It was a cold and wet winter morning. Passing an intersection, the car in front of mine turned into it at too high-speed, slid sideways, spun around and hit my car. Both cars were slighted dented. The road was empty as it was still early hours so no other cars were involved in the accident. As we exchanged contact details, glancing at the other driver’s special name, I wondered if she was my primary school classmate. I was burning with curiosity but I had to drive off to take my Chihuahua to the emergency vet clinics.
Tragically and heartbreakingly, Gigi passed away as we arrived there.
When the pain of losing my 15-year animal friend subsided, I rang Swallow to inquire if she was my friend from school. Indeed she was! When her car hit mine, Swallow was taking her frail and ill father to the hospital emergency. He died soon after arrival.
What a circumstance to be reunited with my old friend who I hadn’t seen for more than 40 years!
After five years in the “re-education camp”, Swallow’s father, who was a high-ranking public servant under the Saigon regime, migrated to the US with his family under the Humanitarian Operation for former political detainees. When Swallow married an Australian, she sponsored her parents to resettle in Australia with her.
During a visit to Vietnam which Swallow’s mother couldn’t join her father, her father’s furtive and unprincipled nephew hatched a plan and introduced him to a woman in her 30s. The woman used all her charms to seduce her father.
Next, her father returned, divorced her mother and took his share in the house the couple once lived to buy another in Vietnam. The Australian pension provided a comfortable life for the old man and his young bride. Every six months, to avoid the pension being cut down, her father came back to Australia, stayed for a few weeks before getting back to Vietnam.
Later the nephew and her father’s “wife” set up so that Swallow’s father was forced to give ownership of the house, his cash and jewellery to them.
Stony broke, homeless, broken-hearted and exhibiting symptoms of STD, her father returned and begged her mother to take him back.
Swallow’s story reflected a well-travelled track some Vietnamese pensioners here took. Some frequently make “winter refuge breaks” of six months to Vietnam for covert sex tourism. Some sponsored the girls back here, and even went out of retirement to work to get extra money besides the pension for the girls to send back to Vietnam. These old men believe that regular sex which their weak and elderly wives can no longer satisfy them is the key to the everlasting life.
There were also young and eager “tourist brides” flying from Vietnam on tourist visas and seeking marriage brokers. They were showcased and shopped by old widowed men in their 60s to 90s.The sooner the old men die, the quicker the “brides” can inherit the spousal pension from the men’s superannuation funds, their estate and then remarry younger men.
These days Vietnam also conjures thoughts of a marriage death trap to many young couples in Australia, US, … Young, attractive, conniving and super compliant women lured by the generous Australian welfare and affluent lifestyle will do anything to trick married Vietnamese Australian men to wed them. “Old wives club” mushroomed.
What a day! I lost my beloved dog, was reunited with an old friend and learnt my friend’s heart-rending family story.
The honey trap of sexual pleasure trips,
Solution for everlasting life,
Vibrates so well around the old men’s hips,
And leads them to the land that is crime-rife.
Burn up honor,
Stamp on moral,
The dollars’ smell attracts the con men well.
The frail old men are robbed of their wealth then.
Disease-ridden, displaced and penniless,
The honey trap of sexual pleasure trips!
by Bill Strain.