It was crazy how much happiness and involvement he had in the world! Unlike many refugees, he was very open to talking about his experience. He was also well versed in his information and he was a great story teller -- not one dull moment in his talk. I liked how he told us some of his views as a child, saying that he did enjoy some parts -- like watching the planes from his roof. I thought it was very unfortunate that he had to mentally grow up so quickly because of the war. No young child should have to be tuning in to the T.V. everyday to check the News for their safety. Also, it was wild that in order to go to school, he had to be a part of the Communist Youth. He talked about how people were encouraged to turn in their neighbors and family members in to the authorities if any possible communist activities were seen. First off, this totally reminded me of the Loyalty Program from the 1950s when everyone was turning each other in for being a communist. The craziest part that I heard from this section of his talk was that he said the schools were encouraging the kids to turn in their own parents! Also, I loved how he put so much importance on an individual's right to succeed and step up to obstacles. He was saying that without a person's freedom, (with this he was talking about the implementation of communism), no man will have any benefits to grow in themselves. Therefore, no one bothers to try in the long run, and everyone is ultimately unhappy. Go democracy! :) I thought this presentation was great. History is always a little bit more interesting and REAL when you hear it from a human's personal story. It makes you remember that history is living.
I thought that hearing Vinh Tran's perspective on the Vietnam War was a very interesting one. So far we've seen many videos showcasing personal accounts of what was going on, but none on the aftermath of the war and communism. Being able to hear a firsthand account of what measures were (and still are) being taken in communist countries to keep the people uneducated and ignorant of the outside world was very interesting. It shocked me that in order to go to school and get an education he had to join a youth communist group, and that their job was to spread the idea of communism throughout their community. The detailed planning that had gone into his family's escape, and how the pirates were only interested in those who had items of value were also interesting to hear about. I found it shocking that the Malaysian government had made an uninhabited island a "refugee camp", where the people staying there had to hunt for themselves and were on their own.
It was very interesting to hear about all the information we have been studying, but from someone's point-of-view who actually experienced. Something new I learned was that Cambodia was regarded as treating refugees very poorly. We had learned about countries turning refugees away at gunpoint, it was interesting to see a different viewpoint of how the rumors disseminated amongst the general population. I also learned about the methods mentioned by Mr. Tran that described how the communist regime controlled the people. He said that they tried to make you dumb, they tried to make you dependent on their food supply, and they tried to limit your movements (with travel sanctions). It was interesting learning about how children tested into their high schools and middle schools. Something that from his story that struck me was how the recruitment officer for the ROTC had plainly lied to him. It's horrible how many refugees (or people in similar situations) are constantly lied to and taken advantage of in their new countries. Even worse, is how the officials usually get away with it.
The Vietnam War speaker today, Vinh Tran, provided an extremely interesting perspective on the Vietnam War. In class, we talk about the infinite amount of perspectives to an event, and he opened up our eyes to another perspective. I loved the personal, intimate first hand account. and his experience after the U.S left Vietnam. The part that struck me the most was the youth group. The communist youth group reminded me of the Hitler Youth, and they seemed to share a striking similarity. The onslaught of Communist ideals were also very striking. Book burning was also a powerful moment where I realized that the North Vietnam were trying to brainwash the South Vietnamese. He was very inspiring, and I was honored to hear his first hand account!
I thought it was extremely interesting to hear an actual account, instead of just learning facts about the Vietnam war. We had been studying readings and videos of actual real life experiences in the Vietnam war, but the fact that he was here a right in front of us felt so much more real than any of the readings. I thought it was crazy that when the communists took over, schools were encouraging the children to turn in their own parents! I would never turn in my parents! I wonder though if kids were turning in their parents, if they were old enough to know what they were doing. I was also struck by the fact that he had no plans on returning to Vietnam. If I ever moved away from my home, I would at least want to return for a visit, but he only wants to return for closure. I was also struck by how corrupt the world can be. He talked about how in order to get back to Vietnam there were be a lot of bribery involved. I didn't think that was really possible in an every day airport. Also, when he talked about getting a scholarship in the Navy, and the officer lied to him, I was extremely upset! He had done all the required work, and he still didn't have a scholarship! I was impressed that his voice never sounded bitter when discussing any of these terrible things that had happened to him.
