Dinner with Jennie's family, a mixture of Viet Kieu and Saigonese.
The tragedy that was the Vietnam War created a new dimension to that
nation. If it is true that some citizens moved from the north to
the south in Vietnam to avoid what was perceived as oppressive government,
then the overseas Vietnamese community still has roots in their country.
Since these people possess the education and the qualities needed by Vietnam
to succeed in the modern world, it is safe to assume that the majority
of them, or their children, will return to help Vietnam join the world
community. Many of the overseas Vietnamese are bitter at what was
perceived to be a defeat at the hands of an ideology that over-controlled
their carefree society; however, when you view this result with the history
of this nation, it can be argued that this temporary defeat was necessary
to better focus on the true needs of the people of Vietnam.
Monday, Jan. 11, 1999
We spent our last day in Saigon at an American-owned company
and a state-run factory to see the range of business practices in the Vietnam
economy. In the evening we visited the Lotus School, an English-language
school, where we helped the students (ranging from age 16 to 50) practice
their English. Our farewell dinner was at the house of Jennie's sister,
who cooked us an unbelievable feast.