On April 30th, 1975, South Viet Nam fell as the Viet Nam War ended. Thirty-six years on as I write this, though, its people have risen mightily to become more than they could have ever been if left to develop in Viet Nam had the War ended differently.
I know it’s a bold opinion to share as that’s saying we became more outside our own country as result of losing a war, rather than being in our own country after winning a war. I realize it also sounds disrespectful to all those who died, on both sides, not to mention almost 60,000 Americans and some Russians, among others who died. There are also tens of millions still suffering trauma from that War on all sides. I mean no disrespect in my opinion. The Viet Nam War took place and it was what it was. My opinion is not a comparison to a scenario where the War didn’t take place, but compared to how it might have ended differently, for which there would likely have been almost as many people killed and traumatized. Nobody wins a war. One side just loses more.
That side, look at the tremendous and proud Vietnamese presence all around the globe today that is mostly South Vietnamese. Look at the economic tiger the country has become, built by people from both North and South but on capitalism, not communism. Look at how we have become all this after starting from very little just 36 years ago, with rubbles in a country devastated by decades of war and the clothes on our backs when we left. I can’t imagine how we could have had all this if the war had turned out differently. We’re just too patriot a people to have spread out like this, but it is this same patriotism which allowed us to grow fiercely as a proud people in the face of adversity, no matter to where we had been displaced and had to take roots.
At home, we have rebuilt the country into an economic force in the region, even though lots of problems still exist. That’s because of the northern Communist government who insist on keeping their brutal ways while living under the hypocrisy of capitalism that has made the country the economic power that it is. They still forbid religion, have political prisoners, and even insist neighbouring countries to destroy monuments of refugee camps which once held millions of South Vietnamese… as if the plight of a whole diaspora never happened. Make no mistake, though, it was not communism which has freed Viet Nam from our colonial past, but capitalism. The victors may write the history books, but only for a while until the truth is rewritten. For the Viet Congs that took Sai Gon in 1975, I would guess that reversal time has come far sooner than they had expected. Both the North and South were pawns in the War anyway, to the Russians and Americans, respectively. Viet Nam was just one of many fronts on which the Cold War was actually fought.
Abroad, if you do your research, you will find many large and vibrant Vietnamese communities around the world today. We have large presence in many countries and cities in North America, Europe and Australia outside of our own country in Asia. We are multi-media and multi-platform in our global presences. We have our own TV shows, movies, games, DVDs, television and radio, Internet sites and forums, all in a language only our South Vietnamese culture uses because it’s even rather different from the Vietnamese used in the North. We Vietnamese versions of all the major software and just about everything that originally appeared in another major language. We have literature and music that have won global awards, often not in our native language because it is not universal enough to be recognized globally. Our people boast high ratios of highly educated, highly paid and well respected citizens wherever they live, especially among the generation born after the War and outside of Viet Nam. The first generation deserves a different, more worthy level of recognizance and commendation for making something out of nothing as refugees, like my Parents did for my sister and I, which the next generation capitalized on admirably. There is no way we, as a people of South Viet Nam, could have created this global presence and excellence had we not been forced to leave our own country, after the War if it had turned out differently.
There is a proverb common among many cultures which state that with adversity comes opportunity, and we definitely made the most out of our adversity!
I’m not suggesting all is perfect and fine, of course. We do have Vietnamese gang problems in some cities, but it’s hardly a problem exclusive to our people… though dare I say we seem to be holding our own just fine there, too? We have the poor and the problematic like any group of people you find, divided by culture, region, age, gender or any way you want. We still have a country that should still be on the Human Rights Watch List due to a corrupt and dictatorial one party government when we still desire a democracy. However, we have far more upside for which we should be proud, and on which we should be able to easily believe we can solve all those problems because they are nothing like the ones we faced after the war, in and out of South Viet Nam.
Yes, we South Vietnamese paid a heavy price for the War. But like how some people crumble in adversity and others make themselves better from it, what we as a people of South Viet Nam made ourselves better from it all. There was a lot of adversity that we faced as a people, but we just became more opportunistic with it from what we found within us to deal with it. The deeper we had to dig to get through it, the more we found in ourselves to succeed to greater extents after we hurdled the adversity. For all that, we have every reason to be as proud as we are of who we are.
[ I have included a 6″ x 4″ printable Vietnamese flag graphic below, at high resolution for printing on your printer or any photo machine, for those who might want it to display their pride in South Viet Nam and/or their heritage. ]