I have heard accounts on the Holocaust, WWII, and other wars as well but I have never heard an account of the Vietnamese War. Not that I am discrediting or brushing off the other accounts, but I would just like to point out I have never heard a speaker for this particular matter. Mr. Tran had a very interesting story to tell. He lived his life in the capitol, Ho Chi Minh City, and didn't see much of the war although they did hear about it through word of mouth as well as radio or TV. When the war did reach them where they were living, they had dug a bomb shelter from a backyard pond that the covered with sand bags among other things in order to protect themselves and their families. Being so young, about 11 or so, he had so many responsibilities for someone his age. When the sky burnt orange with the bombs that desimated cities, he had to stay with his granmother and wake her and his older brother in order to carry her to the bomb shelter and safety. His father had taken him, his brother, and a couple other families on a small fishing boat in order to escape Vietnam and they faced many dangers like Pirates and the Vietnamese officials. They had lost so much, due to pirates and almost wasn't able to get help from a fellow belt after that because they were scared of pirates. They were very resilient and made their way to Malyasia and hunted in the jungles, often eating iguana for meals, then they applied to Austrailia where they were rejected and directed to the US where they had an aunt and uncle. There were many points in his story where many would have given up and either turned back or have just stopped and given up. Their family was resilient and they had all managed to stick together to a certain extent. After they had came to the US, he had finished his education and joined the Navy, even through constant trouble within the application and so on, he mamnaged to get through and continue his life.
Many sections throughout his speech shocked me by what he experienced and the stories he told. Before I believed the North invaded to unify the country similar to how we had a civil war to unify the country. This was no where near the truth, they invaded similar to how the Japanese, Chinese and French invaded them years ago. People were in fear of this invading army that will change their lives entirely. Mr. Tran had a very inspirational account of what life was like after the North takeover. Hearing how his dad planned for years to evacuate the country fully aware of the possibility of dying or getting caught. I actually called my uncle who served in the Marine Corp during Vietnam just recently. He told me about operation Frequent Wind and how the US saved thousands of people from Saigon. People fought for seats in helicopters and were flown to carriers. Helicopters would keep going back and forth for hours until they ran out of gas and would throw that helicopter off the carrier to make room for more people. He told me how everyone was so desperate to leave the country and it really shocked me the extent Vietnamese as well as the US went through to save as many people as it could.
I really enjoyed Mr. Tran's presentation today due to his passion and subtle jokes. I thought it was crazy how they really had to be particular where they went for refugee and support. He said that they had heard terrible stories about Cambodia and Thailand. They really had to be careful they didn't end up on the shores of an unfriendly place. When he talked about the Ho Chi Minh Trail, it was cool to know what he was talking about how to hear how that directly related to him. Probably the craziest part of his presentation was when he talked about how many people wanted to flee and that they were so extremely desperate. Another thing that was terrible, was when he said, they took away the TV. I'm sorry, but I for one could not live with out TV. It was astounding how Newspaper, TV, Books, and just any kind of media was taken away. I really think that this was one of my favorite guest speakers and his story was absolutely amazing.
I found Mr Tran's story amazing. It gave me a feeling to listening to a Holocaust survivor, in that you can forget these things actually happened. You learn about it through books and movies, and it seems so far away, yet here is someone who lived through it, proof that it didn't even happen very long ago. I kept finding relations to the Holocaust, including the camps that his father was put in, and the Communist Youth group reminded me of the Hitler Youth. Throughout the whole time he was speaking, I could hardly imagine going through such things.Being denied an education you earned because you supported South Vietnam, having to join a Communist group to get an education, packing up all of your belongings and leave without saying a word to anyone, it is all so far from the privileged life that we live in our country.
It is one thing to learn about the war that was taking place from textbooks, teachers, or even classmates; it is another to physically hear about how the war was affecting ones life and family. Hearing Mr. Tran's story made me feel nothing but compassion, and admiration because regardless of what he went through, he did not give up, and his family was always there. When he told the story about the father who was going to drown his baby because it was crying and they could have gotten caught escaping struck me. This showed how desperate they were to get out of where they were, if a father even considered killing his/her child, they are serious about getting out of that situation. The distrust that was going on everywhere was crazy, I don't know how I could live my life knowing I cannot trust anyone, even my own family. After hearing this, I am motivated to be an even more kind person because people need it.
