Tam Hoang and the Reader

What English means to me, I teach war, UCSD literature students, Linda Vista, American Christmas, outlier students

Tam Hoang. Some of you probably had that one friend in school who was really, really into Asian stuff. I want to be the reverse of that dude.
  • Tam Hoang. Some of you probably had that one friend in school who was really, really into Asian stuff. I want to be the reverse of that dude.
  • Image by Howie Rosen

Tam Hoang, and English teacher at Coronado High School, has written for the Reader since 2015.

  • That feeling of being the servile colonial subject eager to impress

  • If you grew up speaking Vietnamese, like I did, there was probably a moment in your life when you realized the limitations of your vocabulary. So, a conversation with your mom went something like this: “Vietnamese Vietnamese registration Vietnamese units Vietnamese Vietnamese credentialing.” (March 11, 2015)
  • The stories not told

  • Currently, I teach tenth and eleventh grade English at Coronado High School. When I came to Coronado, one of the books on the reading list was Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a novel about the Vietnam War told through vignettes. Cool deal, I thought. It’s about Vietnam. I’m Vietnamese. Mission accomplished. (Nov. 11, 2015)

Tam Hoang

Tam Hoang

  • UCSD literature majors – why they exist

  • “The best reason to read literature is for pleasure,” Matthew J. Bruccoli wrote in the preface to The Great Gatsby in 1992. We know what he meant, but the theme doesn’t make it easier for literature majors to be taken seriously. (May 3, 2017)
  • I adored American Christmas

  • I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my dad told me as we looked into the city skyline glittering with streetlights and blinking neon signs in the distance. I was transfixed. Braised meat, steaks, chops; meat on skewers, meat over rice, between bread. (Dec. 20, 2017)
  • They said no to box checking

  • The month of May for high school seniors can be a disorienting time. They are feted through Senior Breakfasts, Grad Nights, Senior Nights, sporting events. They begin to wear the colors of their universities-to-be: the blue-and-gold, the crimson. In drug stores, “Congrats, Grad!” balloons and copies of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! come out of the stockroom, anticipating the eventual pageant of optimism known as graduation. (June 20, 2018) .
  • Linda Vista in conflict with itself

  • Comedian George Lopez jokes that every Mexican family has a haunted room somewhere on the premises — “the cucuy room.” It’s the one you sprint past on your way to the commode in the middle of the night. It’s a place in the middle of your house that’s as inscrutable as the Bermuda Triangle. (July 13, 2016)

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