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!
The Vietnamese gulags – Re-education camps.
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(Extracts from Wikipedia on ‘Re-education camp’)
“Re-education camp (Vietnamese: trại học tập cải tạo) is the official title given to the prison camps operated by the Communist government of Vietnam following the end of the Vietnam War. In such “re-education camps”, the government imprisoned over 1 million former military officers, government workers and supporters of the former government of South Vietnam. Re-education as it was implemented in Vietnam was seen as both a means of revenge and as a sophisticated technique of repression and indoctrination, which developed for several years in the North and was extended to the South following the 1975 Fall of Saigon. An estimated 1-2.5 million people were imprisoned with no formal charges or trials. According to published academic studies in the United States and Europe, 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s re-education camps. Thousands were tortured or abused. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.
The term ‘re-education camp’ is also used to refer to prison camps operated by the People’s Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution, or to the laogai and laojiao camps currently operated by the Chinese government. The theory underlying such camps is the Maoist theory of reforming counter-revolutionaries into socialist citizens by re-education through labor.” But wait there’s more!
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>>
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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!
A Communist Youth Party’s new member admission ceremony
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“VIETNAM – APRIL 01: The Fall of Saigon, Vietnam in April, 1975 – The Vietcong cutting hair and “western” clothes. (Photo by Jean-Claude LABBE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)” (Link to manhhai’s photo in the album The Fall of Saigon in 1975)
A North Vietnamese soldier cut men’s anti-cultural long hair on the street.
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In postwar Vietnam, political divisions and conflicted loyalties made high school life very complicated, even dangerous. This is a story about a shared connection with my high school Physics teacher, and the day my world turned upside down.
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My high school Physics teacher, Mr Nghia, left a lasting impression in my life. But wait there’s more!