35 Vietnamese boat people light

A Letter From A Father In Vietnam

(Names have been changed to protect the family)

My Dear Than and Duc,

Your mother and I as well as your brothers and sisters send our regards to you in the peace of God and Mother Maria. By the blessings of God our family is well.

We have just received a couple of letters and a picture of both of you which made us very happy. News of Than's study made us very pleased because we worry about the future and our family.

This year a great dryness has come for a very long time. The rain is one month later than normal years. Now is nearly the end of May (Vietnamese Calendar) and people have not sown the young rice plants yet. The rice fields at Than Phong B are almost all in the organisations group.With seven people in our family we are only allowed to cultivate the limit which they set, which is only sixteen cong. All of the rest I gave to your Aunty and your sister. It was better to give our rice fields to members of our own family than to have them taken from us and allocated to others.

Duy is doing Year 6 this year and I don't know whether he could study at B Binh or Ca mau, because of the difficulties particularly distance.

Than's picture was not bad, though the hair was too long. Try to have it medium as it is uneasy when it's too long like a girl. Duc is playing too much and does not concentrate on his study therefore the family is not happy with him. Have a think, there are many people that are your age that wish to have as good a life as you, unfortunately they don't have a chance like that.. Why are you so lazy and why don't you think about the future and family at all, so that our family could be happy. You are having a good life like that because of the kindness of God, our family couldn't do that? There are many wealthy people and they have tried to escape many times but can't they end up in prison with everything taken away from them and they suffer a lot. Listen to me! Your Uncle and brothers and sisters in Australia and try to make an effort in your study and try to be a good person, with a bright future and able to help the family, society and Parish. That will make everybody feel happy. When the holidays come please ask to see your cousins and learn from them how to be thrifty and to save to help the family while they are in need. About Than's study, your Uncle may decide for you. If you both love your family you must obey and don't forget to pray for us to gather together one day.

Please send my regards to your cousins and their families. Let us pray that we gather again one day.

With the blessing of God everything will be successful.

(Than and Duc's father)

(ps: To this day the boys parents have remained in their homeland and the boys, now men, have had visits between themselves and their parents)