Letter to Descendants

Preface: Mathematics Professor Nguyen Van Phu was a famous teacher of the high school Chu Van A in Saigon. He is also the principal of the private school Tran Hung Dao in Saigon and was famous for a lot of students in '60 and '70 and well-known and beloved by almost all the young people at that time. Our Hanh Thien village also had Professor Nguyen Xuan Nghien who was equivalently famous as mathematical teacher; who also made our villagers very proud of.

We received this letter writing to the descendants of him which was posted on the internet over a year ago. Although this letter is written for his children, but in our opinion, it can be used to address to all Vietnamese youths who are currently living abroad to understand their origin, the reasons of refugees, and the problems related to life and family in the present and future. I found this article very interesting and the Hanh Thien’s youth villagers should pay attention to cultivate their lives in order to have a more meaningful life. We also hope that in another occasion we would write in this website about our own experiences with other issues that address to the HT youths. We would also like to take liberty for translation this letter into English; hopefully it will be reached to the hands of HT young people who can not read Vietnamese written language.


Letter to Descendants
Author: Professor Nguyen Van Phu
Professor Nguyen Van Phu (Former Professor Chu Van An High School and Former Principle of Hung Dao High School, Saigon)
Sunday, May 1, 2011 11:05

Hope you read this letter carefully, think hard about it, and try to practice the teachings. Dear children, At present time, as your parents reach 80 years old of age, so life is pretty well long beyond compared to the previous generation parents. Parents have repeatedly talked with you on some issues, but not always satisfy because all of you were not present at the same time. Moreover, it is unlikely that all of you have remembered all the words as parents said. Hence this letter to summarize the main idea that parents want to send to you. But, with the grand children who are far less understanding Vietnamese, you should help parents and explain to them know, not only to know but must understand thoroughly what is written here.

Grateful. Our dear children, on the way to search for freedom, being refuge away from communists, we have abandoned all property, altars and ancestral graves. Once settled to the second home country, we were welcome and support from the government and people. Currently, our life has stabilized. We must be grateful to this country and please try to contribute to making this country more beautiful, more prosperous to repay a portion that grace. Reasons for Refugees. You need to clarify for your children to know what has caused our family, along with thousands of other families, were coming here, that is: we are refugees, seeking freedom. You, the grandchildren are now living in a democratic society, freedom from birth and can not imagine the lies and sinister tricks of the Communists. Your children can hardly believe the reason why human beings are so cruel to each other (you can see the film "Journey from the Fall- Tidal Journey", directed by Ham Tran, opened 30-4 - 2005). Communism is evil action but they are very good in cover-up! So I have to explain to you to understand, not hatred, but to know the truth. A verse that many people are frequently said or prompted: "Do not listen to what the Communists say, but look what the Communists do."

Father Land and Ancestor Home. Although busy work ahead, all of you should spend time absorbing and digesting the pages of history and geography of Vietnam, to know the ethnic origin, the formation of the country, the ups and downs, the glory, the humiliation, the wisdom and mistakes of our forefathers. And from which we draw lessons. If we have heroic history, but also have the history page full of tears. While our country was colonized, people were tortured for thousands of years, but our people struggled heroically for breaking chains that tied us and then gained autonomy. But then there was time we went to invade other countries and devastated. The most recent example was the ten-year destruction of Cambodia, causing hatred of its neighbors and leaving the heavy bad deed that future generations will also have to bear!

Recent history. French domination of our country from the late 19th century. Around 1940, World War II broke out. In our country, Japan operated 9-3-1945 French coup. Emperor Bao Dai declared cancellation protection treaty signed with France, then handed to Mr. Tran Trong Kim government established the country's first independent Vietnam. Axis, including Germany, Italy, Japan lost to the Allies, including England, France, U.S., USSR, and China. Dated 19-8-45, Viet Minh (communist) seized power from Tran Trong Kim's government, proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. But not long, the French sought to return. The national Anti-French war began on December 19, 1946. When the nature Communist of Viet Minh party was revealed, the Nation’s Parties returned to the country where the government has set up a government other than the resistance, which is actually communism, before they were destroyed gradually by the communists. After the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Agreement in 1945 split the country: northern was Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and southern was South Vietnam Republic of Vietnam. North VN publicity as the Communist bloc, carried out by invading South and blinding the world with the name Southern Liberation Front.

