Đàm Trung Phán

Những bài viết …..

VIETNAMESE CANADIANS CELEBRATING THE 2019 “TET” LUNAR NEW YEAR IN THE GTA – CỘNG ĐỒNG NGƯỜI CANADIANS GỐC VIỆT TỔ CHỨC TẾT ĐINH HỢI 2019 TẠI ĐẠI ĐÔ THỊ TORONTO, CANADA

  1. SOME TYPICAL PHOTOS – VÀI HÌNH ẢNH CỦA HCT: 
  1. PHOTO WEBSITES / TRANG HÌNH ẢNH:
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DON_2075_resize

do nghia

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https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPhw1yYxblcRLVBe63TIElDXLjUhaZgansrd6xkNTmWusR2ng3AEQF_PZNRN0T2MQ?key=UGJWcFFUOHNPMFpENWdONDhDb2R4dGtxV2F6cV9n

Dam Trung Phan

http://rogertruong.ca/hinhhoichotet2019/

Roger Truong

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132274212@N06/sets/72157678013815458/with/32973892408/

Duy Han va than huu

3. MAYOR BONNIE CROMBIE’S SPEECH/ DIỄN VĂN CỦA BÀ THỊ TRƯỞNG BONNIE CROMBIE (MẶC ÁO DÀI TÍM):

4. TV STATIONS’ YOUTUBES / YOUTUBES CỦA CÁC ĐÀI TRUYỀN HÌNH ĐỊA PHƯƠNG:

SBTN

City News

Thoi Bao

CTV NEWS

5.VIETNAMESE CANADIAN COMMUNITY’S CYBER BULLETIN / PHÓNG SỰ BĂNG HÌNH ẢNH VÀ YOUTUBES CỦA CĐVN VÙNG ĐẠI ĐÔ THỊ TORONTO:

http://thuduc-ontario.ca/folder/hct-kyhoi/index.html

HỘI CHỢ TẾT KỶ HỢI TẠI VÙNG ĐẠI ĐÔ THỊ TORONTO, CANADA

Hàng năm cứ vào tháng Giêng (Tây) , icy roads  ngoài trời rất nhiều và trên không có những đám mây đùng đục làm tôi lại… HÙNG HỤC …run lên ! -:)))

 

 Thưa quý vị đó là bối cảnh của Canada vào thời kỳ  mà Cộng Đồng Việt Nam tại vùng Đại Đô Thị  Toronto cũng như toàn cõi Canada chúng tôi cùng nhau tổ chức Tết Nguyên Đán.

 Hôm nay, một ngày cuối năm ta, tôi rất may mắn được có một ngày không phải ngồi viết các “I Meo” có tính cách “deadline” cho việc “vác ngà voi”  cho nên trong lúc ngoài trời buốt giá căm căm (- 20 độ C) ,  mà căn phòng lại ấm cúng và nhất là sau khi đã được ngủ một giấc dài ban trưa trong khi  “Chính Phủ Tại Gia” (my Spousal Government) đi chùa, nhà cháu bèn nghĩ ngay đến việc viết lách đôi chút để đưa lên blog. Ui cha là hạnh phúc!


 Theo thông lệ, chúng tôi trong nhiều năm nay đã tổ chức Tết Ta  vào tuần thứ 3 của tháng January. Ban Tổ Chức Hội Chợ Tết (BTC-HCT)  đã thuê cả một cái ”hall” rất rộng để tổ chức cho khoảng 8 ngàn đến 10 ngàn người tham dự.

 Suốt cả ngày trước hôm Hội Chợ Tết,  BTC –HCT cũng như những ai có gian hàng đã đến sắp đặt mọi thứ như:  dựng cổng  làng Việt Nam,  dựng đền thờ Hai Bà Trưng … Đặc biệt là các xe hơi, xe “van” đều được phép chạy thẳng tới khu triển lãm để mọi người mang đồ vào và hôm sau chở đồ về cho nhanh chong, dễ dàng.

 Xin mời quý vị bấm nút vào link dưới đây ( năm 2017) để xem hình ảnh của sinh hoạt “cho biết sự tình”.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/nqPWdyjY2MDrTpKf9

 

 Hôm nay con ma thời gian  đã tha cho tôi được một ngày không phải ngồi viết các “I Meo” có tính cách “deadline”  cho nên trong bầu không khí ngoài trời lạnh lẽo  (- 20 độ C) ,  trong căn phòng ấm cúng và nhất là sau khi được ngủ một giấc dài ban trưa khi  “Chính Phủ Tại Gia” ( Spousal Government) đi chùa, nhà cháu bèn nghĩ ngay đến việc viết lách trên blog.

 Cũng giống như những năm trước đây,  tháng “Giêng Tây là tháng ăn chơi” cho dân Cà Ná chúng tôi theo nghĩa bóng,  có nghĩa là là tổ chức Tết Nguyên Đán í mà.  Nhưng răng thừa / thưa rằng “nhìn dzậy chứ hổng phải là dzây!” vì  cái tháng January và February là hai tháng lạnh nhất của xứ Cà Ná.  Tuần trước nàng Tuyết đã “giáng trần”,  “mờ hàng” cho  hai thành phố Tổ Rốn To và Mộng Lệ Oanh rất ư là … “hồ hởi” !

 Suốt cả ngày hôm trước,  BTC –HCT cũng như những ai có gian hàng đã đến sắp đặt trước mọi thứ như:  dựng cổng  làng Việt Nam,  dựng đền thờ Hai Bà Trưng, … đặc biệt là các xe hơi, xe “van” đều được phép chạy thẳng tới khu triển lãm để mọi người mang đồ vào và hôm sau chở đồ về cho dễ dàng, đỡ đau cái lưng …à…khòm!

Cả ngày hôm đó chúng tôi mang theo đồ ăn, thức uống ống giống y như khi đi picnic  vậy. Khác biệt :đây là một picnic vào mùa lạnh và mọi người phải làm việc chối chết.

Nản nhất là  lúc lmọi người ái xe ra về.  Tôi lại cố “năng khiếu” hay quên, không nhớ rõ là mình đã đậu xe ở chỗ nào cho nên “ người hùng đâm nổi khùng “ vì run lên bần bật .  Khi lái xe , HÃI nhất  là lúc quẹo bên trái : mặt đường trơn tuột như  một cái  “professional skating ring” vậy.  Cái “fringe benefits”: trong những lúc rảnh rỗi ngồi nghĩ lại,  tôi gãi cái đầu  thưa  tóc rồi “phán” rằng : “kỷ niệm Hãi, mãi mãi nhớ hoài”.

 Ngày hội chợ tết tuy thời tiết bên ngoài  không  mấy gì thoải mái,  nhưng bên trong hội chợ tết thì vui biết bao vì đây là một cơ hội rất tốt cho mọi người gặp nhau  để nhớ lại  những cái Tết Xa Xưa tại quê nhà vạn dặm.

 Xin mời quý vị ghé thăm hội chợ tết  của cộng đồng Việt Nam vùng đại đô thị Toronto với các hình ảnh,  YouTubes trong link dưới đây:

http://thuduc-ontario.ca/folder/hct-kyhoi/index.html

 Kính chúc quý vị cùng gia quyến Năm Đinh Hợi được an khang, thịnh vượng

ĐTP

CÂU CHUYÊN VỀ TƯỢNG ĐÀI THUYỀN NHÂN TẠI MISSISSAUGA

Đàm Trung Phán

Sáng nay trời mùa đông, quá lạnh cho người viết ngồi ngoài trời để viết bài như thường lệ, nên tôi bèn lái xe đến thư viện Burnhanthorpe, Misissauga cho tĩnh mịch, thoải mái để không bị tiếng phôn reo và cái PC làm phiền…

Đã hơn 20 năm nay, tôi thường lai vãng tới nơi này có cây cao, chỗ đậu xe khang trang, có thảm cỏ… rất tiện lợi cho việc đi bách bộ rồi vào trong thư viện mà đọc sách, viết bài. Vui hơn nữa: hy vọng cuối năm 2019, Cộng Đồng Việt Nam (CĐVN) tại vùng Đại Đô Thị Toronto sẽ xây xong Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân (TĐTN) ở ngay tại nơi này.

Câu chuyện xây Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân bắt đầu phôi thai từ năm 2010.

Tôi đã may mắn có cái “duyên” được thuyền trưởng Phạm Ngọc nhờ dịch dùm bẩy chương của cuốn sách “Con Tầu Trường Xuân” sang Anh ngữ mấy năm trước đó.

https://damtrungphan.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/truong-xuans-last-voyage/

Trong lúc dịch, người viết đã phải đọc đi đọc lại phần tiếng Việt rất nhiều lần để thật hiểu câu chuyện. Và tôi đã “nhập vai” trở thành một trong những “thuyền nhân” trong chuyến hải hành gian truân đó.

Năm 2010, nhân dịp gia đình thuyền trưởng Phạm Ngọc Lũy sang Sydney, Úc Đại Lợi để hội ngộ năm thứ 35 với “Gia Đình Trường Xuân”, vợ chồng chúng tôi cùng tháp tùng Thuyền Trưởng vì người viết cũng đang háo hức muốn gặp lại bạn bè trong chương trình Colombo Plan tại Sydney sau 41 năm xa cách.

Vài người bạn học cũ đã đưa vợ chồng chúng tôi đến địa danh “The Heads” tại Sydney để cho tôi được trở về với dĩ vãng cùng với bạn bè trong thập niên 60.

Nhìn những ngọn sóng đánh mạnh vào vách đá làm nước bay tung tóe, tôi thấy lặng người. Thấy mơ hồ nhớ nhung, thương xót vô cùng. Tôi liên tưởng đến những con thuyền mỏng manh đi trên biển của các thuyền nhân Việt Nam; sóng to như thế thì làm sao các con thuyền nhỏ nhoi và các “du khách bất đắc dĩ” mà không bị tai nạn, bị vùi sâu trong lòng biển cả? Lặng người và miên man trở về với năm 1975 khi tôi ra phi trường Pearson tại Toronto đón người tị nạn Việt Nam đầu tiên. Gặp nhau mừng mừng …, tủi tủi…

Rồi trong thập niên 80, chúng tôi đã gặp nhiều ”thuyền nhân thứ thiệt” tại Toronto và các nơi khác.Tại Centennial College, nơi tôi giảng dạy, tôi cũng đã gặp một số sinh viên thuyền nhân người Việt.Nhớ nhất là hình ảnh anh NV, một “sinh viên già” (mature student) đã từng là một cựu sĩ quan của Quân Lực Việt Nam Cộng Hòa, tuổi đã trên 40 nay lại cắp sách đến trường. Nhớ rõ một lần các anh chị em nhờ tôi “booked” một phòng để họ tổ chức ăn Tết Việt Nam trong một hôm trời đang bão tuyết vào năm 1985!

Cũng tại địa danh “The Heads” này mà trong thập niên 60, người viết  đã từng ra nhìn những vách đá ướt, những bọt nước, những ngọn sóng liên tục thi nhau vỗ vào bờ, để rồi bỗng đâu nhớ đến hình ảnh của cha già và chú em trai còn đang học trung học: một già, một trẻ đang sống trong cảnh gà trống nuôi con, hàng ngày chờ thư của đứa con trai chót út đang đi học phương xa.

