Baltimore to Saigon to head its expanding bureau.

There, he became a charter member of a small group of reporters covering South Vietnam's U.S.-backed military struggle against the Viet Cong, a home-grown communist insurgency.

Within the year he was joined in Saigon by photographer Horst Faas and Arnett. By 1966, all three members of what a competitor called the AP's "human wave" had earned Pulitzer Prizes — one of journalism's highest honors — for Vietnam coverage.

In his 1993 memoir, "Muddy Boots and Red Socks," Browne said he "did not go to Vietnam harboring any opposition to America's role in the Vietnamese civil war" but became disillusioned by the Kennedy administration's secretive "shadow war" concealing the extent of U.S. involvement.

Tall, lanky and blond, Browne was a cerebral and eccentric character with a penchant for red socks — they were easy to match, he explained — and an acerbic wit befitting his grandfather's cousin, Oscar Wilde.

Overall, associates saw him as complex, rather mysterious, and above all, independent.

"Mal Browne was a loner; he worked alone, did not share his sources and didn't often mix socially with the press group," recalled Faas, who died this year. "And stubborn — he wouldn't compromise on a story just to please his editors or anyone else."

Browne wrote a 1965 book, "The New Face of War," and a manual for new reporters in Vietnam. Among its kernels of advice: Have a sturdy pair of boots, watch out for police spies who eavesdrop on reporters' bar conversations, and "if you're crawling through grass with the troops and you hear gunfire, don't stick your head up to see where it's coming from, as you will be the next target."

By 1965, impressed by how television appeared to be dominating the public discourse, the reporter who had never owned a TV set left the AP to join ABC News in Vietnam.

Browne quit ABC after a year over management questions.

After a venture into magazine writing, Browne joined The New York Times in 1968. He worked in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, left again to edit a science magazine, and returned to the Times in 1985, mainly as a science writer. He also covered the 1991 Gulf War, again clashing with U.S. officials over censorship issues.

Earlier this month, Browne, sporting his trademark red socks, spoke in New York City at a memorial reception honoring his Saigon compatriots Faas and George Esper, who also died this year. He referred to the gathering as "a family reunion," saying he "always regarded the AP as his second family."

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Timothy; a daughter, Wendy, from a previous marriage; a brother, Timothy; and a sister, Miriam.

Browne will be buried on the family's property in Vermont, his widow said.

___
Richard Pyle covered the Vietnam War for five years and was AP's Saigon bureau chief from 1970 to 1973.

source: the associated press
..........
I suppose the feeling that I'm probably nearing the end of my journalistic career and possibly my life, and while I still remember so much of the contemporary history that I was privileged to watch, I thought it would be nice to leave some of it behind. It might be useful to my grandchildren, if no one else. I'm counseling them to take up careers in burglary because I'm not sure that journalism has a future, but in case it does, why, that's something to think about. - Malcolm W. Brown, on writing the book, "Muddy Boots and Red Socks," Sept. 26, 1993.

I have a very, very lucky -- my life is terrific; it affords the greatest possible variety of experience. That, after all, is why I became a journalist. - Malcolm W. Brown, on being a journalist, Sept. 26, 1993.

6.02.2012

an enduring image

a story about a photo that changed a girl's life, ended a war and endured forty years on to remind people of the horrors of armed conflict -- one of those few instances that something wonderful comes out of something horrible.



VIETNAM NAPAM GIRL FINDS PEACE FORTY YEARS AFTER PHOTO
By MARGIE MASON
AP

TRANG BANG, Vietnam (AP) — In the picture, the girl will always be 9 years old and wailing "Too hot! Too hot!" as she runs down the road away from her burning Vietnamese village.

She will always be naked after blobs of sticky napalm melted through her clothes and layers of skin like jellied lava.

She will always be a victim without a name.

It only took a second for Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut to snap the iconic black-and-white image 40 years ago. It communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history.

But beneath the photo lies a lesser-known story. It's the tale of a dying child brought together by chance with a young photographer. A moment captured in the chaos of war that would be both her savior and her curse on a journey to understand life's plan for her.

"I really wanted to escape from that little girl," says Kim Phuc, now 49. "But it seems to me that the picture didn't let me go."

____

It was June 8, 1972, when Phuc heard the soldier's scream: "We have to run out of this place! They will bomb here, and we will be dead!"

Seconds later, she saw the tails of yellow and purple smoke bombs curling around the Cao Dai temple where her family had sheltered for three days, as north and south Vietnamese forces fought for control of their village.

The little girl heard a roar overhead and twisted her neck to look up. As the South Vietnamese Skyraider plane grew fatter and louder, it swooped down toward her, dropping canisters like tumbling eggs flipping end over end.

"Ba-boom! Ba-boom!"

The ground rocked. Then the heat of a hundred furnaces exploded as orange flames spit in all directions. Fire danced up Phuc's left arm. The threads of her cotton clothes evaporated on contact. Trees became angry torches. Searing pain bit through skin and muscle.

"I will be ugly, and I'm not normal anymore," she thought, as her right hand brushed furiously across her blistering arm. "People will see me in a different way."

In shock, she sprinted down Highway 1 behind her older brother. She didn't see the foreign journalists gathered as she ran toward them, screaming.

Then, she lost consciousness.

___

Ut, the 21-year-old Vietnamese photographer who took the picture, drove Phuc to a small hospital. There, he was told the child was too far gone to help. But he flashed his American press badge, demanded that doctors treat the girl and left assured that she would not be forgotten.

"I cried when I saw her running," said Ut, whose older brother was killed on assignment with the AP in the southern Mekong Delta. "If I don't help her — if something happened and she died — I think I'd kill myself after that."