Southern government was supported by the United States and its allies and they were the liberal bloc which supported to prevent the spread of communism. When a strong military invasion from the North started, beginning in 1960, the U.S. troops embarked increasingly in the South, and the war intensified.

In 1972, after the Soviet Union and China became the opposite sides, President Nixon came to China to sign the Agreements’ Shanghai. U.S. did not need to use VN as "anti-communist outpost" and decided to abandon South Vietnam! (according to the book published by Dr. Nguyen Tien Hung: When The Allies Fleeing which said that the inherent truth and betrayal of American flight from VN). According to the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement: The United States withdrew from South Vietnam, only leaving a few advisers left behind, but North Vietnamese soldiers remained intact in the South! Then, communist North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam to continue on with the aid of international communisms. South Vietnam despite valiant defense the country, but not enough weapons, petrol ... was certainly in a weaker position. April 30, 1975, the capital Saigon fell. Immigration refugees started, freedom began. From now on, you knew quite a lot of detail.

Considerations and History Information. Nowadays, information is much, too much. People writing about Vietnam, the Vietnam War are so much, including movies, but honestly it's not with the facts. Some people write truthfulness, but only see one aspect of the problem, just like "the blind man touching the elephant." Some people deliberately bend the truth, to achieve their own purposes. Some people - including priests - more stories also fabricated to slander another person! The worst is when person in power or their servants write history. Alex Haley writer wrote in the last line of work "Roots": "In the end, the victors are those who write history." So considerate parents should tell their children and grandchildren that when they read materials, books and movies about Vietnam in the 20th century and early 21st century, despise whoever author is, including European-Americans, they also must be careful and smart-analysis. According to parents, the 1954-1975 war in Vietnam is the Vietnam War, the Civil War, a proxy war, a confrontation between the Communist bloc and Freedom; weapons overseas, the Vietnamese blood. For Vietnam, it was defensive war. Also, the North Vietnamese communist propaganda and public education that it was the war against American and for unification the country. Northern winners were arrogance and cruelty; the losers from the South were suffering the humiliation and revenge. The crux of the serious divisions in our nation is lying at that point (although the ethnic divisions are still existing by many other reasons). As long as we can not change these two ways of thinking, then the reconcilation can not be achieved! Millions of people have died, although the country was unified, but the thought is still divided.

