Trinh Kim Duyen video oral history interview and transcript
AuthorTrinh Kim Duyen
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.
Trịnh Kim Duyên was born in 1945 at Thái Nguyên, Vietnam. He has 7 other siblings--5 brothers and 2 older sisters. In 1952, he attended school in Saigon. Duyen's father was pursued by the Viet Minh; by a miracle, he was able to escape them and death by drowning. Duyen's father traveled from Hai Nam to Hanoi and received help and employment from the Hanoi's police department, who also helped transport him to Saigon. In 1954, Duyen and his family fled North Vietnam to find permanent refuge in Saigon, where he continued school at Truong Ba Trieu. Duyen did not excel at school; he graduated high school in 1964 with his Tu Tai 2 and attended college afterwards; he did not do well and could not obtain any degrees. Because of this, he was forced to join the military. Duyen was drafted in 1967 and attended Thu Duc training school where he was inducted into marines class 26 (Khoá 26). He met his wife in 1969. In 1975, he was imprisoned by the Viet Cong; in prison, he broke his right leg. After being released, he worked as a market seller. One of Duyen's younger brother was involved in a protest organization and had to change his name and identification documents to avoid being imprisoned by the Viet Cong. Though eligible for the H.O. program that would allow him to flee Vietnam, Duyen was hesistant in applying during the early stages because he had no family in the United States and was apprehensive about life in a new land. Finally,after pressures from his wife and community, on July 27, 1992, he, his wife, and his 3 children sought refuge in the United States through the H.O. program (H.O 12). In the US, Duyen worked blue-collared jobs to nake a living and continues to work today. Duyen sadly notes that he has no happy memories and regrets that he did not have a childhood growing up.