The Vietnamese Diaspora Project was initiated and developed by Carina Hoang.
The main purpose of the project is to keep history from being forgotten. This project is about preserving the memories of those affected by the Vietnam War and the aftermaths, which led to one of the most tragic diaspora in recent history. By documenting peoples’ stories, collecting photos, videos, artworks and various documents, it was desired to never let future generations forget the pain and hardship experienced by those before them.
Hong Kong is the first country of focus for the project and others will follow.
About the Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong
The Vietnamese Boat People (VBP) Oral History Project was originally envisioned by a group of former members of the Hong Kong Government civil servants who, at different times and different stages in their profession careers, been involved in the herculean effort of dealing with the influx of Vietnamese who into Hong Kong from 1975. They were soon joined by other ex-colleagues, voluntary service agency personnel, and supporters of the project from all walks of life in Hong Kong.
The VBP influx started with the first group of 3,743 Vietnamese on board the Clara Maersk on 4 May 1975. The influx carried on until well into the 1990’s. At the height of arrivals, in mid-1979, VBP were coming in at the rate of a thousand per day, and to total at the time reaching a staggering 68,000 plus.
The task of receiving them, landing them, documenting them, verifying their identity, housing and feeding them, giving them (many weak from days of exposure to the elements in their sea voyage) proper medical care, providing a degree of basic education for the children, liaising with international organizations such as UNHCR and the ICEM (later IOM) as well as the principal resettlement countries falls almost entirely on the Hong Kong Government.
Despite the pressures generated to a whole range of public services Hong Kong responded magnificently and in a humane way. Many of these Vietnamese were later on resettled elsewhere, where they and their next generation now prosper in safety and dignity. Their stories deserve to be told; Hong Kong has every reason to be proud of its achievements.
The VBP influx is now (mercifully) a thing of the past, and memories will soon fade if the opportunity of recording the history for posterity is not taken soon. It is with this object in mind that the VBP Oral History Project was started. It was recognized that the most urgent task, and the key to proper historical research, is the building up of a database of the experiences of all those who had been involved in the exodus, both those Vietnamese who ended up on Hong Kong shore as well as those who had to take care of them.
This cross-cultural collaboration was supported by a number of individuals and organizations, whose name appears in the acknowledgment section of this website.
and other private persons