Trong chuyến đi “cruise” tại vùng Caribean mấy năm trước, tôi cũng đã nhìn thấy những con sóng to vỗ vào bờ. Ban đêm, từng được ngắm và chụp hình trăng tròn trên biển, thú vị vô cùng nhưng khi nhìn lại đuôi tầu, chỉ thấy màn đêm đen kịt, thấy cảm giác rờn rợn làm sao ấy.

Năm 2013, nhân dịp đưa người bạn phương xa đi thăm Niagara Falls, đứng nhìn một con tầu nhỏ chở khách tới gần ngọn thác đang xối xả thả nước xuống làm tôi liên tưởng đến các chiếc thuyền mỏng manh trong thập niên 80. Chính lúc này, tôi nẩy ra ý định: bàn với Ủy Ban Lâm Thời xin một miếng đất ở Niagara Falls để xây Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân. Tiếc nỗi, việc không thành vì đây là một khu đất vàng, khu đất “nhà vua”, không ai đươc xây cất gì hết!

Đành phải “Forget it!”

Cuối năm 2014, chúng tôi trong Ủy Ban Lâm Thời “cải tổ” lại việc đi xin đất. Mời thêm một số anh chị em đã có kinh nghiệm sinh hoạt cộng đồng tham gia vào Ủy Ban Xin Đất Xây Tượng Đài; Ủy Ban này gồm có tất cả 13 thành viên và chỉ đi xin đất tại Thành Phố Mississauga mà thôi.

Tôi lái xe đi xem một số công viên tại Mississauga. Sau đó, đi chụp hình, quay video clips và làm Youtube một số các công viên như :

– Riverwood Park (1) thật trang nhã, thanh tịnh làm du khách cảm nhận được sự tĩnh lặng, thanh tịnh của Thiền Định, tọa vì ngay ven sông Credit River. Thất bại vì đây là khu đất của người Da Đỏ (First Nations).

– Jack Darling Memorial Park (2) trông rất nên thơ, chạy dọc theo bờ hồ Ontario. Bốn mùa, lúc nào cũng làm cho tôi cảm nhận thấy một nỗi buồn chia ly, xa vắng mỗi khi nhìn thấy con thuyền đang căng buồm suôi gió trong Lake Ontario. Cảnh vật này rất thích hợp cho công việc xây TĐTN ngay tại đây.

Thất bại, vì khu đất này thuộc về chính phủ Liên Bang Canada, ngoài ra ven bờ hồ lại còn có rất nhiều các dây cables của chính phủ liên bang.

– Erindale Park (3) cũng rất ngoạn mục. Công viên này nằm ngay ven sông Credit River mà Xuân, Hạ, qua Thu, là những mùa dân Canada thi nhau đi câu cá tại đó. Mùa Thu đẹp tuyệt trần đời, vì có lá vàng, lá đỏ tô màu công viên dưới nền trời khi xám xịt, khi trong xanh, khi mưa  phùn…Cũng không thành công, vì đây là khu chứa nước lụt (flood plain), chính phủ địa phương (Mississauga Municipal Government) không cho phép bất cứ ai xây cất trong khu đó.

Thế rồi, ngày 9, tháng 2, 2016,  Cộng Đồng Việt Nam đã may mắn được thành phố Mississauga chấp thuận dành cho chúng ta xây Tương đài Thuyền Nhân (4) tại số 3650 Dixie Road, Mississauga ( góc Tây Nam của đường Dixie và Burnhampthorpe). Ngoạn mục và bất ngờ vô cùng. Khu đất này lại tiện lợi hơn 3 nơi kia vì có 2 đường xe bus chạy qua (xe bus chạy theo đường Dixie, và xe bus chạy theo đường Burnhampthorpe). Lại có thư viện Burnamothorpe và Prentice Theatre ở ngay nơi đó. Khu vực này có đông dân cư Việt Nam. Không hẹn lại đến. Rất khang trang. Ban đêm sáng sủa mà cũng không kém phần trang nghiêm, tĩnh mịch. Có rất nhiều người ra vào, vì ở ngay trước Thư Viện Burnhamthorpe  và Sân Khấu Prentice. Ý trời  hay duyên phận Trời đã định cho CĐVN chúng ta?

Tiện đây, xin kể một câu chuyện khác thường.

Hồi khoảng cuối năm 2015, người viết có 3 “giấc mơ” rất lạ lùng. Những giấc mơ này thường xẩy ra lúc trời gần sáng. Lần đầu tiên, trong giấc ngủ, tôi thấy rõ trong đầu hình ảnh một mộ bia mầu hồng bằng đá granite trôi bồng bềnh trong không gian. Chẳng hề sợ hãi, kẻ đang ngủ cứ “xem xi-nê trong mơ”. Rồi thức giấc, còn nhớ rõ mồn một hình ảnh của mộ bia. Rồi giấc mơ này lại trở lại với tôi trong khoảng mười đêm liền, giống hệt như giấc mơ ban đầu. Vẫn thản nhiên mà  “xem xi-nê”.

Vài ngày sau đó, tôi thấy trong đầu óc “phần 2 của giấc mơ”. Phía trên là chân trời màu xám, phía dưới mầu đen có những sóng nước đang trôi về phía tôi. Trong giấc mơ này, tôi nhớ rõ đã “nhìn” thấy trong đầu nhiều vật đang trôi theo giòng nước, xa xa trông giống như những que củi bập bềnh trôi liên tiếp về phía kẻ đang ngủ. Cũng chẳng thấy sợ hãi mà lại còn thích thú mà “xem ciné” nữa. Sáng dậy, thấy nhẹ nhàng và vẫn còn nhớ rõ các hình ảnh này. Thế rồi “phần hai của giấc mơ” này lại tái diễn liên tục trong vòng vài đêm liên tiếp. Kẻ đang ngủ vẫn chẳng thấy sợ hãi, và cứ nằm ngủ mà “xem Tê Vê” trong đầu. Vẫn chưa hiểu được ý nghĩa của “câu chuyện vô đề” này.

Sau đó là “phần 3 của giấc mơ”. Giống như “giấc mơ thứ 2”, nhưng lần này thì “nhìn thấy ” hình ảnh các que củi to và rõ hơn; hình thù giống như những con cá chết không có đầu, màu xám trắng. Vẫn chưa hiểu rõ câu chuyện ra sao. Đêm thứ hai, trong giòng nước đen kịt, kẻ “mê sảng” nhìn thấy rõ các “que củi giống như những cái hộp nhỏ” và thấy những cái “thây” cá to hơn, không có đầu và đang trôi về người viết. Bắt đầu “hiểu” hơn một chút.

“Phần ba của giấc mơ” còn trở lại (recurrent dreams) “thăm” tôi tiếp tục trong vòng một tuần liền. Lúc này, tôi chợt hiểu: đây không phải là các giấc mơ (dreams) hão huyền mà đây là một “thông điệp tâm linh/ báo mộng” (spiritual messages/ signals) của những vong hồn vẫn còn chưa siêu thoát về “báo mộng” cho tôi một điều gì đây. Không hề sợ hãi mà chỉ thấy thương xót vô cùng: A ha, đây là thông điệp của những vong hồn của nhiều người vượt biên, vượt biển, chưa siêu thoát được.


Quá xúc động, người viết đã ghi lại bài thơ “Tri Ân, Tưởng Niệm, Cội Nguồn” trong link dưới đây:

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/gratitude-commemoration-origin-tri-an-tuong-niem-coi-nguon/

 Trong cuộc đời, nhiều năm trước đó, trong giấc ngủ, tôi đã từng nằm mơ thấy những tín hiệu rất trung thực. Xin mời quý độc giả vào đọc bài viết trong link dưới đây:

http://chimviet.free.fr/truyenky/damphan/caydaloicu/dtpn053.htm

Sau khi CĐVN đã có được miếng đất để xây Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân, HTNTN đã tổ chức được 5 lần gây quỹ và đã đạt được chỉ tiêu quyên góp/ ghi tên trên các plaques đủ để đi vào giai đoạn xây cất bắt đầu vào giữa tháng Tư năm 2019, khi mùa xây cất ngoài trời bắt đầu sau mấy tháng mùa đông tại Canada.

Đầu tháng 11, 2018, mẫu TĐTN do ĐKG Vi Vi kiến tạo cao 8 ft bằng fiberglass đã được chuyên chở từ San Diego về đến Toronto để một công ty Canada đúc tượng bằng đồng xong trong vòng 8 tháng.

Khi bài viết này đươc lên khuôn báo, Hội Đồng Quản Trị của HTNTN đang bận rộn với phần Kiến tạo và Xây cất (Design phase , Construction phase ). HTNTN được Hội Đồng Thành Phố và nhân viên trợ giúp rất nhiều trong thời kỳ xin đất và nhất là trong thời kỳ kiến tạo và xây dựng .

Sau đây là các links về 5 lần gây quỹ (3 lần do HTNTN và 2 lần do CĐVN):

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/gay-quy-dot-dau-tien-cua-htntn-july-15-2017-vbpmas-first-fund-raising/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/nov-18-2018-vbpmas-2nd-fund-raising-gala-gay-quy-dot-hai-do-mot-so-anh-chi-em-nghe-si-to-chuc-giup-htntn-xay-tdtn/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/vbpmas-fund-raising-gala-night-april-7-2018-dot-gay-quy-lan-thu-hai-cua-hoi-tuong-niem-thuyen-nhan/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/dem-gay-quy-tinh-nguoi-vuot-bien-july-14-2018

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/dem-gay-quy-22-9-2018-fund-raising-gala-sept-22-2018/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/hat-cho-thuyen-nhan-tong-ket-chi-thu-cho-dem-gay-quy-ngay-18-thang-11-2017/

Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân được xây cất với nhiều ý nghĩa khác nhau: Để cám ơn Cao Ủy Tị Nạn Quốc Tế, đất nước và người dân Canada. Để tưởng nhớ đến nửa triệu đồng bào Việt Nam đã tử nạn trên đường vượt biên, vượt biển. Để góp phần vào Cội Nguồn và Đa Văn Hóa của Canada. Để cho con cháu nhiều đời về sau hiểu biết về gốc tích của người Việt tại Canada và nhắc nhở cho các con cháu chúng ta sống cho nhân hòa.

Cảm kích ý nghĩa về thân phận mong manh của kiếp người, một cặp vợ chồng bạn của chúng tôi đã viết:

Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Xin Thượng Đế cho họ yên giấc ngàn thu để ánh sáng Công Lý đời đời chiếu soi.

Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân là một công trình với rất nhiều ý nghĩa được CĐVN vùng Đại Đô Thị Toronto và nhiểu nơi khác khích lệ và tích cực đóng góp về công sức và tiền bạc. Đặc biệt là công trình này đã được chính phủ địa phương (The City of Mississauga Council) bỏ phiếu chấp thuận 100%.

Một cây làm chẳng nên non, Ba cây chụm lại nên hòn núi cao”.

