The city of Houston, Texas, has the largest community of Vietnamese in the United States outside of California. Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States.
Between 150,000 and 300,000 Vietnamese live in Houston. It is difficult to know an exact number because many Vietnamese do not complete census forms in the United States. They do not trust government officials in the U.S. because they learned not to trust government officials in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese population in Houston and other Texas cities is growing. That is because many Vietnamese who have family members in the United States are able to get visas designed to reunify families. These newly-arrived Vietnamese bring strong connections to the language and culture of their country to the Houston Vietnamese community.
Many of them listen to Radio Saigon-Houston.
Vu Thanh Thuy talks with listeners who call to discuss their families, politics and events in Vietnam. She owns the station with her husband. They were both journalists in Vietnam. She then became a reporter for a newspaper in San Diego, California.
Many Vietnamese in the United States listen to her. Some Vietnamese stations in other parts of the United States broadcast her program. And some people in Vietnam listen to it on the internet.
“This morning our station did an interview with a priest in Vietnam who was leading a group of 18,000 protester(s) in the Central Vietnam against the pollution.”
Vu Thanh Thuy says people who listen to the station are very interested in what is happening in Vietnam. She says they are worried about Chinese claims to Vietnamese territory.
She says the station broadcasts programs on many issues.
“There's a show to answer any kind of question. You come up with a question and ask me I will tell you when to listen and, you know, at what time, what day to listen.”
The radio station is in a part of Houston where many Vietnamese live and work. Even the street signs are in Vietnamese. Near the station are a large Vietnamese Buddhist pagoda and a Vietnamese Catholic church. The shopping center where the station has its studios has many Vietnamese restaurants, tea shops, bakeries and health food stores.
Many people who work and shop in the area speak only Vietnamese. For some who have recently arrived from Vietnam, as well as for some who have been here many years, the area is a place where they can be comfortable.
Vu Thanh Thuy says the station helps people who grew up in Vietnam adjust to their new life in the United States.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA Correspondent Greg Flakus reported this story from Houston. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
outside – adj. an area around or near something (such as a building)
census – n. the official process of counting the number of people in a country, city or town and collecting information about them
form – n. a document with blank spaces for filling in information
visa – n. an official mark or stamp on a passport that allows someone to enter or leave a country usually for a particular reason
reunify – v. to make (something, such as a divided country or family) whole again; to unify (something) again
interview – n. a meeting between a reporter and another person in order to get information for a news story
priest – n. a person who has the authority to lead or perform ceremonies in some religions and especially in some Christian religions
come up with – expression create; design; manufacture
comfortable – adj. feeling relaxed and happy; not worried or troubled
adjust – v. to change in order to work or do better in a new situation