I am really thankful that Mr. Tran was able to come into our class and talk to us today. His story was moving to say the least- with the consequences and risk he faced being such a higher degree than any I have ever faced in my entire life, it was somewhat like standing next to a celebrity, someone who you have an inexplicable respect for. As I walked out of the room, I was thinking about what a great screen play his story would make.
In regard to the events of the story itself, I felt a bit caught off guard. Yes, there were many connections to other times in history, such as the bolshevik revolution or the holocaust, but Vietnam definitely has it's own distinct story. My mind was seriously blown by the fact that he had actually encountered real life pirates, who stole his family/friends items and even kidnapped a girl, and then still made it back to a refugee camp where he virtually lived in a hut for 8 MONTHS. When Vinh walked in the room, I would not expect him to have gone through such a troubling yet potentially enlightening time (but perhaps that is just me being prejudice). By the end of the hour, I could tell that Vinh is an example of a hard worker, of someone who understands that he must work hard to get what wants, and I think that maybe this is attributed to the struggle he went through.
I do feel more drawn to learning about the Vietnam war situation, more so than I do about most historical events. To be honest, I am not sure why. One might argue that the atrocities committed in the Vietnam war were mild compared to those of WWII and the holocaust, but I would retort by stating that my interest, or others, in a war (or such) is not always about the direct evilness committed. Perhaps it is the "connect-ability" to a topic, as we discussed today in humanities. Perhaps it is the vast visual, spoken, written, auditory evidence one can study about the Vietnam war that maybe does not exist with other wars.
I would type more, but my computer is going to die, so this will have to do.
First of all, I loved Mr. Tran's speech. He had such a powerful story and for him to share that with us was pretty amazing. I can't believe he went through so much throughout his life. The issues at Vietnam, the escape and America. I was interested in how much he wanted a good education in his country. He really fought hard to get into school and being in the Communist youth group was something he wanted. When he and his family were escaping, I was scared that the baby would get them caught. When he said that the father of that baby was thinking about killing him, my heart sank. But I was happy that the father gave the baby a sleeping pill instead. The pirate experience must have been such a scary thing for him! Just that experience for him was a lot for him to take in. I am happy that the pirates didn't hurt him. It was super difficult for him to get into America but in the end it was worth it for him. I am grateful that he made it into the United States. He deserves to live in a great country. It did sadden me to learn that he hasn't been back to Vietnam since then. I understand why he hasn't but he did say he might go back for some closure. Overall, fantastic story and man. He was really nice and funny!
I think that the best part of having this guest speaker was that we were able to get someones point of view who was actually present during the time of war. So now we can take into account Mr. Vinh Tran's point of view as well as others that we have learned or read about. Some things I learned from Mr. Vinh Tran is that the war between North and South Vietnam was an internal war over ideology, this war was about 30 years long, and it officially ended in 1957. In 1968 the north attempted to invade the capitol city of the south. In april of 1975 the communist party marked toward the capitol, and the communist took over. Once they had control over the south there was a lot of looting that took place, because the Vietnamese money was no longer worth any value, it was simply just paper. Then when you wanted to travel from city to city you had to get visas. In addition to all of this when the kids went to school the teachers encouraged the students to report their parents. In order for Mr. Vinh Tran to attend school he had to join the communist youth. All of this is new and striking information to me, and causes me to be very grateful for all the things I probably take for granted in my life.
First off, I would like to say how amazing and powerful Mr. Tran's story was. Just knowing about his experience especially in person during the Vietnam War was really interesting. With each experience, I couldn't imagine what I would do if I was growing up in that time. What struck me was the amount of times they went on hiding, especially when he explained how you couldn't trust your neighbors and not even your family. I have a really big family (on my dad's side) and we are really close and I cannot imagine each one of us not being able to trust each father. Another thing that had struck me was when he said how his father tried to escape them on a fishing boat for about two years but it never happened. When he told us that part of his story, it explained to me how much his family really worked hard for them to get out of the situation and try to escape to a better life. I am really glad that Mr. Tran was able to get out of the situation in Vietnam and was able to get a good life in America and be able to raise children who will and are becoming successful in their own way. Like the video we had to watch last night, Mr. Tran is considered as a "lucky refugee."
