I lived on Pulau Bidong 1978

January 9, 2007

before-pulau-bidong

This morning some one told me that Malaysia isn’t an Island.

Then I did a Google search on Pula Bidong which turns up Binh Danh’s project. I didn’t even spell it correctly but Google was smart to suggest the correct spelling. I’m excited. It triggered some memories. I remember lying on the island during Christmas time. The PA system broadcast Christmas music. We got better treats from the Uni-chief organization. I can remember eating chicken in a can. Yeah, there were parts of chicken complete with bones stuffed into a can. I remember missing family, other normal Christmas where I got to play with my neighbor’s train track toys.

I remember the same god damn PA system announcing the names of people who would be selected to go and I would be jealous because my name wasn’t called. I can’t recall the elation of the moment when they called my name though. I drop everything whenever the PA spoke, and I listen attentively to every word echoing through the hills.

I learned to swim on the island. My mouth takes in liquid salt, the sea water. The pajama pants I swim in is thread bare.

The refugee’s boats beached and then the weather would eat it away until only a small hull is left where color fishes swim among feces. Once the Boat is beached, the inhabitants would tear away at the planks and salvage every bit of wood for fire or shelter.

To pass the time, the men usually gather around the bunks and deal out hands of cards. They wager in Crackers or biscuits, each shape with its own unique currency. In dire times, the residents of Pulau Bidong consult the oracles that are on the faces of the playing cards. They were sure there were ghosts to communicate with. They ask when they would leave the island. They ask the spirits to carry messages back to love ones at home in Vietnam.

The Wells-I remember waiting in long lines to fetch water from the wells. The people who came before me dug the wells for fresh water. The sandy soil is sometimes red like the color of cinder or lava. The refugees would build a square or round wall often three or four feet high. We used whatever vessels we could find to carry the water. Some of the water containers were made from empty biscuit tins.

The Falls – Sometimes we would fetch water from the water falls, but those were too far up the hill. People would wash their laundries and their bodies. The dirty run offs travel to the lower falls. If you want to bathe, you would have to find the highest fall in order to avoid the dirty run offs. As a boy, I witnessed the strange rituals of a public bath. Beautiful women nonchalantly bathe themselves in clothes. It was a strange sight. The clothes were second skins, wrinkled and shedding. When the threads are submerged in water, they become transparent to reveal the skin beneath. From the mixture of textile and skin a pattern emerged, a new creature emerging.

The Bakery – Early in the morning, my sister and I would go to the bakery. The man loads our cardboard boxes with warm loaves of bread, covers the top with a cloth to keep the heat. The steam rises in the glow of the sand ovens. Men stoke the fire, others knead the dough. We take them to the street and squat down to sell the bread on Vendor row. Sometimes we would have left overs. So my sister and I would open up a can of sardine, put it over a low flame. She slices the bread in half and I stuff the fish to make a delicious sandwich.

The Swimmers would gather at the rocks to journey out on a make shift raft to the merchant boats beyond. They would float back tins of biscuits, green apples wrapped in tissues, Coca Cola bottles. My Uncle bought a few of these merchandise and made my sister and me to sell it on the streets.

The Diarist-Every time I walk past his bunk, he would be writing some thing in a book or a letter. I wonder where he got the paper and pen? I suppose that image has stuck with me ever since and my affinity to write in journals or diaries. I had no scholarly obligations. What I experience I try to keep it all in my head. I didn’t have the luxury of pen and paper. The Diarist must have the fore sight to bring some along. If I did have a journal would I remember the details more clearly? Because each day it seems to have faded away.

The Bed-Sometimes, we wake up with tree saps in our hairs. During sleep, the barks of trees secrete their chemical juice, sticks to our clothes, pajamas, and skin. The men, usually, went into the forest with machetes to fall limbs and carry them to the place of sleep. They fasten the knotty limbs together into a platform, build posts and sink them into soft sandy grounds to support the bed.

The Skiff – In the evening, the metal skiffs mark the horizon. The twilight shimmering and reflected in the waves, marks the end of the day. The patrol boat crosses back and forth in the horizon.

The Cafe – At night, the scent of ground coffee beans brewing in the oceanic breeze. Lovers stroll hand in hand, their feet touching waves, sand creep between the toes. I will forever have an image of lovers sitting down, facing the ocean, an arm around a shoulder. The lanterns hanging from rafters, light the shop.

Bean Sprout – We cultivate mung beans into bean sprouts. We sow the mung beans into sandy soils, put up railings to protect the bed. Then cover the seeds to preserve the moisture. Slowly the beans sprout forth, like magic, like fables.

Some Related links:

2007/12/08/la-toan-vinhs-sketches-of-bidong

http://timecapsule.yahoo.com/capsule.php – I decided to post this particular post in the time capsule under the category of memories with tags Palau Bidong. Years from now I’ll look back at it.

Images of Pulau Bidong found on the web.

http://pulaubidong.org/

http://stanford.edu/~lmchau/linksandresources.html

ducly.wordpress.com/tag/vietnam

Pulau Bidong Research

bustamann.blogspot.com/2005/08/islands-in-sun.html

Squidoo.com/Pulau_Bidong

http://www.experteer.org/HTML/pulaubidong/RefugeePeople.htm

 

 

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133 Responses to “I lived on Pulau Bidong 1978”

    • Lyn Tran Says:

      Hi Duc

      I was on the TG 063!

      So glad to see the “TG 063” came up among the Google search results. I was 14 at the time. Selective memories of the sea journey and life in Bidong are still in my mind.

      302 people boarded our boat. 2 little sisters and a man died during the trip. We arrived in Malaysia at night.

      Looking forward to hear from you.

      Lyn Tran

      • Anna Says:

        Hi Lyn Tran
        I had TG063 list in my http://www.refugeecamps.net, but no detail info.I am glad you remember how many people in the boat. Those are the info I will need to complete the archive.
        When were you leaving VN?When were you arriving the refugee camp?If you can write up the short story about your trip or couple paragraphs, I will put the web page for your boat.
        Anna email me vt268tengah@gmail.com

      • ducly Says:

        Hi Lyn, I was around ten years old. I’m glad you found information on your research.

  1. Harrison Tao Says:

    Thank you for writing this entry. I was foster-parent to a boy, Hung Lam, who spent 2 years (1977-1979) in Pulau Bidong before coming to Philadelphia to live with us. I remember him telling me that he spent his days getting water and having nothing else to do, no school, no structure. He had a hard time adjusting in the USA.

  2. ducly Says:

    Hi Harrison, Thanks for the comment. Wow 2 years is a very long time on that island.