 Muốn  biết thêm các chi tiết khác, xin mời Quý Vị vào đọc csac bài viết của Hội Tưởng Niệm Thuyền nhân dưới đây:

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/


CHÚ THÍCH: YOUTUBES VỀ CÁC CÔNG VIÊN: 

(1)

(Riverwood Park)

(2)

(Jack Darling Memorial Park)

(3)

 (Erindale Park)

4.

(Burnhamthorpe Library, 3650 Dixie Road, Mississauga)


Đàm Trung Phán
Tháng 12, 2018
Mississauga, Canada



MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY NEW YEAR – CHÚC MỪNG GIÁNG SINH VÀ NĂM MỚI 2019



Kính chúc quý bạn hữu, quý bà con và Quý Vị cùng gia đình:

Giáng Sinh 2018 và Năm Mởi 2019

vui tươi, khỏe mạnh, bình an và gặp nhiều may mắn .

Đàm Trung Phán/ Phan Dam

RUNNING ON EMPTY – Tứ Cố Vô Thân – Đội Đá Vá Trời

Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees 1975-1980

Passages for Translation to Vietnamese

( If you like to read some articles translated into Vietnamese, please click at the following link / Chúng tôi đã dịch một số bài sang tiếng Việt trong link dưới đây:

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/running-on-empty-doi-da-va-troi/   )

(Introduction: p.4 to middle p. 5)

The resettlement in Canada of Indochinese refugees grew out of a partnership between the Canadian public and its governments. The many ordinary Canadians who sponsored refugees through faith communities, municipalities, ad hoc agencies, and as groups of private individuals joined forces with the various levels of governments. These included officials of the Canadian Immigration Department, its federal partner departments and agencies, and provincial officials. Through a massive cooperative effort, they brought the refugees to Canada from half a world away and helped them settle in this country. What was a collaboration of committed public and government agencies proved a success and evolved into a template for future refugee movements. This partnership approach to solving refugee crises was, and remains, uniquely Canadian.

Of course, the people most profoundly affected by the resettlement process were the refugees themselves. The largest group was of Vietnamese and Sino-Vietnamese origin, with other sizeable groups from Cambodia and Laos. At the core of the Indochinese refugee resettlement story is the suffering and courage of the refugees who risked their lives on the open seas and in the jungles of Southeast Asia to escape from oppressive regimes in their home countries. It is also the story of struggle and sacrifice to build new lives for themselves and their children in a strange, distant wintery land far from their tropical homes.

The Canadian public reacted with unprecedented compassion to the government’s decision in July 1979 to admit 50,000 Indochinese refugees. Citizens’ groups, faith communities, municipalities, and ordinary Canadians generated over 7,600 sponsorships on behalf of almost 40,000 refugees, of whom 32,281 arrived in Canada in 1979–80. Many of those involved in volunteer and sponsorship programs for the refugees have recorded their experiences in publications including religious publications and local and national newspapers and periodicals that reflect the broad grassroots nature of the sponsorship movement. A valuable portrait of the sponsorship effort is found in Howard Adelman’s Canada and the Indochinese Refugees (Regina: L.A. Weigl Educational Associates 1982).

The struggles of refugees in adapting to life in Canada, especially during the first ten years after arrival, are documented in various academic papers and monographs.[i] These studies focus on the experience of refugees and the institutions and sponsors that assisted them and have reached a number of important conclusions about their integration into Canadian society. Refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos often found their early years in Canada difficult. They came from cultures significantly different from Canada’s English and French founding cultures. Their views of family cohesion, their religious beliefs, and their approaches to gender relations were often different from Canadian norms. Most importantly, their mother tongues were so different from Canada’s Indo-European languages that most Indochinese adults had severe difficulties in learning English or French. As a result, many refugees had to accept low-level jobs that resulted in their initial economic and social integration below the status they enjoyed at home. However, the great social cohesion within their families and their ethnic groups and the emphasis that most placed on education meant that their children have risen rapidly into the Canadian middle class and are, some four decades later, proud Canadians.

Ch.2, p. 32:

(Description of the first wave of Vietnamese boats fleeing Saigon in late April and early May 1975)

About 71,000 Vietnamese abandoned their homes, their possessions, and often their families, and put out to sea in tiny fishing boats or ungainly barges in hopes of finding the Seventh Fleet. How they knew where we were is a mystery. The first day, Tuesday, we were only 17 miles off the coast near Vung Tau, at the mouth of the Saigon River. By Wednesday we had moved out to 40 miles and later, because of the rumored sighting of a North Vietnamese gunboat, to 70 miles. But they came anyway. When we awoke on Wednesday morning there were twenty fishing boats off our starboard, all crammed with people, many of whom looked like poor fishermen. The [USS] Mobile had orders to take on people only by helicopter and we had to refuse them. Some United States sailors openly protested, asking their officers why we were leaving them. A Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest in the bow of one wooden fishing craft bent to his knees and prayed to us to take him aboard. But we could not and the boats were pointed in the direction of the rest of the fleet where half a dozen merchant ships under charter to the Military Sealift Command were embarking evacuees from boats.

 

Ch. 3: pp. 48, 49:

(Receiving refugees on Wake Island)

While some of us were working on Guam, we heard that a few Vietnamese had found their way to Wake Island and were to be admitted to Canada. I was the officer designated to fly to Wake, gather up these people, and bring them back to Guam. During the return flight I was to assist them in completing their IMM8s [application forms] and any other necessary documentation.

The United States provided a C-130 [Hercules] for this voyage. Needless to say, this was a new experience for me. The empty plane was vast, noisy and cold and I had nothing to do but sit in my sling seat for the duration. I was given a box lunch that included an orange, so I ate all save the orange which I decided might be needed on the return flight. Sad to report, when I arrived on Wake, the orange was confiscated; this made no sense to me as both Guam and Wake were US territories.

Once again I have to confess that I had no idea where Wake was, but when I got there, after what seemed like hours in that bleak hold, I realized that it was nowhere; a spit of land in a vast ocean, with nothing much except a runway.

We were on Wake for about an hour, just long enough to get folks on board and begin the return trip. At that point I moved into high gear, handing out forms, fielding questions, moving about the plane to help where able. The more I got done in the air, the quicker these people could have their cases processed once back on Guam. I believe there might have been 25 extended families on that flight. As the air crew was busy flying the plane, I was on my own to scurry around that dim and chilly hold. No food was served, but of course such a large craft does have a toilet facility, so at least that was not a concern.

Ch. 3, pp. 50-51

(Appeal of refugees from the Clara Maersk to the Government of Hong Kong)

“We, more than three thousand refugees, wish to express our gratitude to her Majesty, to the people, the Government and the Governor of Hong Kong, for having the humanitarian kindness to help us. We wish, however, to ask you to assure us that you will not return us to Viet Nam or send us to any Communist country.”

The Hong Kong representative stood up at once and said he would return in an hour with an answer. We guessed that he left to discuss with the Governor of Hong Kong. Forty-five minutes later, he came back and announced: “No, no, no. Never will we return you to Viet Nam or send you to any Communist countries.”

At the beginning of June 1975, Phuong Lan sponsored our whole family to come to Canada. Lan, who was my daughter Giang’s high school classmate, had been a student in Canada and was living in Toronto. Our entire family was allowed to immigrate to Canada.

Ch. 5,  pp. 101-02:

(Hai Hong refugees)

Starting before sunrise on 21 November, the team dealt with oppressive heat and torrential downpours, as well as a six-hour unexplained delay, but managed to process seventy-four people on the first day. On the second day, despite police interference and bureaucratic delays, in an era when twelve immigrant interviews a day per officer was the norm, Hamilton, Martin, Fortin and Mullin interviewed and accepted 356 refugees. The team finished the third day, having accepted a total of 604 people including, at eighty-two years, the oldest passenger on board, as well as the two youngest, born on the Hai Hong.

On 23 November 3:00 a.m., Hamilton realized that, in their exhaustion, his team had mistakenly processed one family of fifteen twice, leaving them fifteen people short of their goal. Now on reasonable terms with the security police (all wearing Canadian maple leaf pins), he persuaded them to take him out to the Hai Hong, where he knelt in the dark and accepted fifteen more refugees to reach Canada’s target and fill the four flights being dispatched from Canada. Distrustful to the end, the Malaysians refused to allow the refugees to bathe before boarding the planes, transported them from ship to plane under armed guard, and searched the Canadian airplanes for weapons before allowing the refugees to board.

Longue Point military base near Montreal, which in 1972 had welcomed 5,000 Ugandan Asians, was readied to receive this new wave of refugees. Upon arrival, they were welcomed by ministers Cullen and Couture and enabled at last to bathe, eat, and rest. Subsequently, they were given medical examinations and processed for permanent resident status. They were outfitted for winter before heading to their new homes across Canada, all within a few days of arrival. Despite the dramatic waiting, discussions, threats, fears, and delays, the entire process was in reality very quick; the first flight to Canada was on 25 November, just sixteen days after the Hai Hong first dropped anchor off of Malaysia. Three additional flights on 28 November and 1 and 5 December would carry the rest of the refugees to Canada.

Ch. 6, p. 106:

(Recollections of a Jesuit priest)

Each morning we would go down to the beaches and there would be bodies – men, women and children – washed ashore during the night. Sometimes there were hundreds of them, like pieces of wood. Some of them were girls who had been raped and then thrown into the sea by pirates to drown. It was tragic beyond words.…Sometimes people would somehow still be alive. They would be on the beach exhausted or unconscious. They washed ashore at night, and we revived them and held them when we found them.

Of course the weather took its toll on the boat people. The boats were terrible. Sometimes the refugees would be caught by Vietnamese authorities and towed back to Vietnam and put in jail. But the pirates were probably the biggest cause of the killing. The pirates stopped nearly every boat. They searched for gold first, even going so far as to take it out of the people’s teeth. The next thing that attracted them were the young girls. The pirates were concerned about getting caught, and the best way of not getting caught was to destroy the boat and the people in it and maybe even throw the girls overboard when they were all through with them. … And then the bodies washed up on shore or just disappeared into the sea.

Ch. 6, p. 120:

(Canada’s political decision, an example to the world; Flora MacDonald’s speech to the UN Conference)

Mr. Chairman, my government recognizes that countries of first asylum must be encouraged to continue to accept refugees fleeing the brutality in their own lands. Asylum countries must be assured that resettlement places are available in other parts of the world. Recognizing that such assurance is necessary, two days ago my government announced that it will accept up to 50,000 Indochinese from this year to the end of 1980. This means, in effect, that the countries of first asylum can count on Canada to accept up to 3,000 refugees a month … trebling the rate of acceptance of these unfortunate people. We challenge other countries to follow this lead … [T]he program we have introduced to fulfill this commitment is one of partnership between the Canadian Government and private citizens and organizations. The Government of Canada will sponsor one refugee for each refugee receiving private sponsorship.

