Helen's Saigon had always been about selling - chickens, information, or lovely young women, it didn't matter. It had once been called the Pearl of the Orient, but by people who had not been there in a very long time. Saigon had never been Paris, but now it was a garrison town, unlovely, a stinking refugee shantyville filled with the angry, the betrayed, the dispossessed, but she had made it her home, and she couldn't bear that soon she would have to leave.
During the day on Monday, Washington time, the airport at Saigon came under persistent rocket as well as artillery fire and was effectively closed. The military situation in the area deteriorated rapidly. I therefore ordered the evacuation of all American personnel remaining in South Vietnam.
Gerald R. Ford
I took some voice lessons here and there as a teenager but nothing too serious. I started taking it more seriously when I was in Miss Saigon. I needed to improve my technique in order to survive doing that show as many time a week as I was doing it. It's not an easy show to sing, so I needed all the help I could get.
Imagine that -- a country that's supposed to be a democracy, supposed to be for freedom and all of that kind of stuff when they want to draft you and put you in the army and send you to Saigon to fight for them -- and then you've got to turn around and all night long discuss how you're going to just get a right to register and vote without being murdered. Why, that's the most hypocritical government since the world began!
Saigon was an addicted city, and we were the drug: the corruption of children, the mutilation of young men, the prostitution of women, the humiliation of the old, the division of the family, the division of the country-it had all been done in our name. . . . The French city . . . had represented the opium stage of the addiction. With the Americans had begun the heroin phase.
Nobody gives way to anybody. Everyone just angles, points, dives directly toward his destination, pretending it is an all-or-nothing gamble. People glare at one another and fight for maneuvering space. All parties are equally determined to get the right-of-way--insist on it. They swerve away at the last possible moment, giving scant inches to spare. The victor goes forwards, no time for a victory grin, already engaging in another contest of will. Saigon traffic is Vietnamese life, a continuous charade of posturing, bluffing, fast moves, tenacity and surrenders.
Andrew X. Pham
Saigon, U.S.A. aptly documents the birth of a new American community, uprooted in the aftermath of war and forever torn apart by the wounds of the past, yet one capable of healing against all odds. An engrossing yet succinct film that captures not only a major incident in Vietnamese American life, but also an important chapter of American history. A profound film that manages to confront us with the deepest sorrow while allowing us to be hopeful about what it means to be human.
Nguyen Qui Duc
I beg young people to travel. If you don't have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you're going to see your country differently, you're going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You're going to get a sense of what globalization looks like.
In any age, there is no shortage of people willing to embark on a hazardous adventure. Columbus and Magellan filled eight ships between them for voyages into the void. One hundred and fifty years ago, the possibilities offered by missionary service were limitless and first-rate. Later, Scott and Shackleton turned away droves after filling their crews for their desperate Antarctic voyages. In 1959... sailor H.W. Tilman, looking for a crew for a voyage in an old wooden yacht to the Southern Ocean, ran this ad in the London Times: "Hand [man] wanted for long voyage in small boat. No pay, no prospects, not much pleasure." Tilman received more replies than he could investigate, one from as far away as Saigon.
DEM BOYS DON'T HAVE NO GUN, DEM BOYS DON'T HAVE SO LICENSE THEY CALL ME SAI-GIDDY, SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT I'M THE NICEST WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING BUSY ON THESE MIC DEVICES I AIN'T A PROBLEM, I'M A CRISIS I'M GETTING ALL THE LADIES, SPOILED AS A BABY I'LL NEVER EVER LET A BATTY BWOY INVESTIGATE ME I'D RATHER DEATH CONVEY ME. NO, I MEAN YES, IT'S CRAZY THESE YOUNG NIGGAS AIN'T SEEMIN' TO GET THE MESSAGE LATELY WE NEED WARRIORS, THAT'S TRUE STORY, BRUH WE GOT A COUPLE BUT WE NEED A FEW MORE OF YA CUZ NOT BY ANY MEANS SHOULD OUT OF TWENTY TEENS EIGHTEEN OF THEM NIGGAS BE WEARING SKINNY JEANS WE DO IT FOR BOB MARLEY, FOR MARCUS GARVEY PROBABLY ALL OF THE RASTAFARI AIN'T NOBODY FUCKING WITH ME WHO, SAIGON? YEAH, THAT NIGGA. GO TOUCH HIM AND SEE.
Di Saigon aku sudah merencanakan seluruh pekerjaan ini untuk dijalankan tanggak 17." "Mengapa tanggal 17, tidak lebih baik sekarang saja atau tanggal 16?" "Aku percaya pada mistik. Aku tidak dapat menerangkan yang masuk akal mengapa tanggal 17 memberikan harapan kepadaku. Tetapi aku merasakan di dalan relung hatiku bahwa dua hari lagi adalag saat yang baii. Tujuh belas adalah angka suci. Tujuh belas adalah angka keramat. Pertama-tama, kita sedang berada dalam bulan suci Ramadhan, waktu kita berpuasa sampai Lebaran, benar tidak?" "Ya." "Ini berarti saat yang paling suci bukan?" "Ya." "Haru Jumat ini Jumat Legi. Jumat yang manis. Jumat suci. Dan hari Jumat tanggal 17. Alquran diturunkan tanggal 17. Orang Islam melakukan sembahyang 17 rakaat dalam sehari. Mengapa Nabi Muhammad memerintahkan 17 rakaat, bukan 10 atau 20? Karena kesucian angka 17 bukanlah buatan manusia. Ketika aju pertama kali mendengar berita penyerahan Jepang, aku berpikir kita harus segera memproklamirkan kemerdekaan. Kemudian aku menyadari, adalah Takdir Tuhan bahwa peristiwa ini akan jatuh di hari keramat-Nya. Proklamasi akan berlangsung tanggal 17. Revolusi akan mengikuti setelah itu.
Of the things I had not known when I started out, I think the most important was the degree to which the legacy of the McCarthy period still lived. It had been almost seven years since Joe McCarthy had been censured when John Kennedy took office, and most people believed that his hold on Washington was over... among the top Democrats, against whom the issue of being soft on Communism might be used, and among the Republicans, who might well use the charge, it was still live ammunition... McCarthyism still lingered... The real McCarthyism went deeper in the American grain than most people wanted to admit... The Republicans' long, arid period out of office [twenty years, ended by the Eisenhower administration], accentuated by Truman's 1948 defeat of Dewey, had permitted the out-party in its desperation, to accuse the leaders of the governing party of treason. The Democrats, in the wake of the relentless sustained attacks on Truman and Acheson over their policies in Asia, came to believe that they had lost the White House when they lost China. Long after McCarthy himself was gone, the fear of being accused of being soft on Communism lingered among the Democratic leaders. The Republicans had, of course, offered no alternative policy on China (the last thing they had wanted to do was suggest sending American boys to fight for China) and indeed there was no policy to offer, for China was never ours, events there were well outside our control, and our feudal proxies had been swept away by the forces of history. But in the political darkness of the time it had been easy to blame the Democrats for the ebb and flow of history. The fear generated in those days lasted a long time, and Vietnam was to be something of an instant replay after China. The memory of the fall of China and what it did to the Democrats, was, I think, more bitter for Lyndon Johnson than it was for John Kennedy. Johnson, taking over after Kennedy was murdered and after the Kennedy patched-up advisory commitment had failed, vowed that he was not going to be the President of the United States who lost the Great Society because he lost Saigon. In the end it would take the tragedy of the Vietnam War and the election of Richard Nixon (the only political figure who could probably go to China without being Red-baited by Richard Nixon) to exorcise those demons, and to open the door to China.