Archives par mot-clé : South China Morning Post

Gary Jones : Skyluck, the ship that smuggled 2,600 boatpeople to Hong Kong – and freedom

[ndlr] A découvrir sur le site du South China Morning Post, l’histoire oubliée des boat people sino-vietnamiens. Chapitre 1.

The first of a two-part story recounts how, after the 1975 fall of Saigon, tens of thousands of persecuted Chinese-Vietnamese fled their country, and how a ship called the Skyluck came to symbolise their long and perilous journey.

« In office at 07.45 and then at 09.30 it all started: Skyluck cut her anchor chain and drifting. The proverbial hit the fan and we were off.”

June 29, 1979, turned out to be a “day of high drama” for Talbot Bashall, who had recently been appointed controller of the Hong Kong government’s Refugee Control Centre, and he recorded its chaos in his diary.

Bashall’s unenviable task was to oversee the arrival, processing and care of tens of thousands of desperate Vietnamese who, having taken to the high seas, were fleeing their country to seek refuge in the British colony on the southern coast of China. The Skyluck was a 3,500-tonne Panamanian-registered freighter. Its cargo on this day was 2,600 men, women and children, a small cross section of the mass migration of refugees from Indochina that the global media had dubbed “the boatpeople”.

Lire la suite / Read more : SCMP

Image « à la une » : Refugees pack the deck of the Skyluck, anchored off Lamma Island, in February 1979 © SCMP

Playboy, bon vivant and the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai chafed at his role as France’s puppet

[ndlr] Un article sur le destin de Bao Dai, le dernier empereur du Viêt-Nam décédé il y a vingt ans à Paris.

While Bao Dai, who died 20 years ago this week, enjoyed the high life in Hong Kong and elsewhere, he did try to play his part during Vietnam’s most violent and troubled years amid the two Indochina wars.

Twenty years ago tomorrow, the last emperor of Vietnam died peacefully and without ceremony in a military hospital in Paris, aged 83.

Bao Dai, or the “keeper of greatness”, was the 13th and last monarch of the Nguyen dynasty, and more famous for his lurid and extra­vagant lifestyle – he was exiled in Hong Kong for several years – than for his statesmanship during some of the most turbulent and bloody years in his nation’s history, the years of the liberation war against the French and civil war between north and south.

“He became far better known for his leisure activities,” is how the New York Times put it in his obituary.

Born in 1913, within the walls of the magnificent Imperial Palace in the city of Hue, on the banks of the Perfume River, Bao Dai was educated in France and quickly developed a reputation as an adventurer, philanderer, hunter, movie fan, gambler and playboy.

[…]

“I’m not so sure the ‘playboy’ angle is the best one for Bao Dai,” says historian Dr Christopher Goscha, author of The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam, published last year, pointing out that Bao Dai had a central role in the develop­ment of Vietnam during the faltering days of colonial rule.

Lire la suite : South China Morning Post, 30/07/2017.

Image « à la une » : Manifestation en faveur de Bao Dai en 1947.