Ch. 14, p. 270:

(Refugee Stories of Escape)

The journey from their homes resulted in many family separations among refugees as they tried to avoid detection by the Vietnamese authorities or simply got lost. Worry about missing relatives weighed heavily on many people. The passage over the South China Sea was always fraught with peril. An accurate figure of the number who left Vietnam but never arrived in a country of first asylum will never be known, but it is certainly many, many thousands. Apart from the weather, the principal threat was attack by pirates. At the very least, a pirate attack meant the theft of all of the refugees’ gold and valuables. In many cases the pirates wounded, killed, and threw overboard refugees who attempted to resist, and they raped many of the girls and women. In some cases, rape victims were thrown overboard to drown, and in others they were taken by the pirates to brothels on shore.

On arrival in one camp, I was approached jointly by the camp leader, the UNHCR representative, and a Red Cross doctor, who asked me to waive the usual policy of selecting applicants in the order in which they arrived so that we would remove from the camp as soon as possible several recently arrived young women who had been repeatedly raped during a pirate attack. The doctor told me that the only reason they were alive was that their boat arrived directly at the camp where immediate medical attention was available. Otherwise they would have died from loss of blood. We did move the young women quickly to Canada, and they wrote to us after they arrived to inform us that they were doing well and were under the sponsorship of a supportive religious community.

Ch. 17, pp. 314-15:

(Working in the camps)

The primitive infrastructure of the camp meant that no office, restaurant, or even shed was available in which to conduct interviews. As there were so few interviews involved, I selected a handy log, which was also a bench (and in the shade), as my “office.” While I was conducting an interview, there was a sudden commotion a few metres away as some young men beat the ground furiously. Not knowing what was happening, I stopped the interview to look. A cheer erupted, and one of the young men lifted up a large dead snake. The snake had also been escaping the heat (and avoiding camp residents) by sleeping beneath the log I was using as my “office.” Perturbed by my intrusion, it had decided to move on and was immediately spotted by the locals – not me.

According to the young man who had killed the snake, it was going to go into the pot for dinner that evening, and I, seen as the person who had instigated this bounty, was invited to join the family for the meal. I would have liked to accept, but the danger of guerilla attacks after sunset did not allow me to stay. I regret missing this culinary delight.

Ch. 17, pp. 317-19:

(Helping one person at a time)

I was alone in the Bangkok office in the early summer of 1979. Murray Oppertshauser was away on a selection trip to one of the refugee camps. It was a Friday afternoon when the embassy receptionist called to say that a young woman, who spoke no English, French, or Thai, was at reception holding a handwritten note from the United States Embassy explaining that she was Vietnamese and wanted to join her relative in Canada. I called Sean Brady, the chargé, to ask if he knew someone who spoke Vietnamese. Fortunately, the wife of one of his American journalist contacts was Vietnamese and available at short notice. She came in to interpret and the young woman’s harrowing story unfolded. She had appeared at the main gate of the US Embassy earlier in the day, where a Marine sergeant, who had served in Vietnam and spoke some of the language, determined that she wanted to go to Canada where she had a sister. He gave her the explanatory note and put her in a taxi to take her to the Canadian Embassy.

Her story was as follows. She was from Saigon, and her father, a former officer in the South Vietnamese Army, had been sent for “re-education.” A sister had left Vietnam by boat some months earlier, had reached Malaysia, and was believed to be in Canada. The woman’s mother made financial arrangements for her to leave by boat, which she did. After several days at sea, the boat was boarded by Thai pirates, who robbed the refugees of their belongings and took the younger women on board to their own boat to be raped, after which they were thrown overboard. The young woman decided that her best chance of survival was to become attached to one of the pirates, in the hope that he might protect her until they reached land. She picked the pirate she thought was the youngest and somehow made it clear to him that she would be his “wife” if he would protect her. This he did, and she stayed close to him for the rest of the time at sea. The fate of the other refugees was not known to her. The pirates eventually reached their home port somewhere in southern Thailand, and she managed to get her “protector” to understand that she wanted to go to Bangkok. He smuggled her ashore, and they reached Bangkok after a bus journey of several days, where he left her at the gate of the US Embassy.

After hearing this emotional story, I quickly prepared a message to our office in Singapore explaining the situation, with the names and ages of the sister and her husband who were supposed to have gone to Canada from Malaysia. I then decided that the best solution for the young woman was to remain somewhere safe in Bangkok pending confirmation of her story. I called Mario Howard, the UNHCR Protection Officer for Bangkok, to explain the situation and ask him to meet me at the Thai Immigration Detention and Transit Centre at Suan Plu. That seemed the best interim place for her to stay as it held other Vietnamese and provided protection by the UNHCR. Mario agreed this was the most sensible approach. We met at the detention centre with the young woman and arranged for Thai Immigration to arrest and detain her as an “illegal immigrant.” It was explained to her that it would take some days to find out where her sister had gone and to make arrangements to be reunited.

Several days after the young woman was placed in the detention centre, I received a call from a colleague at the US Embassy to find out what had happened. It seemed that the wife of one of the senior officers at the embassy had heard about the incident and was upset that the young woman had been turned away. I assured my colleague that matters were under control and that the young woman was in the process of being reunited with her sister in Canada.

E&I Singapore soon confirmed that the sister and brother-in-law had been approved for Canada and had left only a month or two earlier. The responsible CIC at their destination was quickly contacted, to inform them that the younger sister was safe and to initiate unification. After rapid processing of her case, the young woman left for Canada on the first charter from Bangkok in late July. Being able to help people like this young woman placed our own hardships in perspective.

Ch. 19, pp. 355-56:

(Slaughter)

One day when we arrived in Pulau Tengah, there was an old man on the pier who was gesticulating, obviously in a state of hysteria, and who seemed to want to tell us his drama. We learned that he had previously come ashore with his family in a small boat that held approximately 120 passengers. This old tub had been intercepted by the Malay navy, which took it in tow and made it capsize so that all the passengers were tipped into the ocean. According to credible sources, the Malay sailors enjoyed pushing back into the water all of those who were trying to scramble back on the boat. This ugly scene only ended when the sailors became bored with the show. They finally picked up approximately forty survivors and brought them to the camp. The old man was the only survivor of a family of twelve. Richard Martin was very moved by this character and kept looking at him, repeatedly stating, “Poor bugger!” I was so shocked by this tragedy that after my return to Singapore I secretly phoned Pierre Nadeau from Radio-Canada, who connected me with Denise Bombardier. We did an interview on the radio to report this story. It was broadcast the following Sunday, but, of course, I was not identified.

Ch. 21, pp. 403-4:

(Resolving problems on arrival in Canada)

Guy Cuerrier handled public relations at Griesbach and was one of the most courteous and deferential officers I had encountered. I was shocked one February morning to arrive at my office to find  a blunt telex from Guy which basically said “Molloy, if you insist that we confiscate the refugees’ underwear after their medicals, in future we are going to box it all up and ship it to you.” It seems that zealous health officials had insisted that the underclothing worn on the incoming charters was to be taken away and destroyed. This had been going on for some time and there had been no complaints.

I immediately called Guy to see what had prompted his message. He told me that he had received an urgent call from Griesbach in the middle of the preceding night and had been informed there was a major disturbance in the barracks. Guy drove across Edmonton in the bitter cold to pick up an interpreter and proceeded to the base where a couple of worried military police rushed him and the interpreter to the barracks where they found all the refugees up and about and very agitated. Eventually they made their way to a room that seemed to be the centre of the disturbance to find a particular family, especially the mother, in great distress. It took time to calm the family down, but eventually the story emerged.

Before leaving Vietnam, they had sold all their possessions and used the proceeds to buy a large diamond. The diamond was sewn into the mother’s bra, and it had remained hidden during the voyage to safety, months in a refugee camp, and the long flight to Canada. Unhappily, in the excitement of the arrival, she had forgotten the diamond and after her shower had dumped the bra in the collection bin, only to wake with a start hours later. Guy determined that a 747’s worth of undies had been placed in a dumpster and moved to a hanger awaiting destruction. After a long and not very pleasant search, the missing bra with its hidden diamond was found and returned to the relieved family.

I related this story to my contact in Health and Welfare Canada in Ottawa and suggested that future underwear collections would be mailed to him. It was quickly agreed that if the refugees would agree to wash the clothes they wore on the flight in machines provided by the military, the offending instruction would be withdrawn.

Ch. 23, pp. 432-34:

(Cultural adaptation on arrival in Canada)

Before the Hmong families arrived, workshops had been organized for the sponsoring families. These events later continued with both sponsors and Hmong together and contributed to Hmong adaptation and adjustment.

One workshop took place on a warm, early winter day. The newcomers’ immediate needs had largely been met: housing had been found, some of the children had entered school, and some of the adults had begun language courses. Communication remained a challenge. This workshop had been organized to allow the Hmong families and their sponsors to problem-solve together and find mutual support.

Earlier in the day the Hmong families had met separately to share their experiences, ask questions, and identify concerns they wanted to discuss with sponsors. The sponsorship groups had done the same. Then the groups came together, and with the help of a Laotian translator, we sought understanding of the issues and ideas of what we could do.

The Hmong women had earlier asked for a session alone with the women from the sponsorship groups, and arrangements had been made. Slowly the women entered the room, the Hmong women’s vibrantly coloured clothes contrasting sharply with the beige, browns, and blacks of their sponsors. The challenges these refugee women faced were staggering. To move from remote hill villages with an informal economy and no schools to an urban industrial region with two universities and one college was surely daunting. With the help of a translator we went around the circle sharing our names and a bit about ourselves. The Hmong women had prepared a list of questions which one of the older women posed. Some questions were practical, some intimate, some about immediate concerns, others about the future. After the list was shared, other Hmong women started asking questions. Most of the women from the sponsorship groups seemed comfortable answering as well as asking a few questions of their own.

One set of questions came from Hmong women understandably anxious about their children being hit by the cars and trucks that raced along the streets. We talked about finding routes to schools with less traffic, crossing at lights and with a crossing guard, looking both ways, and walking on the sidewalks. “How do you know the cars will not come on the sidewalks?” one young woman asked. To her, sidewalks seemed to be just smaller roads. These women had learned how to recognize and survive the risks of war and refugee camps, and I knew they would learn to identify and manage the risks of an urbanized environment – but it was a challenge.

As the end of the session approached, I recall feeling good about how successful it had been. Then a question was asked that brought silence to the room: “How do I know how to be a good woman?” The translator repeated the question.

The question reverberated around the room. Across the circle from me was an Old Order Mennonite woman wearing a long dark skirt, shawl, and bonnet. Next to her were several women in pant suits, and next to them was a woman in a miniskirt, tights and a sweater. We were a diverse group with different educational, social, political, and economic backgrounds and perspectives, different faiths: Mennonite, Catholic, Buddhist, and secular. Some were feminist, some were not. I suspected different ideas abounded on what constituted appropriate behaviour for women.

The silence continued. The translator turned to me. I recall saying that in Canada there were many ways to be a good woman, just as many different forms of dress and behaviour were all acceptable and good. I spoke of how roles for women had changed and were continuing to change. The woman who had asked the original question explained how in Hmong culture there were defined roles and behaviours for women who were good. In Canada it was not clear what were the norms. It seemed confusing.

