The Viet Kieu in America: Personal Accounts of Postwar by Nghia M. Vo

By Nghia M. Vo

Vietnamese make up one of many greatest refugee populations within the usa, a few arriving by means of boat in 1975 after the autumn of Saigon and others coming within the Nineteen Nineties. This selection of 22 essays via 14 authors illuminates Vietnamese-American tradition, perspectives of freedom and oppression, and the problems of relocation, assimilation and transition for 2 million humans. It comprises own reports of the Vietnam conflict, lifestyles below Communist rule, and break out to the US.

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Further down the road flowed the Saigon River, which brought an array of foreign ships and with them merchandise, tales, and news from abroad in exchange for rice, seafood, rubber, and the local charm of the jewel of Southeast Asia. My parents used to take us to the Bach Dang pier to watch the huge foreign ships load and unload their merchandise and to look at sampans and rowboats gliding quietly on the dark waters of the river. This was another image of yin (sampans) and yang (ships) at work and Saigon was full of these contrasting images.

Knives and spears were no match for guns and canons. Fierce patriotism and national pride could not stand tall against modern European military might. Arrows and stakes could not compete against guns. Two thousand soldiers were thus enough to take down a country of 6–10 million people. This was the Vietnamese replica of the Cortez expedition against the Incas. The bounties of the Mekong Delta have also shaped the mind and spirit of the South Vietnamese. In a land where rice and food are plentiful, they tend to mellow down and enjoy life.

She told me the lady was vacationing while waiting for her husband to pick her up. For a few days, I had a wonderful time with her. The lady, despite not being my mother, took me to the market and bought me toys, the delight of any child. There was nothing fancy, although I appreciated her care and warmth. She took me to the beach and let me swim in its warm waters while she read magazines. There was no question I missed her a lot when she left. It was only later that I thought what I missed was a real mother like her.

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