A Silver Bar Tears Up the Paper

Call it an ancient wisdom that yields serious consequences when applied in Australia.

Call it an ancient wisdom that yields serious consequences when applied in Australia.

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<<Facts, pictures and video clips related to this story – Corruption in health, education, commerce, transport, immigration,… in communist Vietnam>>

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard the Vietnamese proverb: “A silver bar tears up the paper” but it was repeated so often in dramas, comedies, newspapers and Vietnamese literature lessons, … The proverb means that money can break protocols, prohibit justice, bend the laws, …

The powerful lesson transmitted by the proverb was entrenched deeply in my mind as I witnessed what went on around me, especially under the tyranny of Communism.

My Chinese neighbours told me that bribery had helped their sons avoid conscription during the Vietnam War, as well as during the war between Vietnam and China in 1979. But wait there’s more!

A Silver Bar Tears Up the Paper poem

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(Letrilla-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

Dirty money, happy money,
Corrupt officials live with glee!
Australia sure has justice,
To bring fairness to the people,
To make the criminals dwindle,
And the nation profitable.
Corruption can’t be norm basis!
Yet the Communists are comfy;
Dirty money, happy money,
Corrupt officials live with glee!

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Dark Red shadows

I came to Australia to escape the communist hell, but many knew that some of those demons made the journey too.

I came to Australia to escape the communist hell, but many knew that some of those demons made the journey too.

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After the Fall of Saigon, my father was ill-treated in communist hard-labour camps, where many of his colleagues died, because he was a Signal Corps Lieutenant Colonel. Many former military officers’ houses were forfeited, and their families were forced to relocate to the new economic zones.

The local government told Mum they wanted to take two storeys of our four-storey house and turn it into an administration office. Mum realised that their next step would be stripping us of our house completely and forcing us to move. At the time Mum had approximately 7kg of gold – earned from years working as children’s wear producer/wholesaler – stockpiled and hidden, so she took some and bribed the local officials to leave our house alone. Then, together with her sister, Mum opened a ‘co-operative clothing factory’ at our house. Regardless, the fear of losing the house never left our minds. But wait there’s more!

The deserted neighbourhood

My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. (In picture, 13-year-old hiMe with her Mum and siblings on Chinese New Year Day 1975 in front of her house, next to the radio shop).

My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. (In picture, 13-year-old hiMe with her Mum and siblings on Chinese New Year Day 1975 in front of her house, next to the radio shop).

<<Facts, pictures and video clips related to this story – the exodus of ethnic Chinese during 1978 and 1979>>

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My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. But wait there’s more!

Foot voting

I didn't protest against the maltreatment the communists gave my family in particular and the families of pre-1975-Saigon's high-ranking military men in general. Instead I voted with my feet and left the country.

I didn’t protest against the maltreatment the communists gave my family in particular and the families of pre-1975-Saigon’s high-ranking military men in general. Instead I voted with my feet and left the country.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – An act of rebellion.

In 1979, as a high-ranking military man, Dad had been in jail for four years and we didn’t know when or if he’d be released.

Our family faced the daily threat of having our assets taken and being sent to undeveloped land of new economic zones. But wait there’s more!

My Adolescence and the Extinction of a Social Class poem

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(Sonnet-Shakespearean-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – I was there.

The Communists think equal wealth’s for all,
Severe campaigns were planned in secrecy,
One’s for the old regime’s money downfall,
One’s to eradicate the bourgeoisie. But wait there’s more!