I think it was really impressive how positive he could stay even for what their happened to him. He didn't get the scholarship for doing the class, and he still saw it like it was a positive experience, and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
What their really make me think was the story he told about the baby, that they would drown because the baby not couldnt be quiet. it just really made e think that people would do that, and just even think about that as option. My vision on this is, i think it is never children's fault what they a born into, and they are nothing involved with it.
In my opinion, Mr. Tran was the most engaging speaker we've had this year. I really learned his background information, how he got involved in war, and his perspective of communist power. I found it interesting that he would listen to fights on the radio, and I also loved his story of how he had to escape the Capital. I was very shocked when he started to mention that they were going to kill the baby, but instead gave it sleeping pills, I thought that was a smart move to be honest. Also I'm glad that the pirates never harmed him because he didn't have anything on him, but when I heard about the girl that was taken for trafficking I got a little emotional. When hearing what communists were doing to his life, I started to feel angry, because I felt like it was wrong to make someone "dumb", and take away everything including your freedom. I found it to be pretty ridiculous that communists controlled the food they ate. To end on a positive note, I was happy to hear that his dad only had to do manual labor for only 4 months, and got out of it right away. Vinh Tran was overall a very nice man, and looked proud to be where he is today. His stories really did make me think about how lucky I am to live in such a free country.
I think that 'truth is stranger than fiction' is especially true in Mr Tran's story. The many things he had to deal with seemed unfathomable to me because I have nothing to campare it to. Stories of survivors always make me feel so naive and small because at a certain age they've experienced and faced so much. We read these things in Zinn and see videos but to have a real person in front of us to tell the story makes it more real. When he was talked about having to keep their escape a secret, it really struck me how secretive and distrustful they had to be because they were on the losing side. He also talked about how the 18 year old girl was taken and how she tried to commit suicide to escape. It made me feel horrible that she wanted death because the alternative was worse and despite her attempt she didn't even get death. I wondered if she tried again. I also thought that he how he argued against communism was really interesting because he said that they made them 'dumb' by blocking you from the outside world.
His talk was very interesting and left me thinking about everything we've learned in this unit. His perspective was very different than Zinn's and it provided a new way to think of the war. Listening to the struggles he had to face in his youth was one of the most intriguing parts of his talk. And then when they were escaping from Vietnam the amount of planning and coordination involved is stunning solely because of how monitored all of the people were and how even being pro south before the takeover could have someone sent to a "Re-Education" camp and yet they were able to plan and execute an escape with more people than would be expected. His was an inspiring story that made me want to advocate for those who were being oppressed by a more powerful regime. I also thought his view on how communism in Vietnam is on its way to dissolving was very interesting and brought up a lot of provoking thoughts.
I really thought that Mr.Trans story was very powerful. It was really interesting to hear how he and his family made their way to the untied states. I really liked how he knew at a young age that if he continued to live there he would never do anything with his life. He knew how much value his education was but once the north took over there was nothing strive for. I also liked how even though he questioned where his father was when he was planning to leave he always knew he was doing something to help them. It was really cool to see how all his family wanted was to be free and did what ever they could to do so. I feel that the most powerful moment in his speech was when he talked about the crying baby. The father of the baby was willing to kill it in order to save the lives of others but his father said no and solved the problem by giving the baby a sleeping pill. His journey to america was long and there were a lot of obstacles but it was all worth it in the end.
I found Mr. Trans story extremely compelling. His perspective was very clear to him. His experiences from a young age shaped who he was and why he hated communism. His ideals conflicted with the way Zinn has been telling the vietnam story. The story about the baby, and how they almost killed the baby, was shocking yet it illustrated just how badly they wanted out. They endured so much and their hope stayed strong. I wanted to ask if his family was wealthy before communism but felt it inappropriate. Even if they were wealthy, I still believe they left for more than lost wealth. The oppressive controlling regime was destroying their hope and future. I know the racism against the Vietnamese in the U.S. is was very real. Yet Mr. Trans talked about just how real the evil of the communism was. This makes me think that nothing in the world is one hundred percent good and everything has a little or a ton of evil.
