.. And The Infinite Taste for Travel and Infantile Adventures

Old Stories

Even up to this day, in my soon to be 20 year old self, I still can’t get enough of old stories. From the ones coming from my parents and grandparents, stories are stories, period. I like word of mouth history from people I know. One of the stories I love are the Vietnam War stories. It was from 1967-1968, when my grandfather worked in Vietnam. It would take me years to finish an entry regarding Vietnam if I will narrate everything, so let me just point it out in numbered form.

1. There was a story circulating in So Van Han (I’m not sure of the spelling but it’s pronounced as So-Yan-Han) that when Ngo Din Diem, the puppet president of US to South Vietnam, was murdered; there was a Filipino involved in the murder.

post card

The murder happened when a coup toppled the Diem regime. It was according to accounts that he was taken to the villa in So Van Han and later murdered. The US pulled of support from the Diem regime because of its declining popularity among the South Vietnamese people.

2. The underground tunnels are common among people’s homes.

3. Before the Tet offensive came, numerous funerals occurred. It was believed as one of the ways to smuggle arms into the city. Coffins were filled with guns, mortars etc.

4. Tet offensive happened during the Chinese Lunar New Year (Tet). At first, sporadic explosions of firecrackers were heard but as the celebration went on, it was the music of guns and mortars that were heard. Officially the start of Tet Offensive.

I can’t remember every detail of the bits and pieces, so there you have it.

Angola People

Another of my favorites were the Tales from Angola. My grandfather worked here for 10 years (1979-89). Angola was a colony of Portugal. It was during the 70’s when the internationalist efforts of Cuba helped in liberating Angola and Mozambique from colonial powers of Portugal. The workers party of Angola, MPLA (more commonly called by its people as “Mapla”), gained control of the country and headed towards socialism. So I’m going to enumerate bits of facts about Angola that I remember:

Note: Bits and pieces I’m going to enumerate are in the context of 1979-89

1. Angola being a socialist country runs to the idea of “Each according to his needs and his capacity to produce”. If you work your ass off and you get promoted and given bigger responsibilities, the bigger your ration will be(Each according to his capability to produce). Two people having same occupation, but the other has a family, the one with a family gets a slightly bigger share (Each according to his needs).

2. There are no Blood Diamonds in Angola as portrayed in movies happening in Africa. The essential industries are all state owned giving no chance for profit driven kingpins to run the show.

3. Ali is also big in Angola, He fought George Forman in Congo a bordering country of Angola.

4. Some remnant cannibals run to Zaire.

5. Right to till the land is given permission by the government. There are cases when the government doesn’t allow people to till the land if its near diamond mines, since diamonds can possibly be excavated.

6. Money is nothing but for luxuries. You have everything you need in your ration and education is free.

7. Since it was in a time when glasnost is fast approaching, leaders are corrupt. They have long gone submitted to revisionism of their ideals. President Dos Santos is like a rapper with gems in all of his fingers.

8. Cubans in Angola are really gentlemen.

9. UNITA is a counter-revolutionary group funded by the CIA.

I guess that’s it.


5 responses

  1. wonderful entry from your grandfather stories. i like the saigon photo – imagine the girls in those reggae outfit, and why all men in tucked? hahahaha.

    April 25, 2008 at 8:02 am

  2. unidentifiedwalkingobject

    60s groove thang. πŸ™‚

    April 25, 2008 at 9:47 am

  3. I like the diverse subject matter in this piece. Here’s a story to add to the Angola section:

    A good friend of mine from New Zealand entered Angola just after the country’s independence from Portugal in the 1970s. The immigration people at the frontier accused him of being a spy and detained him for a few hours in a sweltering shack. On the way to the hut where they let him chill for the afternoon, one of the soldiers, very young, tripped over his shoelaces and the guy’s AK-47 fired off a burst as he involuntarily squeezed the trigger while falling. Luckily no one was hit but all concerned hit the dirt very fast.

    PS: I have read that the first attacks of the Tet Offensive were indeed thought to be fireworks set off to celebrate the New Year – that’s from Michael Herr’s DISPATCHES

    March 18, 2010 at 3:23 am

    • unidentifiedwalkingobject

      I must add your blog to my blogroll πŸ™‚ btw how was your friend who came to Angola? Was he released after the incident?

      March 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

  4. Kit

    Yeah, they released him after that one afternoon. He went to Rhodesia and finally got deported for hanging out with black people then moved to Kenya, where I met him. Last I heard he ended up in jail in Penang. Born under a bad sign, I guess.

    March 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

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