Vietnam Collection

Hanoi winterTHIS COLLECTION TELLS THE STORY OF HUNG, AN ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD VIETNAMESE KID WHO BACK IN 1980 ESCAPED THE COMMUNIST REGIME FOR A NEW LAND ON A LIFE-RISKING BOAT TRIP AND THEN MADE IT BACK TO MARRY A BEAUTIFUL VIETNAMESE GIRL 25 YEARS LATER.

Vietnam is like no other country. You see everything you can imagine and even beyond your imagination, like three pigs on a motorbike… But after scratching the surface we realized there was even more than meets the eye. Vietnam is a country of amazing stories, which makes the three pigs on the bike look fairly reasonable.

Among all the stories we discovered, one really stood out. That was the story of East meeting West, and vice versa, through Hung’s life:

Hung was just 11 years old when the Communist bombs flattened Saigon. His mother only had enough money to send two of her six children on a life-risking escape out of the country. Hung was one and his oldest sister was the other lucky one. They escaped in a tiny boat on Chinese New Years' Eve while the guards were busy celebrating.

After 3 days at sea and a terrible storm, the boat engine stopped working and the boat started drifting out into the open ocean with no water or food on board. When the inevitable was about to happen, suddenly, they saw a tiny line of land on the horizon. They broke into cheers of joy. They had finally beaten the sea in their battle for life.

They were in Indonesia, and the authorities put them in a refugee camp where they hoped for any Western country to give them a chance to start a new life in the West. Thankfully, Hung had learnt a little French in school and those few words made a huge difference. Sooner than they thought they were sent to France, this time on a proper boat.

When they got to Paris, Hung went to wander the streets and he could not believe his eyes. This was not a real city to him: it was like Disneyland! It was the beginning of a completely new life and a completely new Hung.

Many years later, Hung was an adult and he decided to undo what he did as a child. He decided to go back to Vietnam. But when he got to Saigon he had the feeling that Saigon was Disneyland and he was a stranger in his own country.

Time passed, Hung got married, and after a while he got used to seeing pigs driving motorbikes... and the Westerner became an Easterner again.

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To get the full story, click here and download the little book recounting Hung's adventures.

Download the book of the collection A new land Download the Book

photographer: Vu A Ha
www.vuaha.com
model: people from Phan Tiet
location: Phan Tiet, VN