The father figure and pageant’s founder, Mr. An Vu (most of the girls call him just by “chu An”) had no idea he was about to walk into his surprise birthday party at Oryza Asiana Bistro inside the Valley Fair Mall on March 15th, 2013. Many people were in on it, keeping this special event to a hush months prior. Linda Tran (Hoa-Hau Ao-Dai Bac Cali 2008 and Super Woman) planned this whole thing, from making the restaurant reservations, coordinating the list of invitees, sending out the invitations, selecting the cake, and even to decorating the table. Hours before the big surprise, Hong An (Hoa-Hau Ao-Dai Bac Cali 2001) walked the chu An around the mall, diverting his attention away from the restaurant area, as people were arriving.
Around 6:30ish, Hong An escorted the birthday man into the restaurant, where he was greeted by familiar faces and a big SURRRRRRPRISEEEEE! More than 25 people attended this joyous occasion. Among them were San Jose City Council member, Madeline Nguyen and her family, Kevin Nguyen (of Light Touch Studio and pageant’s official photographer, by the way, who took all these great photos), Queenie Huyen Tran (the pageant’s fabulous big sister), Vietnamese singers – Nguyen Hoang Nguyen and Thien Nga, and the 2013 Hoa-Hau Ao-Dai Bac Cali court.
The pageant family just gets bigger and bigger with each passing year. As with any large and growing family, there needs to be a glue that holds the family together and that glue has always been and will be our beloved chu An. Those who know him well would all say that he’s wise, kind, soft spoken and highly respected in the community. Since 1987 he has helped countless of young Vietnamese women reconnect with their culture and heritage by providing them a platform through the Hoa-Hau Ao-Dai Bac Cali (Miss Vietnam of Northern California) pageant. He has given young Vietnamese women endless opportunity to speak more Vietnamese, wear and appreciate the beautiful and traditional Vietnamese long dress (Ao-Dai), and be more active in the community by doing community service. Now, nearly 30 years laters, you can only imagine how many people he has helped and how many lives he has changed. On his birthday, the least we can for him was make him feel special and appreciated. Hopefully he will remember and cherish that day forever and ever. Happy Birthday chu An!!!