Dear Asian Americans

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Meet Phuc Tran, bestselling author of Sigh Gone, a memoir about his refugee childhood in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Hear Jerry's conversation with Phuc as they chat about the first time Phuc learned the power of words, what got him to finally believe that he should write a book, and what message of advice he has for those who want to share their own stories.

Show Notes

Meet Phuc Tran!

We celebrate Phuc sharing his story, filled with smiles, tears, and emotions, about this growing up in a foreign land with parents who often never understood him.

We support his book and his decision to share his story, one that matters so much in helping Asian Americans and others feel like they are not alone in their immigrant and refugee journey.

We are inspired by him being bold and taking the stage at TEDxDirigo 8 years ago, which ultimately led him to writing Sigh, Gone. Thank you for writing the book. 


About Phuc, in his own words:

"I was born in Sài Gòn Việt Nam, my family fled to America in 1975, and I grew up in Carlisle PA. Reared on a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons, John Hughes, Star Wars, Bones Brigade videos, and bootlegged cassettes of Minor Threat and TSOL, I graduated high school in 1991. I majored in Classical Languages and Literature at Bard College—how did no one talk me out of that?—got my Master’s Degree at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then moved to New York City in 1997.  There I apprenticed to be a tattooer while teaching Latin during the day, and I’ve been teaching and tattooing ever since.  I’ve never been good at staying in one lane—ask my wife about my driving.

Following in the footsteps of E.B. White (who was neither a tattooer nor Latin teacher), my wife and I left the city and moved to Maine in 2003 (she’s an honest-to-goodness Mainer) where we opened our shop, Tsunami Tattoo.  

In 2012, I delivered a TEDx talk which was highlighted by NPR’s TED Radio Hour.  The TEDx talk and its reception planted a seed in me for sharing more of my story as a refugee (of which I’d shared very little). I embarked on writing my memoir in 2016, and in 2020 SIGH, GONE will be published by Flatiron Books. You can read the memoir to get all the gory details of my childhood and adolescence, but spoiler alert:  I do somehow survive.

And here I am at present, deeply grateful to be following this brambly path to its unknown destination.  

As Joe Strummer said, the future is unwritten."


Connect with Phuc:

Watch Phuc's TEDxDirigo Video:

Praise for Sigh, Gone:
New York Times:
OC Register:


Dear Asian Americans, let's stay strong and stay healthy. We'll get through this together.

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Video of this interview coming soon to YouTube:

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Learn more about host Jerry Won:


Dear Asian Americans is on the lookout for amazing products, books, podcasts, and other awesome things created by Asian Americans to feature during #APAHM2020. Let us know who and what you'd like to see featured. Send an email or or shoot us a note on social!

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Dear Asian Americans,
Let's Celebrate. Let's Support. Let's Inspire each other.
Your Fellow Asian Americans