PYD is currently collaborating with Boat People SOS (BPSOS) Youth Coordinator, Trung Nguyen, and Vietnamese Studies Students at Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute of University of Wisconsin-Madison (SEASII) on a summer project to go through a large archive of letters written between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s by Vietnamese Boat Refugees seeking asylum and/or family unification after the Vietnam War.
PYD learned about these letters while interviewing Trung Nguyen (which will be posted at a later date). Wanting to know more about these refugees and their narratives, we have decided to use this summer as a chance to review the letters, many of which tell stories of those who were involved in and affected by the Vietnam War. Moreover, the majority of the content includes pleas to countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia for asylum due to political and religious persecution back home.
While most of the letters were written in Vietnamese, which the SEASII students have graciously volunteered their time to translate, we do have many that are already in English. We will be uploading some of these letters (with the permission of BPSOS) onto our Art Submission gallery!
We would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank BPSOS, Trung, and the SEASII students for all their help! We are very grateful for this opportunity to be able to read through these letters and get a first-hand glimpse at this trove of primary documents. We believe that these documents can help shed a light on a part of history that has not really been explored in depth yet, as well as provide more information to the research on the Vietnam War.
Stay tuned for updates on our progress!