  3. Cindy Says:

    My brother and his wife are taking a trip to Southeast Asia recently. He said he is going to visit Pulau Bidong. I didn’t know Pulau Bidong would allow tourst. It has been so long. I almost forgot how to spell Pulau Bidong correctly. Just out of curiosity, I typed in Pulau Bidong in 1978, and I choose to click on your website. It is a mix feeling to see website posting history of us the boat people during that era. I also lived in Pulau Bidong in 1978. I remember my boat was #27. I spend one year on this island. I remember slept on those bed made with tree branches, fetch water at the well, swimming by the shore at noon, and seing that big French hospital boat far away. I remember listened to announcement from the PA systems for news on new arrive boat people. I would then rushed out to see if my parents and family would be among the new arrival. It was always a big disappointment. My family end up in a different island. I remember the church, the temple, the clinic, and those little shred that was wrapped around with plastic sheet and rice bag. At least the one I lived with my uncle and aunt was like that. Your article brought back memories of my childhood on this island. It is good to know that history of refugee camp on this island exist. Thank you for having this link. I can share these memories with my children.
    Cindy in California

  4. ducly Says:

    Hi Cindy, I’m glad to hear your stories. I’m sure you have many more to share. I’ve forgotten alot. I don’t remember our boat number. I was around ten years old at the time. I don’t remember the French hospital boat. I just remember seening the patrol man’s skif patrolling the coast in the evenings. -Duc

  5. Ismadi Says:

    Hai and hello everyone….
    Im from Malaysia and living in Terengganu. For your Information Pulau Bidong (pulau= island)is no longer accomodate people except there is a Research Centre For Malaysia Terengganu University (www.umt.edu.my)and focusing mainly on marine life. I always go there for a SCUBA diving to collect marine sample and sometimes go to the vietnamese remaining. Like you mention the church, temple, Clinic, school is still there.And in front of the Island there are a number of shipwreck to be seen. I have a collection of photo of them and if you would like to see it i can email it to you.

    Regards
    Ismadi, Terengganu Malaysia

    • Henry Says:

      Hello Ismadi
      I would like to see your collection of photo. Can you please e-mail me the pictures to my email sshenryngo@yahoo.com?
      Thanks,
      Henry

    • Henry Says:

      Hello Ismadi
      I would like to see your collection of photo. Can you please e-mail me the pictures to my email sshenryngo@yahoo.com?

      Thanks,
      Henry

    • Dan Says:

      I would also like to get some of those pictures. I was on the island back in the 79. Had a great and fantastic time there. I am grateful for all the volunteer work and the out pour generosity of Malaysia (Red Cresent). I would not be where I am without these people to work behind the scene. Please send me the pictures so I could recollect my memories piece by piece. It may be better to send one picture at a time since there is a limit on my email inbox. Email: dan.k.lu@gmail.com

    • Danny Says:

      Good morning Ismadi,

      Happy new year, I would like to see your collection photo. can you please kindly email them to: danny69701970@hotmail.com

      Many Thanks & Regards,

      Danny.

  6. ducly Says:

    Hi Ismadi,
    I would like to see some of those images. I don’t see your email on the comment section.
    -Duc

  7. Jim Huynh Says:

    Duc, thanks for the memories and established a forum where thousands like us had journeyed through. I really wish internet and email were part of our daily communication medium. I would still have contact with many of my beloved friends.

    I also landed on this island on 11/19/1978, boat #156. At the time, I was around 15 years old and still can vividly remember the stormy night our captain ran the boat ashore. The boat was 19m long with 278 people and took us 5 days and 4 nights to reach Malaysia from a southern tip city in VN. I recalled our boat stalled during the 3rd night in a severe stormy weather. We thought we were fortunate to spot a passing fishing Thai boat whom turned out to be thugs and demanding items of values before they agreed to pull our boat….our boat almost sunk during the ordeal and had to cut lose the towing ropes….. heard many other less unfortunate boats passed through the Thailand gulf were robbed and raped starting in 1979. Many women were taken away and boats were sank if there were any attempts to resist…[bring some very sad memories…there were no justice done to these pirates].

    Anyhow, I just like many of you listening to the PA speakers waiting for our names to be called…it took my family (partial) 18 months to hear our names. The daily life at the refugee camp island taught me a lifelong lesson of appreciation for freedom and true friendship. From time to time, I would try to instill my hardship during this 18 months at the camp with my kids and hoping they would appreciate what they have.

    Duc, you’re a great writer and recounting the daily experience poetically.

    If anyone recognize this name – Ngo, Hung Can, please email me.

    from Alhambra, California.
    05/19/2007 (wow, almost 30 years ago..i too recall all this from my memories).

    • K Minh Says:

      Jim Huynh,
      I was literally also on the same boat. I was 18 then. I still remember, the pirate, the storm when the captain asked everyone to go down the hulk to keep the center of mass low. I remember that I stay on the deck and the wave hit me from one side to the other. I though we could not make it. I remember, the next day, the captain, a cambodian, cut the throat of a rooster to offer to the sea god. Through the whole trip, I was helping the captain to hand pump the water out from the engine room. What a memory! Remember our boat number, KG 0479. We left Rach Gia.

  8. ducly Says:

    Hi Jim, Thanks for your compliments and encouragements. I’m glad you told us your stories. That’s the point of starting this little forum. I’ll try to post more of what I know. We must have run across each other on Pulau Bidong and not even know it!
    -Duc

  9. Dan Chang Says:

    Hi Duc, my family arrived in the UK in 1980 from Pulau Bidong. I don’t have any memories for our time on island especially as I was only 18 months old. But listening to my grandparents and parents recounting the memories sends a shiver down my spine, all refugees are brave and courageous, it’s a shame to not re-tell the stories so that generations don’t forget.

    Whilst on the island my life was saved by a Chinese doctor who was also a refugee from Vietnam, I’ve spent the last 28 years trying to find him with no success.

    The only information I have is his name is Tan Nguyen (or Nguyen Tan) and he possibly now lives in Canada and around 60 years old. Unfortunatley its a common name and trying to find him is impossible, I put an ad into a Canadian Vietnamese magazine but had no replies, it looks like I’ll never be able to look into my saviour’s eyes and thank him.

    Anyway, thanks for your writing its a great forum for people to re-tell stories and bring back memories buried in the past.

    Dan, London UK.

  10. ducly Says:

    Dan, Your story is incredible. It is a miracle that you survived. I’m glad you are trying to look up the doctor. Much luck to you. I wish more people would come forth with their incredible stories. I’m glad to give you all a forum on the subject.-Duc

  11. LI Says:

    Buoi sang Mr.Duc please visit my Association web site,
    http://www.pulaubidongexworkers.com.

    Cam on nhieu.

  12. ducly Says:

    The link is not working

  13. Minh Tran Says:

    I was very curious about Pulau Bidong as my parents never really told me much about it. My parents arrived in Pulau Bidong around May 1st 1980 – coming from just outside of Long Xuyen. I was Born on May 10, 1980 in Pulau Bidong.

    I was always curious about it because not a lot of people would talk about it. From time to time I would hear stories from my parents friends about people’s boat being attacked by pirates and them taking the women and children with them. I have also found out that my parents boat was also attacked by these pirates and they spared my mom because she was 8 and a half months pregnant.

