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dc.creatorLe Dinh Cuong
dc.date.accessioned 2013-05-10T19:00:15Z
dc.date.available 2013-05-10T19:00:15Z
dc.date.issued 2011-03-02
dc.identifier.citation Le Dinh Cuong, March 02, 2011. Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation oral history interviews, 2011, MS 647, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/71121.
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/71121
dc.description This recording and transcript form part of a collection of oral history interviews conducted by the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation and donated to the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. This collection includes video recordings of interviews with Vietnamese Americans native to or living in Texas. This interview forms part of the national 500 Oral Histories Project conducted by the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation.
dc.description.abstract Lê Đình Cương was born in Quang Ngai, Vietnam in 1945, however, his birth year was altered on formal documents to 1947. in 1954, Cuong followed his father to North Quang Ngai, specifically in the village of Mo Duc. He remembers being carried by his father 15 km to and back from Mo Duc to the city every day when his father went to meet with the Phong Trao Mang Quoc Gia organization leaders. (This organization was one formed to protest the actions of Viet Cong). Cuong recalls his memories of his father cooking; his father's specialty was "lòng thoả." His father enjoyed grilling and having company over. A memory that Cuong found unique about Quang Ngai is seeing the many "water trucks" along the fields that were used for crop irrigation. Quang Ngai was known for growing the best "mạch nha" or malt, which comes from a special wheat. Cuong also tells of his memories of the Tet festivities in Quang Ngai which he enjoyed as a child. Cuong's favorite childhood pasttime was soccer. In 1952, Viet Cong forces took over his father's home to house their soldiers; the French released 2 bombs on the house, completely destorying it. Cuong notes that the years 1951 through 1954 were the worst years for the village. Cuong's grandfather and great-grandfather held leadership positions in Hue. His grandfather was an artist who used the money he earned to purchase French weaponry to personally dispose in support of Tran Cao Van's campaign against the French oppression. after his grandfather passed away, Cuong's grandmother moved from Hue to Quang Ngai (Mo Duc), where the entire Le family settled and resided. Both Cuong's grandfather and great-grandfather left behind keepsakes, but all were lost in 1952 when their home was burned down. In 1959, he joined the monastery and studied there for 5 years. After, he became sick and took a leave. In 1963, Cuong resumed schooling at Quang Ngai. In 1965, he went to school in Nha Trang where he obtained his Tu Tai. A year later, he obtained his Tu Tai 2 and began to teach. He was asked to teach at Dang Minh school, a private school in Song Mau, to which he accepted and taught for 2 years. In 1968, he was drafted after the Tet Offensive. In July of that year, Cuong attended the Thu Duc school of officer training. He spent 2 months training at Quang Trung. After receiving his results, he was transferred back to Thu Duc for 4 months. He graduated from the school in January of 1969 and transferred to station at Long Khanh. Cuong, very knowledgeable in the history of Vietnam, is able to recall many details and stories of the war before and after 1945 and recounts images of the war that he had personally witnessed, contributing to his committment to fight against the communist government. Cuong remembers walking to church one day and witnessing Viet Cong officers pushing members of the Cao Dai religion down a well after having bound and stabbed them. Cuong mentions that this was an image he would never forget, and he was adamant in his desire to rid Viet Cong from Vietnam and communism from the world. In 1970 while at Long Khanh, Cuong met and married his wife; together, they had 6 children, 2 of whom passed away. In 1974, Cuong's father-in-law was murdered by the Viet Cong, along with 284 other people who hid in an underground celler at Long Khanh. Cuong's younger brother was injured and handicapped in 1975 by a bomb explosion in the war. In the same year, Cuong was transferred from serving in the army to police at Bien Hoa. Later in 1975, he went to visit his family in Cam Rang, however, he received a notice to report to a reeducation labor camp ("học tập cải tạo"). He spent 2 months in Nam Son, even though he was told to bring enough rice for 10 days. He was then transferred to a camp in Nha Trang, where he was told he would be going to prison. In Novemeber, Cuong attempted to escape; he was caught and beaten. Conditions at the prison were brutal--forced labor for at least 8 hours with little to no food; many people fainted daily from hunger and overexertion Cuong was released after a little over 2 years after he became sick and close to death. After 1975, Cuong's younger brother staged a protest and was also put into prison for 4 years; their parents had to alternate between visiting Cuong and his brother. After being released from prison, Cuong attempted to vuot bien. After 50, 60 failed attempts, Cuong finally succeeded in escaping in February of 1990. From Can Tho, he reached the Phillipines.At the refugee camp, there were 21,000 refugees, each of whom were required to take an "exam" in which they must pass in order to stay and eventually find refuge in nother country; if failed, the refugee will be sent back to Vietnam. Many of those that failed committed suicide in order to avoid returning to Vietnam. Having had already passed the exam, Cuong wanted to help other Vietnamese refugees to improve their chances at passing the exam. When camp officials discovered of Cuong's assisting other refugees, he was arrested, imprisoned, and beaten. Cuong was kept on the island for 3 years and 2 months before he was able to receive permission to leave. In 1993, Cuong received 3 sponsorships: two to the United States and one to Australia. Cuong chose to accept his aunt's sponsorship to Houston, Texas on the basis of "political refuge" where he currently resides. His children are now sucessful and have families of their own. Cuong feels very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities that he has been given at the United States. Currently, he has written 4 novels, and published 2. Cuong believes it is important for future generations to learn the truth of their roots and country's history. He also advises younger people to always move forward, for "if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards."
dc.format.extent 02:07:17.52
dc.language.iso vie
dc.publisher Rice University
dc.rights The copyright holder for this material has granted Rice University permission to share this material online.
dc.rightsPermission to examine physical and digital collection items does not imply permission for publication. Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center / Special Collections has made these materials available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any uses beyond the spirit of Fair Use require permission from owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns. See http://library.rice.edu/guides/publishing-wrc-materials
dc.title Le Dinh Cuong video oral history interview and transcript
dc.digitization.specifications This oral history material was born digital, with video originals in mts, mp4 or mpg format, converted by Fondren Library to an archival master format of directly transcoded H.264 video codec and aac audio codec in an MOV wrapper. Derivative video files are compressed H.264 video codec and aac audio codec in an mp4 wrapper, hinted for streaming.
dc.date.digital 2011
dc.source.collection Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation oral history interviews, 2011, MS 647, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
dc.identifier.digital wrc02791
dc.type.genre oral histories (document genres)
dc.type.dcmi MovingImage
dc.type.dcmi Text
dcterms.accessRights restricted


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