Edit Blog Post
Published: March 6th 2006
A somber Ngat who lost two Dads in one month. Her real Dad and me when I left for the states.
One third of the ride South from Hanoi to Saigon Ngat’s father died. We were in a hotel in a small village and I had left early on my bike and had gotten about 10 KM south when Ngat called me on her cell phone and told me I had to return to the hotel immediately.
When I got back to the hotel she told me her brother called and her father Dao Dinh Can had died and she had to go home. She wanted me to go with her but I just felt like I shouldn’t. I wanted to meet her father and was looking forward to that but to be there during planning the funeral, I thought would be a distraction to the family that they didn’t need. Ngat parked her motorbike at the hotel and called her cousin from the North to come and pick it up. She went out on the road and flagged a bus to Hue, caught a plane and was home that day. Her Mother who was still with Grandma Ngoan in the North also caught a plane and flew home.
I was alone on the road. That is the way I
Six photos of Dao Dinh Can's tomb and one prayer service I attended when I got to Ngat's village.
wanted it but I have to admit I missed Ngat. I won’t see her much during the day but every mealtime she was flagging me down to eat here, we stay here and so on. Now I had to do all of that but the ride became much more adventurous.
At the end of the ride I got to visit Ngat’s village and visit her fathers grave. The mourning was still going on. Daily visits to the grave. Her Mother Thi Ban lit incense and said prayers six times a day to her late husband at the family alter. Before I left the states, I watched a video that had General Westmorland being interviewed. He said the Vietnamese do not value life as much as we Americans do. He was wrong on that. To the Vietnamese, family is just about everything. No matter what religion a Vietnamese family adheres to most homes have family alters where past family members are honored. Offerings are placed there and incense burned and prayers given. The mourning goes on for years.
That is why the passing of Ngat’s father, Dao Dinh Can and honoring his Mother-in-law Nguyen Thi Ngoan birthday so interesting.
In an earlier blog I wrote of: “In Bed with a 100-year old women.” I told about how poor she was for 100 years. Well, her daughter, Nguyen Thi Ban, a poor young woman, married the richest man in the village. This came about because Dao Dihn Can father had been the richest man in the village and was killed by the Communist. He was taken away and killed and his body never returned. This made Ngat’s father the sole inheritor of his family’s wealth. But he gave it all up and fled south in 1954. Normally his family would have matched him with wealthy women but since his Mother and Father were dead he could do what he wanted and he married the most beautiful young woman in the village before he fled south.
Arriving in the South with little but his religion and pretty wife he became a rice farmer in the Cantho area of the Delta. Then he joined the South Vietnamese Army and fought for years. With the South’s defeat, he was sent to a reeducation camp. When he was released from the camp he started farming again north of Saigon in Dong Nai Province.
: Like many men in the camps he was released a broken and bitter man. Family members described him as a little crazy. That seems to me to be understandable.
Tot: 1.456s; Tpl: 0.06s; cc: 22; qc: 109; dbt: 0.0925s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 4;
; mem: 1.5mb