    I think it is a testimate to the Vietnamese community that so many people have gone through such hard times like this and become successful citizens in other countries, such as where we ended up – Canada.

  14. ducly Says:

    thank you for your story Minh.

  15. Consolacion Says:

    Hi everybody,
    I was on Pulau Bidong from Dec. 1983 to April 1985. I was the French advisor of Zone B School. I’ve got lots of photographs (even though it was forbidden by the Task Force that ruled the camp)and I’ve also got several tapes I registered while I was there, some with French songs and others with Vietnamese ones.
    I’ve kept everything I could, birthday cards, invitation cards, words from my friends departing to resettle in the USA, Australia, Canada and of course France. I wonder where they all are and what they do nowadays … Luyen, Hoang, Trung, Hanh, Tri, Phuong, Dung … I still miss you all so much !

    From Pulau Bidong they say you are going
    I shall miss your sweet face and your smile
    But remember this Malaysian island
    And the friends that will stay here a while

    Come and sit by my side that I tell you
    All the words that I’m longing to say
    Just remember this Malaysian island
    And let’s hope that we’ll meet again some day

  16. ducly Says:

    Thank you Consolaction! I would be happy to host your photographs here on this blog. I would like to get in touch with you. my email is lexly87{at}msn{dot}com

  17. top of the hill Says:

    I stay on the island for 6 months. I would love to see what is look like now. There is a front and back side of the beach. I remember the back beach has really nice white sandy beach, and I swam with my cousin from the back side to the front side which was avery scary experience. But we actually did it ! Lets hope Consolaction show us some pictures of the place we have live once.

  18. Tuan Nguyen Says:

    WOW Nice story mate.

    I was born in 1982 on Palau, and my parents arrived there in 1979, i dunno the boat number, but the boat my parents left were from Vung-tau and he was the captain. They stayed on the island for 4 years and it was a pain for them not understanding english and waiting for their names to be called out over the PA. They were sent back and forth to various camps for documentary reasons for migration but wasnt successful, untill they were granted in 1983/84.

    Ive heard countless stories from them and the experiences on the island. The time they spent there seeing people who they build great relationships with leave and it was daunting for them when will it be there turn.

    Even though parents have lost contact with them peaple, I would like to get in touch with them.

    My vietnamese name is Dong, and parents name is Cong and Phuong…on the island they operated a small business, buying and selling stuff from smokes, eggs, noodles, vegetables just to get by…There house had another another family living with them, and the neighboors were ex-patriots who all got accepted into USA/canada. If any of you guys stumble across this and the name sounds familiar, please email me.

  19. ducly Says:

    Thanks Tuan Nguyen

    @Top of the Hill, I remember seeing the swimmers. The waves were really rough and crashed onto the rock, quit dangerous!

    @everybody, I’m thinking of a project to connect us all together. Maybe a Facebook were it’s private and we can give each other emails for communicating. Just a thought.

  20. vi Says:

    Hi,

    Wow, found your blog by accident. My dad, my sister, and I lived in PB for 6 mo. from ’80-81. I was 8 years old at the time. My job was to fetch drinking water and waiting in line for rations (quarter of a chicken, a cabbage, can of peas). I spent the days hanging out with the boys (I was a tom-boy) climbing the hillside from one side to half the other side of the beach in search of tadpoles and crabs. I spent the night hanging out at the postal office begging people for stamps to add to my collection. We were so dirt poor. My only recollection of the bakery was that I enjoyed the smell of the fried Chinese dough but never had the luxury of trying them. Occasionally, I was given some aroma apple and that was about it. Strange that I still have very vivid memory of what the camp even looked like, including the hospital clinic, the tomb where the guy was killed by a falling coconut, the post office right across from the printing press, the radio announcement, dancehall, and my favorite was the outdoor movie theater on the beach. I hated when it rained, since we lived near the creek very close to the sea, it always flooded. My worst nightmare was waking up in the middle of the night running from flood water full of sewage and stinky ginormous cockroaches.

  21. ducly Says:

    Hi Vi, Your comment trigger some memories from me. I do remember the outdoor theater too but I think mine was at the Kula Lumpur transitioning center. There was much development after I left in 1979 I assume. Oh I remember eating peas and chicken from a can. I play with tadpoles and crabs too. I don’t remember there was a post office. There was a big building with guard around the documentation office. I still can see the make shift structures and the bright blue tarps we used as shelter. The corners of the vinyl sheets were grommeted with a large hole to allow for strings to loop through and be fasten. There was not much privacy. I could hear all of the depressing arguments between husbands and wives.
    Thank you for you comments.

  22. Tuan Nguyen Says:

    Yeh the huts every family was send to didnt have a front door, and not a seperate room for showers, so it was just a piece of blanket or material put up across to make a shower room….funny how my dad was tellin me stories how some huts had single girls living next to single guys and the guys would just set up there own shower where the girls are and poke through the wall to make a hole and peek roflmao.

    did you guys hear about how the canteen was always raided? or neighboring houses with plumb trees, or vegetable gardens getting raided by bandits running out of the camp searching for stuff to bring back for exchange…funny.

    my parents even told how some chinese/malay lady wanted to adopt me….

  23. ducly Says:

    Tuan, you must have been a cute child…lol
    I remember the ‘shower’. Basically, the top has a make shift container that would use gravity to dispel the water through a large can with holes poked through the bottom that was the faucet. some one had to pull water on demand above. One stood over a pit lined with cross beams. The walls of the stall was some sort of plastic…hopefully opaque. I’m sure there were looks of peeping toms!

  24. Tuan Nguyen Says:

    Hey Duc, are you on facebook? are you going to make a group for this to connect all those people who had stayed on palau??

  25. ducly Says:

    Yes Tuan, I’m on face book. My account name is Duc Ly. Are you? I would like to make up a group for the Pulau Bidong Alumi. What do you think about this. Would you join?

  26. Linh Tran Says:

    Hi,

    I arrived in P.Bidong in 1983, boat #273. One thing that is still vivid in my mind is the rats. We have them biting on our toes at night too.

    I still remember that Cao Uy has a rat elimination program that trades certain number of rats for condensed milk. Anyone in that era??

    If you have Pulau Bidong Alumni, I would join….

  27. ducly Says:

    Linh, I just invited you and many others who have made a comment on this post to join Facebook. Then we can create a group for PB Alumni if there’s enough interest. I would like to post a picture of my id from Pulau Bidong, if I can find it.

  28. ducly Says:

    I’ve created a group for us on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4218065665&pwstdfy=d89a1685f450519a3a4729f6348f85be
    I’ve up loaded pictures. I arrived on 07-11-1978, Boat Number is PK4037


  29. Dear Duc Ly,
    Thank you for setting up this web site. My parents and family escaped from Vietnam in May 1978. We landed on ‘Pulau Besar’…A few months later, my dad went over to Pulau Bidong to help to set up the island. I want to find out more details about the set up of this island….I do not have much details about the island itself, but knowing that my (late) dad was one of the people that were originally involved in setting up this island – I would love to know more about it . The island that we were on (Pulau Besar) – is now a holiday resort (I believe)…What about Pulau Bidong – Has it also become a holiday resort too?

