The Rotten Apples

Prime Minister of South Vietnam, Nguyen Cao Ky, and his wife made a two-day visit to southeast Queensland in 1967. (link to newspaper article http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/wild-welcome-for-vietnam-pm/news-story/57a5dd5fc8d76c59d83d166e7d9e5d4e)

I always feel very lucky that I was accepted to resettle in Australia after escaping the Communist. However, I also feel inferior and have developed a complex seeing the bad things other Vietnamese refugees did in Australia that made headlines. Crimes such as drug dealings, forming gangs, welfare fraud, immigration tricks,… I don’t join Vietnamese groups that habitually gather to speak loudly in our native language and yet don’t mingle with others at social events in Australia. I distance myself from unruly, uncivilized, unethical and small-minded Vietnamese. Another friend once told me that he felt good that Australians often mistook him for Japanese because he didn’t feel proud to be recognized as Vietnamese.

More than ever, I witness the financial burden brought on by recently arrived asylum seekers as well as the social issues coming with them while Australia struggles with budget deficits. These days, like those in later generations of Vietnamese refugees that I know, I feel embarrassed to be recognized as a refugee in Australia. I dislike reading stories of Vietnamese boat people that said they escaped the poverty induced by the Communists. I don’t like to be blindly grouped as economic refugees.

The death of Đặng Tuyết Mai, on 21st December 2016, brought mixed feelings to me. She was also known as Madame Nguyễn Cao Kỳ, the former wife of Nguyễn Cao Kỳ, South Vietnam Vice President until his retirement from politics in 1971. As the country fell to the Communists in 1975, Mr and Mrs Kỳ fled to the US.

In 2004, Mr Kỳ returned to Vietnam, playing golf with Communist leaders, calling for peace and reconciliation with a government he once fought and hinting that he might even move back to Vietnam. Mr Kỳ later was involved in organizing trips to Vietnam for potential U.S. investors.

In September 2009, Madame Tuyết Mai went back to Vietnam and opened a plush restaurant called “Pho Ta” – specialised in the traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup – on one of the busy streets in Saigon.

Mr Kỳ’s daughter from his second marriage to Madame Tuyết Mai, a former stewardess, is Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên. Kỳ Duyên was a 10-year-old girl when Saigon fell in 1975. She and 20 others escaped in a crammed military cargo plane to Washington. Her father flew his own helicopter to a waiting U.S. aircraft carrier. Now she is a well-known mistress of ceremonies on the thirty-four-year-old and famous “Paris By Night” show. The Vietnamese-language musical variety show is popular overseas as well as in Vietnam and features musical performances by renowned pre-Saigon Fall performers and modern-day young stars.

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Interview: hiMe printed the book of her story as a Refugee — Blookup Blog

Summer is light and joyful, but many things can happen under the sun. Some are less light, but are also essential to know, essential to History and Memory. It might take a while, but things do get lighter and sunnier when you begin to write them down. hiMe, from the blog A Refugee’s Journey, shares all that…

via Interview: hiMe printed the book of her story as a Refugee — Blookup Blog

A Silver Bar Tears Up the Paper’s related information

The Vietnamese Communist Customs officer collects the VND$100,000 slipped beneath the papers.

<<Story related to the information>>


Video the moments a Vietnamese Customs officer keeps an overseas Vietnamese standing in wait at Tân Sơn Nhất airport’s passport counter until she bribes him to leave. This doesn’t happen to Westerners.

Customs officer at Vietnam airport caught in bribery scandal (vietnambreakingnews.com) JULY 6, 2016

A customs officer at Da Nang International Airport has been reassigned pending an internal investigation after a woman posted a complaint on Facebook accusing him of soliciting bribes.

The Vietnamese woman, a university teacher, said in the Facebook post on Tuesday that she arrived in Da Nang the previous night from the United States, and the officer found six bottles of supplements in her luggage.

He said the bottles were subjected to taxes but she could simply give him some “money for a drink,” according to the post. She gave him a VND200,000 bill and the officer asked for “another bill” for his colleague.

On departure, Customs officers at Vietnam airports often harass overseas Vietnamese by telling them to open their luggages to be examined. The incidents often led to the passengers missing their flights unless the victims bribe the officers.

