Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
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  
1  2  3  4  

When I started out writing I thought I was after a singular narrative, telling the Vietnamese Diaspora story, but a decade later, I ended up recording a much larger narrative, that of globalization and how it changes everyone in its path, myself included.

Yet the experience of the Vietnamese refugee abroad is not an esoteric one. In fact, it's germane to the pattern of globalization. If the Vietnamese refugee left Vietnam under the shadow of history, he also, in the blink of an eye, became the first global villager by default. The trauma of his leaving, the effort of his remake, his ability to marry two or three different spheres in an age of open systems makes him a modern-day Odysseus, the primary character in the contemporary global novel.

As someone who straddles both sides of the Pacific, my ambition then is to describe the marriage of East and West, their growing interdependence and, in the footsteps of V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie and Edward Said, convey a world of human flux and shifting borders and, ultimately, redraw the map of America, one based on a trans-Pacific sensibility.

Andrew returns to Saigon

Yet, my cosmopolitan sheen cannot possibly protect me from this new journey: the journey to the past. As I prepare myself to return to Vietnam, not as a journalist going after a story, but as a Vietnamese American looking to unearth long buried memories, I am full of anxiety. Will I have enough courage to enter the house I used to live in, abandoned now on a lonesome hill? Will I have anything in common with relatives with whom I hadn't kept in touch for decades? Will I learn to reconcile my childhood memories of a war-torn Vietnam with the modernizing, vibrant country — one that has gone on without me? And, finally, where is home?

Copyright © 2004 Andrew Lam.

1  2  3  4