    • Alex Says:

      Often, people looking for the history of the camp confused the real Pulau Besar Islands (there are two) with the refugee camp. The actual site of the Pulau Besar Refugee camp is actually is the across from the Merang Jetty which takes the people to Bidong Island. The location is not actually an island surrounded by the ocean, but it is part of the river delta. The location is cut off by the river to the mainland, but you can swim across to the mainland. I recall swimming in the river as a kid and fishing along the beaches. The site is now barren with no buildings. . Eventually, most of the region surrounded by the rivers were occupied. Because of safety concerns, that is why the government moved the refugees to the Bidong Camp in the background.

      The link below shows the rough area in 1978/1979 era

      http://wikimapia.org/#lat=5.5325258&lon=102.9415298&z=16&l=0&m=b&search=pulau%20besar

  30. ducly Says:

    Hi Linda, I believe there are very limited visits to Pulau Bidong. There are not allowing too many people into the place. In and around the corral reef, there are divers. It’s not a resort yet. There are organized trip on to the island. Not all of the dug wells have been filled, just covered up so it is the potential danger of falling in to the wells. The island is about 1 mile in diameter, it’s almost a perfect circular shape of land. I don’t know much about the set up. Although this is something I’m also interested in. I try to look up maps in the University departments but I can find out much. I’ve had more luck with Google.

  31. LI Says:

    Dear linda,Duc.
    from 1975 to 1978 all Vietnamese refugess landing around Malaysia land was places at Pulau Besar. End of 1978 Pulau Bidong Camp was open until 1991.
    Now nearly P. Besar become priority jetty to P. Bidong.
    From P.Besar we can see P. Bidong clearly.
    There are limited visiting because we need build some basis necessary like toilet, also Terengganu Government plan to build again some building like before for heritage tourism.Beside that around P. Bidong sea now we have UnderWater Museum.Please come n visit P.Bidong, Terengganu especially next year was Terengganu Visit Year.

    Thanks.
    Rosli Mohamad

  32. LI Says:

    Linda n Duc,
    About set up Pulau Bidong become a camp, that true.P. Besar so nearly with mainland ( so many Village around )
    so dangerous to refugess because people can swimming to the island,safety no manage nicely,so crowded . We must close P.Besar temporary camp. Terengganu Government choose P. Bidong become new Camp.
    By that time we need many voluntary worker to set up P. Bidong,clear n cleaning up.We taken so many Vietnamese worker.At beginning P. Bidong Camp , so many thing are manage by Vietaneseme refugees.Not much local worker.Old local worker inform me, that time we used vietnamese pilot to drive a boat from mainland to P.Bidong (carry food,clothes,medicine,etc )

    After that MRCS (Malaysia Red Cross Society )taken over the camp.More n more local worker working. I joint with MRCS at 1987.

    Rosli Mohamad


  33. Dear Duc & Rosli,
    Thank you for your responses. I am in the process of having a ‘personal’ memoir written up about this. My family and I escaped Viet Nam nearly 30 years ago.I was 9 years old. I have since married,have one child and another on the way. ‘Til this day, the journey that my family have been through is still burning in my mind – I haven’t been able to tell the entire story to my husband (He’s Australian)….Everytime I tried – It’s just too painful and emotional to tell – But I want to tell it – And so the best way to do so is through ‘writing’…I’d love for my children to learn about it too….. Thank you for setting up this web-site Duc.

  34. Anh Dung Tran Says:

    I once took refuge in Pulau Bidong too, and was among the lucky lasts to arrive before the cut-off date (14 March 1989) when they started the screening process. Our boat arrived in January 1989, boat #MC229.

  35. Johann Nguyen Says:

    I was born on 18 July, 1980 on Pulau Bidong. Many of my friends know me as Bi.

  36. Derek Says:

    Although I never set foot in Pulau Bidong, I was very appreciative of all the messages posted on your blog. Some of the scenery and daily lives at the camp were very similar to Pulau Tanga that I took refuge for almost a year. I remembered vividly, the small fishing boat I was on along with 127 other people on board; departed from Travinh October 30, 1978 and arrived to Pulau Tanga on November 8, 1978 after 8 days at sea. Our boat number was ML123.
    I would like to join your Facebook if don’t mind.

    Thanks

    Derek

    • Dan Says:

      I am from TraVinh also and was in Pulau Bidong sometimes in the late 70’s. our time line may overlapped. Wonder if we were on the same boat. Don’t remember much since I was very young. Moved Canada and now living in US.

  37. Thuy Ngo Says:

    Hi Duc,

    Thanks for the forum and share your story, My twin brother Son Ngo was was residence of Pulau Bidong in 1982 at the time we were only 8 years old and all by ourself. it was a perilous journey to the island and it was tought getting by on our own on the island. Thank again for sharing.

    Thuy

  38. ducly Says:

    Hi Derek,
    We would love to have you join the group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4218065665

    Hi Thuy,
    Thanks for your comment!

  39. lien nguyen Says:

    Hi Duc, thanks for starting the sharing memoir.
    I was in this island 6/83-1/84, I cried when reading note from Consolacion (do you remember Dr. Thang Nguyen who spoke both French and English? and worked at Sickbay)
    I clearly remember the song:
    From Pulau Bidong they say you are going
    I shall miss your sweet face and your smile
    But remember this Malaysian island
    And the friends that will stay here a while
    Come and sit by my side that I tell you
    All the words that I’m longing to say
    Just remember this Malaysian island
    And let’s hope that we’ll meet again some day

    May I have photos from Consolacion or Duc?

  40. ducly Says:

    Hi Lien,
    Thank you for your comment and the nice song. Sure you may have the photos. Let me know which ones.
    -Duc

  41. lien nguyen Says:

    Hi Duc, where should I check or choose the photos.
    Thanks
    ntbl08@uahho.com

  42. Ken Says:

    Hi Duc,

    I was on ML123 and landed on Pulau Tanga, not Bidong. Could there be two boats with the same number?

    Anyone here remember Tanga and ML123, departed from Tra Vinh?

    Cheers,
    Ken (Kha’nh)

    • Chi Says:

      Hi Ken,
      I was on another boat that left from Tra Vinh that same time and day, the owner was Tuong Hiep. I think your boat and my boat were seperated after the storm, and I later arrived at Pulau Bidong.

  43. ducly Says:

    Hi Lien,
    Try this link http://bidong.blogspot.com
    Hi Kha’nh,
    Thanks for posting your comment. I hope you get your answers
    -Duc

  44. Derek Says:

    Hi Ken,
    My boat ML123 departed from Travinh on October 30, 1978. The owner of the boat was My Lai. You & I may be on the same boat.
    Derek (Vu)

    • Chi Says:

      Do you remember there was another boat, the owner was “Tuong Hiep”. It departed from Tra Vinh the same day, same time with your boat. The two boats seperated after the first night due to the storm and we landed in Malaysia and then were moved to Pulau Bidong.

