This particular letter, written by Vu Manh Tuan, is originally part of a series. However, we only have the second letter translated into English. We did attach the rest Mr. Vu's letters at the end of the post in case there are some who are interested in seeing or reading the accompanying letters.
When going through these boxes of archives, we mainly see documents and letters regarding petitions, reasons for asylum, and other perspective on the Vietnam War. Rarely do we see further descriptions of what life is like inside the refugee camps, where so many were just trying to survive and wait for a chance to be sponsored to America, Europe, Australia, or elsewhere. Therefore, we found this letter of Mr. Vu to be very interesting. He has written to his family overseas, and he is now waiting to hear back about his petition for asylum. In these letters, he talks about his life in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, and it appears that he spent some of his free time making art and teaching art to his peers.
Furthermore, we also attached the photos right after the letter's translation. It appears that there may have been more but we have three currently.
December 1, 1991
Shalin (Refugee Camp)
Dear respected (Brother and Sister),
Today I take advantage of (the opportunity) to write you a letter wishing you and all overseas Vietnamese good health.
The other day I received your translation (of my petition) mailed to my family. I answer back to you immediately. In that translation there was only one error - the year of the matter when I had beaten a public security officer – May 15th, 1988. It was not 1989, because on the 14th of June 1988 my family had left Vietnam already.
And recently, I have learned that Mr. Thang had visited Hong Kong.
As for my family, the kids are all right. I still have the task of distributing food rations in the camp, and when free, I stay home to sculpt from aluminum and plastic. Although circumstances in the camp are not favorable to sculpture, I still try day and night. And I am teaching 6-7 roommates who like art. Recently I was able to finish four (sculpted) paintings (ASPIRATIONS; RED DEMONS; CRUSHING THE COMMUNIST REGIME and PLEASE TELL (THE WORLD) ABOUT OUR BURNING DESIRE FOR FREEDOM). All these pictures I gave to Mr. Binh at Camp 1, for him to mail them out. And now I am working on two additional paintings THE WAY OF HO CHI MINH and THE OCTOPUS, and I will complete both of these paintings in just a few more days. I could have completed all these a long time ago, but in this prison I do not have the conditions to find aluminum. Recently I was able to buy a few pieces of aluminum, (sister)! And enclosed please find a picture of my daughter Vu Anh My, and a picture of myself and Mr. Ngo Anh Giao, for you to remember us by. In closing, I respectfully wish you both, together with all our overseas Vietnamese, good health and happiness.
Looking forward to receiving your reply, and yours always,
Vu Manh Tuan
As mentioned earlier in the post we have attached all of Vu Manh Tuan's letters below, including the translated one. This way, one can see the series holistically as well.