I thought it was a really great experience to see the perspective of someone who lived during the war. The result of the communist rule was a lot more severe than I had thought. I can not imagine having to wait in line hours for food. Food is a staple, and no one should have to wait that long for it. Also, simple things like soap were hard to get. I don’t know how anyone could live with this. One piece of his story hit me especially hard. When they were leaving to get on the boat and escape, his uncle was willing to kill his baby to save the group and not get caught. I can never imagine being in a situation so bad that it would bring someone to the point of killing a child to escape it. If they had killed the child and I had been someone who escaped, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing a child died so I could attempt to escape a country. Once he arrived at the refugee camp in Malaysia, the group had to burn their boat to prevent other refugees from coming to the camp. This meant full commitment to staying at that refugee camp until they were accepted elsewhere. If they ever wanted to leave for some reason, they would no longer have a boat. The camp was on an island, and they were not allowed to leave. I could never be trapped on an island for 8 months like he was. I think I would go insane, but I’m sure in his situation, being on that island was far better than being in Vietnam.
I enjoyed hearing about Mr. Trans story. I like how far back he went so that he could tell us what he experienced as a child in Vietnam. It was crazy to hear about how many people left when the communist party came to take over the capital, but he stayed back and watched over his grandmother who was half paralyzed. His job was to grab her and put her in their bomb shelter of which he helped build if any danger came near. A couple times that ended up happening as well. He told us about how they taught them to report their parents to school if they had an involvement against the communists. He watched people turn on each other as well as people purposely using this opportunity to get rid of people they had beef with. I feel that Mr. Trans did a good job at moving forward whenever bad situations came in the way though. I can't imagine what would be going through my mind if a baby had to die in order for me to escape but they somehow got through it. You can definitely see how strong he based on the experiences he went through. He even experienced hate at the University of Oklahoma but that didn't stop him from achieving his goal in any way possible. I really enjoyed listening to Mr. Trans stories!
Each and every guest speaker we have had the opportunity to listen to this school year has been very influential and has informed our class about different events in history with a firsthand perspective. Mr. Tran's story was so fascinating to follow and had such a great "ending". I really liked when he said "In 1978 I was in Vietnam and in 2014 I am here in California". It really just went to show that moving to the United States was the turning point in his life. Something that I never really thought about before hearing Mr. Tran speak was that South Vietnamese soldiers were captured and imprisoned. I just assumed that once the North took over they had control but I never stopped to think what happened to the opposition. It's fortunate that Mr. Tran's father only spent four months in the "concentration camps" but it was a shock to hear that one of his uncles spent 12 years in the camps. Another thing that I found interesting was how the Thai people were not accommodating to Vietnamese refugees and even kidnapped the women and sold them into prostitution. It's odd to think that Malaysia, a country just south of Thailand, could be looked at as a much safer place to flee to. Lastly, I think its pretty cool that the refugees could decide from a list of countries of where to go. I wonder how Mr. Tran's life would have turned out differently if he had gone to Australia instead of the US. Overall I found Mr. Tran's story fascinating and it gave me a completely new perspective on the "victims" of the Vietnam War.
I found Mr. Tran's testimony to be very eye-opening. Before hearing what he had to say I had pinned Ho Chi Min's communist party as what most of the Vietnamese people supported/their hope for freedom and the U.S. as the "bad guys". That is not to say this is not true, but that there is always multiple perspectives to a story. In Mr. Tran's life the communist government acted more as an oppressive force than anything, he was unable to attend a good school and lost his motivation to achieve. I feel from his testimony I also learned more about how communism really plays out, that in premise it is an attractive idea, but all it really does is limit opportunity and forces people into the brain-washed ideals of the communist party. Mr. Tran touched on his emotional trials throughout this period of his life,I wish there was more time to hear about his amazing story.