Pham Duy Nhat, director of the customs department at the airport told Thanh Nien Wednesday that the officer, who is not identified, has been removed from the luggage check unit. He said he will look into security footage before imposing necessary punishment.

According to Vietnam’s customs regulations, luggage brought from overseas are subject to taxes only when exceeding personal use limits.

Using the excuse to check on luggages from arrival flights, Customs officers open luggages and steal goods from inside.

Video where the Customs officer calling people in an authoritarian voice “Eh, that guy!” (at point 1:18) and collects bribes (at point 2:53).


Video Vietnamese Customs officers wanted to forfeit “undeclared” $5,000 USD from overseas Vietnamese.

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A Chinese girl in Vietnam’s related information

Chinese Opera actresses put on make-up before a performance.

Chinese Opera actresses put on make-up before a performance.

<<Story related to the information>>

CHOLON 1955 - La Rue des Marins - Đồng Khánh street. The book "CHOLON" was written by Jean-Michel de Kermadec with pictures from Raymond Cauchetier. It was printed in December 1955 by "'Imprimerie Française d'Outre-Mer" (IFOM) 3, Rudyard-Kipling Street (Nguyễn Siêu street) in Saigon.

CHOLON 1955 – La Rue des Marins – Đồng Khánh
street. The book “CHOLON” was written by Jean-Michel de Kermadec with pictures from Raymond Cauchetier. It was printed in December 1955 by “‘Imprimerie Française d’Outre-Mer” (IFOM) 3, Rudyard-Kipling Street (Nguyễn Siêu street) in Saigon.

Chợ Lớn (The Big Market) in Chinese quarter in Saigon before the Fall of Saigon

Chợ Lớn (The Big Market) in Chinese quarter in Saigon before the Fall of Saigon

A market in Chợ Lớn (The Big Market) - another name for the Chinese quarter in Saigon in 1965.

A market in Chợ Lớn (The Big Market) – another name for the Chinese quarter in Saigon in 1965.

A market in Chợ Lớn in 1966.

A market in Chợ Lớn in 1966.

A street in Chợ Lớn in 1970.

A street in Chợ Lớn in 1970.

A street in Chợ Lớn.

A street in Chợ Lớn.

A street in Chợ Lớn.

A street in Chợ Lớn.

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Thank you soldiers!

It's been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

It’s been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

Every year, I always buy the commemorative souvenirs for ANZAC, Remembrance Day and Legacy Week. The sights of those souvenir selling stalls at shopping malls make me feel bereft and grieving for the fallen Australian servicemen and servicewomen.

I didn’t have any memory of the Australian Army during the Vietnam war. The top two storeys above my family’s house together with the houses in two building blocks either side of An Dong market were occupied by the GIs. I was often given candies by the GIs passing by while I was playing outside my house. I remember fondly those American advisers who greeted me warmly when my father took me to his workplace at Saigon Headquarters.

I was very grateful to America for sending their forces to help South Vietnam fight the Communists. 

For a long time, America evoked warm fraternal feelings in me, as if it was a big brother looking after the young and bullied South Vietnam. I wanted to resettle in America after escaping from Vietnam. I was in deep sorrow after the September 11th attacks, just as if a very close friend was under attack.

In later years, when I connected to the Internet, I felt horrified to learn of the massacre at My Lai. Yet for that crime, what America did for the South was still too great to hate it.

I didn’t know of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war until four years after I arrived here. 

Given the co-operation between South Vietnam and Australia in the fight against the Vietnamese Communists, I expected warm greetings from my Australian acquaintances when I emailed them. I spoke of how proud I was of my father who always marched with other Vietnamese veterans on ANZAC day. Instead I was shocked when one wrote back telling me that all the wars were barbaric and there wasn’t anything so glorious about them.

At the writers group that I joined in recent years, I heard the phrase “all the way with LBJ” and realised that my stories about the South Vietnam before and after the fall of Saigon reminded the group of the Vietnam war, the war that most Australians hated to be involved with.

