On May 3, 1975, Hong Kong received its first cohort of 3,743 Vietnamese boatpeople. The incident opened a 25-year history that belongs to a larger context of forced migration in modern social history. By researching all possible textual material available, the book provides a comprehensive review of the collective history of the Vietnamese boatpeople. Moreover, it intertwines historical archives with personal drawings created by the Vietnamese living in Hong Kong detention camps, recapping a collective memory with its human face.
By interpreting and analyzing these drawings, the author demonstrates the expressive and communicative power of imagery as a form of language, and illustrates how art can tell a personal tragic story when language fails. She unfolds the stories and artworks throughout the whole book with the hope that new insights and meanings can be attained through the conscious review and re-interpretation of the past.
"What Dr. Law had discovered within hundreds of pages of articles, poems, songs, and short essays written in Vietnamese were shocking evidences of human tragedies. They were not the cry for help of an individual but of a generation of Vietnamese people. Most of them were children, young men, and young women who were disrobed of basic human rights and had to waste the most beautiful years of their lives in various detention camps in Hong Kong."
—Dr. Tung Buu, Former Vietnamese refugee in Hong Kong
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