I am really thankful Mr. Tran was able to come in today, for he was able to give me a perspective of the Vietnam War no article or website or video could. He made me feel truly thankful that I never have and hopefully never will go through such a series of events like he did. As he explained his troubles and struggles, I thought about how positive his perspective on each situation was, no matter how tough it came to be. When he was talking about how the communists eliminated all means of outside communication to the outside world, I wondered if and how he was able to effectively communicate to his acquaintances, like distant family and friends. It baffled me how he and his family members were able to escape with the communists controlling the movement to and from the country; needing a VISA from the government and whatnot. His story also enlightened me on the fact that he and his family kept a close bond to each other, and trusted each other at all times. When he was saying how the government encouraged families and acquaintances to report those who may oppose the government, I kept thinking how easy it would be to frame those he or his family did not approve of, yet refraining from doing so. The part of his story that probably struck me the most was the point during escape where they were being looked for, and one of the family's babies started to cry, so they considered killing it so the rest of the group would not get caught, but decided against it and gave it sleeping pills. This made me wonder what I would have done in this type of situation. Would I have let the baby live no matter what? What if they had not had the drugs? Would they have ended up letting it die? With his final thoughts on his speech, talking about his perspective on communism was negative gave me a greater insight on why these people were fighting for what they believed in.
I thought it was interesting how bulling didn't really bother him, "he has been through worst" That just wowed me and made me realize how powerful someone story can really be and how open he is to share his story with us. Not matter how many times I tried seeing the actually picture of him swimming through the infested alligator water to go get food and swim back to where he was camping, I could never feel how he felt going through this and seeing how successful of a person he became today. Another thing that was interesting was that he had a "job" to carry his grandmother to the bomb shelter every time they saw the sky lit up orange. Just imagine the emotion running through his body and wondering that one of bombs might miss the target and come straight to his house. Just trying to picture losing your home, trying to stay alive, looking for shelter and looking out for one another. Honestly I would not, or anyone would want to ever experience this. His story was a heartbreaking yet fascinating. I just think how now days how much people take their stuff for grant, it just bugs me because there are people in worst situations than you can ever imagine.
Unfortunately I missed hearing Mr. Trans story. However I did read a few other Vietnamese refugees stories tonight. Just by reading and hearing what they had to go through really changed my perspective. In many cases the refugees would be stranded at sea with no food or water left, and even then pirates would come and rob them, especially the Thai people. I found this very shocking, if I was ever in that position I would want to help in any way I could. Through reading peoples stories I also realized that once they got to America their problems weren't over. The amount of courage it took to flee their country and go to an entirely new foreign one is amazing. Even when these refugees struggled in America it never stopped them. I feel inspired to work hard, and that if these Vietnamese refugees could over come such challenges then so can I.
This talk with Mr. Tran was very inspirational. It was one thing to read stories and get emotion, but it is a completely different thing to actually have a person there and talk about their life story. It just made it seem like it was so much more real. As he went about telling his story, it was incredible how many connections I made to other content that we have learned in Humanities/World History this year. (Ex. The Hitler youth and trying to force an ideology down the youth's mind and in his experience it was the communist youth league). I also found it quite eye opening and it even got me thinking when he said that all these people tried to implement communism when all it did was fail, even the USSR who tried to force communism failed at their own idea, so it was shocking to see that people were so arrogant and still keep thinking that communism is a good idea. It made me glad and brought me joy to see that communism is now changing in Vietnam. Mr. Tran said that the people are seeing that it isn't a good idea and they society is changing which, I think, will eventually lead to the leaders changing their government. Towards the end there was something that caught my attention and it was that he wanted to be successful and I feel like with the refugees that came into class and everyone we've talked to that has been a survivor of a war or mistreatment has told us how precious life is and how we should be the best that we can and every time we have someone come into the class room and talk about their struggle and how they over came it, just makes me realize how much there is to appreciate and how much is taken for granted. Overall, I really liked that he came into class to share his story. First hand sources are personally my favorite because it makes history seem like it's still something that is important to learn about.
