Ravaged by war, violently pushed out of their home country, separated from their extended family and friends, and evacuated to a foreign country where they have no commonality, Vietnamese refugees faced the worst after the end of Vietnam War in 1975. Although they are caught between two different cultures and expectations, Vietnamese refugees and immigrants successfully adapted and integrated into America with their infinite perseverance and diligence. Vietnamese American communities have developed, grown and preserved a place within American society along with other Asian American groups. Admittedly, they have proven their continued success to the communist government back in Vietnam and become the model minority group in American society. Based on a short-time study of Little Saigons, a Vietnamese ethnic enclave, and Paris by Night, a musical cultural variety show, this paper examines the social, cultural, and emotional significance of such culture preservation in the lives of immigrants. The paper focuses on two specific aspects: how these developments create or recreate a sense of identity and how has it helped the Vietnamese immigrants integrate into American society. I conclude that ethnic enclaves and cultural entertainments constitute an important aspect of an immigrant's identity and it enables him/her to simultaneously remain connected to the place left behind and yet appropriating and forging significant new ties to his/her new home.
Little Saigon and Paris by Night: Creating a Sense of Identity.
The story of the Vietnamese immigrant experience is one of pain and loss. The fall of South Vietnam was such a haunting experience to Vietnamese refugees who had to flee their fallen homeland. They lost both their nation and identity. After the fall of Saigon in April 1975, the South Vietnamese began evacuating with nothing but the hope of returning to their home when the political situation permitted.