      • Henry Says:

        Hello Chi,

        I’m on the “Tuong Hiep Boat”.
        Right now I lived in San Jose, California.
        Where do you live?
        Keep in touch.
        Here is my E-mail
        sshenryngo@yahoo.com
        Henry(Thanh)

      • Derek Says:

        I remembered both of our boats left Tra Vinh together on October 8th 1978. The next morning (I don’t remember the city) both of our boats were stopped by the local navy patrol boats. Your boat got off first. One by one the passengers were searched and their valuable belongings were confiscated. We got help from people on your boat gestured us to hide valuable jewelries when they walked back to their boat. Several hours later, when our turn to get offshore; majority of our valuable belongings were hidden on the boat or in some places safe that the communist soldiers were not able find. The authority did send some solders to search our boat.
        After the solders humiliated us and took away most of our precious possessions. We were allowed to get back on the boat. It was late in the afternoon and the low tide prevented us from leaving right away. That night at sea, both of our boats left that city side by side set course to the unknown until a rough storm that broke off the light pole on my boat. By day break we lost contact of each other. Your boat ended up on Pulau Bidong. After 8 days lost at sea, my boat carried 127 passengers and one 3 month old baby arrived safely on Pulau Tengah.

        Derek

      • Derek Says:

        Correction on my story:
        We left Tra Vinh on October 30, 1978 and arrived to Pulau Tengah on November 8, 1978.

        Derek

    • Henry Says:

      Hi Ken,
      My boat BT-0295 departed from Travinh on the same day as your boat. I don’t know who the owner was. I lived in Pulau Bidong for one year. My boat 132.
      Henry (Thanh)

  45. Phong Says:

    Hi Duc,

    Great website.
    I was there 1980 and my boat number BB743.
    I am planning to visit the island with my wife before we are having baby. I plan to take ground transportation from Singapore to Terengganu and stay at local hotel, which I am still looking for, and take a private boat drive to the island. If anybody been there and have any recommandation???

    Thanks in advances.
    Phong & Lyanne

  46. LI Says:

    Dear Phong&Lyanne,
    Just to contact me at lie3827@yahoo.com and i will
    arrange everything.

    Best Regards
    Rosli Mohamad
    ( Pulau Bidong Ex-Workers Association )

  47. Danny Nguyen Says:

    Hello Everyone
    My name is Danny Nguyen from WA, my Vietnamese name is Dung Nguyen. I came to Pulau Bidong in 1988 just before the camp closed, boat number MB936. Thanks Mr. Duc for sharing the memories with us.

    • Duc Khuu Says:

      Hi everyone, and Danny Nguyen,
      I was is the same boat with you Danny – MB936. It’s was 136 (?) people on the boat and we left Con tien (O Mon – Cantho) right? The boat stuck in Rach Gia almost all day….
      I stayed on the Island only 1 month and 20 days… ya… I still remember the fall… hihihi.. Thank Mr. Ly for sharing great memories…

  48. nazli aziz Says:

    Hello All.

    I am curating an art exhibition called Portrait of Bidong and would like to quote the posts from this blog.

    I am a Malaysian and an owner of an art gallery in Kuala Lumpur. We curate shows of personal journeys. Our first was a show of the artistic journey of 21 artists from one of the culturally rich states in Malaysia, i.e. Perak.

    Our next exhibition in August (to be officiated by the Minister of Culture & Arts) will be called ‘Portrait of Bidong’. It is about an impressionist artists’ journey to this island. He is a diver and he paints underwater impressionist art.

    In one of his poems depicting the island, he mentioned how serene the underwater scenery is, being heavenly to fish colonies whilst remembering the historical legacy of the island, in particular, as a refugee transit point.

    I will post pictures of his artworks soon in my blog :

    http://thr36ixty5ive.wordpress.com/ and also in the website :

    http://www.galerichandan.com

    During the opening ceremony and in our press releases to promote the show, we would like to relay some of these stories of hope from the vietnamese people who was there and would be honoured to be able to quote some of the posts from this website. Our aim is to educate and to relay the historical and natural significance of this island so that it will not be lost.

    NAZLI AZIZ

  49. Susan Nguyen Says:

    Hi Duc,

    I was a refugee at Bidong as well. I found your site recently and had sent in a comment. Did you receive it? Please let me know. Thank you.

    Susan Xuan Le Nguyen

  50. ducly Says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have received your comments and they are posted below. Thank you for making the comment. If you like to write to me, any one out there. My email is lexly87{at}msn{dot}com

  51. KHANG Says:

    Iwas on Pulau Bidong 1989 or 1990 MC483 i had some of pictures of pulau bedong and sungei besi would like to share with every body but i don’t know how to post those up on your web ……very good web site for every body lived in there…
    Thabnks

  52. ducly Says:

    Khang,
    You can send images to lexly87[at]msn[dot]com
    I would be glad to post them.
    -Duc

  53. Ken Says:

    Hi Derek,

    I am so glad to hear from you! We were definitely on the same boat. I thought I would remember everyone… Are you still in touch with anybody from that boat (ML123). I was one of the ealiest to leave Tangah in Jan 79.

    Let’s stay in touch.

    Ken (kentang100 at google mail)

  54. Sonja Says:

    Hello! Ever since I was little, my dad would frequently speak about Pulau Bidong. I know he started there in 1982, but he doesn’t remember much of it in detail. But perhaps you met him? Son Ngoc Le. Actually, what I really wanted to ask most of all was, do you know an old captain who ran an oil rig near the refugee camp? He saved my fater…the boat he was on(along with 21 others) sank as soon as everyong just switched boats. Of all of my fathers stories, the captain seemed to be the most ironic. you see, the captain called my dad up to his office to speak with him because my dad was the only one out of the group that knew a little english. It turns out, the captain can speak vietnamese too! hahaha what a silly old man. but one day, I want to thank him or at least do something to honor him.

  55. Cuong Tran Says:

    Hi Duc,
    I found in here a very good diary, because we lived there from mid 78 to march 79. And one thing I remember the most is my 6 month daughter almost die just because I did not have $60.00 to pay to the Vietnamese doctor association to get a pass to get in the hospital ship on the island when she was very sick. To live there , I had to build my “apartment” by myself. We were also the one who build the church to have place to pray on Sunday.
    Thank a lot for refresh my memory,
    Cuong van Tran

  56. Tuan Says:

    Thank you for writing down all our common memories of Bidong. I remember the PA system, and our names were always called ( our family friend were working there and they would play jokes on us). I remember the Shark Island, and the men who would swim there on bets. I remember, the coffee shop on the beach. I remember banging on tin roofs for TET when fire crackers weren’t available. I remember … how i still miss Bidong.

    1988-1989 (7 years old)

  57. Hung Says:

    I never forget the night we came to Palau Bidong
    “Khu G” a beautiful beach
    I still see the picture of a man who held a baby
    on one hand, the other hand pulled a body of e woman in water.

