- Thanh Hue -
»Arrived Sydney, 1980
»Revisited Vietnam 2005
"I was born in Hue, it was our kingdom, our citadel of the last dynasty in Viet Nam. Long, long ago, the oldest citadel was in the north, but then when the Nguyen Dynasty came southward they stayed in central Viet Nam, and they named it Hue. My parents named me Hue because my father used to work in the north and then when they came back to stay in Hue, they had me. That's why they named me, to memorise that."
"After finished I school and high school, I attended university in Hue too. I became a high school teacher, and I got married. Our house was on the riverbank, it's very nice the house, with a beautiful garden and the river, the beautiful river. All my students and my husband's students enjoy swimming, they always visited us and went swimming with my children."
"It is the most beautiful river in Viet Nam, if you come to Hue you should know that the river is a very beautiful river...""The river is at the back of the house, we pass the garden and then there is the river. It is the most beautiful river in Viet Nam. If you come to Hue you should know that the river is a very beautiful river, with very clear water and very fresh, very peaceful. If you go back to the source, it's fantastic and it's so beautiful. We were very upset and stung by the news that they plan to build hotels and everything on the bank of the river that place, it is a very low hill, but it looked out so beautifully to the river. There's some plants and herbs and grass around there which have a good scent that's why they name the river the Perfume River (we call it the Huong River), like a very nice, sort of flower and grass."
" Sometimes the [hunger for] food made people really [degenerate] down to the animal life.""I had been teaching for eighteen years and then, the communists took over my country. And because they need us, they let us keep our jobs but, everything was different from that time, even salaries. Fortunately my husband's family had an extra piece of land. After 1975 we used that land to grow vegetables for our family supply. We were lucky because we had a garden, we could still have something to fill our stomach, but a lot of people still felt hungry. Sometimes the [hunger for] food made people really degenerate. Sometimes they fought, because of food, if they can't control themselves. But things after that went back about a decade."
"At that time I look like a skeleton. Before, I worked full time but I still had spare time with my family, I had two helpers at home, because labour is very cheap in Viet Nam. But when the communist came, I could not keep any at all."
"They controlled the supplies like rice. So we had to live on their supply but their supply was very limited. For one person, they gave ten kilos of rice per month and plus five kilos of sweet potatoes and tapioca. And the rice was mixed with lots of tiny rocks and sand. I lost my two teeth because of it."
"I had my second child, (my daughter now in Hong Kong), only nine days before the Tet offensive, .""I had my second child, (my daughter now living in Hong Kong), only nine days before the Tet offensive, . We have been through so many ordeals. At that time, there was a canon that got through the roof of the house. We had a very good carved, thick table and it got through that table and the floor, it stays there until now."
» Thanh Hue's Journey