To this day the prejudice can be witnessed everywhere and many people (even my own wife) is affected by it. When the Am’s withdrew, homes, businesses, and land were taken away from the people in the south. All of their life long work gone in seconds. Many lost everything and all hope and thus became the plight of the boat people for many years to follow. My employee Khuyen has a strong northern accent and had a very difficult time finding a friend in Saigon. She is finding it a bit easier here in Nha Trang. After the north had fully occupied the south, most of the big businesses were taken away from the legitimate owners and given to an officer, or a lackey. Many homes and land that were confiscated were given to the same, and yet other sold off at a cheap price to a northerner that had an interest in moving to the south. Many cities and towns ended up with large communities of northerners. Perhaps a person cannot blame them for seeking out a better life, but it caused a deep resentment to those affected by their relocation.
Not only were they forced to live in a run down shack, but now had to watch a family live in their house and the house of their ancestors. The trouble did not stop there though. Now all the bosses had changed, and people were let go to be replaced by family and friends of the new boss. Large populations in the south were now left with no house, no job, and no future that they could see. Drained of all of their savings, they began escape attempts, working in the black market, or anything to survive and feed their families.. The very thing happened to my Vn family. Mai and I have been to the house that was taken and sold for a song to a northerner. The neighborhood I have a house in used to be the estate of Mai’s parents now reduced to a single building. I can see quite easily as to why some of my family might hold a deep dislike of northerners but in some circumstances, I find it a bit misplaced, and here is where it gets a little unfair. What about the person who was born here of northern parents? They are not responsible for the hardships that fall upon the southerners….. but they do to this day still reap the benefits at the southerners expense. Let me give you two examples of people I know. First my sister in law. She works for the civil service, but because of her being from a southern city, was stripped of her benefits and is now required to work under contract. Only those from the north seem to get the full benefit package. Another example is that of a woman who works as an accountant. Her father was sold some property a long time ago, and ran or worked for an accounting firm. The daughter is now working for the same company getting a good wage. An opportunity that many that live here cannot have. It is not her fault, but how can you make a person who loses an opportunity because of the family connection feel better? Another thing that is deeply resented is the renaming of the streets to so called heroes in the north. The street I am located on was named after a Historic King in Vn, but was recently renamed after some soldier from the north. I am sure that is also flying in the face of those who live here. I think the biggest evidence I see of the never ending dislike is in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called. Most people who live there still call it Saigon, and will never call it anything else. I have talked to many people there that to this day have been reduced to menial jobs. Some are even told what their occupation will be. There are many people from the north there because they know that the opportunity is greater than at home. Their chances of getting hired because of where they are from lures them to Saigon. I have been told that most of downtown is owned by northerners and that many of the employees are children of people connected in some way to the north. I am starting to believe it as I hear many northern accents when I do any shopping in the big stores.
I have now talked with Khuyen and Lich about how they perceive things as Vietnams youth. Khuyen agreed that she had come to Saigon because it was commonly known up north that it is easy for a northerner to get a job. She also told me that the general attitude of people in the north is one of superiority because they “won” the war. They are taught and believe that it was them that forced the Americans running with their tail between their legs. Our young student Lich also has a prejudice in that in University, the kids from the north get better grades for obviously inferior work.
Me?? Vn is a wonderful place filled with wonderful people in both the north and south. I understand there are wounds that run deep. The Government is doing everything it can to make welcome and unite all people, but it is the people themselves who have to come to terms with thier past ans present. A hard thing to do for many I think.