Tuesday, March 10, 2009

En Ahmad Stories

"My name is Ahmad, a 76 year old fisherman, living on Pulau Redang, the closest island with inhabitant to Pulau Bidong. I would like to share my fond memories of Vietnamese refugees. They started arriving at my island in 1976. Back then, my family stayed on Pulau Pinang, a small island near Pulau Redang, while some other families have already moved to Pulau Redang. On Pulau Pinang, there was a transit camp built by special Task Force - a government agency. It was a long house with eight rooms. during the peak time, the vietnamese shored there almost everyday. They stayed overnight there before being transferred to Pulau Besar, before the opening of Pulau Bidong Camp.

I do not understand English or Vietnamese languages, but I was sadden with the look of hungry children. I used my personal boat to buy some food from Pulau Redang to be given to the children. Some of them came to my house, where we served them some food and drink. The Vietnamese ate whatever they could to survive. They ete fishes, crabs, water lizards, etc.


  1. quachmuoi@gmail.comMarch 27, 2009 at 12:24 AM

    Hi Ahmad,

    I was on Palau Pinang between April 5 through May 2, 1979. Our boat hit the rock when it got close to Pinang and sank. We managed to swim toward the island. During the stay in Pinang, one young boy died the 3rd day on Pinang. He was having illness in his stomach. He made his journey to freeland but not made it out of Pinang. His body was carried over to another island aross Pinang and buried there. I stayed in the right hand side of the long house in the 2nd room. My family were starving because we have no money to buy any food from the small village. Once I stepped on a piece of broken glass and my right foot was bleeding. One of the resident of the village took care of me and wrapped up my wound-foot. Pinang is so beautiful. I still cannot find a place in America that is as beautiful as Pinang.

    I am still having nightmare of the journey. In my dream, I was still in Vietnam and I lived on the street without food. I know it is the past that I cannot get over with. I know I will make a trip to Pulau Bidong, and hopefully, able to come to Pinang. By doing this, I hope it will close the chapter. I don't mean to forget about the place, but I want to face it again, that it is not that bad after all.

    I felt happy and sad when I left Bidong. It was such a mixed feeling that is difficult to describe. Do you have picutres of Pinang, the long house, and the beach? If you do, can you post it on the site?


  2. Thank you very much Mr. Ahmad.

    Lamvi from www.PulauBidong.org