Ed Bradley in Bidong

February 19, 2013

Informative footage



June 30, 2012


Viet Nam Can Tho clams

I had some really delicious clams in Can Tho, Viet Nam.  The restauratnt is actually some one’s house.  It’s often the case.  Living quarters are above or in the back and the restaurants are in front.

This dish was from the big market (I forget the name)  in Saigon.



Summer 2011 the chef

photos by Duc N. Ly

Allrights Reserved.



March 21, 2012

On the Street Hai Ba Trong,  Can Tho Vietnam.

Last summer, I went back to visit my old house in Can Tho, Vietnam.  The man on the motorcycle remembers my sister.  He was our neighbor.


© Duc Ly

The area

© Duc Ly


Tropic Gear

March 20, 2012

Tropic Gear

photo:  unknow source

Viet Nam military jacket


Can Tho River Boats

September 17, 2011

Can Tho Bridge


Some of the children at Mid Autumn Festival party at White Palace, Ho Chi Minh City.

The ballerinas

preparing for the dance

At the Mai Tam House of Hope

Mai-Tam   House of Hope portraits  Photos by Duc N. Ly

Vietnam: A Book of Changes

This image is a good example of how photographers have great eyes for an image that can tell a story.  It has a pop art feel to it because of the repeated imagery, like Andy Warhol’s portrait of Chairman Mao.  The other similarity is the iconography of the subject mater.  Since it is a bust, it has that Roman classicism feel to it.  It’s interesting that I find capitalism in the way the art is presented.  Warhol’s pop method elevated our taste for consumerism and fame.  He put it on the same level of as art.  It is a new art form.  I find the language of western image making in the way I see the work.  I like how each sucessive image is reveal and how the yellowing news paper wrapped around the bust second bust which is older then the newer newspaper wrapings of the first bust, seem to convey the passage of time and also to herald in the news of the day, the change of regime and the impact that it will have on the land.  I do remember the requirement to have a picture of Ho Chi Ming on the wall of every house hold.  This idea was borrowed from Chairman Mao.  In the essay, Mitch mention how much change he saw on the subsequent trips to Vietnam.  These pictures were made over a long period of time during the 1990s.  It is my favorite image of the whole book.

Mitch Epstein’s website

When I left Vietnam after my first trip I was relieved to go. The rough roads, the poverty, the Kafkaesque communications with government officials had drained and depressed me. But a year later and again and again, I felt pulled to return to Hanoi. It was and still is a pull I find hard to define. From my journals and letters it is clear that I was wedded to the intense, bittersweet world I encountered there: – Mitch Epstein.

Amerasian Childfind

June 10, 2009

Amerasion Child Find Network is a nonprofit based in Oregon.  There’s a great story in the Asian Reporter about a family reunion.  The then child,   Thu Pham was separated from the father, an American Military Police Officer.  Nearly fourty years later, the family is reunited in Michgan.  Tu heard about the website and contacted Clint Haines, the CEO of Amerasian Child Find.  Mr. Haines then posted the message with photographs of the father on an Army’s 504th Military Police Battalion’s website/forum. 


La Toàn Vinh Pulau Bidong

November 19, 2008


NOVEMBER 05-1980


I arrived safely, to the end of my dangerous journey at sea, after 5 days facing the death. We were those boat people whose faith had been confined to destiny. In this small boat that carried 69 people, we burst to tears when noticing that we did overcome the risk and danger to finally be here, in Pulau Bidong. It was like in a dream, when I look back to see the immensity of the ocean comparing to the frailty of our small boat. 

We departed from Cần Giờ(Vũng Tàu).  The group was composed by different people categories based on age or location. However we started to act as family members who had the same concern of dealing with the Ocean.   I saw infants who were still in their mother’s arms suffered desperately inside a tiny boat under a burning sunshine.  We cared for each other regardless the size of the boat.  I felt sad, disoriented and lonely even being a man, as it was my fist time away from home and when facing uncertainty in a new country that I would consider as a promised land, as my 3rd country.  During this period of transition, we made a lot of friends who organized different activities to pass time.  We knew that everything was temporary and a farewell was inevitable.  However one should accept the destiny that will separate all relations newly established.  We may see each other again in the next 10, 20 years or more. And it”s true, I met one close friend after 26 years. 


I saw in my memory the island peacefully received almost every day from 2 to 5 landing ships that rapidly increased the number of refugees up to 30,000.


Ecology in the island was awesome.  We had the C beach with its crystalline clear water that stretched smoothly in an arc shape to meet with the hill of Religion at one end and at the other with the longhouse newly build.  Business refugees started their commerce by opening some coffee huts made by cardboards or plastic that rapidly became romantic spots under coconuts trees, for lovers to date.


I draw many sketches of Bidong as the island with its romantic appeal has provided me lots of inspiration.  During my stay, I voluntary worked for the education unit by helping the responsible to prepare models for English teaching and got compensate with papers or ink, in sum with means that enabled me to keep my visual memory intact.

I can still see the island with its big waves that lashed non stop its cliffs at night or the endless pouring rain that lasted day after day.  No one was able to forget about the numerous rats on the island. 


During the whole year of my stay, I collected many unforgettable souvenirs until the time I had to leave the island like my predecessors, and the memory started to fade along with friends who left for ever.  The Jetty quay had witnessed many separations and someone had also wrote a poem about his souvenirs from Bidong

“ Your face and figure will remain in this island,

From that quay you left for ever


Farewell to all memorable souvenirs during my refugee period ..



Boat SS 0937 IAKT 756(KT=Kurla Terenganu)

La Toàn Vinh




Two days ago, La Toan Vinh made a comment on before-pulau-bidong. Mr. Vinh made over one hundred sketches and paintings from 1980-1981. In a series of email exchanges, we communicated about our mutual experiences of Bidong. The drawings are helping me remember some of the details. The artist now resides in Montreal.

Dear Ðức,

It’s OK, I Happy to meet some of BIDONG Man in 80-81



I am living in Montreal now, I escaped from VN since 1980 by CAN-GIO Vung Tàu, then arrived to BIDONG 5 days after

I made some Sketches on BIDONG 1980-1981 and Still keep it on me…

It’s long long time… I hope back to visit that Again in the new year 2008


I’m artist in VN, In Bi-Dong i Worked as designer for H.C.R(high commitee for Réfugees)at Éducation Division then I asked my collegues to give the Materials to make the Artworks as you see…

Thank for HCR helping me to do some thing nice.


Dear La Toan Vinh,
I’ve been thinking about Bidong. I am working on a story about it. Your art work and photos have help me so much. I imagine you sketching on the island…I imagine how you met Ann Cusak.
What became of her and you? Are you pursuing your art?


Pulau Bidong picture on flickr very similar to sketch

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