I really enjoyed Mr. Tran's talk with us through seminar. He was by far the most engaging storyteller that we have had so far and I think that fact alone speaks volumes about the kind of story that he was telling. He wasn't crazy animated nor was he amazingly funny but the story that he told was one of survival and dedication, no matter how slim the chances seemed. The perspective he provided as a refugee that also lived in Ho Chi Minh city during the war was very different from anything we would have learned through a textbook or video. Not to mention he was so well versed in hisfacts about the war that he really tied his experiences to what was going on around him so well that it was very easy to unerstand what he was talking about. The part that I found most interesting was how easy it was to draw parallells between his experience and that of a jew during the holocaust. While his situation while in Vietnam was quite as serious there were many things that I found similar. His most high ranking family members that were in the military were sent to concentration or "re-education" camps while he was put into the Youth Communist Party which was eerily similar to that of the Hitler Youth. They even burned books for crying out loud. OVerall the story that Mr. Tran told was an extremely heartwarming and interesting one that really spoke to the value of hardwork, dedication, and never giving up. He was my favorite guest speaker that we have had so far for sure.
During Mr. Tran's story to America, I felt as if I was there with him when he traveled because it felt so real. His story was really sad but relieving once he knew he was safe from Vietnam. I think that this is a really good experience for everyone to know and to see how the communists treated the people there. The Communists were so controlling that Mr. Tran's father wanted to leave Vietnam, so they did. They left at night with a group of people and things started to go bad once they left the second time. The family on the boat were robbed by pirates on another boat and they were having to live without food and water for a couple of days until they reached land. After they reached land, they were told to burn the boat down so other refugees couldn't come. The boat that Mr. Tran's father built took a long time to build and after hearing that they had to burn it down, he probably wouldn't want to build another boat again. After hearing Mr. Tran's story, I feel more happy being able to live in America because in Vietnam they had to deal with Communists and controlling power where here we have more freedom.
Mr. Tran's story showed the conflict in Vietnam from a different light. His testimony showed that, yes, the Americans did do some horrible things in Vietnam, but the communists did as well: the government taught children to report their parents if they were not communist, the communist party controlled the food supply, the government burned books and information considered "outside-of-Vietnam," children had to be in the communist party to go to school, and other atrocities. Mr. Tran's stories themselves really struck me, especially the one describing his escape from Vietnam using the fishing boat. The fact that these men even had to consider killing a baby just so that the group could survive was sickening beyond description. Why couldn't the French, Chinese, Soviet, and American influences just leave Vietnam to its own devices? What compelled them to attempt again and again to jam themselves in Vietnam's politics? Furthermore, once Mr. Tran and some of the other people escaping from Vietnam actually made it out alive, they had to risk not only being captured by pirates, communist Soviet ships, and communist Vietnamese ships, but they even had to fear being captured by ships from Thailand, a civilized country that was supposed to be there in this dire time of need. Once they successfully reached land, their struggle wasn't over yet, because they had to scavenge the jungles for food, crossing rivers full of alligators just to keep the group surviving. It was a sad, sad story indeed.
Having Mr. Tran come into our class and share his experience was truly something different than just reading articles, and watching a video. Physically having him there made the experience way better. I couldn’t compare any of my live situations to ones he faced because I couldn’t compare to something so drastic. He talked about how people were going against each other, turning in their own family. Turning your neighbor is one thing, but turning in your family is a whole different thing, well at least in my eyes it is. Not only that, but the fact that they were teaching young children that they should turn in their own parents was just really shocking. When he talked about their escape and how they almost took the life of a baby was just heartbreaking, but it was either that or getting caught. Even when he was talking about this part, I thought he was about to to cry because he took some sort of a pause, and his voice tone changed a bit. But I wouldn’t blame him for getting these types of emotions. When he was explaining when the pirates attacked it seemed almost unreal to me, but this wasn’t a fantasy, it was a real life situation that Mr.Tran had to experience. Mr Tran was able to overcome many obstacles that stood in his way and because of that, he is where he currently is.
