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Remembering the Vietnamese exodus

1954 Vietnam Exodus Operation 'Passage to Freedom'
1975, after the end of the Vietnam War

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Boat people:

We need your story. Any information is highly appreciated. If you see it here, we'd still like to hear from you. Corroboration is important. We will always need more information. Please email us at vt268tengah@gmail.com

Last update

Malaysia

March 11, We visited Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, tried to find Transit camp at Cheras. We were told the buildings had been demolished

March 13, we went to Kuala Terengganu, and the next day we took a boat ride to Pulau Bidong from a pier at Merang. Boat ride was a bumpy 45 minutes, then we were surprised - the pier at Pulau Bidong is very nice. Our party included Joseph Paul (UNHCR employee at Pulau Tengah camp 1979-1981), and Rosli Mohamad (former MRCS worker in Bidong camp), my husband and me.

Rosli led us up the hill to visit the church and temple area, down the hill to where the coffee shop was located on the other beach, and iron boat part of the beach, the school area, then we walked uphill to the Zone F cemetery. It was hot and the mosquitoes were hungry. We walked an easy path back to the pier area, and Rosli showed us the remains of the iron boat, and told us about it. He also showed us the unaccompanied minors area, and the wreckage of the vocational school (a car still sits there). Rosli pointed out a large mango tree, a popular hangout during camp days. We saw a couple wells, and some staff housing buildings. Some stores, a mosque, and a number of other ruins.

We headed back to Merang – a much smoother and faster ride

We were privileged to visit Rosli’s personal Bidong museum. Many thanks to Rosli for permission to photograph his pictures, documents, and mementos.

Rosli took us to Kuala Terengganu Hokkien cemetery, where we saw many VBP graves

March 15 On the way back to KL we visited Dungun cemetery. All the new photos from Bidong are in www.refugeecamps.net/PBPhoto.html

Thanks to Rosli, who took such good care of us, I can well imagine the camp as it was in its heyday.

Update at http://www.refugeecamps.net/PBPhoto.html

Thailand

March 16, We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai Thailand and took a cab to Songkhla

March 17 we went downtown asking people about the location of the camp, nobody knew. Finally we were in a Pizza Parlor upstairs in Sub Sim, and a delivery guy said he knew the location "Come back at 1:00 pm tomorrow, I will show you"

March 18, Wongsakorn (pizza delivery guy) led the way on his motocycle while we followed in a tuk-tuk, about 10 km south of the mall. He had to ask for directions a couple of times, and finally found someone who remembered the camp and its approximate location. We took many pictures. We try to give him some money for gas and the time he missed work, but he didn’t want it. Hand on his chest, he said "From my heart."

March 19, Our new friend, owner of the shop across from our hotel took us back to the camp, he spoke with several people in the small village that now lies where the camp was, and translated for us. We finally located the camp borders, based on a two story government building and a fish sauce factory. We also found that some of the camp property has been lost to beach erosion.

Good thing we went back. The first time we took photos, we were mostly behind the camp!

March 20 Planned to go to Koh Kra, but we were short on time. It will take 3 hours driving, then a boat ride of 4 hours. 7 hours each way and a couple of hours on the island will make for a looong day.

We’ll try to go there in a month or two.

Update at http://www.refugeecamps.net/SKPhoto.html

April 13-28, 2012 Visited Koh Kra, Laem Sing refugee camp, Si Khiu refugee camp

Philippines

Aug 25, Flew to Palawan island, visited the old camp, at the end of runway airport. Partial of the camp from the main street become army barrack. Nothing much exist, the captain took us a tour inside the barrack, show what ever remain of the camp

Aug 26, Visited Viet Village, talk to 2 people left at the camp

Aug 27, Visit Viet restaurants in Palawan

Sept 01,02, Visited Bataan

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