Author: Ancy Lee
Translator: Pius Lee
I was born in Vietnam with five siblings. I am a second generation immigrant. Therefore we were a busy household of eight. We lived in ChoLớn, South Vietnam. It is a city of Chinese immigrants. During the 60’s and early 70’s Vietnam had experienced many big and small fierce civil battles between the North and the South. The North was under a communistic regime and the South a capitalistic regime. The geographical divide between the two fractions was the Hue Province. Hue is situated 955 km from Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon), the capital of the southern fraction. Many residents fled the civil wars, and there was no exception for the Chinese immigrants there.
The Relentless Wars
My father (dad) often said that throughout his life he fled wars multiple times. Previously in China, he fled the Sino-Japanese War and was nearly killed when he escaped from a Japanese invasion force’s outpost. The Chinese people suffered deeply. Soon after the subsidence of the WWII tumult, dad emigrated to Vietnam for a better life. Nonetheless, dad was confronted with the tumults of the Vietnamese civil war.
In the late 60’s I was barely a toddler and had vague memories. I recollected one time that it seemed the whole family participated in a hide-and-seek game, everybody hid underneath a large bed in one of the bedrooms. That large bed had a large hanging mosquito net. Later, I learned that it was a narrow escape from death as the opposing armies of the fractions exchanged fierce gun battles in front of our home and the mosquito net might be the most effective in averting gun bullets. Suddenly, dad outcried: “Ouch! Tough luck, I’ve gotten hit!” We all thought the same. We were frightened and sweated profusely. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. We were cramped so long underneath a tight space that dad felt numb due to constricted circulations. Dad’s numbed body collided with furniture causing sharp pain and thought that he was hit.
Upstairs we had two renter families. There were also four children. One man stood up to stretch and he was immediately hit by a stray bullet. He felt a burning sensation in his buttock. A bullet bored through a wallet in his hip pocket without harming him. What a narrow escape it was!
The Unwavering Protection of our Heavenly Father
Dad had a similar miraculous escape during one of his fruit hawker errands. Dad was pushing his fruit cart over an open bridge. The split second when dad reached the crown of the bridge, bullets suddenly flew all over the bridge. Dad dodged himself behind his fruit cart. Dad merged out from his cart when the gun rattles had long stopped. He found a large scatter of bullet shells around him. In the 2023 January issue, I mentioned that grandma tried desperately to abort dad when she found out dad was conceived in her womb. Subsequently, dad escaped narrowly from a Japanese invasion outpost. Now dad escaped unscathed in a Vietcong attack. Had not the invisible hands of the Protector God cared for dad, I would have long ago stopped this story-telling series. The Heavenly Father who disdains not caring for a sparrow, would He not care for a person whose life is so much more valuable in His eyes? Jesus’ words were recorded in the Bible: “If it is not permitted by my Father, not a sparrow will fall onto the ground” — “even your hair has been counted; therefore take heart and not be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows” — paraphrased from Matt 10:29-31.
My parents told me later that the Vietcong-soldiers had sneaked into Saigon dressed as civilians multiple times to smuggle weapons and secretly built enclaves to subvert the South Vietnam and American militaries. That was one of their large campaigns. The Vietcong’s strategy failed miserably that time. However, many residents lost their lives.
Eating Contest against Rats over Rice Noodles
During the civil war, the government often enforced curfews. Sometimes the curfew lasted more than three days. Militarized soldiers and policemen strictly patrolled all the main roads. Violators were severely punished. The people would empty out all the food selves of the grocery stores when they heard curfew forecasts. With the shopping frenzy prices shot through the roof for soya sauce, rice, salt, sugar and vinegar even ballooned ten times the ordinary prices. For some items they were just flat out sold-out. Our home had once stocked up a hundred kilograms of rice, thirty-forty kilograms of rice noodle, more than ten kilograms of cooking-oil and salt.