I really liked the fact that we were able to get a speaker to come in and talk about his experiences with the subject rather then read /watch a video about it. So many of his stories I could barely believe because they were so insane, especially with the pirates and with the state their country was in. It's fortunate that they were able to escape without being caught because I have a feeling that it wasn't often that people were actually able to make an escape from the country without being caught, especially by sea. It's also extremely fortunate that he and the ship he was on was able to survive in the sea for that long without food and water and the pirates didn't do anything more than what they had done. It's easy to see that Mr Tran has gone through a lot in his life involving the war but it's great that he was able to make it out of it out of all the people who attempted and failed.
Learning about Mr. Trans experience makes me realize how privileged we are born in America. I think that it is incredible what he had to go through to get where he is today. If I were in his place, in that situation, I don't think that I would have been able to do the things he did. Just thinking about bombs going off nearby freaks me out, and if pirates dragged a girl off...I just can't imagine it. I don't know what I would do in that situation. I would probably want to kill the men trying to take her, but with what? I don't even know if I would be able to save her.. I wish that if I had been in the situation, I could stop it somehow. But I don't think that there was a way.
A thing that really made me shocked about his journey as a refugee was the whole time he spent in Malaysia. Soap, to be more specific. I am a hygiene freak and I like to be clean. I would have swam across alligator infested waters just to get the soaps and things needed to stay clean (even if temporary). I really like soap.
With having Mr Tran come in, we gain more of a personal realization of what happened- I know I can better imagine how things were because he actually went through it. He lived through the story. It makes such difference hearing the story from him.
I really appreciated his intro about how the communists effected his schooling because I feel like we could all relate to his emotions. Many moments shocked me in his presentation, but one of the points that stood out to me was when he spoke about him and his family escaping Vietnam. While they were running to the boat, guards began to look for them. A young infant began to cry, and it's father was willing to kill the child in order to save the rest of the group. I could never have imagined a sceanerio where a parent was able to even think about killing their own child, let alone hear that that was a real event. This made me realize how bad the conditions were, for the father had that motivation to save the majority just so they could leave Vietnam. Mr. Trans talk gave me alot more appreciation for where we live, our family situations as well as for other immigrants and refugees who escaped or want to.
Vin Tran discussed the state of Vietnam at this time. He talked about the fact that the north was communist and the the south was a republic. He lived in the capitol as a child so there was not a ton of fighting. There was a secret trail in the north for supplies which is now called the Ho Chi Min trail. However, when the north was trying to take over the south his family had to evacuate and there were bullets flying over there heads as they narrowly escaped. They built a bomb shelter in their backyard and when the bombs went off there was a lot of looking. Some people took weapons and hid but most of them were found out. High ranking officers and officials had to leave because they would be killed otherwise. However, his family stayed behind and were forced to submerge in the communism that surrounded them even if they didn't believe in it. The communists wanted to make the people dumb and all books, movies, and magazines were illegal as was anything from the outside world. The communists made their people dependent on food supplies where children and adults had to stand in line for hours, or even days, to get food. Paper money became useless and people had to get a visa to move between cities. Education was not as important to the communists and Vin fell into a young age depression because he felt he had no future. He could work hard and still nothing would come his way thanks to communism. The communists taught the kids to report their own parents. They had to join the youth communist party if they wanted to go to school. There were issues with neighbors who turned each other in to the government. This is what happened to Vin's cousin who got taken away at gunpoint.
This was a summary of what I got from Vin when he was living with the communism surrounding him. All of it sounds TERRIBLE. Even though, to be completely honest, it sounds like a good idea- where no one is poor and the community is whole- it is completely unfair to the individual. The fact that a bright kid like Vin couldn't get anywhere in his life when he could do so much is seriously infuriating. They used children to promote communism and that is just sick. The youth communist party really reminded me of the Hitler youth in that both were attempting to brainwash children to further the timespan of their cause. The kids don't understand their actions but once it gets in their heads they can't be changed and when they grow it they will be powerful tools for the communist party.
I really enjoyed Mr, Trans talk on his experience on this matter. Being able to this to this was such an amazing opportunity. I really enjoyed they way he talked about everything with as much as he could remember, I was very easily able to visualize what he said. I was really shocked to hear that he had to encounter pirates. Super scary! Also knowing that they were teaching kids to turn in their parents was super shocking. Knowing that you couldn't trust anyone, not even your family. I could have listened to him talk all day about his experience, it was so intriguing.
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