My Journey Home Armando Pena Andrew Lam Faith Adiele
Introduction
Video Diary
Diaspora
Stranger
Background
Andrew Lam
Your Journey HomeFor TeachersAbout the film
Andrew Lam
Introduction
by Andrew Lam
  
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It was, all in all, the right decision.

Almost three decades ago, my family and I left Vietnam inside a C-130 cargo plane full of weeping refugees. I remember watching a Saigon in smoke, then a green mass of land giving way to a hazy green sea. I was eleven years old — too young to realize that I was witnessing a significant historical moment. For the first time in her embattled history, a history alleged to be 4,000 years old, the end of a war had resulted in an unprecedented mass exodus.

A Diaspora: Two million Vietnamese, scattered into more than 50 countries across the globe.Andrew and his mother at the gate of the family house in Da Lat

As a child in war-time Vietnam, leaving was unthinkable and the national borders had seemed to me as concrete as the Great Wall of China. Once I had expected to grow up and follow my father's soldierly footsteps and fight for my country. But in that C-130 full of refugees, I was moving not only across the sea but from one psyche to another. Yesterday, my inheritance was simple — the sacred rice fields and rivers which once owned me, defining who I was. Today, as a journalist who covers Southeast Asia and East-West relations and whose relatives are scattered in three continents, Paris and Bangkok and Saigon are no longer fantasies, but a matter of scheduling. My identity, likewise, has become multi-layered and is in flux. Once bound by a singular sense of geography, I now have reference points in at least three continents, several languages, and across many borders.

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