For my graduate thesis, I unearthed a story I had never heard in detail or truly understood. My thesis is the personal story of my parents’ courageous journey of escaping Vietnam and enduring a multitude of obstacles. Over a five day period, my parents’ traveled on seven different vessels in the South China Sea before reaching an island called Pulau Bidong, off the coast of Malaysia. They lived in Malaysia as refugees for one year before settling in America.
My parents’ story is a unique experience that represents the 2 million Vietnamese who fled their homes between 1975 and 1985. Today, there are an estimated 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide — the highest number since the mid-1990s.