Between 1979 and 1980, one million Vietnamese refugees escaped their war-torn country while 60,000 settled in Canada. Dubbed the ‘boat people’, nearly 70% of them died during their perilous journey. Thien Tang survived and documented his tale in his memoir The Other Side of the Sun: The True Story of One Refugee’s Journey, published by Pottersfield Press in 2018.
Like thousands of others in 1979, Tang fled Vietnam on a small, crowded boat in search of a new life. But first he had to cross the treacherous South China Sea to reach Malaysia.
At sea, Tang’s ship was attacked by pirates and shot at by police. On land, as an unwanted refugee in Malaysia, he and his fellow refugees were jailed, starved, and beaten, but survival only brought on tougher challenges. The Malaysian soldiers forced them at gunpoint back into their damaged boat to be towed to sea and left to die.
Tang originally planned to seek asylum in the United States but ultimately found the refuge he was seeking in Prince Edward Island, Canada where he lives today.
All are welcome to this free event. The first ten writers to sign up may read from their work— poetry or prose—for up to 5 minutes. Following a short break, Thien will read.
The PEI Writers’ Guild open mic series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.