Monday, January 29, 2007

The Vietnam war

I wasn't planning to watch TV but Kai suddenly woke up screaming at about 9pm. I was unable to soothe the sobbing kid until I turned on the TV, and chanced upon a BBC programme "Communicating with Vietnam's war dead". And for half an hour or so, mother and son watched how psychics help Vietnamese families find the remains of their loved ones who perished during the Vietnam war.

It brought me back to Vietnam again, seeing the war from the other side. We've been bombarded by America's versions and feelings about the war that we don't know how the Vietnamese perceives it. To them, the Americans were the invaders and to this day, the South Vietnamese who helped the US army are looked down upon--or so we were told during our trip to the DMZ with two South Vietnamese war veterans.

Their war museum in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) certainly lack the technical wizardry and modern comfort one has come to expect in museums of the developed world. Yet it was one of the best I've ever visited, in that it's affected and taught me more than any other museums I've visited. Black and white photos are displayed in dusty sheds, relics of the war are placed on faded table cloth and covered with casing that are turning yellow with age in the corners. The setting resembled a primary school exhibit, yet everyone inside spoke in hushed tones. Expressions would range from sadness, outrage, shock to disgust. But everyone in there finally saw the war through Vietnam's eyes. And I hope Kai would have a chance to see what I saw that hot, sweaty, dusty day in HCM city too.

He fell asleep after the documentary ended.

(Picture was taken at "Queen's" beach, near the Vinh Moc tunnel. And if memory serves me right, the beach was one of the areas the VCs/North Vietnamese soldiers would depart/arrive, and receive weapons from boats. But I've surfed the web and can't find any reference to "Queen's" beach. The name was given to us by our war veteran guide.)

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...