Tram From Vietnam And The Real American Dream
February 17, 2005, 04:00 AM
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I get my nails done at a salon owned by a man named Tram. (He tells me I can use his name without giving away his identity because "Half the Vietnamese are named Tram.")

Tram has a rather unique personality: an entrepreneurial mixture of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi and Jimmy Wah, the bar owner from Good Morning Vietnam.

For those not familiar with these characters [VDARE.Com note: i.e Peter Brimelow], Tram is flamboyant, opinionated and reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason…and believe me, he does.

Two years ago, his sister-in-law stopped by to borrow polish remover for their other salon. She was almost to the door when Tram tackled her, pried it from her fingers and threw her out.

Then he called his wife and, well, I can't write what he said but let me say this: American cuss words are exceptionally funny when pronounced with a Vietnamese accent.

Although I'm a long-time patron, a few months ago I had a run-in with Tram. I didn't want fingernail polish. That's it. I told the girl who was working on my fingers that I didn't want my nails polished, just manicured.

She wanted to charge me extra.

We argued for a minute and Tram appeared on my right with his signature barking demand "What wrong now!!??"

(And no, I am not making fun of Vietnamese accents, this is how he speaks and frankly, it's part of his charm.)

Ok, Tram is basically the only human I am afraid of…other than my sister Jennifer and I wouldn't necessarily classify her as human.

Meekly, I said "Tram, I think there is some confusion. I told her I don't want fingernail polish and she wants to charge me more."

He stared at me as if to suggest he didn't understand what I was saying.

I decided to expand. "Tram, I just don't want polish. This means less work, less product. It shouldn't cost more. Come on, this is a law of economics [blah, blah, blah]"

He blinked repeatedly as if to clear his mind and translate what I was saying. But as it turned out, it wasn't English that confused him. "Why don't you want polish?" he demanded.

After I explained it was a matter of preference, we argued for two minutes about the price. Then Tram yelled "Get out!! You crazy woman! You American women are just crazy! No taste!"

I snuck back in last Saturday morning, trying to fly under the radar and out of Tram's sight. But then I heard him yell "Oh you back?"

I wanted to weep. I really needed a manicure and now it seemed the Salon Schutzstaffel was about to throw me out. Instead he said "Sit, sit. You want coffee or soda?"

What's going on? Why is he being so nice?

"You feeling ok, Tram?" I asked.

He sat down next to me and leaned forward in a conspiratorial huddle and said "What do you know about immigration?"

Oh, great. I was about to be banned for life.

Tram knows I work in politics, knows some of the people for whom I have worked, but doesn't know that I now work in issue advocacy, specifically immigration reform. Oh yeah, and for VDARE.com no less.

Presuming that we held opposing viewpoints, and hoping to avoid another banishment, my instinct was to equivocate.

But Tram went on: "There is a new salon down the street. They're very cheap, you know."

I started to tell him that business is business etc… when he interrupted me: "They're illegal people. They're cheap because they don't pay taxes that I pay."

He was really, really angry which is saying something. He proceeded to scurry about the salon, yanking licenses from each of the stations all the while yelling, and I am sure cursing, in Vietnamese.

He returned to his seat next to me and said "See! All legal. I am an American. My employees are legal. I don't break the law. They break the law. They spit on the United States. Police do nothing."

I was stunned.

Of course illegal immigration harms all U.S. residents and citizens but for some reason (ignorance fully acknowledged) up until that point, I had overlooked the real effect it has on legal immigrants like Tram.

As a relatively new immigrant who only recently received his citizenship, Tram feels especially enraged by those who skip to the front of the line by choosing to ignore our laws.

[By skip to the front of the line, I mean sneak into the U.S., lay low and wait for Congress to decide to have another Absolutely Final amnesty.]

I am not sure when Tram left Vietnam but I know he was a young man around the age of 30 when he arrived in the U.S. He spent more than ten years as a legal resident studying English and petitioning for citizenship.

He has two children in college and his wife owns another salon in town. He says "She's more American than Vietnamese. She says she wants her own store. Says she doesn't need me to pay her bills. Women, you all the same…crazy."

Tram wanted to know if there was anything he could do to stop the other salon from doing business illegally. He said he had called the police and they did nothing to help him.

This was the part that really shocked me:

I asked him how he felt about the police ignoring his report. He told me that the other salon was staffed by people from Mexico and the police favor them.

Yep—Tram believes that non-Mexican immigrants, such as those from Asia, are discriminated against. He told me that many Asian immigrants feel this way.

I asked him why police would favor Mexicans over Asians. He told me that Mexican immigrants are simply more protected than Asian immigrants:

"Americans are afraid to offend them. When an illegal alien from Mexico is in trouble they get lawyers and sympathy—they should be treated like us. They should be deported too, but they aren't."

(According to Tim Binh of Vietnamese for Fair Immigration, Tram is right on the mark:

"There are two separate immigration systems, one with almost no entry requirements and immediate rewards for Mexicans and Hispanics, and another one which is much more difficult for almost everyone else in the world."

"As a result of this intentionally racist immigration system, currently over half of legal/legalized immigrants are Hispanic, even though Hispanics are only 7% of the world's population. Since Hispanics by design are 85% of illegal aliens, the amnesty Bush and other politicians want for them would increase the Hispanic legal/legalized immigrant proportion to 70% or more.")

Tram wanted to know why Asians should follow the law and spend years working on their citizenship if the benefits are the same for illegal aliens from Mexico.

Good question. I told him that Latino immigrant rights groups have managed to convince enough politicians that Mexicans are just seeking the American Dream and who can blame them for that?

He laughed and said "I came to America to live the American Dream. I know the American Dream. Stealing and cheating is not the American Dream. Stealing and cheating is why I left Vietnam."

So Tram is now hot after this illegal business with which he has to compete.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost—but (knowing Tram) not quite.

[For a possible litigation solution to Tram's problems, see Howard Foster Reports A Victory Against Illegal Aliens.]

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.