In conversations with an Australian friend, I was made aware that it was normal for South Vietnam and its people to like America’s involvement but Australia was reluctantly dragged into the war because of its subservient and dependent allied relationship with America. In my naïve mind until then both Australia and America were both free world allies but gradually I began to understand why Australia dislikes America. My friend also told me that Australians felt that the Vietnam war was not their war. I was upset to hear that Australia didn’t care about communism. I told myself that this was likely because Australia hadn’t experience communism before.

I have a friend whose son served in Afghanistan and now is suffering from PTSD and is afraid of sitting in a restaurant because of all the noises.

These days I feel I understand how Australians felt at the time. Unless it affects my now country – Australia – I wouldn’t like my teenage and adult sons to fight in a war between two forces from within the same foreign country just because of their different religious ideologies, even though one side is evil, because I don’t understand their religions.

There is an eternal struggle between good and evil. Should the world take responsibility instead of the greatest amongst the good to fight all the evils? I can see that America has been involved in too many conflicts due to the world’s perception of it as a “beacon and guarantor of freedom” as well as “the sheriff”. I wonder if America ever feels exhausted.

I wore my head band made of poppy flowers to work on the 100th Remembrance Day. I printed the poem “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon and placed it on a visible area on my desk so I could have an occasional glance at it. Besides the famous stanzas that are always 
recited at every remembrance ceremony, my favourite lines are:

“They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.”

It’s forever a deep desire inside me to express my gratitude from the heart to the dead and alive past Australian and American soldiers but I feel that my Facebook comments are not enough, that they will just conjure bitterness in the people who were conscripted and got wounded for their country. The people who received hostile receptions on their return from their own people, and now don’t get due care from the government that sent them to war.

To those that fought in the Vietnam war, I eternally want to say: “Thank you soldiers!”.

A Spring morning,
The grieving ode,
Does bring sorrow.
The inflow pain,
Shadow the Remembrance Day.

Men with blond hair,
Men with fair skin,
With bare courage,
The savage wars,
Ravage their souls and bodies.

To those who died,
Were denied thanks,
Who tried to fight,
Vietnam tight war,
Despite the plight, South Vietnam thanks you!
(Yadu-style poem)

Image credit
by June Yaham.

It's been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

It’s been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

Thank you soldiers! poem

image

(Yadu-style poem)

A Spring morning,
The grieving ode,
Does bring sorrow.
An inflow pain
Shadows the Remembrance Day.

Men with blond hair,
Men with fair skin,
With bare courage,
The savage wars
Ravage their souls and bodies.

To those who died,
Were denied thanks,
Who tried to fight,
Vietnam tight war,
Despite the plight, South Vietnam thanks you!

Image credit
by hiMe.

image

My Own Stage

My dream of creating my own stage and drawing an audience has been buried beneath other priorities in my life.

My dream of creating my own stage and drawing an audience has been buried beneath other priorities in my life.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words – Dear unfinished business.

For me, music has always been a stream of inspiration, the medicine for dejection, and an elixir of zest.

I love to sing, and find myself perpetually absorbed by the songs on stages, TVs, radios,… In my adolescent, I would put fingers on my throat when singing to make the vibrato, and put my face inside a wash-basin to feel the echo and amplification of my voice.

In my 40s, I took private singing lessons and joined a choir that exclusively sang ABBA songs. However, I felt dissatisfied with only two public performances per year for the group. I managed to quench my thirst of singing through the occasional karaoke party but just like fashion, the trend died down after a few years. But wait there’s more!

The Wicked Witch

It has now been several months since I met Lantern. I decide, that I can wait no longer; I have to act on my promise.

It has now been several months since I met Lantern. I decide, that I can wait no longer; I have to act on my promise.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words- Dear unfinished business.

I ducked into a store when I saw Lantern at a shopping centre because I haven’t fulfilled my promise made to her, whose family seems like they’ve been put under a curse by a wicked witch. As I know her family, and am older than her, Lantern sought me for help in her desperate attempt to save her parents’ marriage.

In recent years, Lantern’s mother has become sick and homebound. Lantern’s father, a pensioner laden with the stress of caring for his wife, sadness and loneliness, has been seeing another woman who is about ten years younger. But wait there’s more!