Friday, November 18, 2005


I understood the Vietnamese. I knew how they would react in certain situations.

Here’s an example:

The government of South Viet Nam was pretty repressive in many ways. (Remember Madame Nhu, commonly referred to as the Dragon Lady? It was she who claimed to clap when monks burned.)

The Vietnamese police and military did a sweep through downtown Saigon one time. It was supposedly to help the war effort but, in reality, they were looking for girls in rooms with Americans. The government was against inter-racial sex.

I lived, at that time, in an apartment on Tu Do Street, the main street in downtown Saigon. They arrested my girl friend, put her in a truck loaded with women, and hauled her off. I was told she would be jailed anywhere from days to a month.

I knew exactly what I had to do. I found where they had taken her and went there. I checked in at the desk, telling them who I was there for.

Of course there was nothing they could do, that was expected.

Then I sat down to wait. The wooden chair was torture, the night was hot and muggy, there was no fan or air conditioner, and the mosquitoes swarmed.

People from inside came out now and then to see the American who was waiting all night. The word got all around as I knew it would.

When the shift changed in the morning there was much discussion at the desk with many looks in my direction.

Then they brought out my girlfriend and set her free.

She looked around in disbelief. Then she saw me and gave me a questioning look.

I just shrugged my shoulders.

I knew they would do that. I understood the Vietnamese.


Post a Comment

<< Home