Other women shared their experiences and we agreed that all in the circle were good women – even though that might not be apparent simply by looking at us. We needed to help these women learn about the various ways to be a good woman in Canada, wondering how we might provide further education and find ways to help them assume leadership roles here. I recall opening my local paper twenty years later and seeing a young Hmong girl being honoured as a student leader at her high school.

Conclusion, p. 360:

(Summing up the book)

Despite the many Canadians opposed or indifferent to the decision to settle 60,000 refugees in Canada in 1979 and 1980, those who rose to the challenge, whether as private citizens, elected officials, or civil servants, set the tone for a special moment in Canadian history. It is probably fair to say that before 1979 multiculturalism was a rather vague concept to most Canadians. However, for the tens of thousands of Canadians deciding to welcome these rather exotic strangers into their communities, their churches and synagogues, and ultimately their homes, multiculturalism ceased to be an idea and became a living reality. The Indochinese refugee movement was the first very large non-European refugee movement to Canada and contributed significantly to transforming Canada into a well-functioning, open multicultural society.[i] It is not surprising that today most Canadians are proud of this movement and regard their fellow Canadians of Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian backgrounds as members of the larger Canadian family.

The Nansen Medal of 1986 was awarded in recognition of decades of Canadian efforts on behalf of refugees since the end of World War II. That  the award was to the “People of Canada” rather than a single individual or institution was a recognition of the initiative of thousands of Canadians in responding to the bold challenge issued by Ministers Atkey and MacDonald. The refugees did their part by adapting to this cold but welcoming country and by raising children who are today found in every walk of Canadian life as productive citizens, proud of being Canadians. For the civil servants who planned, managed, and delivered the Indochinese refugee movement between 1975 and 1980, that is enough.

(Description of the first wave of Vietnamese boats fleeing Saigon in late April and early May 1975)

About 71,000 Vietnamese abandoned their homes, their possessions, and often their families, and put out to sea in tiny fishing boats or ungainly barges in hopes of finding the Seventh Fleet. How they knew where we were is a mystery. The first day, Tuesday, we were only 17 miles off the coast near Vung Tau, at the mouth of the Saigon River. By Wednesday we had moved out to 40 miles and later, because of the rumored sighting of a North Vietnamese gunboat, to 70 miles. But they came anyway. When we awoke on Wednesday morning there were twenty fishing boats off our starboard, all crammed with people, many of whom looked like poor fishermen. The [USS] Mobile had orders to take on people only by helicopter and we had to refuse them. Some United States sailors openly protested, asking their officers why we were leaving them. A Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest in the bow of one wooden fishing craft bent to his knees and prayed to us to take him aboard. But we could not and the boats were pointed in the direction of the rest of the fleet where half a dozen merchant ships under charter to the Military Sealift Command were embarking evacuees from boats.

 

Ch. 3: pp. 48, 49:

(Receiving refugees on Wake Island)

While some of us were working on Guam, we heard that a few Vietnamese had found their way to Wake Island and were to be admitted to Canada. I was the officer designated to fly to Wake, gather up these people, and bring them back to Guam. During the return flight I was to assist them in completing their IMM8s [application forms] and any other necessary documentation.

The United States provided a C-130 [Hercules] for this voyage. Needless to say, this was a new experience for me. The empty plane was vast, noisy and cold and I had nothing to do but sit in my sling seat for the duration. I was given a box lunch that included an orange, so I ate all save the orange which I decided might be needed on the return flight. Sad to report, when I arrived on Wake, the orange was confiscated; this made no sense to me as both Guam and Wake were US territories.

Once again I have to confess that I had no idea where Wake was, but when I got there, after what seemed like hours in that bleak hold, I realized that it was nowhere; a spit of land in a vast ocean, with nothing much except a runway.

We were on Wake for about an hour, just long enough to get folks on board and begin the return trip. At that point I moved into high gear, handing out forms, fielding questions, moving about the plane to help where able. The more I got done in the air, the quicker these people could have their cases processed once back on Guam. I believe there might have been 25 extended families on that flight. As the air crew was busy flying the plane, I was on my own to scurry around that dim and chilly hold. No food was served, but of course such a large craft does have a toilet facility, so at least that was not a concern.

Ch. 3, pp. 50-51

(Appeal of refugees from the Clara Maersk to the Government of Hong Kong)

“We, more than three thousand refugees, wish to express our gratitude to her Majesty, to the people, the Government and the Governor of Hong Kong, for having the humanitarian kindness to help us. We wish, however, to ask you to assure us that you will not return us to Viet Nam or send us to any Communist country.”

The Hong Kong representative stood up at once and said he would return in an hour with an answer. We guessed that he left to discuss with the Governor of Hong Kong. Forty-five minutes later, he came back and announced: “No, no, no. Never will we return you to Viet Nam or send you to any Communist countries.”

At the beginning of June 1975, Phuong Lan sponsored our whole family to come to Canada. Lan, who was my daughter Giang’s high school classmate, had been a student in Canada and was living in Toronto. Our entire family was allowed to immigrate to Canada.

Ch. 5,  pp. 101-02:

(Hai Hong refugees)

Starting before sunrise on 21 November, the team dealt with oppressive heat and torrential downpours, as well as a six-hour unexplained delay, but managed to process seventy-four people on the first day. On the second day, despite police interference and bureaucratic delays, in an era when twelve immigrant interviews a day per officer was the norm, Hamilton, Martin, Fortin and Mullin interviewed and accepted 356 refugees. The team finished the third day, having accepted a total of 604 people including, at eighty-two years, the oldest passenger on board, as well as the two youngest, born on the Hai Hong.

On 23 November 3:00 a.m., Hamilton realized that, in their exhaustion, his team had mistakenly processed one family of fifteen twice, leaving them fifteen people short of their goal. Now on reasonable terms with the security police (all wearing Canadian maple leaf pins), he persuaded them to take him out to the Hai Hong, where he knelt in the dark and accepted fifteen more refugees to reach Canada’s target and fill the four flights being dispatched from Canada. Distrustful to the end, the Malaysians refused to allow the refugees to bathe before boarding the planes, transported them from ship to plane under armed guard, and searched the Canadian airplanes for weapons before allowing the refugees to board.

Longue Point military base near Montreal, which in 1972 had welcomed 5,000 Ugandan Asians, was readied to receive this new wave of refugees. Upon arrival, they were welcomed by ministers Cullen and Couture and enabled at last to bathe, eat, and rest. Subsequently, they were given medical examinations and processed for permanent resident status. They were outfitted for winter before heading to their new homes across Canada, all within a few days of arrival. Despite the dramatic waiting, discussions, threats, fears, and delays, the entire process was in reality very quick; the first flight to Canada was on 25 November, just sixteen days after the Hai Hong first dropped anchor off of Malaysia. Three additional flights on 28 November and 1 and 5 December would carry the rest of the refugees to Canada.

Ch. 6, p. 106:

(Recollections of a Jesuit priest)

Each morning we would go down to the beaches and there would be bodies – men, women and children – washed ashore during the night. Sometimes there were hundreds of them, like pieces of wood. Some of them were girls who had been raped and then thrown into the sea by pirates to drown. It was tragic beyond words.…Sometimes people would somehow still be alive. They would be on the beach exhausted or unconscious. They washed ashore at night, and we revived them and held them when we found them.

Of course the weather took its toll on the boat people. The boats were terrible. Sometimes the refugees would be caught by Vietnamese authorities and towed back to Vietnam and put in jail. But the pirates were probably the biggest cause of the killing. The pirates stopped nearly every boat. They searched for gold first, even going so far as to take it out of the people’s teeth. The next thing that attracted them were the young girls. The pirates were concerned about getting caught, and the best way of not getting caught was to destroy the boat and the people in it and maybe even throw the girls overboard when they were all through with them. … And then the bodies washed up on shore or just disappeared into the sea.

Ch. 6, p. 120:

(Canada’s political decision, an example to the world; Flora MacDonald’s speech to the UN Conference)

Mr. Chairman, my government recognizes that countries of first asylum must be encouraged to continue to accept refugees fleeing the brutality in their own lands. Asylum countries must be assured that resettlement places are available in other parts of the world. Recognizing that such assurance is necessary, two days ago my government announced that it will accept up to 50,000 Indochinese from this year to the end of 1980. This means, in effect, that the countries of first asylum can count on Canada to accept up to 3,000 refugees a month … trebling the rate of acceptance of these unfortunate people. We challenge other countries to follow this lead … [T]he program we have introduced to fulfill this commitment is one of partnership between the Canadian Government and private citizens and organizations. The Government of Canada will sponsor one refugee for each refugee receiving private sponsorship.

Ch. 14, p. 270:

(Refugee Stories of Escape)

The journey from their homes resulted in many family separations among refugees as they tried to avoid detection by the Vietnamese authorities or simply got lost. Worry about missing relatives weighed heavily on many people. The passage over the South China Sea was always fraught with peril. An accurate figure of the number who left Vietnam but never arrived in a country of first asylum will never be known, but it is certainly many, many thousands. Apart from the weather, the principal threat was attack by pirates. At the very least, a pirate attack meant the theft of all of the refugees’ gold and valuables. In many cases the pirates wounded, killed, and threw overboard refugees who attempted to resist, and they raped many of the girls and women. In some cases, rape victims were thrown overboard to drown, and in others they were taken by the pirates to brothels on shore.

On arrival in one camp, I was approached jointly by the camp leader, the UNHCR representative, and a Red Cross doctor, who asked me to waive the usual policy of selecting applicants in the order in which they arrived so that we would remove from the camp as soon as possible several recently arrived young women who had been repeatedly raped during a pirate attack. The doctor told me that the only reason they were alive was that their boat arrived directly at the camp where immediate medical attention was available. Otherwise they would have died from loss of blood. We did move the young women quickly to Canada, and they wrote to us after they arrived to inform us that they were doing well and were under the sponsorship of a supportive religious community.

Ch. 17, pp. 314-15:

(Working in the camps)

The primitive infrastructure of the camp meant that no office, restaurant, or even shed was available in which to conduct interviews. As there were so few interviews involved, I selected a handy log, which was also a bench (and in the shade), as my “office.” While I was conducting an interview, there was a sudden commotion a few metres away as some young men beat the ground furiously. Not knowing what was happening, I stopped the interview to look. A cheer erupted, and one of the young men lifted up a large dead snake. The snake had also been escaping the heat (and avoiding camp residents) by sleeping beneath the log I was using as my “office.” Perturbed by my intrusion, it had decided to move on and was immediately spotted by the locals – not me.

According to the young man who had killed the snake, it was going to go into the pot for dinner that evening, and I, seen as the person who had instigated this bounty, was invited to join the family for the meal. I would have liked to accept, but the danger of guerilla attacks after sunset did not allow me to stay. I regret missing this culinary delight.