Back at the office in what was then U.S.-backed Saigon, he developed his film. When the image of the naked little girl emerged, everyone feared it would be rejected because of the news agency's strict policy against nudity. But veteran Vietnam photo editor Horst Faas took one look and knew it was a shot made to break the rules. He argued the photo's news value far outweighed any other concerns, and he won.

A couple of days after the image shocked the world, another journalist found out the little girl had somehow survived the attack. Christopher Wain, a correspondent for the British Independent Television Network who had given Phuc water from his canteen and drizzled it down her burning back at the scene, fought to have her transferred to the American-run Barsky unit. It was the only facility in Saigon equipped to deal with her severe injuries.

"I had no idea where I was or what happened to me," she said. "I woke up and I was in the hospital with so much pain, and then the nurses were around me. I woke up with a terrible fear."

Thirty percent of Phuc's tiny body was scorched raw by third-degree burns, though her face somehow remained untouched. Over time, her melted flesh began to heal.

"Every morning at 8 o'clock, the nurses put me in the burn bath to cut all my dead skin off," she said. "I just cried and when I could not stand it any longer, I just passed out."

After multiple skin grafts and surgeries, Phuc was finally allowed to leave, 13 months after the bombing. She had seen Ut's photo, which by then had won the Pulitzer Prize, but she was still unaware of its reach and power.

She just wanted to go home and be a child again.

___

For a while, life did go somewhat back to normal. The photo was famous, but Phuc largely remained unknown except to those living in her tiny village near the Cambodian border. Ut and a few other journalists sometimes visited her, but that stopped after northern communist forces seized control of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975, ending the war.

Life under the new regime became tough. Medical treatment and painkillers were expensive and hard to find for the teenager, who still suffered extreme headaches and pain.

She worked hard and was accepted into medical school to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. But all that ended once the new communist leaders realized the propaganda value of the 'napalm girl' in the photo.

She was forced to quit college and return to her home province, where she was trotted out to meet foreign journalists. The visits were monitored and controlled, her words scripted. She smiled and played her role, but the rage inside began to build and consume her.

"I wanted to escape that picture," she said. "I got burned by napalm, and I became a victim of war ... but growing up then, I became another kind of victim."

She turned to Cao Dai, her Vietnamese religion, for answers. But they didn't come.

"My heart was exactly like a black coffee cup," she said. "I wished I died in that attack with my cousin, with my south Vietnamese soldiers. I wish I died at that time so I won't suffer like that anymore ... it was so hard for me to carry all that burden with that hatred, with that anger and bitterness."

One day, while visiting a library, Phuc found a Bible. For the first time, she started believing her life had a plan. Then suddenly, once again, the photo that had given her unwanted fame brought opportunity.

She traveled to West Germany in 1982 for medical care with the help of a foreign journalist. Later, Vietnam's prime minister, also touched by her story, made arrangements for her to study in Cuba.

She was finally free from the minders and reporters hounding her at home, but her life was far from normal. Ut, then working at the AP in Los Angeles, traveled to meet her in 1989, but they never had a moment alone. There was no way for him to know she desperately wanted his help again.

"I knew in my dream that one day Uncle Ut could help me to have freedom," said Phuc, referring to him by an affectionate Vietnamese term. "But I was in Cuba. I was really disappointed because I couldn't contact with him. I couldn't do anything."

___

While at school, Phuc met a young Vietnamese man. She had never believed anyone would ever want her because of the ugly patchwork of scars that banded across her back and pitted her arm, but Bui Huy Toan seemed to love her more because of them.

The two decided to marry in 1992 and honeymoon in Moscow. On the flight back to Cuba, the newlyweds defected during a refueling stop in Canada. She was free.

Phuc contacted Ut to share the news, and he encouraged her to tell her story to the world. But she was done giving interviews and posing for photos.

"I have a husband and a new life and want to be normal like everyone else," she said.

The media eventually found Phuc living near Toronto, and she decided she needed to take control of her story. A book was written in 1999 and a documentary came out, at last the way she wanted it told. She was asked to become a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to help victims of war. She and Ut have since reunited many times to tell their story, even traveling to London to meet the Queen.

"Today, I'm so happy I helped Kim," said Ut, who still works for AP and recently returned to Trang Bang village. "I call her my daughter."

After four decades, Phuc, now a mother of two sons, can finally look at the picture of herself running naked and understand why it remains so powerful. It had saved her, tested her and ultimately freed her.

"Most of the people, they know my picture but there's very few that know about my life," she said. "I'm so thankful that ... I can accept the picture as a powerful gift. Then it is my choice. Then I can work with it for peace."

Kim Phuc today lives in Canada and has come to peace about her past. (ALPHA /LANDOV)

In this March 29, 2012 photo, Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut visits Cao Dai temple near the place he took his famous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of her as a terrified 9-year-old in Trang Bang, Tay Ninh province, Vietnam. The iconic black-and-white image of the aftermath of a napalm attack communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe and contributed to its end. But behind the camera, it also brought the wounded girl together with the young photographer, and it came to define her life both as a curse and ultimately as a savior. (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)

..........
stories like this move me all the time but this story resonates with me more now that i've actually visited the cao dai temple and the cu chi tunnels in southern vietnam as well as the different museums in saigon.

this is a photo i wish i could take and a story i wish i could write about, and hopefully, live long enough to see what has come out of it forty years on.

5.30.2012

the opposite of loneliness



this piece below was written by marina keegan, a 22-year old yale graduate who died in a car crash a few days after her graduation. a moving essay on how one must never lose that "sense of possibility."

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS
Marina Keegan


We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clich├ęd “should haves...” “if I’d...” “wish I’d...”

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.

For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.

We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.

..........
rest in peace, marina.

tonight, by your words, you have touched one more person.