greybeta: (Captain Gloval)
For my new friends, I am doing a senior honors project to complete my history major. I am doing an oral history, recording stories of those who came from Vietnam to America after the fall of Saigon. My recent interview was done with Mr. Huynh Dien in the fair city of Wichita, Kansas. Got the raw part of the transcript done in the type-as-he-talks fashion (he spoke English well, which was a major boon for me). According to him, this is the best part:

He wanted to enroll in a class to learn English. They asked, are you “Catholic, Buddhist, or Protestant?” He answered that he was a Buddhist. No, they told him, we cannot enroll you because you are Buddhist. They only enrolled Catholics in their English class. They even discriminated against religions at the refugee camp. This type of corruption saddened him.

To explain things a bit, Mr. Huynh had officially traversed Cambodia and made it to a refugee camp in Thailand. After a few months of the camp, he learned that other countries might take on refugees, especially English-speaking America. Given the poor conditions of the camp, any place was better than the bleak area they currently inhabited. And especially in an enchanting place called America, even if it had betrayed South Vietnam.

Corruption only benefits those who partake in it, and perhaps their families as well. But it really hurts because it weakens the nation as a whole. Corruption made Mr. Huynh sad because he realized that it was that filth within his own country that led it to its downfall. Throughout his story he vehemently rejected corruption, and made it clear at the beginning that it was the corruption of the Communist regime in Vietnam that forced him to flee his country. Yes, the South Vietnamese government had its own problems with corruption. But to Mr. Huynh the corruption of today’s Communist regime was ten, no, a hundred times worse than the corruption of the South Vietnamese Republic.

So imagine his surprise to run into more corruption at the refugee camp, over religion no less.

July 2009

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