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!
Call it an ancient wisdom that yields serious consequences when applied in Australia.
Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words – Advice.
<<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!
I came to Australia to escape the communist hell, but many knew that some of those demons made the journey too.
Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – How I came here.
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!
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.
Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Someone who shaped me.
My high school Physics teacher, Mr Nghia, left a lasting impression in my life. But wait there’s more!