Ch. 17, pp. 317-19:

(Helping one person at a time)

I was alone in the Bangkok office in the early summer of 1979. Murray Oppertshauser was away on a selection trip to one of the refugee camps. It was a Friday afternoon when the embassy receptionist called to say that a young woman, who spoke no English, French, or Thai, was at reception holding a handwritten note from the United States Embassy explaining that she was Vietnamese and wanted to join her relative in Canada. I called Sean Brady, the chargé, to ask if he knew someone who spoke Vietnamese. Fortunately, the wife of one of his American journalist contacts was Vietnamese and available at short notice. She came in to interpret and the young woman’s harrowing story unfolded. She had appeared at the main gate of the US Embassy earlier in the day, where a Marine sergeant, who had served in Vietnam and spoke some of the language, determined that she wanted to go to Canada where she had a sister. He gave her the explanatory note and put her in a taxi to take her to the Canadian Embassy.

Her story was as follows. She was from Saigon, and her father, a former officer in the South Vietnamese Army, had been sent for “re-education.” A sister had left Vietnam by boat some months earlier, had reached Malaysia, and was believed to be in Canada. The woman’s mother made financial arrangements for her to leave by boat, which she did. After several days at sea, the boat was boarded by Thai pirates, who robbed the refugees of their belongings and took the younger women on board to their own boat to be raped, after which they were thrown overboard. The young woman decided that her best chance of survival was to become attached to one of the pirates, in the hope that he might protect her until they reached land. She picked the pirate she thought was the youngest and somehow made it clear to him that she would be his “wife” if he would protect her. This he did, and she stayed close to him for the rest of the time at sea. The fate of the other refugees was not known to her. The pirates eventually reached their home port somewhere in southern Thailand, and she managed to get her “protector” to understand that she wanted to go to Bangkok. He smuggled her ashore, and they reached Bangkok after a bus journey of several days, where he left her at the gate of the US Embassy.

After hearing this emotional story, I quickly prepared a message to our office in Singapore explaining the situation, with the names and ages of the sister and her husband who were supposed to have gone to Canada from Malaysia. I then decided that the best solution for the young woman was to remain somewhere safe in Bangkok pending confirmation of her story. I called Mario Howard, the UNHCR Protection Officer for Bangkok, to explain the situation and ask him to meet me at the Thai Immigration Detention and Transit Centre at Suan Plu. That seemed the best interim place for her to stay as it held other Vietnamese and provided protection by the UNHCR. Mario agreed this was the most sensible approach. We met at the detention centre with the young woman and arranged for Thai Immigration to arrest and detain her as an “illegal immigrant.” It was explained to her that it would take some days to find out where her sister had gone and to make arrangements to be reunited.

Several days after the young woman was placed in the detention centre, I received a call from a colleague at the US Embassy to find out what had happened. It seemed that the wife of one of the senior officers at the embassy had heard about the incident and was upset that the young woman had been turned away. I assured my colleague that matters were under control and that the young woman was in the process of being reunited with her sister in Canada.

E&I Singapore soon confirmed that the sister and brother-in-law had been approved for Canada and had left only a month or two earlier. The responsible CIC at their destination was quickly contacted, to inform them that the younger sister was safe and to initiate unification. After rapid processing of her case, the young woman left for Canada on the first charter from Bangkok in late July. Being able to help people like this young woman placed our own hardships in perspective.

Ch. 19, pp. 355-56:

(Slaughter)

One day when we arrived in Pulau Tengah, there was an old man on the pier who was gesticulating, obviously in a state of hysteria, and who seemed to want to tell us his drama. We learned that he had previously come ashore with his family in a small boat that held approximately 120 passengers. This old tub had been intercepted by the Malay navy, which took it in tow and made it capsize so that all the passengers were tipped into the ocean. According to credible sources, the Malay sailors enjoyed pushing back into the water all of those who were trying to scramble back on the boat. This ugly scene only ended when the sailors became bored with the show. They finally picked up approximately forty survivors and brought them to the camp. The old man was the only survivor of a family of twelve. Richard Martin was very moved by this character and kept looking at him, repeatedly stating, “Poor bugger!” I was so shocked by this tragedy that after my return to Singapore I secretly phoned Pierre Nadeau from Radio-Canada, who connected me with Denise Bombardier. We did an interview on the radio to report this story. It was broadcast the following Sunday, but, of course, I was not identified.

Ch. 21, pp. 403-4:

(Resolving problems on arrival in Canada)

Guy Cuerrier handled public relations at Griesbach and was one of the most courteous and deferential officers I had encountered. I was shocked one February morning to arrive at my office to find  a blunt telex from Guy which basically said “Molloy, if you insist that we confiscate the refugees’ underwear after their medicals, in future we are going to box it all up and ship it to you.” It seems that zealous health officials had insisted that the underclothing worn on the incoming charters was to be taken away and destroyed. This had been going on for some time and there had been no complaints.

I immediately called Guy to see what had prompted his message. He told me that he had received an urgent call from Griesbach in the middle of the preceding night and had been informed there was a major disturbance in the barracks. Guy drove across Edmonton in the bitter cold to pick up an interpreter and proceeded to the base where a couple of worried military police rushed him and the interpreter to the barracks where they found all the refugees up and about and very agitated. Eventually they made their way to a room that seemed to be the centre of the disturbance to find a particular family, especially the mother, in great distress. It took time to calm the family down, but eventually the story emerged.

Before leaving Vietnam, they had sold all their possessions and used the proceeds to buy a large diamond. The diamond was sewn into the mother’s bra, and it had remained hidden during the voyage to safety, months in a refugee camp, and the long flight to Canada. Unhappily, in the excitement of the arrival, she had forgotten the diamond and after her shower had dumped the bra in the collection bin, only to wake with a start hours later. Guy determined that a 747’s worth of undies had been placed in a dumpster and moved to a hanger awaiting destruction. After a long and not very pleasant search, the missing bra with its hidden diamond was found and returned to the relieved family.

I related this story to my contact in Health and Welfare Canada in Ottawa and suggested that future underwear collections would be mailed to him. It was quickly agreed that if the refugees would agree to wash the clothes they wore on the flight in machines provided by the military, the offending instruction would be withdrawn.

Ch. 23, pp. 432-34:

(Cultural adaptation on arrival in Canada)

Before the Hmong families arrived, workshops had been organized for the sponsoring families. These events later continued with both sponsors and Hmong together and contributed to Hmong adaptation and adjustment.

One workshop took place on a warm, early winter day. The newcomers’ immediate needs had largely been met: housing had been found, some of the children had entered school, and some of the adults had begun language courses. Communication remained a challenge. This workshop had been organized to allow the Hmong families and their sponsors to problem-solve together and find mutual support.

Earlier in the day the Hmong families had met separately to share their experiences, ask questions, and identify concerns they wanted to discuss with sponsors. The sponsorship groups had done the same. Then the groups came together, and with the help of a Laotian translator, we sought understanding of the issues and ideas of what we could do.

The Hmong women had earlier asked for a session alone with the women from the sponsorship groups, and arrangements had been made. Slowly the women entered the room, the Hmong women’s vibrantly coloured clothes contrasting sharply with the beige, browns, and blacks of their sponsors. The challenges these refugee women faced were staggering. To move from remote hill villages with an informal economy and no schools to an urban industrial region with two universities and one college was surely daunting. With the help of a translator we went around the circle sharing our names and a bit about ourselves. The Hmong women had prepared a list of questions which one of the older women posed. Some questions were practical, some intimate, some about immediate concerns, others about the future. After the list was shared, other Hmong women started asking questions. Most of the women from the sponsorship groups seemed comfortable answering as well as asking a few questions of their own.

One set of questions came from Hmong women understandably anxious about their children being hit by the cars and trucks that raced along the streets. We talked about finding routes to schools with less traffic, crossing at lights and with a crossing guard, looking both ways, and walking on the sidewalks. “How do you know the cars will not come on the sidewalks?” one young woman asked. To her, sidewalks seemed to be just smaller roads. These women had learned how to recognize and survive the risks of war and refugee camps, and I knew they would learn to identify and manage the risks of an urbanized environment – but it was a challenge.

As the end of the session approached, I recall feeling good about how successful it had been. Then a question was asked that brought silence to the room: “How do I know how to be a good woman?” The translator repeated the question.

The question reverberated around the room. Across the circle from me was an Old Order Mennonite woman wearing a long dark skirt, shawl, and bonnet. Next to her were several women in pant suits, and next to them was a woman in a miniskirt, tights and a sweater. We were a diverse group with different educational, social, political, and economic backgrounds and perspectives, different faiths: Mennonite, Catholic, Buddhist, and secular. Some were feminist, some were not. I suspected different ideas abounded on what constituted appropriate behaviour for women.

The silence continued. The translator turned to me. I recall saying that in Canada there were many ways to be a good woman, just as many different forms of dress and behaviour were all acceptable and good. I spoke of how roles for women had changed and were continuing to change. The woman who had asked the original question explained how in Hmong culture there were defined roles and behaviours for women who were good. In Canada it was not clear what were the norms. It seemed confusing.

Other women shared their experiences and we agreed that all in the circle were good women – even though that might not be apparent simply by looking at us. We needed to help these women learn about the various ways to be a good woman in Canada, wondering how we might provide further education and find ways to help them assume leadership roles here. I recall opening my local paper twenty years later and seeing a young Hmong girl being honoured as a student leader at her high school.

Conclusion, p. 360:

(Summing up the book)

Despite the many Canadians opposed or indifferent to the decision to settle 60,000 refugees in Canada in 1979 and 1980, those who rose to the challenge, whether as private citizens, elected officials, or civil servants, set the tone for a special moment in Canadian history. It is probably fair to say that before 1979 multiculturalism was a rather vague concept to most Canadians. However, for the tens of thousands of Canadians deciding to welcome these rather exotic strangers into their communities, their churches and synagogues, and ultimately their homes, multiculturalism ceased to be an idea and became a living reality. The Indochinese refugee movement was the first very large non-European refugee movement to Canada and contributed significantly to transforming Canada into a well-functioning, open multicultural society.[1] It is not surprising that today most Canadians are proud of this movement and regard their fellow Canadians of Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian backgrounds as members of the larger Canadian family.

The Nansen Medal of 1986 was awarded in recognition of decades of Canadian efforts on behalf of refugees since the end of World War II. That  the award was to the “People of Canada” rather than a single individual or institution was a recognition of the initiative of thousands of Canadians in responding to the bold challenge issued by Ministers Atkey and MacDonald. The refugees did their part by adapting to this cold but welcoming country and by raising children who are today found in every walk of Canadian life as productive citizens, proud of being Canadians. For the civil servants who planned, managed, and delivered the Indochinese refugee movement between 1975 and 1980, that is enough.

