The Vietnamese American 1.5 Generation: Stories of War, Revolution, Flight, and New Beginnings

Temple University Press
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The conflict that Americans call the Vietnam War was only one of many incursions into Vietnam by foreign powers. However, it has had a profound effect on the Vietnamese people who left their homeland in the years following the fall of Saigon in 1975. Collected here are fifteen first-person narratives written by refugees who left Vietnam as children and later enrolled as students at the University of California, where they studied with the well-known scholar and teacher Sucheng Chan. She has provided a comprehensive introduction to their autobiographical accounts, which succinctly encompasses more than a thousand years of Vietnamese history. The volume concludes with a thorough bibliography and videography compiled by the editor.While the volume is designed specifically for today's college students, its compelling stories and useful history will appeal to all readers who want to know more about Vietnam and especially about the fates of children who emigrated to the U.S.
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About the author

Sucheng Chan is Professor Emerita of Asian American Studies and Global Studies at the University of California. She is the recipient of many prizes and author or editor of numerous books, including Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities During the Exclusion Era (Temple, co-edited with Scott Wong), which won the Outstanding Book Award in History and Social Sciences from the Association for Asian Studies.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Temple University Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2006
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Pages
343
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ISBN
9781592135028
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / Southeast Asia
History / General
History / Military / Vietnam War
History / United States / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Sucheng Chan
This collection of evocative personal testimonies by three generations of Hmong refugees is the first to describe their lives in Laos as slash-and-burn farmers, as refugees after a Communist government came to power in 1975, and as immigrants in the United States. Reflecting on the homes left behind, their narratives chronicle the difficulties of forging a new identity.

From Jou Yee Xiong's Life Story: 
"I stopped teaching my sons many of the Hmong ways because I felt my ancestors and I had suffered enough already. I thought that teaching my children the old ways would only place a burden on them."

From Ka Pao Xiong's (Jou Yee Xiong's son) Life Story: 
"It has been very difficult for us to adapt because we had no professions or trades and we suffered from culture shock. Here in America, both the husband and wife must work simultaneously to earn enough money to live on. Many of our children are ignorant of the Hmong way of life.... Even the old people are forgetting about their life in Laos, as they enjoy the prosperity and good life in America."

From Xang Mao Xiong's Life Story: 
"When the Communists took over Laos and General Vang Pao fled with his family, we, too, decided to leave. Not only my family, but thousands of Hmong tried to flee. I rented a car for thirty thousand Laotian dollars, and it took us to Nasu.... We felt compelled to leave because many of us had been connected to the CIA.... Thousands of Hmong were traveling on foot. Along the way, many of them were shot and killed by Communist soldiers. We witnessed a bloody massacre of civilians."

From Vue Vang's Life Story: 
"Life was so hard in the [Thai refugee] camp that when we found out we could go to the United States, we did not hesitate to grasp the chance. We knew that were we to remain in the camp, there would be no hope for a better future. We would not be able to offer our children anything better than a life of perpetual poverty and anguish."

Sucheng Chan
This collection of evocative personal testimonies by three generations of Hmong refugees is the first to describe their lives in Laos as slash-and-burn farmers, as refugees after a Communist government came to power in 1975, and as immigrants in the United States. Reflecting on the homes left behind, their narratives chronicle the difficulties of forging a new identity.

From Jou Yee Xiong's Life Story: 
"I stopped teaching my sons many of the Hmong ways because I felt my ancestors and I had suffered enough already. I thought that teaching my children the old ways would only place a burden on them."

From Ka Pao Xiong's (Jou Yee Xiong's son) Life Story: 
"It has been very difficult for us to adapt because we had no professions or trades and we suffered from culture shock. Here in America, both the husband and wife must work simultaneously to earn enough money to live on. Many of our children are ignorant of the Hmong way of life.... Even the old people are forgetting about their life in Laos, as they enjoy the prosperity and good life in America."

From Xang Mao Xiong's Life Story: 
"When the Communists took over Laos and General Vang Pao fled with his family, we, too, decided to leave. Not only my family, but thousands of Hmong tried to flee. I rented a car for thirty thousand Laotian dollars, and it took us to Nasu.... We felt compelled to leave because many of us had been connected to the CIA.... Thousands of Hmong were traveling on foot. Along the way, many of them were shot and killed by Communist soldiers. We witnessed a bloody massacre of civilians."

From Vue Vang's Life Story: 
"Life was so hard in the [Thai refugee] camp that when we found out we could go to the United States, we did not hesitate to grasp the chance. We knew that were we to remain in the camp, there would be no hope for a better future. We would not be able to offer our children anything better than a life of perpetual poverty and anguish."

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