Calmness after the War (Part I)
Author: Ancy Lee
Translator: Pius Lee
In the May issue we mentioned the civil war between North and South Vietnam. It finally ended on the so-called “Liberation Date” on April 30, 1975. The North united the country into a communist country. Unrest and confusion lingered on for another two years. An atmosphere of ambivalence and anxiety permeated the frightened minds of the people. The people of Vietnam rejoiced that the old regime was overthrown hoping that the new rules would bring forth hope, liberty, stability, and improved living standards. They were saddened to witness the new inexperienced government fumbling with confusing and conflicting rules. The entire country was in chaos and panic. Although the schools were in session, teachers did not show up and the students were riotous stacking chairs and tables for games. Many merchants and millionaires deserted their enterprises and fled the country. Some could not forebear to see their enterprises confiscated. They committed suicide by jumping off roof-tops or self-immolation. Disturbingly, these happened daily.
One afternoon as my friends and I were playing in the streets, we were startled by a loud noise just overhead. It was a damaged military transporter crashing down swiftly shedding off streaks of black smoke. Fortunately the plane landed on the rooftop of a multi-story building and the passengers were saved. I overheard that the crashed plane was the last departing military flight for merchants to escape the country.
After liberation, the government office campus was a deserted ghost-town. Inside were overturned chairs and tables and scattered documents. Many looters were stealing furniture. Seven or eight of us, curious youngsters, also entered the campus to take a look. We were stopped at gun-point by a patrolling policeman threatening to arrest us if we did not leave immediately.
There was also widespread looting in some urban military outposts. I had seen live bullets and grenades inside the fences of some of the outposts. Many young people trespassed into those dangerous depots and stole guns, bullets and grenades. Some youngsters hammered open the bullets and caused detonations harming themselves. There were often gunfire mishaps. Others accidentally pulled the grenade-pins and were killed. Young people were often the victims.
Greed’s Bitter Fruit
There was a rice retailing cartel. He escaped the country. His rice storehouses were looted. There were mountains of bags of rice, each weighed 100 kg. The throngs of looters pulled bags from the bottom. Suddenly, a landslide of hundreds of bags tumbled down falling on the looters. Many of the looters were caught off guard and were buried underneath. A youngster from our neighborhood was one of the unfortunate casualties buried underneath many rice bags. Although he was eventually pulled away from the rice heap, he could not be resuscitated.
There was a nice guidepost motto in the Bible: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief” (Proverbs 14:12-13). A person should avoid evil and greed, but live according to God’s guidance. “Teach me your way, LORD ; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.” (Psalms 27:11) “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Author: Mrs. Thuyen-Anh (Ancy) Lee was born in Vietnam. She immigrated and was educated in Sweden as a teenager. Her profession was social work until she married Pius in 1994. The couple responded to the calling to be ministers and relocated to NY in 2023.