We discovered that there were teeth marking and dried feces of rats in the rice-noodle paper bags. Later we decided to consume the rice noodles first. We raced against the rats for the stable. My younger siblings and I had to sieve through the noodles to pick out the rat feces. To our further dismay at times there were tiny worms in the rice bags too — we also had to pick them out. Jesus said it succinctly in the Bible: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,…, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt.” (Matt 6:19-20)
Rat Terminator Champion Mimi
Fortunately in our home we owned a smart cat called Mimi. She had a white under-hue fur, dotted with yellow and black stripes. Mimi was an expert rat terminator. Mimi was also a prolific mother. Mimi joined our rat eradication SWAT team. Mimi was undoubtedly the champion. She volunteered to provide coverage for our immediate neighbors. Our neighbors praised Mimi many times for her superb skill, saying that with Mimi on patrol they stopped being intimidated by rats. Once Mimi caught five rats in one night, killed them and laid their unmarred corpses in columns in a doorway conspicuous place as if it were a trophy display. Mimi’s ostentatious gesture was a high cry for superiority and we quietly accepted defeat.
Author: Mrs. Thuyen-Anh (Ancy) Lee was born in Vietnam. She immigrated and was educated in Sweden as a teenager. Her profession was social work until she married Pius in 1994. The couple responded to the calling to be ministers and relocated to NY in 2023.
Ancy Lee (translated by Pius Lee). “[Interesting Adventures] Narrow Escape of a Sure Death in Wars” NYSTM Truth Monthly, May, 2023.
當我們一家被迫拋屋棄貨被驅逐到龍安省（Long An）的一個小鎮墟（Thu Thua）之後；我們的戶口被取消，孩子同時也被取消在城市內上學的資格。四哥與我、弟妹都要輟學。
Storm surge causes inundation of large swaths of coastal land. Eleven years ago, storm surge from Hurricane Sandy havocked large damages in New York (NY) and New Jersey (NJ). Today, some of those destructions are still noticeable and remain unrepaired.
The Vietnamese government had planned well ahead and prepared many makeshift-hut developments such as the one we were sent among all the villages and provinces.
Upon the confiscation of our family-cloth-business, there was an undercover policewoman stationed at our home for three weeks every day from 7:00 am till 6:00 pm. Our every move was scrutinized⋯⋯
Autumn is pleasant. It has many public holidays for the most populous countries in the northern hemisphere. In the U.S. we have Labor Day, Columbus Day and the Veterans Day. In China there are Mid-Autumn Festival and Double-Yang Festival.
We were all stunned by the apocalyptic scenes of devastation and destitution caused by wildfires in Maui, HI. The utter sense of desolation and desperation was overwhelmingly sad. It destroyed the idyllic Island of Maui. Many people are still in denial and disbelief when they look at the news reports.
Mom and dad ran a textile and cloth business for thirty years. Their humble street hawker beginning was never remote. Only through thrift living and hard work did mom and dad gradually expand their business and eventually proudly owned a retail shop in the middle of the vegetable markets.
Heatwaves in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere captured the public’s attention. The inadequacy of the central air conditioning units in many of the northern cities testifies to the unexpected increase in air temperature across Northern Europe, Asia and America.
Born in Vietnam, my siblings of six including myself, lived in a Chinese town called “Cholon”. Cantonese was the business dialect that even the native Vietnamese learned to speak. Many of the Vietnamese natives sent their children to Chinese schools.
Man is an adventurous creature. In the pre-pandemic year of 2019 the US travel and tourism industry generated 1.9 trillion dollars in economic output. That was a startling 9% of the nation’s corresponding GDP of 21.38 trillion dollars in 2019.
When the communists took over Vietnam in 1975, my second eldest brother (David), I and my younger brother (Kevin) were studying in the “Same Heart” middle-and-elementary school in Cholon, Vietnam. Originally a private school, it was changed to a public school under the communist government.
My parents ran a textile and clothes retail shop from our home. Under the new communist government after the Vietnamese civil war, every home was eager to sew the new national flag. Therefore, all of a sudden our home business was thriving beyond our wildest imaginations.
Pollen allergy is more commonly known as hay fever. Medically speaking, it is called seasonal allergic rhinitis —- a provocation of the immune system to overreact to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Hay fever occurs mainly in the spring and fall when pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds are in the air.
In the May issue we mentioned the civil war between North and South Vietnam. It finally ended on the so-called “Liberation Date” on April 30, 1975. The North united the country into a communist country.
▪︎前美國國家氣象局 NOAA 氣象預測科研組長
▪︎現國際短宣使團 (義務) 總幹事
▪︎2022年9月起成爲 IFSTM 國宣跨文化訓練講師
▪︎現任 Fairlea Aged Care, Harris Park & Rosehill, Sydney 院牧