Frontline World


Vietnam: LOOKING FOR HOME, May 2003



Read through archived FRONTLINE/World conversations around this story below, including responses from the reporters.

Hai Tiet - Lawrenceville, Georgia
After watching the segment of Frontline/World on Vietnam, I started to have mixed feelings about the show and Vietnam. Being a Vietnamese- American teenager, I have been plagued with images of Vietnam as a "poor" country in need of help. Watching and reading Nguyen Qui Duc's story shined a new light to my conditioned memories. I have visited Vietnam, but I have to say that the film did not portray an accurate image of this country. I was excited to see Vietnam in such great shape, but I knew better. With the stats on the PBS website, I feel that this film shows too much of the "rich" side of Vietnam. Of course the segment was only so long, I feel like Mr. Nguyen Qui Duc could have done a better job as a journalist and storyteller. Vietnam, as any communist country, is slowing turning their wings to a new light and with that brings many problems. The problem was that this film's target audience was to the Western world. In my eyes, I feel that the film shows Vietnam as a prosperous country with what it seemed to be minimal problems. Yes, Nguyen Qui Duc did highlight Vietnam's many problems, but I believe too much of "rich" side was shown (i.e. the go-go girls and drugged teenagers/ the problems of a nation becoming capitalist). In light of that, many Westerners might have mixed images of Vietnam as a country. I do commend Mr. Nguyen for showing the audience a new side of Vietnam, but what about the people of Vietnam? I feel as a journalist one has a duty to carefully represent all the facts without any bias. Yes, the film is about Mr. Nguyen's life, but as a journalist, one represents the voice of the people of which Vietnam does not have. As I recall, there were one or two stories about the poor conditions of Vietnam, which plague and counts as a large percentage of the nation. Somehow, I feel like my memories of Vietnam have been cheated. The voices of the unheard are not heard and the tears of the tearless cannot be shed. Despite my disappointments, I do thank Nguyen Qui Duc for the special and do commend him with feverous applauds and hope he continues his works for years to come.

Gregory Rutchik - San Francisco, California
Amazing; Touching; Insightful; Human. Such a well done piece. Struggling to reconnect to his past and to his father, the author tells a story that even I, a second generation Jew living in San Francisco, can relate to. Your homeland is beautiful and your father would be proud that you returned. But most of all, I hope that you continue to tell your story and the story of Vietnam so that we can learn more of our own insulation and of our similarity.

George Reid - Marquette, Michigan
I thought it was very sad that this generation of Vietnamese has no clue about the strife, devastation, turmoil and upheaval of the Vietnam War (conflict?) period. I can't help but wonder if it's due to apathy, as here in the States, or government control and manipulation of the media and educational content.

Anonymous - Gurnee, Illinois
I was not surprised at the teenager's reaction to the question about the war. However, I might have been had I not just returned from a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos a few months ago. I was 20 years old when Saigon fell and was very much against the war. I wanted to go to Vietnam since our history is so intertwined with theirs. I had heard that now that the country is at peace and most Vietnamese were not born at the time of the war, that Americans are welcomed in Vietnam. We had a guide accompany us from the United States, along with local Vietnamese guides from both the north and south. Our guide from the south was my age and our guide from the north was in his 20's. The facts of the war were discussed with our older guide from the south (but not our younger guide from the North), however, the politics of the war were not discussed, except with our U.S. guide in our hotel rooms. I think for most of the Vietnamese the American War (as they refer to it) is a thing of the distant past. We Americans seem to have a harder time dealing with the aftermath of our role in the war. I loved the time I spent in Vietnam and was treated warmly by everyone I met. I hope to go back in the future.

Anonymous - Rock Springs, Wyoming
You can find a teenager in any country who 'doesn't have a clue'