Between 1975 to 1990s, almost two million Vietnamese risked their lives to flee oppression and hardship after the Vietnam War, in one of the largest mass exoduses in modern history. Escaping by boat, many were captured and brutally punished, and hundreds of thousands died along the journey. This population of people are known as the ‘Vietnamese Boat People' and these are their stories.
#27 - Other Streets
Mark Erickson (Đỗ Văn Hùng) was born in Saigon in 1972 and put up for adoption at two and a half years old. He arrived in the United States as part of the American program Operation Baby Lift and was adopted by a white couple living in Buffalo, New York. Mark grew up in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood and what he knew about Vietnam was through movies and stories told through an American lens. When he moved to Boston for college he discovered a Vietnamese community in Dorchester, got to travel to Vietnam and began to explore his Vietnamese identity through his 35mm camera. Mark shares his journey in embracing his Vietnamese heritage, learning about his birth family and the making of his photo books Other Streets: Scenes from a Life in Vietnam not Lived and Dorchester. http://www.markferickson.com
#26 - LIVE Episode! Sigh, Gone
Phuc Tran, born in Saigon Vietnam, immigrated to America along with his family in 1975 when he was just a baby. He grew up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, being one of the few Asian families in a small town, his family struggled to assimilate into their new life. In his debut book ‘Sigh, Gone’ Phuc shares his coming-of-age story, the push and pull of finding and accepting himself, and the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion. In this interview, Phuc opens up about the complexities of Viet culture, growing up as an Asian American in the 80s and what’s changed and has not changed in how Asian Americans are viewed and treated today. https://www.phucskywalker.com
#25 - Have Faith
Two siblings share their experiences in post-war Vietnam and what it was like to be separated as a family. Danny fled Vietnam as a teenager with his brothers and later had to fight for his life after a severe brain injury just a month after arriving in America. While Tu-Anh was moved from place to place in Vietnam as her mom made several attempts to get them out of the country. They share their journeys and struggles and their search for a guiding light during the toughest times.
#24 - The Perfect Storm
Quang was born in Ha Noi in 1953 just a year before Vietnam was divided into two and his family migrated south to Saigon. In 1970 he was drafted into war and recruited to Division 3 of the Special Task Force for the South. Days before the Fall of Saigon, Quang’s special unit was stationed in a small village when they had lost contact with their main command. They remained in hiding for days and emerged only to find that they had lost the war and had to surrender to the North. In 1978 in Quang’s second attempt to flee Vietnam, he would face the perfect storm that led to a series of unpredictable events. He shares how the care of a 9 year-old boy saved his life.
#23 - Second Gen
To close out season three, we explore perspectives from the American born Vietnamese, those who are categorized as second generation. For most second generation Vietnamese children, their childhood looked nothing like that of their parents. They did not grow up during the Vietnam War era, nor do they have memories of the life threatening escapes from the country. Even so, this generation still internalizes the experiences, some through stories told by their parents, while others can feel the effects of the trauma, even if those stories were never told. In this episode, we explore how this generation manages to understand their families' histories and trauma while also grappling with their own identities as Asian-Americans. Featuring interviews with actress An Phan, podcast host Randy Kim and visual storyteller Vi Son Trinh.
#22 - Snow in Vietnam
Amy Le was born in Tra Vinh Vietnam in 1974, with a severe heart condition. The doctors predicted that she would not live past her childhood. Desperate to find the right medical care, her mom decided they needed to escape the post-war conditions of Vietnam. In 1980 they arrived in Kent, Washington State. Growing up, her relationship with her mom had its ups and downs and her Dad was in and out of her life. In 2017, when Amy’s mom passed away, her world shattered. To honor her mom’s legacy and sacrifices, she left her job in corporate America to write her mom’s story. But she didn’t have all the details so she began a journey of piecing it together through other people and fictionalized what life must have been like for her mom in Vietnam. In this episode, Amy shares with us her journey of discovery, healing and forgiveness. Her debut historical fiction Snow in Vietnam is a tribute to her mother and the hundreds of thousands of boat people for their bravery. www.amy-m-le.com
Emotionally touching and relatable
First episode reeled me in good. The way the father describes the escape from Đà Nẵng makes me feel like I was there.
I came to the states when I was 1 and I grew up surrounded by other Vietnamese people. My heart for my homeland and my people shakes listening to these episodes
Every story is heartbreaking
Every story of the brave Vietnamese boat people who risked so much to live freely brings me to tears. I feel so blessed to walk alongside them and proud of the journey our people made to turn dust into dreams. Bless you all and keep telling your stories! Together we preserve history and pass on our heritage.
Excellent story telling
Love hearing these people’s stories in their own voices.