 

 

CÂY ĐA LỐI CŨ, GỌI HỒN NGƯỜI XƯA

Để có trọn bộ phần viết về Gọi Hồn tại Việt Nam năm 2005, kính mời qúi vị bấm vào Link dưới đây của Chim Việt Cành Nam:

 

http://chimviet.free.fr/truyenky/damphan/caydaloicu/dtpn051.htm

( CÂY ÐA LỐI CŨ, GỌI HỒN NGƯỜI XƯA ,  Ðàm Trung Phán)

 

 

ĐTP

EXPOSING THE MYTH OF HO CHI MINH

EXPOSING THE MYTH OF HO CHI MINH

Author:Tran Gia Phung

Translator: Timothy Tran

English version, please click:

HO CHI MINH – EXPOSING the MYTH of HCM (Unicode)

 

To read  the Vietnamese version, please follow

Dưới đây là bài viết bằng tiếng Việt:

https://damtrungphan.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/huyen-thoai-ve-ho-chi-minh-gs-tran-gia-phung/

HUYỀN THOẠI VỀ NHÂN VẬT HỒ CHÍ MINH

 

 

GIỚI THIỆU ỨNG CỬ NGHỊ VIÊN (COUNCILLOR CANDIDATE) KEVIN VƯƠNG, WARD 10 (SPADINA – FORT YORK), TORONTO, CANADA

 

 

Ngày bầu cử Thành Phố Toronto,  22 tháng 10, 2018 sắp tới. Hội Vận Động Dân Sự – Hỗ Trợ Bầu Cử (Vietnamese Canadian Voting & Advocacy Association) xin được gởi bài phỏng vấn sau đây về Kevin Vương.

Kevin năm nay 29 tuổi, xuất thân từ gia đình người tỵ nạn Cộng sản, sanh ra và lớn lên tại Toronto, tốt nghiệp trường Đại Học Toronto và đang dạy học tại đây (Faculty of Medicine’s Translational Research Program). Kevin cũng là sĩ quan trong lực lượng trừ bị của Hải Quân Hoàng Gia Canada (Naval Reserve Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy). Ngoài ra, Kevin cũng được kể vào số các Lãnh Đạo Trẻ của cả nước Canada do Nữ Hoàng chọn (one of Her Majesty The Queen’s Young Leaders for Canada). Kevin còn là người rất quan tâm đến Cộng Đồng Người Việt qua việc tham gia và làm việc thiện nguyện trong các sinh hoạt cộng đồng.

 

Lần này Kevin ra ứng cử Nghị Viên Hội Đồng Thành Phố Toronto với mong muốn trở thành tiếng nói đại diện cho đồng bào Việt trong guồng máy của chính quyền thành phố. Kevin và các bạn trong nhóm vận động bầu cử đã làm việc ngày đêm và hiện nay là một trong vài người có nhiều triển vọng thắng cử nhất.

 

Một số anh chị em trong cộng đồng đang cùng nhau tổ chức buổi họp mặt để vận động tranh cử cho ông Thị Trưởng John Tory và bạn trẻ Kevin Vương. Xin kính mời quý đại diện các tôn giáo, hội đoàn, truyền thông và quý đồng hương tham dự vào 6 giờ 30 chiều Chủ Nhật 14 tháng 10, 2018 tại nhà hàng Dim Sum King Seafood, 421 Dundas Street West, lầu 3, Toronto. Vé tham dự là $30 để giúp chi phí tổ chức và thức ăn tại nhà hàng.

 

Quý đồng hương ủng hộ cho ông thị trưởng John Tory hoặc Kenvin Vuong từ $26 đến $300 sẽ được thành phố hoàn trả lại 75%. Ví dụ chúng ta ký cheque tặng $100 thì thành phố sẽ trả lại $75, chúng ta thực sự chỉ tốn $25.

Tất cả người dân trong toàn tỉnh bang Ontario đều được quyền ủng hộ và nhận tiền trả lại.

 

Để biết thêm chi tiết, xin liên lạc: Lê Thuần Kiên 647-824-2830, Nguyễn Ngọc Duy 416-618-7306 (jsduynguyen@gmail.com)

Để tìm hiểu thêm về Kevin Vương, xin mời thăm trang Website: Kevinvuong.ca

 

 

PHỎNG VẤN ỨNG CỬ VIÊN KEVIN VƯƠNG

 

Hỏi (H):  Kevin Vương muốn làm được những gì nếu anh trúng cử nghị viên thành phố Toronto. Xin cho biết l‎ý do tại sao anh  ra tranh cử nghị viên khi anh đã có công việc vững chắc?

 

Đáp (Đ):  Tôi muốn phục vụ cộng đồng và thành phố Toronto qua việc làm chính trị. Cha mẹ tôi đã dậy dỗ về giá trị của sự làm việc cần cù và quan trọng nhất là lòng biết ơn. Đó là ‎lý do mà khi tôi đang đi làm, tôi lại xin nghỉ và gia nhập Hải Quân Canada (Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Navy). Công việc của tôi là đi kiếm người và cứu người, nhất là tìm cách giải nguy cho những ai đang lâm nạn. Tôi rất muốn phục vụ cộng đồng, trả ơn Canada và thành phố Toronto vì gia đình chúng tôi đã được giúp đỡ quá nhiều rồi. Điều này rất sâu đậm, xin chia sẻ tận đáy lòng.

Tôi tin mình có thể làm chính trị nhậy bén hơn, các nghị viên có thể đáp ứng dân chúng để giúp giải quyết các vấn đề dễ dàng hơn. Khi làm chủ tịch của Hội những người ở Condo và Hội của cư dân tại Southcore, tôi đã làm việc liên tục, nghiêm túc và rõ ràng. Tôi sẽ hành xử như vậy khi tôi được bầu làm nghị viên. Tôi sẽ lắng nghe, suy ngẫm, lễ phép, và làm việc cho có kết quả tốt.

 

H:  Kevin vẫn còn làm thiện nguyện viên cho thành phố Toronto và cộng đồng Việt Nam, phải không?

 

Đ:  Tôi bắt đầu làm thiện nguyện tại chùa Pháp Vân, nhờ cơ duyên đó tôi đã biết thêm rất nhiều về cộng đồng. Khi vào đại học Western, tôi gia nhập ngay Câu Lạc Bộ Sinh Viên Việt Nam. Trong những năm học để lấy bằng cử nhân, tôi gia nhập Hội Bóng Đá (Soccer) và Thể Thao.

Khi tôi học gần xong bằng Cao Học (Masters) tại đại học Toronto trong phân khoa Luật, tôi có cơ hội gia nhập cộng đồng Việt Nam mình. Tôi muốn trả ơn xã hội bằng cách giúp đỡ các em sinh viên nhỏ tuổi hơn tôi. Tôi chỉ dẫn cho các em trong việc học và khi đi làm, giống như các anh chị sinh viên khác đã giúp đỡ tôi vậy. Tôi quyết tâm giúp đỡ và gây dựng cho thế hệ trẻ, điều này tôi đã học được từ cha mẹ tôi và cộng đồng.

 

H:  Xin Kevin cho biết về giải thưởng đã nhận được từ Nữ Hoàng Anh và các giải thưởng khác.

 

Đ:  Tôi rất hãnh diện nhận đươc giải thưởng Lãnh Đạo Giới Thanh Niên của Nữ Hoàng Anh (The Queen’s Young Leader for Canada). Là người duy nhất gốc Việt Nam, tôi cảm thấy hãnh diện được tiếp kiến Nữ Hoàng nước Anh tại Buckingham Palace. Xin tri ân các đoàn thể và các cơ quan đã công nhận vai trò phục vụ của tôi và những thành quả cho thành phố Toronto và xứ sở Canada. Sau đây là vài giải thưởng đã nhận:

 

Canada’s top 30 under 30 (30 người đứng hàng đầu dưới 30 tuổi)

Fellow of The Royal Commonwealth Society (Thành viên Hoàng gia Liên Hiệp Anh)

Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (Thành viên của Hội Mỹ Thuật Hoàng Gia)

Fellow of The Aspen Institution (Thành viên của Trung tâm Aspen)

Canada’s top under 30 Pan-Asia leader (Thành viên lãnh đạo dưới 30 tuổi của Hiệp Hội gốc Á Châu của Canada)

The Robert G. Siskind Entrepreneurial Medal (Huy chương của Hội Thương Gia Robert Siskind)

Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award (Giải Thiện Nguyện Viên của Toronto Legacy)

The VAT Community Service Excellence Award (Giải Thiện Nguyện Viên xuất sắc của Hội Người Việt)

Vietnamese Community Leader Award (Giải Lãnh Đạo của Cộng Đồng Việt Nam)

 

H:  Nếu Kevin trúng cử Nghị viên tháng 10 năm 2018, xin cho biết anh sẽ làm gì mà anh là thấy quan trọng?

 

Đ:  Tôi đã và đang làm việc cho thành phố trong chức vụ là chủ tịch của Hội Cư Dân của Southcore (Southcore Residents Association), chúng tôi đã mở rộng kinh doanh về địa ốc mục đích là để các khu phố được an sinh tốt đẹp, nhà cửa đủ rộng, hè phố dễ đi lại và tránh cho dân chúng không bị phiền hà vì khu phố đang xây cất. Tôi cũng hãnh diện đã là tiếng nói trung thực nhất của cư dân trong Ủy Ban Điều Trần. Thay mặt chính phủ Ontario tôi đã điều tra các thang máy về phần an toàn.

Trong chức vụ chủ tịch của các Condo, tôi đã được cư dân bầu cho việc quản trị các nhà cao ốc trong 7 năm rưỡi. Từ vấn đề an toàn cho chung cư, đến những nhu cầu cho dân chúng đưa lên đến Hội Đồng Thành Phố, Chính Phủ Liên Bang và Tỉnh Bang.

 

H: Theo Kevin, vấn đề nào quan trọng nhất trong khu anh ứng cử và nhất là trong Cộng Đồng Người Việt?

 

Đ: Trong khu vực tôi ứng cử có những thứ cần phải giải quyết:

– Xe buýt, tầu điện ngầm cần chạy tốt.

– Giảm bớt ứ đọng giao thông.

– Thuế không nên tăng.

– Có thêm cây cối.

– Các cao ốc phải cho mọi tầng lớp, từng gia đình sống cho thoải mái.

– Đường đi bộ, đường đi xe đạp cho hợp lý.

– Cơ sở hạ tầng về giao thông, cộng đồng và dịch vụ xã hội.

Còn về Cộng Đồng Việt Nam, tôi thấy mình cần phải biết cách sử dụng tài năng và phân chia công việc cộng đồng. Cộng Đồng mình có rất nhiều triển vọng, nhưng tôi thấy có nhiều dịch vụ khá giống nhau. Nếu cứ giữ cách làm việc chẳng thay đổi thì chưa thực dụng hết tiềm năng. Cần phải biết cách cải thiện sự liên hệ giữa thế hệ trẻ và thế hệ đi trước. Thế hệ trước đã làm việc cần cù để tạo nền móng và bây giờ đến phiên tôi và thế hệ trẻ tiếp tục trọng trách và nâng cấp.

 

H: Xin Kevin góp ý về tháng Tư Đen và lá Cờ Vàng ba sọc đỏ.

 

Đ: Lá cờ Vàng không những chỉ tượng trưng về Di Sản và Tự Do mà nó còn mang tính cách lịch sử.

Cha mẹ tôi đã phải sống trên thuyền nhiều ngày để vượt biển, lánh nạn Cộng sản. Họ đã phải chống cự bọn cướp biển, may mắn còn sống sót để đến được trại tị nạn.