    Palau Bidong is part of my life.

    Hung

  58. ducly Says:

    Thank you for all of your comments, It makes us feel less alone and celebrate what we have been through! I love reading each and every one’s remembrance and reading it again and again. Sometimes I don’t know if I’ve made things up. But your same memories confirm my memories and that is a gift we share.-Duc

  59. giang Truong Says:

    Will create an facebook acct just for this. Can I join? I was there for 7 months in 1987, my sister and I.

  60. ducly Says:

    Giang Troung, Please join.

  61. Phuc Bui Says:

    Hi There,
    I came to Paula Bidong when I was 13 yrs old and stay for 8 months in 1988-1989. My boat was MC187 and I am looking all friends at that time such as Thuy Nguyen, Phuong, Tri and cac anh em o Cao Dai. Please contact me if you get this message: peter_bui04@yahoo.com

    Bidong is part of my life and never forget it!

    Best
    Phuc

  62. Chi D. Le Says:

    I was six years old and was in Bidong in late ’78. I thank God for my incredible parents whom somehow took care of me and my 5 other siblings. The place was terrible, yet beautiful at times. It was terrible in that there were horrible sanitation issues and of course lack of fresh water and food. On the other hand the beautiful part was seeing the natural surroundings of the place and most importantly the resiliency and ingenuity of all the people there. There examples taught me as an adult to never give up and be grateful for what we all have. Peace.

  63. Andrew Ngo Says:

    My parents, An Ngo and Phuong Du were on boat #91 MH375 from Ganh Hao (Ca Mau), VN to Pulau Bidong on 10/22/1978. They lived in Section “F” near the helicopter pad (by means of the rear of the beach).

    My dad (An Ngo) might be the baker you may be talking about as he said he was the only baker he knew on the island during late 1978. He said he also put the cloth on top of the bread and sold it for people. He would sell 2 loaves for $1. They said they would just make the bread and they sold the bread for about $10.

    My mom (Phuong Du) made a pastry called Banh Bia. Her son was born on May 28th 1979 (Kevin Ngo, or Bidong Cuong). A lot of my mom’s friends took care of Kevin Ngo, aka Bidong Cuong. She wants to connect with those who knew them.

    Also, if anyone knows the nurse who delivered her son, please ask us (phuong168 [at] sbcglobal.net) There was another baby girl who delivered right at the same time.

    We were planning to go back to Bidong Island this Christmas time but then the tour called and said that it was Monsoon season so they were closed until March. Does anyone know of another tour that does a tour of the island?

    My parents plan to connect with anyone they may have talked to, communicated with in Bidong Island.

    Any of these names ring a bell? An Ngo, Phuong Du, Minh Canh Du, Quang Canh Du (captain of MH375 boat #91), Hong Canh Du, Hui Canh Du, they were all part of my parents siblings.

    -Andrew Ngo writing for Phuong Du and An Ngo from San Leandro, California, USA.

    • nghia Says:

      Hi Andrew, I was on the same boat! Mh375….We stayed on Pulau Bidong for 9 months and ended up in Beaverton Oregon around October 1979. I was 7 at the time but memories for those 9 months will be with me forever. Good and bad. Do you remember the first day we landed? How the cops beat us on the beach with no mercy when the captain beached the boat? How about the warm bag of white rice they fed us in the Gas plant that night? if you’d like to connect with me, please email me @ bridgerep@yahoo.com

  64. sabri Says:

    dear andrew,
    nice to heard you like to visit Malaysia and bidong again, kindly please mail me and visit my blog bidongmemory.blogspot.com.

    I try to give you some latest information about bidong’s.

    In november to February tourist activities in eastcoast islands totally closed for safety manner.

    please mail me. Thakyou

  65. Andrew Says:

    My family’s story is posted here, pulaubidong.wordpress.com

    Sabri, my email is andrewngo1760@gmail.com

    I’d be interested in talking to you.

  66. Hong Lieu Tada Says:

    I lived on Pulau Tanga from November 1978, boat 001, till April 1979. Does anyone from this part of refugee camp too?

  67. Thuy Cao Says:

    Name Thuy Cao
    Boat: Tho 592
    Time: May 1980- Oct 1980 (Bidong)
    October 1980-January 1981 (Sungei Besi)
    Jan 1981 : arrived to Canada
    So many things to tell, first of all I just want to thank the people who doing this site. I worked at the Jetty bridge. I had witness so many things like new boats arrived with starving children, exhausted women and men. I had said goodbye to many people who go to Australia, Canada, USA…many tears, many joy, heard 128 times of the song “ngay mai em di , bien nho ten em goi ve….'”. The worst memory I had was one of the family who went to Australia. On the night before they left the island, a heavy rain knocked down the tree next to their little shed. The tree killed their two children instantly. I had to drag the husband and wife to leave the island the next day….the mom passed out, the husband told me : that all he had were the two kids, and now what is the point to go to Australia….I still think about it every now and then of what he said. One of the person who help me to survive in the island is Rosemary. She is an UNHCR EDucation Advisor and her name is Rosemary. If anyone know any things about her please , please let me know so I can find her and thanks her.
    Sincerely yours.
    Thuy Cao.

    More stories next time..chao

  68. Sabri Says:

    dear my friend Hong Liew Tada,
    somethings that in my knowlegde, there are no pulau tangga at Malaysia, but Pulau Tenggol. Pulau tenggol located 100 km southern Pulau Bidong, please visit my blog bidongmemory.blogspot.com tq

  69. Derek Says:

    Hi Hong Liew Tada:

    There was an island called Pulau Tangah (Tanga?). I lived on the island from November 8th 1978 to July 12th 1979. I remembered the population was between 4,000 to 9,000 refugees while I was there.

    Derek

  70. sabri Says:

    Now i found Pulau Tengah, It’s located 200 km southern of Pulau Bidong. Please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulau_Tengah

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  72. Giao Says:

    Hello Duc and all,
    I arrived at Pulao Bidong in November 1978 I lived in the Christian church (on the hill) between the catholic church and the Pagoda. We had many classes during the days teaching English, French … Our boat number TG 063 i think – we left from My~ Tho. I also had a friend used to live in Khu C office, he wrote diairy every day. Just wonder is any chance it’s the same person you mentioned Duc? Did you live in Khu C? or the man you mentioned who wrote diary was in Khu C?. Would like to hear if any one from the same boat as mine? Anyone came to student languages at “Do^`i To^n Giao'”

  73. ducly Says:

    Giao,
    I was too young to know much or remember much of it. I do remember the English, German, and French lessons now and then.


  74. I lived in Pulau Tanga!

  75. anuar Says:

    Hi All,

    I visited a Vietnamese restaurant in Saint Louis in 1993 and the owner told me that he was once stayed in Pulau Bidong.

