|BBC tv in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh city, january 2014. An strange group of people were walking up and down on the smaller inside streets and alleys, close to Tan Son Nhat Airport. From any outsiders, then group seems very weird and out of space.In front 2 people from BBC Tv followed by an Vietnam veteran, 1 Vietnamese man and 1 Danish man, really an strange small army.
December 2013. An email hit my message box. It was from the British Broadcasting Cooperation BBC. They had hear about Father Founded and about the amerasians still in Vietnam, and wish to do an tv program about it.
After chit chat, we agree on heading for Vietnam, in january 2014. BBC had the basic idea of making an small tv program about the Vietnam veterans looking for their children in Vietnam, and about those amerasians still in Vietnam
Headed by the known British journalist Sue Lloyd Roberts, together with her camera man Ian O'reilly, 2 American Vietnam veterans Dennis Hall and Jerry Quinn, me and our Vietnamese partner Hung. The main plan were to follow the veterans in their search, back to their old areas, back to their old loves, It sounds easy, but hard to do.
Arrived the day before BBC, met up with Hung, together we went for research those areas that we were suppose be in, with BBC. With no suprise, those areas had almost been completed changed,when it comes to human population. Gone were the bars, mamasans and what ever remain from the American time,only the houses left.
Adresses in Vietnam, changed after the wars end. Reality hit hard, old numbers didn't exist anymore, or had been changed due to split up off houses in 2, so 1 house number end up been 2 entrances with 2 numbers.
we were under pressure, to show some results !!! BBC wanted their program, they wanted the smoking gun and we had to find they famous needle in the haystack.
After some Q and A in the old area, we left as much empty handed as we arrived. It was really not that easy, not after 40+ years.
BBC arrived to Vietnam the day after and the big game began.Notime to waste !!! Since Jerry wasn't suppose to arrive before the day after, then we had an appointment with an Amerasian couple, living outside Ho Chi Minh city.
It was an tense 2 hours driving from Ho Chi Minh city to the amerasian couple, we could feel that the BBC crew had their mind and heart on their future work, few words were spoken, mostly just related to their work.
Meeting with the Amerasian couple was an very emotional moment ,even for an bunch of battle harded journalist. They interview and filmed the little family, for almost an day, using Hung as translator and me as an doorman.
Jerry had arrived, while we had been to interview the amerasian couple.He stayed in the same hotel as BBC and was waiting for us.We had ourwelcome eating and details the plan for hes search the day after.
The strange group of people arrived to Jerrys old area, for foreigners an very spooky sign !! Older American man with small hat on togetherwith an BBC journalist and an Vietnamese man, all talking, pointing and asking questions to people living in the houses or knocking on doors, following byan BBC cameraman, with an huge heavy camera, filming from all directions and asking those on hes view, to act the way that fit most for the program, and in the end me, acting like security all in all something the local people could talk about for and long time.
Jerry was in shock of seen hes old area again and same time confused, since it had changed so much after all those years. Follow by BBC andthe rest of us, he kept on going up and down on the small alleys, looking at the houses, again and again wondering what happend to that old housenumbers that used to be. Time was now running, it was burning hot and we all felt the pressure to get something that could move it forward to an happy end.
The smoking gun came, when some older people sorted out the place where hes women " Brandy " used to live and with an large noisy crowd of people, then we found he had an child, but no idea what happend to them. But they remember the friend of Brandy, she helped the women to delever their babies during the war. That women had moved to USA, but her daugther were actual in Vietnam now, for visit.
The break came, when we talked to the owner of an small noodleshop, whom knew that family of the daugther. We gave our contact info and again waited for an respond. Final we got in touch with an male relative of the daugher, he agree to meet us.
When he saw the old pics of Brandy and he friend, then thingshappend fast, phone rings all time, everyone talking. The daugther of Brandy friend, were in the other part of Vietnam for visit but agree to come back to meet us.
Past meeting present, Jerry meeting the women that help to gave birth to hes son, an long awaited meeting. But it didn't gave the final evidence of the where about of hes son.
While Jerry and BBC where stuggle with the past, me and Hung went for an other search. We were expecting Dennis Hall, the other Vietnam vet to arrive the day after and preparement had to be done. So we took off for hes old area. The area was actual in the same neigborhood as Jerry, so we felt ok about it.
The area were deserted of people, streets empty, besides an quiet coffee shop on the corner and some few men, working on the construction. After the usual coffee talk, we head for the exactly spot, were Dennis and hes women used to live, house still there, but noone knew anything.
Before almost giving up, we met an old women,that lived besides Dennis old place and she remember some few things about Dennis women and wehad an chat with her about the whole issue.
Dennis arrived fresh from USA and went by BBC and got hes shock, when he met the past and hear the news, just as anyone would.
With the film in the box and all done, it was time to say goodbye and see you later. And everyone after 5 days of madness, stress, hot weather and many questions, just went home again to normal life.
Aftermath. Based on the info Jerry got in Vietnam, he located hes son Gary Bui on the internet and they met in 2014. Dennis still looking for hes love one and the amerasian couple still in Vietnam. The impact of the BBC Tv was an reminder for many that the amerasians are still in Vietnam today.