My 5 year old son whispered : - Water, I want water!...
I hardly moved my hand, tried to caress his face comforting him : - Hold on honey,
I'll get you water, ok!...Then I fell unconscious. I did not know about the time, I
heard that sound again : - I'm thirsty, I'm thirsty!...
That was the third day on the boat, we did not have
anything to eat or drink. Couldn't stand it anymore, one man tried to drink seawater. As
soon as it got into his stomach, he threw up and later on he was very sick.
next day, children seemed very quiet and slept. Fortunately, dark clouds appeared in the
sky and minutes later it was rain. People woke up immediately, we tried to drink as much
as we could. Men looked for everything to use as containers to store water. We felt so much
better, hoping lives returned!
It was still raining heavy and heavier, the boat started to
flood. Then I heard some voices : - Oh no! the boat is going to sink, it's too much water,
too heavy! We got so scared and started moving, making the boat unbalanced, seawater
poured in it. We quickly threw some of our belongings away, bailed out water as
fast as we could. Finally, the rain stopped and water we saved for future
used was all gone!!!
Two more days passed, everybody got weaker, no one moved or said
a word! It was quiet and peaceful! Suddenly, a man screamed : - I see a boat over
there!... Like magic, we energetically got up and looked to where he pointed his finger.
We saw a boat! Everybody was so grateful, we used all kinds of cloth, towel, t-shirt to
wave and scream. The boat looked like approaching us closer and closer but when we saw it
clearly, we started to be afraid because there was a fishing boat with more than a dozen
mean looking men, dark skin, carrying weapons, speaking Thai language loudly.
When that boat was next to ours, they signaled us to get on their boat, our little boat
was empty. Some of them jumped on it starting to search our luggages, they took everything they liked!
When they finished searching, we were returned back to our boat and they left.
later, another boat appeared. When it got close to us, five men jumped on our boat and
started searching again. They also took some clothes we were wearing. Then they told
everybody faced down, undressed two teenage girls and took turn raping them for hours. I
was so terrified, held my son tightly in my arms and totally shook! We heard the
girls cried for help, but we were helpless! What a shame!!! Later on, they left.
It was dark and silent! The girls stopped crying, we stayed
numb, no speaking but " oh! God " was the only sound from anyone, sometimes!
away, the moon started to show up in the skyline, seawater reflected moonlight according
to the waves and their sounds creating a traumatic image.
Next morning, another boat came
and repeated the same actions to the girls. We now had nothing to rob but women to rape!
Last boat came to us, the men were a bit kinder. They first gave
us food, water and kept a brief distance from us. Until the next day, they began to rob
carefully. They searched everyone's mouth, hair, underwear, everything they thought it's valued. Then each of
them picked one woman to rape!
By that time, I thought of my father who passed away years
ago, I always believe his spirit has watched over his children to protect them, and I
prayed to him. When the guy picked me I was shaking, my son cried, tried to pull me with
his little weak hands. I did not cry but showed the fear on my face! Somehow, that touched
the man's feeling, he released me...
After finishing the actions, we got on their
boat, they sank our boat, took us to the Kho Kra island and they left.
We felt much better! At least not to die in the ocean. That was a
small, beautiful island with green grass, a little stream ran across the mountains through
the forest, blue waves repeatedly hit the shore, water moved onto the white sand beach and then retreated in a continuous cycle.
We were weak and tired, some of us went to
get water, others laid on the ground, the two teenagers seemed very ill. Then we went to
clean ourselves in water with clothes on and wore wet clothes afterward. We
absolutely had nothing but empty hands!
When the night came, we gathered closer, felt the
heat from each other and slept on the ground.
Around noon the next day, another boat
showed up, the women were so afraid running to hide under bushes, between rocks, in
small caves. Did not matter if there were snakes, spiders, scorpions... Then they kept
returning to look for women day after day.
Later on, the Thai Navy showed up, they brought
us food and drink, also told us they would rescue us soon.
Three days before I left the island, the fishermen brought in
another group that was about 30 people. A young man got burned his entire body, he was unconscious laying
on the ground. Then I saw a man sitting on the rock far away from the group
looking out at the ocean. I came to him trying to make friends, and found out that his
girlfriend was abducted!
We left the island after being there for a week, taken to the
refugee camp in Songkla, South Thailand. Staying in Songkla for a while, I had been told
many horrible stories of the journeys, the high price to pay for freedom. Also learned
that Kho Kra island was the hide out of the fishermen where they tortured, raped, and
killed many people.
Coming to the USA in July 1981, three months later I got a letter
from my sister to inform that my older brother, his wife and two children left Vietnam a
few weeks ago. I was happy that I would reunite them, also worried for them on their way.
But I did not wait too long for the bad news, he was killed on the boat just two days
after leaving Vietnam, left behind a wife and two boys, a 5 year old and an 8 month old.
heart ached! I surely imagined how he lost his life although I did not witness the
In early 1982, I got another letter from my father-in-law letting me known that
his 12 year old son left the country recently. I could not describe the opposite feelings
inside of me by knowing that.
However, I never got any news, good or bad from him. The
entire boat disappeared! I tried to contact the families whose relatives were on that
boat, but they knew nothing like me, still waiting and waiting.... for the news!!!
We have been waiting for that boat for 18 years, but the
boat has gone forever! No one knows the truth of its disappearance.
*********************** USA June 1999*************************