    Anybody want to share with me about Pulau Bidong, please do so as I live very cloce to this island

    Thank you

    Anuar
    anuarngah@lonpac.com

  76. anuar Says:

    There is no Pulau Tanga ….. must be Pulau Tenggol in Dungun about 100km from Pulau Redang. I was born in this town.

    Anuar
    anuarngah@lonpac.com
    brekmoxx@yahoo.com

  77. thu huong Says:

    hello anyone
    my name le minh tri ;I arrived paula bidong 87′ boat mc165 ;then work for health education;hope to see any old friend

  78. Md Ghani Ibrahim Says:

    Hi anyone,
    My name is Ghani Ibrahim, and I was one of the teachers at Vocational School on Pulau Bidong. I was there from 1989 to 2001 and was at Sungei Besi for 6 months before joining UN mission in Cambodia.

    I would love to get in touch with my ‘students’ who have gone through the business studies courses there. And also the Vietnamese staff at Vocational School then.

  79. Thông Says:

    My name is Thong and I would love to hear from people who came to the island on the same boat from Vung Tau, ĐN0388, there were 256 people altogether on that boat.
    I was in this Pulau Bidong from February 1979 until August 1979 and then to Australia.

    • thu nguyen Says:

      Anh Thong, em co gui cho anh cai email. Minh di cung tau do. Ma em luc do chi co 13, 14 tuoi thoi. Khong nho anh Thong la ai het.
      Thu (co dau nang).

  80. Mei Chin Says:

    Hi,

    I’m with the tracing service in Malaysian Red Crescent. I’d like to find out if anyone who have
    boarded a 24 meter boat from Can Tho, Vietnam sometime in March 1978 have heard of Mr Thai Kimm Tuong or Du Phuc Chhuong, roughly 60 years old.

    The other person I’d like to know if anyone knew about the whereabout of Ms Kang Siv Kheng who left Kampong Saom, Cambodia in 1983 in a small boat about 30 pax. She’s about 40 years old now.

    If anyone have any news of them, please dont post it up on the blog but email me at limmeichin@gmail.com
    on any info.

    Thank you.

  81. Lee Nguyen Says:

    Hi Duc,

    After reading your story at the Island, it bring tears to my eyes of my childhood memories at Pulau Bidong. I was there in the 80s. I was only 10 at the time, but somehow I dont remember much. My childhood memories at Pulau Bidong were catching crabs from home made spear, drowning the infested rats in the ocean, swimming inside the shipwrecks, going up the mountain with my uncle to use the bathroom, crossing the mountain to the untouch beautiful beach, and eating beans everyday in the can. Now I know why I hate beans so much. You are a very good writer. I do have a favor the ask. I am having a family reunion this Christmas 2009 call Pulau Bidong Reunion. All of my uncles, aunts were on Island and will be here this year. Im looking to do a video slide show at the reunion and would like to include pics of the Island such as shipwrecks, hospital, post office, schools etc…. Is there by any chance you have any? Would love to see it and thank you in advance. Hope to hear from you soon.

    PS. One day I would like to visit Pulau Bidong. Maybe we should organize the trip. My email address is leeho0035@yahoo.com. Thanks again.

  82. Bill Lai Says:

    Hi Duc,

    Thanks for posting your memories of Bidong island. I was 7 when our boat #101 arrived in summer of 1977. Our blue tarp shelter is next to the bakery. I remember smelling the wonderful baked goods every mornings. From our shelter, it’s 3 minute walk up hill to the Buddhist temple and the church. I learned my first christian song “500 miles away from home” in 1978. Since my family are buddhist and so we were regulars at the temple. I remember the market where you can buy apples, cokes, and pho chicken noodle soup. I remember passing by the cafe. I once fell into a ditch trying to get a mango and thought the dirty sewer would kill me if I don’t hurry to the beach to wash it off only to see feces floating. We used ouiji board to ask when we’ll leave the island. We left in May of 1979.

    Thanks for keeping the memories alive.

    Bill.

  83. Nguyen L Xuan Says:

    Hi,

    I am looking for a very dear friend of mine. Hope to find her on this post. Her name is On Thi Tuyet Nhung. Any information of her whereabout would be greatly appreciated.
    Xuan

  84. Tuyen Le Says:

    Hello my name is Tuyen. I was 12 years old when I came to Pulau Bidong with my Aunt in 1978 and I remember that it was a very beautiul island. When we arrived people came to collect information which included our names, birth dates, and boat number that we arrived on, which was #K-G 0382. I remember that the island was divided into six sections, A thru F, and the Mayor of the island decided where the refugees stayed. My Aunt and I were assigned to Section C and at the time there were 165 people on the island. We stayed for 7 1/2 months and when we left there was about 8 thousand people. I remember one time when I went to the water falls to wash clothes I took my shoes that my cousin had given me off because I thought I might fall and when I finished washing clothes and returned to get them someone had already taken them.

    The Captain of the boat we were on left in middle of same night to return to Vietnam to get his family and in 1999 when I returned to Vietnam I had the rare oppurtunity of seeing him again only to find out that when he had arrived back in Vietnam he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prision for helping the refugees to escape Vietnam.

    More Later.

  85. Nguyen L Xuan Says:

    Tuyen, I can relate to your feeling because I was a teenager too when I came to the island. I was 15. I had the greatest time of my life. My mom and dad and us kids were together all the time so I did not have to baby sit my younger sibblings.

    Stress of the workdays no longer existed so all rules that normally applied to me were cut loose. I was free to make friends, hang out, explore the island…lol

    Love it.
    Xuan

  86. Nguyen L Xuan Says:

    NHUNG

    WHERE ARE YOU?

    • Tuyen Le Says:

      hi xuan, right know i living in State of North Carolina.

    • Tuyen Le Says:

      hello again xuan, i wish i knew who your friend were.I know! why don’t you go on face book or my space, you might of could find your friend that way.wishing you luck,good luck to you Xuan.

      • Nguyen Le Xuan Says:

        Tuyen,
        Thanks for your comment. I have been looking all over for her with no avail.

        Whew!!
        Maybe she’ll come around some day soon. We were best friends on Bidong, went to places and did things together. Sweet memory.

        By the way, how is North Carolina? How is life over there. I am pretty tired of the Massachusetts cold weather. Is the job market good over where you are?

        Hope to hear from you.
        Sincerely, Xuan

  87. Hunh Says:

    Hi everybody,
    I was on Pulau Bidong from 1984 to April 1985. I was the go with the boat number MB137 wish to see everyone back someday !

  88. Anna Bui Says:

    I am so glad to find this blog. I am in VT268 arrived to Pulau Tengah on May 23, 1979.I will need all of you to help.
    I am working to create a comprehensive web site which consolidates information about Refugee Camps in SE Asia. The site will be created by and for refugees. We have many stories, and much information, as well as those who want news of family and friends, etc… scattered all over the web and the world. Therefore I want to have 1 web site for all VN refugee info. To do that, I need help from many people.

