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

<<Facts, pictures, and video clips related to this post – visits, investments in Vietnam by the family of the ex-Vice President’s family>>

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.

Her “Paris by Night” videos have made Duyên more recognizable than her father in much of Vietnam these days.

Abandoning her career as a lawyer in the US, Kỳ Duyên took her father’s advice and in 2011 opened a luxurious restaurant in Da Nang called “Memory Lounge”. She now also owns a series of cosmetic stores called “Canmake” in Vietnam, which started with the first store launched in Saigon in 2014. In 2016, another restaurant of Duyên began trading in Saigon. Her Facebook page is full with pictures of her lavish life in Vietnam, living in a posh apartment, eating at upmarket restaurants, holidaying at opulent resorts, … Duyên is a live advertisement board for a life in Vietnam that some of the later generations of the Vietnamese refugees living overseas see no difference when compared to their lives in the West. I despise these youth who see opportunities to make money so they go back to do business in Vietnam even though there are precautions from their predecessors. The corrupt regime creates a lawless nation where money rules and powerless and poor citizens are exploited and tyrannized. The stories of how the Communists confiscated the bourgeoisie’s assets and sent them to the barren land for hard labor, took gold from the Chinese and in exchange let them board the crowded “ethnic refugee” boats and ships, seized their citizens’ houses and lands for the states’ building projects, oppress dissidents, jailed foreign business investors, … none of these sins can stop those overseas Vietnamese business people from the attractive stench of money.

Like other anti-communist Vietnamese, I consider Mr Ky’s trip and his family’s business with Vietnam as a traitorous act against my country, the Republic of Vietnam, the South Vietnam before the Fall of Saigon. They disgustingly and spinelessly collaborate and bow to the bribe-able regime to benefit financially.

I feel ashamed knowing “soulless and materialistic refugees” like my young colleagues who were boat persons but now gleefully boast with other Australians that they visit Vietnam every year and splash pictures of their affluent holidays on their public Facebook pages. I abhor refugee colleagues who brown-nose communist people who hold powerful positions at work. The “powerful” are children of Vietnamese communist officials who obtained Australian scholarships through their parents’ almighty status, and later got employment and resettle in Australia. I look down on an acquaintance whose family was persecuted by the Communist because her father was a high-ranking military man under the old Saigon regime. She was given a “scholarship” by a professor then left her husband in Vietnam to study and work in a high-earned profession in America for decades. Later she reunited with her spouse and is living a wealthy life in a high-fenced mansion and counting high-ranking communist classmates among her party guests. These people are the rotten apples who build the wrong profile of Vietnamese refugees.

Live in the now,
Old enemies are friends,
The big money depends
On the friendship!

Shaking the hands
That kill their own people.
The exile all dangle
With known devil!

They bring us shame!
The acquisitive ones
Who were refugees once.
Soulless creatures!
(Abhanga-style poem)

Image credit
by The Courier Mail.

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


13 thoughts on “The Rotten Apples

  1. I meant to comment on this when you first wrote it. It is heartbreaking to watch others damage your country’s reputation. Sadly, it is happening in other parts of the world. The best thing we can do is to be true to ourselves. That is exactly what you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Rotten Apples’ related information | A refugee's journey – Vietnam to Australia

  3. Hime, Most countries are to blame as countries. But each person must make up his own mind to be honourable. There were good people on all sides and bad people on all sides. This is what the major said. But I think you have been honourable all the time.


  4. Ky reminds me of a badly dressed Triad dragonhead, Rumour was he had connections to the drug trade in south-east Asia yet he lived in the USA running a liquor store? and modest lifestyle and many of the corrupt officials of Vietnam had their money in HK, My Grandfather who was a director of a very well none HK global bank had one certain general accounts shut down and money returned to him in Vietnam honest and told him to tell rest of the junta set foot in any of the banks branches any were as did not do business with gangsters like them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Major for telling me story of corrupt officials with money in HK. It is very interesting. And your Grandfather’s action showed that he strongly didn’t support the villains. I am glad the world has people like your Grandfather with a tough stand against the criminals.


      • Well hiMe
        My family are not all that innocent i mean we backed 蔣中成 or 蒋中成 better none as Chiang Kai-shek the warlord but that my family for you wanting to protect their interests china until all was lost under Moa and his goons, We be honest many of my family were murdered or held in camps by the Japanese and communists but we never turned our back on the General or madam Kai shek and were family friends, Yes some people make strange bedfellows don’t they hiMe, But after Madam left Taiwan because she did not see eye to eye with the generals adopted son she moved to NYC and my family looked after some of her interests my father and one of his brothers attended her funeral just as we did when the general died in 1975, WE even got one of his former wife’s out of Shanghai to safety to HK and looked after her until her death i use to call her as aunt Chen i think she was his 2nd or third wife, But he was good to use as in business in Taiwan and two of my other uncles fought with him in china via being part of British army and endued up escaping with ihis troops to Taiwan,But when he got there he imposed some awful brutality on local population because you see it was a former Japanese colony and language was spoken he shot thousands for this am very very sad to say, But yet in private as I remember him as child he was fun and kind,Am afraid when it comes to bunsess and Asia my family can hardly be accused of being Honourable in some cases it pains me to say hiME,That also includes south Vietnam,Shipping ordnance and napalm to amercian and Australian air forces as British governments did not want UK public to know as war was very unpopular in the UK,So my family shipping company were able to handle it very secretive way, You see BRITS don’t like anyone knowing their business and this still goes on even now,the UK is the most secretive state in western world and one of the advantages of my family are there plenty of them who served in UKSF or were spooks or bankers or business men

        Few Brits knew that the UK made Napalm and had them in storage, the UK was first to use agent orange which was used in the Malaysian emergency, Passerfaction of villages ETC ETC a decade before the USA taken the war over in Vietnam, As told you my father trained up diams and his brothers Nuu is it special forces ETC ETC and UK did other things very secretively something that he really regretted but mind he had great sorry about Madam dragon breather LOL thank you for reading my rants and raves HiMe,My grandfather retutedn the money via US ambassador in HK and said make sure this gets to people of Vietnam and not them thieves but yet amaercain allowed curruption to go on unchecked

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Major for telling me your family’s story and the historic link your family had with Chiang Kai-shek. These information are valuable to me and our readers.

        I nearly missed your comment because WordPress somehow classified it as not comment.


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