by A Total TaiTai Tale


On this day when Americans are voting for their future (and the rest of the world?)….

Here’s a little (happy ending) story about a refugee. Not a today’s refugee but a 30 years ago refugee story. History seems to repeat itself often (refugees, wars, etc…) and people seem to also forget very quickly unfortunately.

I remember her initial post on the forum I had joined a few months before to help me find my ground in Singapore. It spoke to me not only because of her refugee status but because she talked about Norway (where I lived) and Vietnamese (I seem to have met a lot of Vietnamese in the last few years).

Former Vietnamese refugee in Singapore on quest to find Norwegian rescuers from more than 30 years ago

(…) On Aug 23 this year, Ms Siow decided to start tracking down her Norwegian rescuers so that she can meet them to express her gratitude to them for saving her life. Armed with a postcard picture of the oil tanker that had been given to her cousin by a member of the crew on the ship, she made several posts on Facebook groups with ties to the Norwegian community here.

She had merely asked for assistance in translating an e-mail into Norwegian, but received spontaneous offers of help from good Samaritans on a group for expatriate women here, called Real Singapore Expat Wives. She was put in touch with two seamen who had been on the ship that saved her about a week ago. (…)

“I really want to meet these people and say, you did the most awesome thing. You stopped in the midst of your travels to help strangers who you had no connection with. And today, I’m alive. And my family’s alive. My children are alive. And we are back in Singapore.” (…)

From 1975 to 1996, Singapore hosted a total of 32,457 Vietnamese boat people. At that point, Vietnamese refugees who could prove they could go to another country afterwards were given food and temporary shelter here. Many were also able to find employment outside the camp as cooks, waiters and movers, among other jobs. (…)

Ms Siow and her three siblings were resettled in Melbourne, Australia with her parents in March 1981, where they were granted citizenship. Her parents, now aged 67 and 65, took on jobs in factories and farms to support the children, and they relied on the kindness of strangers who donated items like furniture when they first moved into a two-bedroom rented apartment where six of them shared a single room.

As a Christian, her desire to seek out her rescuers came from a spiritual desire to pay forward what others had done for her, and to understand her own purpose in life as she approaches her 40th birthday in October.

“Instead of completing a bucket list of amazing things that most people want to accomplish before they hit 40, I thought of doing something a little out of the box, and find out about how this whole experience of being rescued came about,” she said. (…)

“ I really need to show honour and respect to a tiny nation that had nothing to do with the Vietnam war but still allowed us to have temporary refuge here. I also want to honour the Norwegian people who had helped us…what they did has touched many generations, and given us a future that we would never have had,” said Ms Siow. (…)

“One person’s actions has changed the course of someone’s life for eternity…I want to tell my own children that we need to be thankful for each day of life that we have. Without these rescuers who had showed us such generosity and kindness they wouldn’t have been around.” (…)

Her own experience has taught her that every life matters.

“The poor people count, the rich people count, the ones who escaped wars count, the ones living in home shelters matter. We have to think about what we can do to give these people a second go at life.”

From this article… http://ift.tt/2cr5Bvh

then the article about reconnecting with one of her rescuers who was in transit in Singapore in October just a few day before her 40th birthday: http://ift.tt/2fP0CtI