    Please send me (and pass this along to your friends):

    boat numbers
    Number of people in the boat
    Date left VN
    Date arrived at refugee camp, name of camp
    Whatever pictures you have of the camp and the refugees
    Any other details you may have

    I’ve already registered the domain name for this website: http://www.refugeecamps.net and refugeecamps.info. Both will point to the same place.
    I am working on the website, and have begun to visit refugee camp sites. With your help, we will be online soon.
    Please join us on face book at:
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/237414599670326/
    Or mail me at vt268tengah@gmail.com
    Thanks very much for your time and help.
    I already done for Galang refugee camp, with the list of all the boats arrived to Galang. I am now working on Pulau Tengah and Bidong. Please help
    Thanks
    Anna Bui

  89. Phuong Quynh Says:

    Boat MC021 Pulau Bidong, AK Phuong Quynh.

  90. LR Says:

    Hi Duc!

    It is nice to read your unforgetable life story & everyone’s else in the past few days!! I wish I could write such beautiful memory like yours! Well done!!

    I’m wondering that you or your parents or any survivors of MT065 or anyone out still remember the unfortunate boat people of MT065, arrived 30/11/1978 – 300 people on board. The boat was not allowed to anchor ashore due to Pushback Policy at the time & capsized in the early hr, approx 5am next morning due to heavy storm/wave. 123 people were burried in a mass grave in Cherang Ruku nxt day & 46 people were also burried in a mass grave 3 days later in Balai Bachok.

    I have been wondering how the names of 123 were obtained back in 1978 & craved on the tombstones even though no one was allowed to touched the bodies for hygiene reason – found out about this via blogs/posts. Unless they were the relatives of the remaining survivors! This is exactly one of the missing details/gaps which troubling me! I wish there was at least a survivor out there recounts the full details of the unfortunate journey from the dept to the arrival.

    This is so far the infos I could find on various blogs/posts in the past few days. It would be nice & greatful to hear from anyone personally witnessed it at the time on the insland or a survivor & can fill in the gaps. I am struggling to find any further details/names list of the other 46 unfortunate people!

    Is there a blog/post for people to search for the unfortunate boat people?

    It’s been 34 yrs!!

    Plse, help!! Any infos/details would be greatful!

    Thank very much in advantage!

    • ducly Says:

      Hi LR,
      No I didn’t hear about this incident. I was only ten years old at the time and would not have remembered much. To think that could have happened to our boat. Thank you for your comment and notification about the incident. We must have arrived in the summer so as the months went by the policy changed. I would have been adopted by my Foster Parents in Portland, Oregon by this time. I’m not sure. Thank you for keeping us in formed though.
      Keep the memories alive.
      -Duc

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  94. Ron Vo Says:

    Hello all,
    My mother, 4 sisters and I were on Pulau Buidong, from September/October 1987 to December 1988, Boat MB 844, we stayed Zone A.
    Mother: Pham Thi Trieu (32 years old)
    1st sister : Vo thi Mau (14)
    2nd sister: Vo Thi Tham (10)
    3rd sister: Vo Thi Thiet (8)
    4th sister: Vo Thi Tuyet (5)
    Myself: Vo Van Ron (3 years old)
    My sister Vo Thi Mau is looking for her Bidong best friend, a girl called “Ngao“ around her age. She was the daughter of the woman who was selling soup on the market, had 2 older brothers, a younger sister and a younger brother who was a little bit slow mentally. My sister used to work for her mother, fletching water to cook the soup and taking customer orders. She was the only one working for them and she believes there was only 1 snack selling soup on the island.
    In December 1988, my family has resettled in France. Thi Mau is currently living in Cogolin, Var, where is has been running her Vietnamese restaurant since 1993.
    If you recognize yourself or know the girl, please call my cell: +1 438-401-000 (Canada) or 04-94-54-13-35 (My sister restaurant in France) or email: vovanrong@yahoo.fr

    Bonjour tout le monde,
    Ma mère, 4 sœur et moi avons vécu sur Pulau Bidong, de Septembre/Octobre 1987 jusqu’a Décembre 1988, bateau numéro MB 844, on habite la Zone A :
    Mère: Pham Thi Trieu (32 ans)
    1er sœur : Vo Thi Mau (14)
    2 sœur: Vo Thi Tham (10)
    3 sœur : Vo Thi Thiet (8)
    4 sœur : Vo Thi Tuyet (5)
    Moi: Vo Van Rong (3)
    Ma sœur, Vo Thi Mau est a la recherche de sa meilleur amie sur Bidong, une fille de son âge, appelé “Ngao“. La fille avait une mère qui vendait la soupe au marche, elle avait 2 grand frères, une petite sœur et un frère lent mentalement. Ma sœur travaillait pour sa mère, collecter l’eau et prendre les commandes des clients. Elle était le seule qui travailler pour la famille de Ngao. Il y avait seulement 1 restaurant qui vender les soupes sur l’ile.
    En Décembre 1988, ma famille s’est refugie en France. Thi Mau habite à Cogolin, dans le Var, ou elle a ouvert son restaurant depuis 1993.
    Si tu te reconnais, ou connait la fille, SVP appel sur mon tel : +1 438-401-0000 (Canada) ou 04-94-54-13-35 (Restaurant de ma sœur) ou email : vovanrong@yahoo.fr

    Mình tên Màu số tàu MB 844, muốn tìm người bạn ở đảo pulau bidong khu A tên Ngao gia đình bạn gồm có Ba Mẹ hai Anh trai tên hia Ở, hia Ngâu có một người em gái và một đứa em trai Út. Thời gian ở đảo mình có phụ việc bán quán tiệm bún, mình cũng ở khu A, ở chung long house với hai người quen tên Anh Dung, anh Tổng, cạnh nhà Bà Mười, Anh Trêu có vợ tên Duyên con của cô Triêu không chồng có 4 người con gái tên: Thắm, Thiết, Tiết và đứa con trai tên Ron. Trước khi vượt biên bạn ở Bạc Lêu, Màu hiện đang định cư ở Pháp. Nếu nhận được tin này, xin liên hệ: .

    Thanks!
    Ron

  95. Kelvin Tran (Tran Huu Truong) Says:

    Hi Duc,
    it seems to me that you are very popular on this blog site and everyone likes to talk to you a lot and personally I enjoy reading about your stories too. Recently I surf around on this website to look for people from boat KG 0414 which arrived in Pulau Bidong, Malaysia in 1980, with 275 other people aboard. I have been having a hard time looking for the people on the same boat around the world. If you have information about this, please reply or contact me.
    By the way, my name is Kelvin Tran (Tran Huu Truong) one of the young sailors that worked on the boat.
    If you do decide to contact me, I will tell you more about my journey from Vietnam to Malaysia.

    Email: Kelvinhtran@icloud.com
    Home #: 1-204-783-4797
    Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada, North America)

    • ducly Says:

      Hi Kelvin,
      Thanks for reaching out to me. I don’t know much about the boat you were on. I’ll give you a call sometime to chat about your experience. These stories are interesting to me.

      -Duc


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