Diary of a son whose father is sentenced to death
Updated : 08/14/2012 12:00 GMT + 7
One year after the father of then-6-year-old Vi Van Nguyen was sentenced to death for drug trafficking, the boy’s mother received 15 years in jail for transporting the forbidden goods.
Nguyen began his habit of keeping a diary when he was just a child. The diary was simply spelled with several mistakes, and contained the feelings of a son whose father was sentenced to death.
After Nguyen’s father was arrested, his mother told him and his sisters that their father was doing business very far away. Once he was sentenced to death, she could not conceal the fact from them anymore.
“When I was six, my family received the terrible announcement that my father would be sentenced to death for trafficking drugs”, Nguyen wrote in his diary. What follows is an extended excerpt of this diary.
“Our sadness quickly eased off as we were just children. The news was most painful for my mother, a Thai woman whose schooling stopped at the first grade.” (Thai is one of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam.) She had to struggle to raise us and pay for our schooling.
Everything was not over. I remember clearly the day when we were going home after school time and called my mother to show off our 10 points.
However, we saw our grandfather holding a paper in his hand and told us ‘Your mother has been arrested for trading drugs and will be jailed for 15 years.’
I was in the seventh grade at that time. My sister wept until her eyes were swollen. My tears seemed to flow backward.
Half of my mother’s life became unhappy and unfortunate due to my father’s death sentence and her 15 year imprisonment.
Some people took advantage of my mother’s honesty, telling her ‘Help us to transport a box and you will be paid.’ My mother just tried to do something to earn money for us and finally faced 15 year imprisonment, leaving behind three children.
We were like young birdies on high branches, chattering to call the mother bird, but she did not come.
My village, Na Ngum, is infamous for drugs. Addicts were found repeatedly yawning everywhere. The village was full of injection needles, smugglers and robbers.
Amidst that situation, we still continued to study. After school, I had to work hard to earn a livelihood.
My class finished early on Saturdays and my friends usually organized pleasure trips, but I had to refuse to go with them as half-ploughed fields and half-built chicken coops were waiting for me to be finished.
I felt that I was too selfish and never brave enough to tell my friends that my father was a prisoner under death sentence.
I loved and greatly respected my elder sister. She was very firm. Farming work left her skin burnt and tanned. She looked much older than her age of 20.
One day, I received a phone call from Trang, a reporter from Women Newspaper. She asked me if I wanted to learn a trade.
Thanks to her help, I went to Hanoi to study medicine while my sister became a student of the Central Women’s Training School.”
Nguyen’s diary stopped after that.
Romantic villages in the northwestern province of Dien Bien have now become a drug hot-spot. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tuoi Tre reporters visited Na Ngum Village in Thanh Yen District of Dien Bien Province and found the house that Nguyen’s parents left, a spacious and strong residence, deserted.
Since her mother was arrested and her brother and sister went to study in Hanoi; Nga, the youngest member of Nguyen’s family, has stayed at home alone. After school she works in the mountain fields.
When the reporters arrived, Nga was drying rice. She did not remember her father’s face as she was too youngl when he was sentenced to death.
Nga now is 16 years old and her mother will finish serving her sentence by the end of the year. The eldest sister is about to graduate from school and get married. Nguyen stopped studying medicine halfway through his program and pursued several unsuccessful jobs. He is now unemployed and wishes to return to the medical school.