Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

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Daleinpattaya
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Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

Post by Daleinpattaya » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:25 pm

I read a lot … mostly current fiction… generally from the New York Times bestseller list ... recently when reviewing the list I happened to glance at a book that was on a portion of the list that I rarely/never read.... young adult fiction. It caught my eye because the author is a Vietnamese-American woman; the story is about a young brother and sister who are refugees at the end of the Vietnam war having made their way separately and by very different methods to the United States … the title of the book is 'Butterfly Yellow'.

The reason I raise it here is because some of you here may know a lot more about relatively recent Thai history than I do. A couple times in the book it is mentioned that Vietnamese boat people were hijacked by Thai pirates in the Gulf of Thailand. In both instances in the book, it mentions that the men on these boats were simply thrown overboard but the women were carried away back to Thailand.

I have lived in Cambodia and Thailand for more than 23 years. During that time I’ve never seen/heard any reference to any community in Thailand made up of these Vietnamese kidnapped women or their descendants. Quite a number of hits come up when I Googled "Thai pirates in the Vietnam war". Some of them mentioned that these women ended up in brothels. Now about 40 years later there could be quite a large number of descendants of these women. I wonder if any of you have any comments on this subject.

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Undaunted
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Re: Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

Post by Undaunted » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:54 pm

Written Thai history is largely censored, many Thais know little or nothing of the situation in Thailand with regards to the Japanese during WW2 for example.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

Dodger
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Re: Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

Post by Dodger » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:00 am

Daleinpattaya wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:25 pm
I’ve never seen/heard any reference to any community in Thailand made up of these Vietnamese kidnapped women or their descendants.
My first thought on this, is that you probably wouldn't see or hear of any community of kidnapped Vietnamese due to the length of time that's passed since these well-publicized atrocities at sea took place. The majority of the 80,000 Vietnamese expats residing in Thailand live in the Northeast, having made their way to Thailand by crossing the Mekong River. Most of the reported atrocities, which included mass murders, rape, and forced labor, including prostitution, actually occurred in the open seas (Thai waters) between 1975 when the war ended and 1982. This was a big deal back in the early 1980's and widely publicized in the USA. I would imagine many of the descendants of these refugee's still reside in Thailand, either up in the NE, or Bangkok, which has a fairly high population of Vietnamese.

I first learned about these atrocities at sea in Thailand when reading books written by Thich Nhat Hanh, who was credited for bringing the plight of the Vietnamese boat people to the world's attention. Thich Nhat Hanh, if you're not aware, is a Vietnamese Zen Master and highly recognized global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, who is revered around the world for his pioneering teachings on aspects of Buddhism.

As a side note: The problems with forced labor, and other human atrocities at sea, have not gone away. Thailand's fishing industry, as a whole, has again come under the scrutiny of the USA and Europe, where sanctions of fish exports are again being threatened because of this. Most of the reports seem to involve migrants from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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Re: Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

Post by pong » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:48 pm

Due to prevailing monsoon winds, only a tiny part of boating VNese would go south-west to reach Thai seas or eventually Malaysia. But I DK if and how prevailing currents would also play a part here. I would assume they would aim at US-navy patrolling from Phillippines and I do recall that many were captured and had to stay long time in both PH and HKG. In common Thai history not a word about this has been posted, though much more about Laos and the bombing etc there are mentioned. The exact happenings in KHmerland=Cambodia also remain mystified for any common Thai.
Its as such probably true, but to a much less exaggerated grade as suggested. BTW-in the current situation re the Rohingya muslims from Burma=Phima=Myanmar the very same most likely happens on the boats they try to escape in and have to sail via Thai waters. Or every now and then a group is found that is working off their ´debt´ to the middlemen to reach safe heaven Malaysia. Same-same now for the VNese trying to reach UK via various VNese main settlements in former East-EUR to find space in refrigerated trucks.
Due to sanctions of the EU (so the Brits can forego that after a few weeks and a new elected whitey haired PM) against slave-labour in fishing, for the largest part Burmese (no Lao would even dream of doing that) seems to have been curtailed, and of course there will remain always less favorable working conditons as on the North-Sea.

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Re: Query: Vietnam War era Thai history.

Post by Dodger » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:35 am

pong wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:48 pm
Due to prevailing monsoon winds, only a tiny part of boating VNese would go south-west to reach Thai seas or eventually Malaysia.
Apparently, many Vietnamese refugees attempted the 300-mile (480 km) passage across the Gulf of Thailand to southern Thailand or Malaysia, which is where the reported atrocities by Thai pirates and Thai fishing vessels that the OP is discussing took place. Between 1975 and the early 1990's somewhere around 800,000 of the 2 million Vietnamese refugee's attempted their escapes by boat, and ended up in refugee camps in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, if they were fortunate enough to survive the journey at all. The U.S., Australia and Canada provided safe havens for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese boat people. In the U'.S., most now reside in either California or Texas.

Thailand would stand to gain nothing by engraving the atrocities they were accountable for in their history. It simply doesn't fit well with the perception of The Land of Smiles. Below is a link to a Harvard Project which describes the current state of affairs in the Thai fishing industry as seen through the eyes of the world around them:

https://harvardpolitics.com/world/saltw ... -industry/

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