Di sản dân tộc, lá cờ Tự Do và Tháng Tư Đen đã nổi bật, nói lên ý chí can trường của người Việt chống lại sự bạo tàn dã man của thực dân Pháp và sau đó là tệ nạn Cộng Sản. Tôi đọc lịch sử Việt Nam để hiều thêm về quá khứ mà gây thêm sức mạnh, quyết chí vươn lên bất chấp các sự gian lao trong cuộc sống mới.

 

H: Theo Kevin, vai trò của đất nước Canada như thế nào trong nạn buôn bán người (human traffic), tức là hiện tượng nô lệ tân thời (modern-day slavery). Làm sao anh có thể giúp được người dân ở Việt Nam?

 

Đ: Ai cũng có quyền làm người. Kevin sẽ đấu tranh cho nhân quyền tại Việt Nam và hải ngoại. Bây giờ, trọng tâm của tôi là Toronto vì ở đây mình có thể làm việc hữu hiệu nhất với nền móng có sẵn. Tôi rất lấy làm hãnh diện khi thấy Canada đã có thái độ cứng rắn với nạn buôn người.

 

H: Xin Kevin cho biết anh đã học hỏi những gì và đã sẵn sàng làm việc trong chức vụ Nghị Viên này chưa?

 

Đ: Tôi đã có nhiều kinh nghiệm về thu thập ý kiến chung, gặt hái kết quả dùm cho văn phòng của các nghị viên. Hiện nay, Hội Đồng Thành Phố Toronto chưa đẩy mạnh về các vấn đề thương mại, nhưng tôi sẽ là người “điền vào chỗ trống” đó, vì tôi đã từng làm việc trong ngân hàng và tôi đã từng là thương gia, dạy học ở Đại Học Toronto… Chúng ta rất cần đầu tư vào những thứ cần thiết cho thành phố như xe buýt, xe điện ngầm, giúp người nghèo… Cần biết cách làm sao để có tiền làm những công việc này.

Tôi đã có 7 năm rưỡi kinh nghiệm điều hành Hội Đồng Quản Trị các nhà cao ốc trong khu vực (ward) của tôi và trong khu thành phố Toronto. Tôi cũng là cựu sinh viên của Phân khoa Luật tại Đại Học Toronto và Đại Học Western. Như vậy tôi sẽ đem kinh nghiệm học vấn, kinh nghiệm thương trường vào chức vụ nghị viên để góp sức xây dựng Cộng Đồng tại đây.

 

H: Kevin sẽ làm gì trong những sinh hoạt Cộng Đồng Việt Nam?

 

Đ: Tôi đã cố gắng và sẽ tìm đủ mọi cách để sinh hoạt cùng Cộng Đồng Việt Nam, học hỏi kinh nghiệm từ các vị cao niên, lắng nghe tiếng nói của cộng đồng để biết Cộng Đồng mình đang cần gì, nhờ thế sẽ giúp cho cộng đồng và thành phố một cách đắc lực. Tôi đã được phát biểu trong ngày tưởng niệm 50 Tết Mậu Thân, tham dự Lễ Thượng kỳ, các sinh hoạt trong cộng đồng…

 

H: Xin cho biết Kevin sẽ trau dồi tiếng Việt ra sao?

 

Đ: Cách học hay nhất là hòa nhập để trải nghiệm. Tôi đã gia nhập vào giúp Hội Người Việt Toronto là để nhập cuộc và học thêm tiếng Việt. Nhiều khi tôi phải hỏi lại cho rõ, tôi sẽ cố gắng và chú tâm để học tiếng Việt khá hơn.

Ngoài tiếng Việt tôi biết tiếng Cantonese, tiếng Madarin. Tôi cũng muốn học thêm về tiếng Pháp.

 

H: Xin cảm ơn Kevin Vương và chúc thành công

 

(Giáo sư Đàm Trung Phán chuyển ngữ từ tiếng Anh ra tiếng Việt)

 

Xin mời xem phần phỏng vấn Kevin Vương do đài SBTN Toronto thực hiện:

 

 

 

Ứng cử viên hội đồng thành phố Toronto Kevin Vuong – Candidate for Toronto City Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIẾN TRÌNH VỀ XÂY DỰNG TƯỢNG ĐÀI THUYỀN NHÂN TẠI MISSISSAUGA CHO ĐÉN NGÀY 30/08/2018

Đàm Trung Phán

HÌNH MÔ PHỎNG  (RENDERING WORK)

Kể từ khi CĐVN vùng Đại Đô Thị Toronto bắt đầu đi xin đất để xây Tưọng Đài tại Thành Phố Mississauga vào mùa Xuân năm 2015 cho đến ngày 30/08/2018, Hội Tưởng Niệm Thuyền Nhân (HTNTN) đã gặt hái được một số thành quă dưới đây.

Kính mời Quý Vị vào đọc bài viết :

1.

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/nhung-dien-bien-va-thanh-qua-cua-hoi-tuong-niem-thuyen-nhan-trong-cong-trinh-xay-cat-tuong-dai-thuyen-nhan-tai-mississauga-trong-nam-2017/

Những diễn biến và thành quả của Hội Tưởng Niệm Thuyền Nhân trong công trình xây cất Tượng Đài Thuyền Nhân tại Mississauga trong năm 2017.

2.

Mô hình “Thuyền Nhân” của ĐKG kiêm Họa Sĩ Vi Vi đã được tuyển lựa dựa theo tiêu chuẩn: Cộng Đồng (30% số điểm) và Ban Giám Khảo (70% số điểm).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_pSzUgkgZ4&t=78s

MAQUETTE “BOAT PEOPLE” DESIGNED BY SCULPTOR VI VI VO HUNG KIET – NOV.18, 2017 18, 2017

3.

Các sinh Hoạt Gây Quỹ:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvIrJcHGr4M

VBPMM PROJECT AT DIXIE BURNHAMTHORPE, MISSISSAUGA – FEB 9, 2016

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iX8lZqxmYQ&t=79s

VBPMA/HTNTN – FUND RAISING GALA NIGHT – ĐÊM GÂY QUỸ – RECEPTION – JULY 15, 2017

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPmTRsVaapk

VBPMA – FUND RAISING GALA – 5 FINALIST MAQUETTES EXHIBITION – JULY 15, 2017

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMKC18Tz_ek&t=1106s

VBPMA – HÁT CHO THUYỀN NHÂN- SINGING FOR BOAT PEOPLE – 2017-11-18

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/vbpmas-fund-raising-gala-night-april-7-2018-dot-gay-quy-lan-thu-hai-cua-hoi-tuong-niem-thuyen-nhan/

VBPMA’S FUND RAISING GALA NIGHT, APRIL 7, 2018 – ĐỢT GÂY QUỸ LẦN THỨ HAI CỦA HỘI TƯỞNG NIỆM THUYỀN NHÂN

 

  1. Báo cáo về Tài Chính đã đăng trên 3 tờ báo Việt Ngữ tại vùng Đại Đô Thị Toronto và website của HTNTN:

 

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/VBPMA-TONGT

KETDANGBAO-AUG-1-2017-FINAL-P2.pdf

TỔNG KẾT BUỔI TIỆC GÂY QUỸ XÂY DỰNG ĐÀI TƯỞNG NIỆM THUYỀN NHÂN VN DO VBPMA TỔ CHỨC THỨ BẢY 15-7-2017

 

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/NOV-18-2017-DangBaoTongKet-Feb26-2018-FINAL-p2.pdf

TIỆC GÂY QUỸ NOVEMBER 18, 2017 DO NHÓM NGHỆ SĨ VÀ THÂN HỮU TỔ CHỨC

 

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/chi-thu-tuong-dai-for-blog-loading-f.pdf

Thư Cảm Ơn và Tường trình  Đợt Gây Quỹ Xây Dựng Tượng Đài Tưởng Niệm Thuyền Nhân VN lần thứ 2

(ngày 01/01/2018 – 10/05/2018)

 

  1. Hình ảnh về Khu Đất TĐTN tại 3650 Dixie Road, Mississauga; brochure về TĐTN (Anh và Viêt), 5 mặt của bề đá bằng Granite; plaques ghi tên, posters ; bản vẽ của Ký Sư Chuyên Nghiệp Nguyễn Hùng Quân…

 

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipO_hntk0k4vP3FvUTh7MQ480ChumPqUccZHRHTZG-7wzv4E1-xquLGTI_OxewSTiQ?key=OHBNYk9oODhmWFg3R1B6THViWldsb3pyZlhWSnhn

VBPMA/HTNTN DIGITAL ALBUM –2018-08-27

 

  1. HỘI THOẠI VỀ TĐTN TRÊN TV (TV INTERVIEWS)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=131&v=leAT9N1ricI

VBSC Phỏng vấn Hội Tưởng Niệm Thuyền Nhân Việt Nam (Toronto)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IPpKOxiOzQ&t=119s

VBSC Buoi gay quy xay dung tuong dai thuyen Nhan o Mississauga ngay 7 4 2018

 

  1. WEBSITE CỦA HTNTN:

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/video/

http://www.boatpeoplememorial.com/mississauga/nhung-dien-bien-va-thanh-qua-cua-hoi-tuong-niem-thuyen-nhan-trong-cong-trinh-xay-cat-tuong-dai-thuyen-nhan-tai-mississauga-trong-nam-2017/

 

8. XÂY CẤT TƯỢNG ĐÀI THUYỀN NHÂN:

Vì vấn đề băng giá trong mùa Đông tại Canada cho nên các dịch vụ xây cất ngoài trời trong mùa đông đều phải ngưng nghỉ . Vì lẽ đó HTNTN, sau khi đã ký giao kèo xong với thành phố Missisauga vào mùa Thu năm 2018, sẽ bắt đầu khởi công xây cất vào đầu mùa Xuân năm 2019 và cố gắng xây xong trong mùa Thu năm 2019.

Trong khi chờ đợi, HĐQT của HTNTN vẫn còn phải làm việc đều đặn với thành phố Misissauga để hoàn tất các dịch vụ hành chánh và kỹ thuật cho phần xây cất. Ban Gây Quỹ (The Fund Raising Team) tiếp tục công  việc Gây Quỹ. Ban Kiến Tạo (The Design Team) tiếp tục hoàn tấc các bản vẽ cho phần xây cất được hoàn hảo. Ban Xây Cất (The Construction Team) tiếp tục việc khảo giá trước khi HTNTN ký giao kèo với các công ty xây cất.

KÊU GỌI TỔNG BIỂU TÌNH: TOÀN CÕI VIỆT NAM, TOÀN THẾ GIỚI NGÀY 07, THÁNG 7, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Đã đến lúc người dân trong toàn cõi Việt Nam và toàn thể giới cùng nhau đi biểu tình để lật đổ chế độ Công Sản Việt Nam và chống Trung Cộng xâm chiếm Việt Nam . Kính mời Quý Vị vào đọc bài viết:

TỔNG BIỂU TINH: TOÀN QUỐC, TOÀN THỂ GIỚI NGAY 07/07/2018:

http://thuduc-ontario.ca/folder/tincd-mautuat/tongbieutinh-070718/index.html

 

Kính mong Quý Vị rộng lòng phổ biến tin tức này.

 

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