On the Visit to Vietnam. There are several questions to parents that have we returned to visit Vietnam yet? The answer is not, for reasons of health. There were so many people returning Vietnam, for whatever reason, or purpose, each one had different view! To care their weak parents, visiting relatives, to renovate the graves of their ancestors, about to teach students, about nostalgia, these things are all plausible. On the aid to victims of natural disasters or to help needy people without just for the name sake, is also good. Go and eat, to travel cheaper, or for the selfish profit, to become famous, one should not go. Later, when the country becomes real change, you can take the children to visit their homeland. Parents know in advance that they will not be really touched like us because they are new, having no emotional attachment. One must have past memories, or the links that make people become aware and celebrate. Trying to guide them to the dear nation, visiting ethnic groups and people of Vietnam, do not let the children are just normal tourists. What about the children or grandchildren would like to make a living (jobs) in Vietnam, parents thought that it is unlikely. The country at the moment. If someone said that Vietnam now has improved (now most people are eating rice instead of eating rice mixed with yam, there are many motorcycles and cars instead of bicycles ... why not after 30 years living in peace but there are not any real progresses!), that may be having some major progresses compared to Vietnam itself, but if Vietnam compared with other neighboring countries, it is a shame in many ways (such as Cambodia, which also has the party opposition). Want to know the truth behind of Vietnam’s skypescrapers, the glossy small "cars", five-star hotels, the modern "golf course”, one must look at downgraded news with severity in many ways (especially in education), the presence of red capitalism, of official corruption, the squandering of national resources, and to personally visit to the homes where the poors are living in remote areas. We need to know the truth, do not be too optimistic or pessimistic! To understand the current situation of our country, you should read the talk by Dr. Le Dang Doanh, former Director of the Institute of Research Management Central Hanoi. His presentation of the truth to the most senior officials of the Vietnamese Communist Party. This speech was recently revealed out to the public. Introduction wrote: "People pay attention to the numbers to see the truth inherent in the economy of Vietnam. He pointed out both the weakness of the economy and undemocratic nature of the regime Communism in Vietnam. From there, he dare to say that the whole political structure of the government is broken, it must change "(Ngo Nhan Dung, the Vietnamese newspaper, dated 30-3-2005). He recalled that a financial specialist of an international organization questioned him as follows: "Your country is so good, why are your people poor for so long? Wisdom like this, tradition like this, why are your people poor like beggars? We just set a target that our people never have to go to beg again, can we? “What a shame the whole country must act like this! Why is our country so poor? we’re not bunch of lazy people. Why should we suffer so much humiliation? By the totalitarian dictatorship, right? Political attitude. Not only are abroad people demanding abolition communist party, establish multi-party pluralism, that even the party members and the progressive elements in the country are also demanding the same. Need to understand that anti-dictatorial one-party, anti-corruption, and wrong ways of communism are not the anti-Vietnam but Vietnam is hoping for a better, better country. If anyone can think that the Communists now have "innovation" a bit, you should know that by the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, due to the struggle at home and abroad, due to international pressure and the risk of melting of Vietnam's communist party, changes should be required to renew the economic (not political reform)! But I do not do politics, but I do have attitude toward politics, we must continue to support the struggle and fight for the country which is truly democratic freedom. General Secretary of Communist Vietnam has recognized that the Communist Vietnam has "many mistakes." We ask: why do not fix mistakes, why do not publicly apologize to the Nation, why do not return the land for private homes and churches, why do not pay for the victims of the Reform Land, of the Nhan Van Giai Pham (Union of Writers), Renovation of Industrial and Commercial, why do not compensate and apologize to those who had been imprisoned in "education camps"? The truth that everyone would want to eliminate hatred among us, but Communist Vietnam needs to show its concrete actions for the people to see. Say "eliminate hatred, to close the past, look to the future" alone is useless? Say "great unity" but keep communist party leaders (including the Fourth Communist Constitution law), who to believe! Family stories. Now, talking to family members. Parents belong to the previous generations, raising children under the concept of parents’ period, like grandparents raised parents in the time of grandparents. Some time, you may think that their parents were too strict to you. This was our time. Hope you forget what their parents have inadvertently upset the child. Remember that parents are not partying wildly, enjoying games endlessly, do not spend money recklessly, but always keep the discipline, and parents have to work hard and save earnings for the child to live fully and carefully educated, under the warm family's home. Because parents’ property had been robbed all by communists and arriving to this new land (refugee), moneyless, our life faced difficulties. Parents had to accept jobs so laborious and tired. You have to work hard in the summer, and have tried to study very hard. To date, the hard works paid off and we’re settled. The child should never be complacent, thinking that you are so special talent, good beyond the norm. The genius, the good if there is, it is only one part of the success, while the other part is due to the favorable condition, thanks to sound faith and the fortune passing down from your own ancestors, from past lives and this life. You should always live to cultivate moral for the good of your destiny, just like car users have to worry about "charging" for the batteries. Sowing the good will it will produce good outcomes. Causal law is a law of heaven and earth, never gone wrong! For your own family's children, parents advised the couple to treat each other in mutual respect, must make concessions to each other. Can not avoid all conflicting issues, but just that clever and calm resolve everything. Anger is bad. As for your children, you must love but not spoil them. Need to control their children's friends and communicate with their children's friends to find out for sure what’s going on: Bad friends in this society are very popular happened! Television, games, chat ... must be limited, and sports should be encouraged. You have to pay attention to your own health, making time for exercise, live a balanced life. To withdraw from father's experience: as the young, I had been working hard too much, so this is now getting old, the body was "asking my guilt," shoulder’s pain from top-down. In everyday life, always saving and paid attention to environmental protection activities as world resources are limited, we need to think about future generations. Use anything and not be wasted, even paper towels! Occasionally, let the children see photographs or video images of children starving and malaria, among children on this earth that many people are still miserable.

