Pulau Bidong Refugee Camp 1978 - 1991, Malaysia

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Bidong Boat people:

If you stayed in this camp, 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

Story of PB 942

Boat left Vietnam at 9:45pm on Sunday night, June 12, 1983 from My Tho in the suburban area (along the Mekong River) about 3 miles from downtown My Tho.

After over 8 hours on the Mekong River, the boat entered the Pacific Ocean via "Cửa Đại".

There were 99 peoples (wasn't known until arrival) on a 14 meters wooden boat, powered by very reliable a 4-cilynder diesel engine.

In the afternoon of the first day, We were chased and stopped by a big steel fishing boat (Chiến Thắng 18). They let us go after "collecting" all watches, jewelries and money.

The journey continued for 6 days in the calm sea. No incident encountered (pirates, oil rigs, foreign ships, etc.). There were "just barely enough" food and water for everyone.

Landed in the Malaysian shore at about 11:30pm , about 1 hour bus ride from Marang Transit Camp, with about 100 liters of diesel left.

Picked up by local police at 1:30am and by the UNHCR at noon on the following day (by bus to the Marang Transit Camp).

Stayed in Marang Transit Camp for over 2 days awaiting for bad weather to subside before being transferred to Pulau Bidong by the "Blue Dart" boat.

Arrived at the "Cầu Jetty" at 1:30pm on June 20, 1983.

First day to be a refugee (ID under boat number PB942) was in a heavy down-pouring due to the Monsoon. Stayed in Zone C until April 30, 1984 (yes, April 30th!).

Transfer to Sungai Besei in Kuala Lumpur for 3 weeks before heading to Bataan PRPC (Philippine Refugee Processing Center) for a 3 months Cultural and Orientation Program for English level E.

Left Zone 5 (near the Camp Market) early in the morning of August 14, 1984 to go to America via Northwest Airlines (Seatle WA port of arrival).

Refugee's life in the America started...

Why and how do I know the details of this boat? I have orchestrated and driven the boat when it lett the dock...

How do I remember the details so well? How can I forget them?

Submited by Tri Tran

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