Liberty T-Shirt

The shirt had a photo of the “Statue of Liberty”, the famous icon of the United States showing the ideal of humanity: Freedom and Democracy.

The shirt had a photo of the “Statue of Liberty”, the famous icon of the United States showing the ideal of humanity: Freedom and Democracy.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words – What I was wearing.

After the Vietnamese Communists occupied South Vietnam, being a Lt Colonel in the South VN Army, I was detained in various labor camps in the far mountainous areas of North VN for nine years. Then I was released in 1984 but remained under the close supervision of the local security service for two years. Finally I was acknowledged as a new citizen of the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and basically had the right to vote.

In 1987, a general election for the National Assembly was initiated across the country. Unfortunately all candidates were required to be primarily selected by the local communist branches, that means no independent candidate was approved, something that was strange compared to my experiences of elections in the free world. Disagreeing with that policy of election, I voted blank in protest. But wait there’s more!

From bad to worse

I had made a bad decision and jumped from the frying pan into the fire!

I had made a bad decision and jumped from the frying pan into the fire!

Comments about this point on ABC Open 500 words – On the job.

I could have been jailed if I didn’t do my work right! The thought of going to jail swung me into action to seek another job, but I’d jumped from the frying pan into the fire!

My old workplace introduced an imported ‘Let-jail-us’ procedure to help maintaining and upgrading the computer systems we had built over the years. With the ‘technique’, computer programmers were paired up to check on the quality of each other’s work, transfer knowledge and make plan together for the next round of maintenance. The pairings were supposed to change frequently to avoid expertise lying stagnant in particular areas. The approach was what developers deemed ideal even if the work would take longer. In reality, developers hardly had time to transfer knowledge or plan their work with others. One horrified setback of the ‘modus operandi’ was that any problem we caused the company due to our faulty work could potentially result in the prosecution and jailing of the pair! But wait there’s more!

From bad to worse poem

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(Conceit-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

My old workplace is a frying pan,
By introducing a new work plan,
I am so scared of being deep-fried,
If my work was found as misapplied.

My new workplace is a real hot fire,
Rises from hell and emits strong ire,
Bullying and stress burn staff outright,
The firm’s success is built on staff’s plight.

Image credit
by Elizabeth Haslam.

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The Communist Youth Party candidate

I didn't play very well and very long my part as a Communist Youth Party candidate.

I didn’t play very well and very long my part as a Communist Youth Party candidate.

<<Facts, pictures, video clips related to the story – Saigon’s face before and after falling into Communist hands>>

<<Comments about this post on ABC 500 words – I Quit>>

When Saigon fell into Communist hands on 30/4/1975, Mum thrice refused to have our family evacuated, a privilege reserved for high-ranking officers through the American Advisory Group. Dad (a Signal Corps Lieutenant Colonel) battled ’till the last minute at Headquarters in Saigon. As a result he was sent to a series of “re-education camps”, which were in fact labour camps, from the North to the South for ten years.

Soon Saigon’s face was changed dramatically. But wait there’s more!

Saigon’s Seasons in the Sun’s related information

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<<Story related to the information>>

Listen to: (Link to phamduy.com Ngàn lời ca khác – Nhạc Pop 60-70).

But wait there’s more!

Saigon’s Seasons in the Sun

My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung.

My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung.

<<Facts, pictures, video clips related to the story – 70s MP3 Western songs sang in Vietnam, Vietnamese singers and Saigon’s looks then>>

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Lost in music.

“We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.” Every time I heard the “Seasons in the Sun” song, my mind is flooded with memories of my childhood before the Fall of Saigon. But wait there’s more!

A family at last’s related information

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<<Story related to the information>>

The Humanitarian Operation (HO) Program began in 1989 with an official agreement between the United States and Vietnam in regard to Vietnam’s political prisoners. After 1975, the newly instated regime sent one million Vietnamese military officials from former South Vietnam to re-education camps, in actuality forced labor locations. In 1983, the United States began negotiations for release of these political prisoners. The Vietnamese government agreed to their release if the United States government allowed them to immigrate to the United States. The in-country processing program started in 1989 and former political prisoners began to arrive in 1991. But wait there’s more!

The monkey bridge

I think the woman who'd trailed behind us gave the impression that we were her two city relatives who were visiting. I felt a deep gratitude to the sensible protective action of that woman. There are still good people in this world!

I think the woman who’d trailed behind us gave the impression that we were her two city relatives who were visiting. I felt a deep gratitude to the sensible protective action of that woman. There are still good people in this world!

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – The kindness of strangers.

I often wonder how the hellish communist jail would have affected my 15-year-old sister and me mentally and physically, had we been jailed on our first failed attempt to escape communism in Vietnam. But wait there’s more!

The monkey bridge poem

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(Terzanelle-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – The kindness of strangers.

A shaky monkey bridge,
On Chinese New Year’s Eve,
In a far strange village.

Two sisters failed to leave,
And their friends were shot dead,
On Chinese New Year’s Eve. But wait there’s more!

I will live

Love for my family gave me more courage to live. (People in picture: Mum, Dad, Mum's two younger sisters, 11-year-old hiMe, hiMe's 9-year-old and 7-year-old sisters. Picture taken in 1973 at Tan Son Nhat airport, Saigon when Dad was to fly to New Jersey, USA to attend the one-year study of the Communications Electronics Engineer Course.)

Love for my family gave me more courage to live.
(People in picture: Mum, Dad, Mum’s two younger sisters, 11-year-old hiMe, hiMe’s 9-year-old and 7-year-old sisters. Picture taken in 1973 at Tan Son Nhat airport, Saigon when Dad was to fly to New Jersey, USA to attend the one-year study of the Communications Electronics Engineer Course.)

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Things we do for love.

I wish I could turn back the time so that,
I would then push my Dad to quickly flee.
“Run, Dad, and save your life no matter what!
The Communists won’t spare you, let hear me!
Commander’s duty – you fulfilled at last,
We don’t want you killed – let hear us all plea!
You’re not safe but we are, so let’s run fast!”
(Terza-Rima-style poem) But wait there’s more!