Among the grandchildren, when you treat each other, be sure asking thoroughly the question "brothers as the limbs," she falls I raise ","a drop of blood thicker than pond of water "," a sore horse, the rests refuse to eat grass. " Be applying the word "discharge". Let's ignore all the shortcomings of your brothers and sisters. The children are divided, their parents will suffer immensely. In this society, because too busy, it was just enough time for your own family, often have to abandon its own large family (relatives), though not to be at heart. You should promote solidarity within the family. With your daughters and in-laws, parents should ask: you should help your husband who keeps good contact with siblings and paternal and maternal relatives. Vietnamese overseas. There are a few worthy goals. The child is a citizen of this country, with all duties and rights of a citizen. Real life inside school or outside it, the society forcing them to speak English or French language, and they must speak and write very well, otherwise it will be very difficult or not sociable, and will be a looser! At school, the children speak English or French (or both). At home, the children often talk to each other either in one of these two languages too. Although you usually speak Vietnamese to the children in the family, I still feel the ability of children to speak Vietnamese is poor. Speak Vietnamese is weak, Vietnamese writing is even worse, because you are learning to read and write Vietnamese irregularly! Speaking and writing Vietnamese couple of hours on the weekend in the Vietnamese school, although with very dedicated teachers, are not enough to make your child better. Only by learning how to call Vietnamese relatives’ ladder of association is the most difficult task in the world!

Our compatriots living abroad are always asked to the conservation of Vietnamese language. Parents (we) thought so too. But, after all, a child can not be told to act out like two children (Vietnamese or Vietnamese & U.S. & Canada speaking) who are combined into one! If the pressure over them is too high, they can not bear and the consequence is not known. And there is pressure is on sports and music too. So we have selected well right dose, do not turn children into "machine learning"! And your children life must rise up in this country. You need to be prepared so that they fit the environment to live and live comfortably here. Europe and America societies. These societies are society of excessive consumption. You should not let yourself be drawn easily into the marketing skill of salesmen to incite you to purchase freely. We are easily influenced by advertising, even while we are being seized by banks and insurance companies. You need to know how to be "less-dependent, self-sufficient" which means "little ambitious, know enough", just to buy necessities, things that you can not live without! Home, car, too: a safe and adequate for daily use is fine. Avoid debt. More relaxed! Parents just did not say on theory, now declining social morality and spirituality, because we are dependent too much on the West, worry too much about material, too selfish, can not find happiness anywhere! Less selfish, think of the human kind, have to share with your neighbor. The parents own sakes. Age, illness, disease, and eventually. . . death! Natural law is just like that. Until that day, you should prepare to organize a simple funeral but a solemn one. If you want to bury the parents in a cemetery, then later on, when you must go to do business elsewhere, you will wonder how to look after the grave because it is too far away, parents choose cremation, more convenient, but do not have to occupy land, because land is essential for future generations. You can scatter the ashes of parents up on the mountain, down the river, or into the sea. Dust return to dust, nothing wrong! Instead of ceremony like big feast, you use the money to contribute to a common good. Do not be shy or afraid to be ridiculed, people will understand and endorse. There is a detail like this, if it is unfortunately, the parents fell ill and suffered a "vegetative life" (unconscious), you must be courage to choose to pull the plug on life support; don’t delay too long, only cause suffering for all people involved! Family altar. In today's circumstances, difficult to set up altars in the house. To remember ancestors, grandparents, parents, children can display the altar at the most important places in the home to show respect and to promise never to harm the family tradition. To the memorial date, arranged a small table, laid up a cup of clear water, a few fragrant flowers, fresh fruit and a couple of incense sticks (or electrical incense lamps are OK). These are enough, because the heart of the children and grandchildren put into them is precious and important. Parents said "the children" is meant to remind you that you need to know the meaning of national commemoration day of Vietnam. On the anniversary, you think good, do good more than the other days, please share little things for the poor, excess clothing to be collected for charity. If on the death anniversary, your brothers and sisters should meet together in a place that it would make a better reminder of each other so that families will be closed and their love would be increased.

Hope you read this letter carefully, think about it, and try to practice all what I have said.

Kissing all the children of parents! I thank my children have always dedicated to take care their parents for many years to now and cares enough for parents to be comfortable, to enjoy old age. Kiss the children for a long time! Kiss the children for a long time! Parents!

(Nguyen Van Phu)